Switching Focus

Number 16 Bus Shelter
3 min readDec 2, 2021

Red & blue joy-cons? Or matte finish bruises?

Depicted in this image, aside from the reflection of nascent forehead acne, is one of the first release models of a Nintendo Switch.

I distinctly remember the night I made that purchase in late March of 2017. Only one was left in stock within 500 miles of the city. I made the purchase almost precisely at the stroke of midnight.

11:56 PM, to be exact.

Had another second of indecision passed, the innominate scalper, who also had the item in their virtual basket, would have likely hit that midnight mark.

It wasn’t the colour I originally wanted. It seemed the black joy-cons were more popular than red and blue.

It’s the only model I have. A system with several or so microabrasions from unknown irritants. Careful handling and an overall playing duration of 72–96 hours from March 2017 to November 2021.

Several months prior, I decided to revisit L.A. Noire on a whim. I removed the matte slab and intended to finish the game.

I chased after a goon. Twice, for good measure, as my first attempt led to an impromptu leading of the mouse over the ledge of the building’s roof.

I wouldn’t accept that as the end of the case and replayed the pursuit, ensuring that our little scrimmage was a safe distance from falling over to death.

As a playable character, I was protected by the digital grace of an invisible force field. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the top-heavy NPC with a murder charge on his paunch and no resistance to physics.

After multiple (reverse psychology) attempts at unsuccessfully identifying and charging the culprit, I retired the game again for an indefinite time.

The mechanics, while clever, seemed often rigged in favour of the criminal. The setting is, after all, in the heart of 1940s Los Angeles where the likes of Al Capone and Italian mafia defined a budding landscape of crime in the midst of glitz and glamour.

You’re evaluated either on the basis of “good cop”, “bad cop” or in(co)m(p)etent.

But, the prime focus of this article is not to emphasise my anarchic techniques for exercising authority, but rather to highlight the console’s engineering.

A few modifications have been made from the system’s prototypical release in March 2017. Two years later, in September of 2019, a smaller, compact model was introduced under designation of Nintendo Switch Lite.

Nintendo’s strategy is always marked by downsizing.

The Lite omits detachable joy-cons in favour of unibody. The novelty of these controllers having been short-lived. Perhaps akin to styluses in regards to the likelihood of getting lost, minus the peculiar findings of teething impressions.

Or, perhaps, it was the kickstand that threatened to become unhinged.

It seems, in many ways, the Lite is urging a return on inspiration from the GameBoy Advance.

But, as far as advancements are concerned, perhaps Nintendo would benefit from retiring handheld devices.

Virtual and augmented reality are where the new kids on the block reside.

Equipped with better balance, criminal charm and colourful displays of performance.

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