The Nintendo Switch: The Best Video Game System for Kids

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I originally wrote this post on the Nintendo Switch™ in 2018, but my love for the Switch as the best gaming system for families is still SUPER strong. Especially if you’re looking for your kiddo’s first gaming system, the Switch is my top recommendation (even with the release of the new Nintendo Switch OLED). 

So much so, that this year we bought my 8-year-old his own Switch. My older son of course was furious that we made HIM wait until he was 10 years old to have a video game system, and his younger brother got one at 8. Sorry, bud…being the younger sibling does have some perks. 

Some history: Sydney (our video-gaming guru at TME) wrote this piece on why she thinks the PlayStation® is the best gaming system (with Mike chiming in on his argument for the Xbox). I vehemently disagreed with their reasons though, and felt pretty feisty about it, so I declared all my reasons in the original post below.

In addition to trying to convince ALL TME readers to wear Danskos (mwah, hah, hah, Shana….I WILL get there someday), I started my campaign for the Nintendo Switch™ over all other gaming systems.

Nintendo Switch

It actually took me a bit to get to the point where I was OK with any gaming console. I held strong for quite some time and resisted the pressure — I have an obsession with the idea my kids will play with wooden blocks until they go to college. Once I caved, though, I really have been so happy with our decision (as have my two sons and husband).

Since this post was originally published, there is now a Nintendo Switch Lite and a Nintendo Switch OLED. The Lite is smaller and less expensive, but you can still play the same games (just not connected to a TV). My son MOSTLY plays his Switch without connecting it to a bigger screen (even with friends), so this is an exciting, budget-friendly option. As for the Nintendo Switch OLED? It is VERY difficult to get your hands on (you can try here or here) but even if it were available, I don’t think we’d upgrade. We’re still SUPER happy with the original.

A Mother’s Reasons (Why I like The Nintendo Switch™)

1. Nintendo Switch = Family-Friendly Games

This is my biggest reason for liking the Switch by FAR! This was really the deal-breaker. I was so happy to see Nintendo’s great selection of family-friendly games. I love that the popular shooting games aren’t even available on the Switch. Keep in mind — I have another son who is 5 years younger than my older one, and is exposed to pretty much EVERYTHING he does and talks about. Even if I didn’t have the younger one, though, I appreciate what Nintendo is trying to do with their family-friendly focus including a lot of “all-age” games and parental controls. Sydney looked at video games that aren’t first-person shooter/mass warfare here, but I hold strong that Nintendo has the best selection.

2.  Great Adventure, Problem Solving & Multi-Player Games

I love that even if he’s not playing some of the more popular games that are out there on other systems (Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefront), he has a whole different selection of unique games (all of the Mario games, Zelda, Kirby, for starts) that he takes pride in, and are fun and novel to his Xbox and Playstation friends. And these games are GOOD…fun adventure, interesting problem-solving, and plenty of games that are fun to play with friends.  It’s definitely not JUST a kids’ gaming system either (as demonstrated by finding my husband up at 3 AM trying to master The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild.)

3.  The Nintendo Switch™ is Portable

During “screen time”, my son can play it in the living room with the whole family; he can take it up to his room; he can take it on the plane, on road trips, and to grandparents’ houses. More use for the $. Also…No T.V. needed to play. You CAN hook it up to a big screen or even a projector if you want, but my kids have just as much fun crowding around the small switch screen. Added flexibility.

A Kid’s Reasons: (Why My 10-Year-Old Son Likes the Nintendo Switch™)

1.  It Doesn’t Need Internet & I Can Take It Everywhere

You can play the Switch even if there’s no internet. A lot of games on the iPad or other systems you need internet to play. I also can take it on long car trips, so I don’t get bored, and on really long plane rides.

2.  Good “Non-Gun” Games

If your mom doesn’t let you get gun games, the Switch has a lot of “non-gun” games that are REALLY good.

3.  Zelda Is Awesome

In Zelda, you don’t have to do specific things…you can just go wherever you want…there’s a lot of problem-solving and there’s some fighting with swords and magic and bow and arrows, but it’s not all fighting.

4.  Mario Games Are Super Fun

The Switch has so many different fun Mario games, and they’re fun in a lot of different ways. Mario Kart is fun to play with a lot of kids, and Mario Odyssey is super-fun to play with just one other kid. I can’t wait to play the new Mario games.

5.  Fun Controllers

It’s kind of like Wii U because in some games you can move your whole hand with the controller and it makes you go faster, or tilt them to move different ways.

Other Arguments for PlayStation® & Xbox

As I mentioned, Sydney wrote this piece on why she thinks the PlayStation® is the best gaming system (with Mike chiming in on his argument for the Xbox). I will concede that they make some good points (I think especially for teenagers), but here’s my rebuttal:

1. Memory Storage on Nintendo Switch™ is only 32 GB: We purchased a larger memory card. Easy fix.

2. If your kids’ friends have PlayStation® or Xbox, your kid will want to play online with them, and they can’t do that if they don’t have the same generation and brand of console: Am I a terrible mother if I don’t care? As I said, I may feel differently about this as my children get older, but at this point, I don’t really care if my son is left out of online playing…the whole idea of playing video games with people not in my house makes me nervous anyway (says the old-school nervous-Nellie mother) (*2021 UPDATE: Okay, okay…I’ve changed my mind on this one especially during stay-at-home orders. But lucky for me…many of my son’s friends now have Switches –or they’re able to connect up on Minecraft– so he has been able to play with them online during the pandemic and it has been wonderful!)

3. There are games specific to Xbox and PlayStation® that your kids may want to play. For sure, this is the case. My son would LOVE to play a lot of these games. Again…terrible mother, perhaps, but I’m okay with him playing these games occasionally at friends’ houses, but it not being the go-to in our household. I think it’s okay for kids to not get EVERYTHING they want.

4. Mike weighed in stating his case: “Please. Xbox or nothin’. If I can’t dominate my boys with my mad Halo skillz (I spent years honing my craft), then what’s the point? (Raines did just beat me the other day, but it was a fluke). But seriously, there’s something to be said for nostalgia, and playing with the same console you grew up with is an awesome way to bond. Fair enough, Mike. If you grew up playing Xbox or PlayStation®, I can see this being a good argument, but if everything else is swaying you toward the Switch, don’t let this make or break the deal. You can always mercilessly defeat your kids at other activities. Ha!

Here are some of our recommendations:

Nintendo Switch™ & Switch Lite Consoles


The Games We Play On Nintendo Switch™

The Nintendo Switch™ Games On Our Wishlist


Fun Nintendo Switch™ Game Accessories

Anyone else a Switch fan for their family? Give me some support, guys.

-Linzi

13 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed! My 9 & 6yo daughters love the Switch & esp the Mario games. Game selection is very family friendly & the portability is clutch. Highly recommend.

  2. I’m not a kid. I don’t have a kid. I…kind of want one? Totally unnecessary, since I don’t use the WiiU or Nintentdo64 we already have, but this is PORTABLE and I love all things Mario Bros.

  3. Such a timely post! Two of my son’s friends have recently got the Switch, so he’s been pleading for one. I watched them play Super Smash once and it’s a goofy, fast-moving game that has them all shouting and jumping around – pretty hilarious! I actually like the TV-connected version, to minimize single-focus activities that exacerbate his nearsightedness (we already have a Kindle and a tablet!)

  4. Yep – Switch family here! Add to your list Ring Fit (it just came out and gets kids and grownups off the couch to defeat a buff dragon named Drageux by performing exercise moves) and Nintendo Labo (create fishing rods, steering wheels, a piano and more out of cardboard). My kid makes diabolical levels on Super Mario Maker 2 for me to play as well. I get to play games with my kid and none of these games involve shooting things!

  5. Thank you so much for your review, I do not have kids, but I am trying to promote cognitive flexibility on my students (they are not kids, but I feel like they are because I am older) and I thought gaming could be a good way or practicing because they have to think sometimes out of the box and being able to be creative with problem solving and adaptation to change structures.

  6. Totally agree. My daughter snd my husband each gave one snd play games together like Pokémon or on parallel like legend of Zelda BOTW. We actually have two monitors in the den so they can play simultaneously on the big screen. My husband loves it too.

  7. Hey, just adding to my recs from 2 years back. Pokemon Snap (I found it kind of boring, but my kids loved it, you take photos of Pokemon), Yoshi’s Crafted World (co-op play, my eldest could play it with his little brother) and Luigi’s Mansion (Luigi as a Ghostbuster, basically).

  8. Questions from a newbie- I have daughters ages 9 and 12 and am considering this- do they share one device or would we need to buy two? How do you handle allotted screen time? I’m curious what other families allow- especially since so much of the middle school work os now also online and we have a laptop for that. Have you noticed any behavior changes when screen time stops? My girls get grumpy/irritable when we turn off Netflix, for example. I used to love love love my Nintendo as a tween- up all hours playing Mario, Zelda, Tetris (I remember dreaming of falling blocks…), but I don’t want my kids addicted to gaming or screens. How do you all deal with these issues? Does switch have a lot of physical exercise games or is that wii? Thanks in advance!

  9. My 11 and 8 year old kiddos would 100% agree with everything here! We are a huge Switch and Zelda BOTW family. The kids love to play BOTW and they “helped” (aka: watched) their dad defeat Ganon, Not to mention – they dressed up as Link and Revali for Halloween! They also play Mindcraft on the Switch and love it.

  10. I can only speak to what works for my family, but my kids are similar in age. We restrict video games for the weekends only. We set a time limit of 1 hour when they play alone and 1.5 hours if they play together. We only have one device and the kids take turns when it’s being used as a mobile gaming system, or play together while it’s hooked up to the TV. Some games allow for up to 4 players and we will play those as a family sometimes for extra weekend fun. Good luck!

  11. We have one switch and 4 controllers. My three kids (10, 9, 7) love it. We have super smash bros, Mario kart, and we just purchased Mario Party. Mario Party especially has been a hit!!! We hardly ever use it in the handheld, since we almost always have three kids wanting to use it at once. We just do video games on weekends (and maybe after dinner as a family).

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