I've only had it for a week but already Nintendo's new game console, the Switch, has changed my life.

Yes, I know we're supposed to save the "life-changing" tag for the big events. Things like getting married, or having a baby or buying a boat. The huge stuff that impacts your daily existence in heretofore unknown and here forthwith irrevocable ways.

Does Nintendo's new gaming console really do that? Can a gaming console do that?

Yes, it does and yes, it can.


This thing is the MacGyver of the console world. A pocket knife of possibility. With the Switch, Nintendo haven't just changed the game, they've changed the way it's played.

But unlike the glasses-free 3D of their 3DS handheld or the questionable motion controls of their world-conquering Wii, this time their disruption is positive and meaningful.

Here's how it works.

Each morning as I frantically rush out the door I grab the Switch from its docking station and throw it in my bag. The Switch is roughly the size of an iPad Mini and has slots on its sides for the two dinky controllers to slide into, which is the first thing I do once seated on the train.

The Nintendo Switch in portable mode. The controllers slide onto the side of the tablet.
The Nintendo Switch in portable mode. The controllers slide onto the side of the tablet.

The journey to Britomart gives me roughly half an hour of game time, though often I get a bit more because of the alarming rate at which unspecified "track faults" and traffic bottlenecks occur on ye olde Western Line.

I'm often too busy to play at lunch, but as soon as I'm heading home again I'm back in the game.

Arriving home, I drop the Switch back in its docking station and launch straight into Dad mode. Once Poppy's been bathed, fed, read to and tucked in, I recuperate from the ordeal of all that with some telly. Then, it's game time.

The nifty trick of the Switch is that when docked it connects to the TV, giving you the traditional and beloved game console/television/couch experience.


So, although the Switch doesn't match the grunt power capabilities of Sony's PlayStation 4 or Microsoft's Xbox One, it offers something so much better. So much more valuable. The opportunity to actually finish some damn games.

For me, free time is something of an abstract concept. I've tried to fit gaming in with the demands of my life responsibilities but it's never quite worked out. The balance between available time, parental and professional duties and boring practicality has proven to be somewhat elusive.

Things had gotten so desperate that I'd even experimented with getting up early to get some game time in before work. But that lasted only as long as it took me to hit the "snooze" button and roll back to sleep on my first - and only - attempt.

The Nintendo Switch in its docking base, allowing you to game on your television screen.
The Nintendo Switch in its docking base, allowing you to game on your television screen.

We have just the one television, so if my partner wanted to watch telly I'd have to wait for her to go to bed before I could fire up the PS4 and play some games. Now, if she's watching something I can just play the Switch in portable mode beside her on the couch.

But, if she decides to do something else, like reading her book or scrolling Facebook, then its big-screen gaming all the way, baby. On my commute the next day I simply pick up exactly where I left off the night before.

It's brilliant. Already I'm much, much further into its astonishingly great launch title Zelda: Breath of the Wild then I managed to get in No Man's Sky, Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 or Alien:Isolation. Just some of the games I desperately wanted to get through until life and/or circumstance conspired against me.

Sure, this could be because there's not really anything else to play on the Switch right now. Its launch lineup is extremely slim to say the least. There's good stuff on the horizon but, as usual, Nintendo are dripping the games out. I really hope that this time the big game publishers get behind Nintendo and support the Switch as they've promised to.

Sliding the controllers off the docked Switch console.
Sliding the controllers off the docked Switch console.

But really, when a game's as fantastic and as huge as Zelda:BotW, you really won't need anything else for a good long while. Unless you have surplus time on your hands to dedicate to blitzing through it.

I simply don't. And this is how the Switch has been life-changing. It's allowed me to do the undoable. To get gaming to fit in around life's other - some might say "actual" - life-changing events.