The Nintendo Switch OLED

I was scrolling through my list of blog post ideas and realized that I never posted my review of the Nintendo Switch OLED model. It has been out since October 8th of 2021 so this review will only be a year late haha!

My history with Nintendo & the Nintendo Switch

I am a huge Nintendo fan. I was born in the same year that the NES was widely released in America and I have owned every Nintendo system released in the US to date (yes, even the Virtual Boy & Wii U). When Nintendo unveiled the Switch, the company was not doing great. The Wii U was pretty much a disaster right out of the gate and the 3DS, while doing much better than the Wii U, was really showing its age.

Enter the Nintendo Switch. Ever since it was revealed, I was super hyped for it. One of my buddies and I planned a trip to PAX South (R.I.P.) to play the system before it was released. We fell in love with it once we had some hands on time with it and we found ourselves at the midnight launch for the system at our local Best Buy. Fast forward three and a half years and the Switch is a runaway success. Nintendo has completely turned their fortunes around with the Switch. The have not only sold a ton of hardware, but they have also sold a ton of software too. So when Nintendo announced the next model in the lineup, The Switch OLED, you can bet that I preordered it and received it on launch day.

The Hardware

The Switch OLED, while not the Switch Pro that everyone wanted it to be, is a substantial update to the original Switch. I want to hit on all of the improvements in this section.

  • The Display: The main selling point of the Switch OLED is obviously the new screen. Gone is the original 6.2″ LCD and it has been replaced with an absolutely gorgeous 7″ OLED panel. This is a massive upgrade for the system. Nintendo makes some of the most colorful games in the industry (Mario, Pokemon, Smash Bros., Splatoon) and the colors are just stunning on the OLED display. The panel can get super bright and I also really appreciate the bigger screen size. It is very noticeable. Even nearly a year later, every time I play my Switch in handheld mode, I am blown away by the screen.
  • The Kickstand: The original Switch came with a kickstand, which is a great idea. The problem was that it was a horrible kickstand! It was extremely flimsy and I got to where I didn’t even trust it enough to use it. Nintendo completely overhauled the kick stand on the OLED model and it is so much better than the original one. The kickstand now runs across the whole rear of the system & it is super adjustable. I would compare it to the Microsoft Surface Pro kickstands if you have ever used one of those.
  • Built In Storage: While the original Switch came with 32gb of internal storage, the OLED model doubles it to 64gb. While serious players will still need to expand their storage with a microSD card, it is a nice addition nonetheless.
  • Sound: The sound quality of the built in speakers on the OLED is considerably better then the built in speakers on the original model. Again, some may use headphones most of the time they are on their Switch but it is a nice upgrade.
  • The Dock: The Dock that comes with each system has been redesigned as well. It has two benefits over the old dock. First is that the dock now includes a LAN port for wired internet. The old dock does not and requires you to purchase an adapter for wired internet. The second is that, at least to me, the dock is more aesthetically pleasing. As something that sirts on top of my entertainment center, I like the look and shape of the new dock more.
  • Color Options: While the Switch OLED model is still available with the same red and blue joy-cons as the original system, it also come in a new white colorway, complete with a white dock. This is the color that I opted for. I am very into white electronics so this was just perfect for me. I love the clean look of the dock and joy-cons!

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Switch OLED is in my opinion, the version of the Switch to buy if you are in the market for a Switch. It is also a decent upgrade if you are coming from an original model. It is by no means a necessary upgrade and it runs all of the games the exact same as the original Switch and the Switch lite. But if you are really into the Switch and would appreciate all of the little upgrades over the original model, I see no reason not to go for it! Thanks for reading.

Splatoon 3: First Impressions

Splatoon 3 released a few days ago and I wanted to give my first impressions on my time with it so far. For reference, I played the first Splatoon on the Wii U a little and then played Splatoon 2 on the Switch a lot (200+ hours). Splatoon 2 is up there with Breath of the Wild as my favorite games on the Switch. I had so much fun with that game, but it was not without it’s annoyances. Enter Splatoon 3.

Refined to Perfection

Splatoon 3 does not drastically change the formula from previous games in the series. It consists of almost entirely the same modes as Splatoon 2. You still have your single player campaign, Turf War, ranked modes, and Salmon Run. Where Splatoon 3 moves the needle is how much it gets right in all of the details. These details, while small, contributed to a lot of annoyances in the Splatoon community. Splatoon 3 comes really close to fixing them all. A few of my favorite changes:

  • You can skip the intro and hop right into the world. This is huuuuge!
  • You can party up with your friends in Turf War battles and always be on the same team now. This was easily my biggest gripe with Splatoon 2 and it has been fixed!
  • The new lobby is great. Instead of just staring at the players names waiting for your next match, you can now goof off in the lobby while you wait. Try out your weapons, play leapfrog with your teammates, or see how much area you can paint before the next battle starts. Just having something to do makes the wait seem so much shorter.
My current gear

New & Fresh

Of course, there is also a lot of new things in Splatoon 3 as well. I love the new battle pass catalog feature they have added. Basically once you hit level 4 you are gifted a catalog. Each catalog runs for a few months and you rank it up alongside your player rank. Each new level rewards you with some new item. It could be a new sticker for your locker, a new emote, new clothing items, or any number of other things. This is a great addition and will keep the community more engaged with the game. Also, unlike other games, the catalog feature is free and included with the base game.

The Catalog

Splatoon has always been about self expression and customizing your look and they have added some great options along these lines in Splatoon 3. Now, each player has a SplashTag that identifies them in multiplayer. You can now customize the background, add badges to it, and also give yourself a title, similar to the title feature in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. All of these changes are great. On top of that, each player is assigned a locker in the multiplayer lobby that they can fill with any items they have collected in the game. There is a lot of customization here and it is fun to look at everyone’s lockers to see all of the creativity on display.

Example of the new SplashTags

The multiplayer co-op mode Salmon Run has also received some new additions. It is now always available to play as opposed to how it was in Splatoon 2 when you could only play the mode during scheduled times of the day. Also, you can now throw eggs as opposed to only being able to drop them which makes a huge difference in strategy this time. You also have a chance to face a gigantic boss at the end of your runs, which is great fun. I have faced him twice so far and defeated him once.

Final Thoughts

Nintendo has done an outstanding job with Splatoon 3. While not a groundbreaking entry in the series, they have cleaned up so many areas from the previous games while adding enough new stuff to keep the fanbase engaged. They have also promised plenty of post launch support, both free and paid, so this game should remain fresh for many years. If you have thought about dipping your toes into Splatoon, now is a great time to jump in. Thanks for reading.

My Favorite Things of 2021

It’s been another year & I am back with another favorite things list. I hope everyone who reads this had a great 2021! On to the list.

686 Everywhere Pant (Slim)

On last year’s list I posted about my love for the Denali Travel Pant. I still love and wear these pants to this day. However, for my birthday this year, my wife bought me 2 pairs of the 686 Everywhere pants. While considerably more expensive than the travel pants I had worn up until this point, the Everywhere pants are a massive upgrade in every way. These are the most comfortable pants I have ever worn. I have been wearing them very regularly since getting them and even purchased a 3rd pair later in the year. I cannot recommend these pants enough.

Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low Pro GT Skate

I picked up my first pair of Blazers this year and I couldn’t be more happy with them. I have never been into the Air Force 1s or Dunks but the Blazers has always been appealing to me. I love how these look and also how they feel on foot. I have some similar shoes in the Vans Old Skools as well as the Adidas Sambas that are not close to these in comfort. Very happy with this pair of shoes.

Blundstone #585 in Rustic Brown

I purchased my first pair of boots in over 10 years this year. I picked up some Blundstones on a trip to Austin this year and have been very happy with them. These boots are tough, comfortable, and I love the way they look. I plan on having these around for the next 10 years.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Hip Pack

I purchased this fanny pack back in April and it has proven to be a very handy bag to take with me on the go. First off, it packs into it’s own front pocket and becomes very small, so you can easily bring it anywhere. It’s also made of a very durable ripstop material and is extremely lightweight. I hate carrying a bunch of items in my pocket when I am walking around the city and this little bag is perfect to put all of my small items in. I can carry my iPhone, wallet, keys, chapstick, sunglasses, and a spare battery pack all in this little pack. You can wear it around your waist like it’s the 80s again or, you can wear it crossbody which is what I prefer.

iPad mini 6

I have already wrote an entire post about my love for this little tablet. I still love it and use it everyday. It is extremely portable and is a pleasure to use. Long live the mini!

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

I am a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch and was very happy to upgrade to the new OLED model when it was released this fall. It is a very nice upgrade over the regular switch in several key ways. Obviously the new OLED screen is the star of the show, being both larger in size as well as much more vibrant. Throw in a massively improved kickstand, better speakers, and those sweet, sweet white Joy-Cons and you have yourself a pretty solid upgrade.

Apple Fitness +

I love Apple Fitness + but of course I would right? It seems like it was made for people just like me. I am very fitness oriented and, as a huge Apple fan, I have all of the required gear already. While not for everybody, I love that I can do classes from my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV wherever I am and the Apple Watch integration is so, so good. I love working out outside more than anything but when the weather is not cooperating, I am pumped to open up Apple Fitness and close my rings for the day!

Introducing: The Kuribo’s Shoe Podcast!

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Hello all! I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have started a podcast! The Kuribo’s Shoe Podcast is a Nintendo centric podcast & I couldn’t be happier to share it with all who are interested. I have 2 episodes up right now:

  • Episode 0 is a brief introduction to the podcast and explains why I am doing the show and where the (to some) strange name for the podcast comes from.
  • Episode 1 went up this morning! It is all about Year One of the Nintendo Switch. I was thrilled to be joined on this episode by one of my best friends, Chad, and we talked all about the Nintendo Switch and each of our personal top 5 games released for it to date.

The plan going forward with the podcast is to release a new episode every two weeks on Friday. Hopefully, I can have a co-host for each episode if at all possible.

If a podcast about Nintendo is of interest to you, please do us a favor and subscribe. It would mean so much. Or, if you know of someone who might would enjoy it, please tell them about the show. Again, it would be much appreciated. Links for everything will be at the bottom of this post.

I have wanted to do something like this for several years now and I’m so glad that I finally took the plunge. We have lots of room to improve as we record more & more episodes but I was really happy with our first effort. Please bear with us as we continue to improve.

You can find our show page on Anchor here.

You can find us on iTunes or Apple Podcasts here.

You can find us on Pocket Casts here.

Our twitter page for the show can be found here.

We will be on Google Play Music very soon hopefully. We are in the process of getting approved.

Oh, one more thing. If you enjoy the podcast and wanted to give us a rating on iTunes or through the Apple Podcasts app, that would be like really really nice of you. ūüėČ

The Nintendo Switch

I got a Nintendo Switch on launch day and now that I have had it for a little over a week, I wanted to give my impressions on the hardware as well as the software that I have played so far. Please note that these impressions are from a lifelong Nintendo fan who has owned every system since the NES.

I have been excited for the Switch ever since Nintendo released their first video for it last year. I read and watched everything that I could building up to the release. I preordered it the day that preorders opened up as well. I also went with a buddy of mine to PAX South in San Antonio early this year, where Nintendo was showing off the Switch to the public for one of the first times. We loved it so much that we waited in the line twice so we could play everything that we wanted! I even lined up with the same friend at Best Buy for the midnight launch to get our games and accessories. So you can imagine my excitement on Friday, March 3rd when I picked up my shiny new Switch from UPS! Below are my likes and dislikes with the Switch itself as well as the games that I have played over the last week.

Hardware

Likes

  • I really like the neon version of the Switch that I picked up, it just has more character than the gray version in my opinion. The colors of the neon red and neon blue Joy Con controllers just really pop.
  • I love the speed of the Switch software! Compared to the slowness¬†of both the Wii U and 3DS’ operating systems, the Switch OS is super fast. Switching between the home menu and the game you are playing is super quick, as is putting the Switch to sleep and waking it back up. Also, the day one patch for the Switch downloaded and installed in less than a minute for me! I don’t believe I ever had an update for the Wii U that didn’t take at least 10-15 minutes to download and install.
  • I was also pleasantly surprised with how quick you can go from TV mode when the Switch is docked to handheld mode when you un-dock it. It happens within a second I would say!
  • I absolutely love the Pro Controller that I picked up along with the Switch. I fell in love with it the first time I used it at PAX South. In my opinion, it is the best controller Nintendo has made so far. It has the perfect weight, great battery life, perfect stick placement, and all of the Amiibo functionality, HD rumble, and motion controls of the other controllers built in. Yes, it is expensive, but to me it is worth the price.
  • Lastly, I just really like the premise of this system. It is great to be able to have a home console that you can also take with you wherever, whether that is on a trip, to the park, or just to the recliner in your living room. I love that with the two Joy Con controllers that it comes with, you are set up for co-op games right out of the box¬†too. Battery life has been fine for me as well. I know people complain about it getting just around 3 hours playing Zelda but have these people ever played with a 3DS? I have had multiple 3DS’ for years and that’s about what I get with them as well. Would I like it to be more, absolutely. But with a full time job and a baby at home, I’m not really ever at the point where I am playing this thing un-docked for 3 hours straight. If you do, the Switch conveniently charges via USB-C, so you can always just get an external battery pack to prolong your play sessions.

Dislikes

  • The kickstand on the back of the Switch is just¬†terrible. The sound it makes when you open it is terrible, the angle it puts the Switch at is terrible, the flimsiness of it is terrible, and the fact that it will only work on a hard, flat surface is terrible. What was Nintendo¬†thinking with this thing? ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į
  • The Joy Con straps that Nintendo give you to slide onto the left and right Joy Cons are pretty badly designed. First off, you can easily put them on the wrong way if you are not really paying attention. When you do put them on wrong, the pressure you have to apply to them to remove¬†them makes it feel like you are going to break the controller. Secondly, even when you get them on right, they still are not smooth or easy to remove at all. I really don’t like these things.
  • The dock itself is super flimsy and hollow feeling. Once you mess with one you wonder why Nintendo charges so much if you want another one. There is hardly anything to it.
  • The Switch operating system, while speedy, is not fully baked. You can add friends but not message with them & the online service Nintendo is building is not going to be ready until much later in the year either. Nintendo has never been known for having an awesome online service but this is extremely bare bones. Here’s hoping that they add more functionality sooner rather than later.
  • I very much disliked the taste of the Nintendo Switch cartridges when I tried one! They taste super gross! See this story for context haha.

Software

Likes

  • Let’s get this out of the way at the very first. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild is an absolutely amazing game. It is unlike any Zelda game that has come before and allows a since of freedom and exploration that I have rarely seen before. The sheer size of the world and things to do and various ways that you can approach different problems is insane. The fact that after a very brief tutorial at the beginning of the game, that you can then just go anywhere and start exploring is such a cool concept. The only 3 games I can think of that have hooked me in this way in my entire life are¬†Animal Crossing on the GameCube, Pokemon Blue on the Game Boy, and Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. That’s really it for me, this game is that good. Sure, I have played the majority of the mainline Zelda games but I’m telling you this game is¬†different. This game is special in a way that few are. I find myself thinking about it when I am not playing it and when I am playing it, I am playing it for far longer that I intend to. Throw in the fact that I can play this game at home on my big screen and then need to leave and can just un-dock it and take it with me wherever I go and it just feels magical to me! I know that the Nintendo Switch launch lineup of games is pretty limited but trust me, this game alone is worth buying a Switch for in my opinion.
  • Another game I bought and have really enjoyed is Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!. This is a equally parts cute and clever co-op puzzle game where you are trying to solve puzzles together with your partner. My wife and I have had a ton of fun playing this together, and it is easily worth the $20 price tag in my opinion.
  • I also have bought the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove bundle. I never did play Shovel Knight on any of the platforms it was on previously so this bundle that came with everything was perfect. This is a really fun game that is made in the style of an 8-bit platformer like the ones I grew up playing. It also has co-op play which is something that I can’t wait to try out!

Dislikes

  • I bought Super Bomberman R and so far, I’m not really enjoying it. Now, I have only been playing the single player campaign so far and I know multiplayer is where Bomberman shines, but I have not been super impressed as of now. Maybe playing the campaign in co-op and playing some 4 player multiplayer will redeem it, but I am skeptical. Right now, it would be hard for me to recommend it, at least at its current price. It has a terrible camera angle, mediocre music, and some pretty bad slowdown as well.

Miscellaneous

  • I purchased Nintendo’s other launch game: 1-2-Switch, but have not got the chance to play it yet. I mostly bought it to play with my wife and friends but just have not had the chance to play it so far.
  • Some of the games I am very much looking forward to are: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in April, Splatoon 2 this summer, and of course, Super Mario Odyssey this winter.
  • Sales numbers so far for the Switch have been promising and anecdotally, it seems like there is much more talk and interest in the Nintendo Switch than the poor Wii U ever had. I sure hope it is a success for Nintendo. They could really use another hit after the disappointing sales of the Wii U. I personally don’t want to ever live in a world where Nintendo stops making their own hardware. Nobody makes quality, fun filled, family friendly games as well as interesting hardware quite like Nintendo does.
  • These are my initial impressions of the Switch so far. I am looking forward to playing it much more over the coming weeks and meeting up with some buddies of mine that also bought Switches and playing some multiplayer games.

Thanks for reading!