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The Day My Nintendo Switch Died

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I still remember the day I walked into EB Games on March 3rd after standing in line for six hours to buy the Nintendo Switch on launch day. I had already tested the console when Nintendo flew me out for a Switch event back in January so unlike the Wii or Wii U, I had no reservations or concerns walking in. I went so far as to call it an impressive piece of hardware and a leap over the ageing 3DS and DS lines. I knew what I was getting and I was super stoked!

When I arrived at the check-out I distinctly remember the clerk asking me if I wanted an extended warranty. He was of course just doing his job and going through the motions of trying to sell me on other products and services in which ever way he could. I also remember my reply. I told the clerk that the warranty was not needed because Nintendo consoles rarely ever break down. In fact, every Nintendo console I’ve owned over the years has been incredibly durable, and sometimes I think they are near indestructible. Every single one of them still works today, including my older brother’s original NES which he passed down to me. Hell, even R.O.B. the robot still works fine. Time after time, I spent the money on an extended warranty and never once was it needed, so this time I decided to opt out.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the story about the Game Boy that survived a bombing raid. Not everybody survives a war but somehow the Game Boy managed to survive a bombing back during the Gulf War. Wired even took Nintendo’s classic handheld and did a slightly scientific study on it. Unfortunately, by the end of the experiment, the poor Game Boy didn’t survive against a sledgehammer-wielding body builder but that’s not the point. The point is, Nintendo consoles, love them or hate them, may sometimes look cheap but are usually built to last. You’ve all heard stories about the number of times a Nintendo console has gone through physical abuse and yet still works years later. That’s Nintendo. That’s what Nintendo consoles are known for – their durability.

There’s been a lot of talk since the launch of the Nintendo Switch about the system’s hardware issues and design flaws. Like most Switch owners, I’m not a fan of its flimsy kickstand that blocks the charging port, nor am I a fan of the 4 button clusterfuck found on the left Joy-Con (let’s just say it’s a poor substitute for a proper d-pad). That said, overall I’ve been extremely satisfied with my Nintendo Switch. I purchased two pro controllers to avoid having to use the pint-sized Joy-Cons and since I almost always play on either handheld or TV mode, the kickstand hasn’t really been an issue for me. Of course, like any fan of the Big N, I wish Nintendo would find a way to fix these problems, but all in all, things have been going well. That is, until today.

Ever since I picked up my console seven months ago, I’ve had plenty of friends, family, and even online strangers tell me that there is a good chance I might eventually run into some sort of hardware issue if only because I bought a console that was part of the first wave of shipments. The biggest concern at first was the reports of some consoles warping while being in dock mode too long. Luckily for me, I didn’t have this problem and so during that time I kept defending the console pointing to many YouTubers who put the Switch to the test and came back with nothing but positive things to say about the console’s durability. JerryRigEverything’s famous YouTube video gave the Nintendo Switch a glowing review, while UnlockRiver gave it an “Extreme Durability Score” of 9.0 after dropping the console 1000 feet from a drone. Unfortunately, after seven months of remaining positive and even going so far as to call the Switch my new favorite console, my Switch decided to stop working earlier today.

It’s unclear as to what the problem is since I’ve been overly careful with my Switch. I barely take it on the go and when I do, I make sure to pack it in a protective case that I spent an extra $30 buying. I also made sure to purchase a screen protector before I ever turned on the console and started gaming. The console itself sits in my gaming room and the dock has never been moved since I brought it home on March 3rd. Furthermore, I haven’t taken the Switch out of my house in over three weeks so I know this isn’t the cause of wear and tear. The Switch just won’t turn on.

If you are superstitious then you might think I cursed myself when I told the clerk back in March that I didn’t need an extended warranty since I’ve never had a Nintendo console break down on me, but I don’t think that is the problem. Obviously, there is something wrong with the hardware and it seems I’m not alone. Before calling Nintendo’s customer service help line I did a quick search on Google and found someone else who had a similar problem. I followed the recommended steps – I undocked the console, attached the Joy-Con controllers, and disconnected the HDMI cable and the AC adaptor from both ends for at least 30 seconds. Sadly it didn’t help. I went over the same steps again while speaking to the customer service rep but my Switch just won’t work. After spending an hour messing around with it, I’ve given up hope. I believe my Switch is dead.

After speaking to the customer service rep I have no choice but to ship my Nintendo Switch over to their headquarters for repair thus ending my streak of owning Nintendo consoles that never, ever, not once broke down. I understand that my video game console isn’t a necessity and it isn’t something I need in my life in order to stay alive, but it doesn’t change that fact that I’m really disappointed. It also doesn’t help that as an editor of this site, I will not have access to my Switch for roughly three weeks, making it impossible to play and write about any upcoming releases (not to mention I’m one of the hosts of the NXpress Nintendo podcast). And while the Nintendo rep was extremely polite, patient and helpful, it doesn’t make me feel better that they could not guarantee much, if anything.

According to the rep, they can’t guarantee I won’t lose any of my saved data (including 140 plus hours of Breath of the Wild) nor can they guarantee they will fix it. They also can’t guarantee that they will repair it without charge nor can they guarantee I will have it shipped back within the three-week window. Hell, I don’t even think she said that she could guarantee they would ship the console back free of charge. It also doesn’t help that I just spent $90 on Mario + Rabbids and can’t even play the damn game.  Obviously, there are no guarantees in life but fuck does this blow, especially since to date, I’ve spent well over $1500 on the Switch, accessories, and games.

iFixit gave the Nintendo Switch a fairly strong repairability score of 8 out of 10, praising the system’s “easily removable screws and modular components and battery packs”. Hopefully, Nintendo will be able to fix my console without any problems, and I’ll be able to play my Switch again in no time. In the meantime, if you’ve experienced a similar problem with your Switch, please share your story below. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

At least, I have Metroid: Samus Returns to look forward to, giving me a reason to whip out my 3DS once again, because unlike the Switch, my 3DS still works fine after all these years.

Ricky D

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and Tilt Magazine. Host of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast and the Sordid Cinema Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound on Sight. Former host of several other podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead shows, as well as Sound On Sight. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. PachterStation

    September 2, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Fair enough, you can drop a console or spill something on it etc., but people who hammer consoles, more so online, the lifespan is going to be cut short, more so with handheld consoles. Count up the amount of hours since you bought it, you might be surprised.

    • Ricky D

      September 2, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      I’m not sure what you mean? As I wrote above, I’ve been very careful with my Switch. I’ve never once dropped it nor dropped any liquid on it. I’ve never taken it out when it rains. In fact, it has been siting on the dock for about three weeks since I haven’t taken it out on the go for that long. It was working fine up until Thursday. It just stopped working and as I stated above, I found other people who have had the same problem. I understand that often when people buy electronics, there can be a default in the product for some consumers, but it just sucks royally since the console is sold our everywhere and I can’t buy a back up. And really, the point of my article is that this is the first Nintendo console that I’ve purchased that has had manufacturing defaults. I don’t remember any previous Nintendo consoles having problems like warped screens or the system dying in less than six months. I could be wrong, but usually Nintendo hardware lasts long.

      • PachterStation

        September 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm

        I had a Super NES at launch, the fuse went inside after a few months, which was replaced by the retailer. I also had some dead pixels with a Nintendo handheld, but can’t remember which handheld it was. The Switch has been put together on the cheap, even right down to the plastic used on the docking station and power adaptor. I’m guessing other parts of the Switch are in the same boat. Going back to the Super NES, like the Mega Drive, you couldn’t exactly class these consoles as being robust. Same with the NES and Master System. The Nintendo 64 build quality was much better. As always, times change.

        • Ricky D

          September 2, 2017 at 6:58 pm

          I’ve never had a Nintendo console break down. The only one that gave me problems was the Xbox 360. Man, if my SNES broke down back in the day, I would have lost my shit. It was the first console I ever bought and I had to save up for months in order to be able to afford it. Still my favourite console to date.

  2. YOUDIEMOFO

    September 2, 2017 at 7:21 am

    This is extremely sad indeed….. I’d love to hear what Nintendo actually ends up doing for you.

    • Ricky D

      September 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Well they did say they would speed up the process. Hopefully, it won’t take long.

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