The Nintendo Switch Lite Is the Console That Got Me Back Into Gaming

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When Nintendo announced the Switch Lite, a smaller, mobile-only variant of the popular Nintendo Switch game console, it felt like the gadget gods had answered my prayers. At last! An adorable, yellow electronic device!

The Switch Lite is the perfect entry-level gaming device, but it's also the perfect vehicle for placing nostalgia in the palms of people like me who haven't committed to PC gaming or an Xbox entertainment system. In the week I've used the Switch Lite, I've been transported back to an era when nothing evoked more joy for me than a new gaming gadget.

I have not owned a gaming device since my 2004 Nintendo DS snapped in half after I spent years with it caring for Nintendogs and conquering Yoshi's Island. By that point, I had a Pong-packed BlackBerry, a decent air hockey table, FarmVille and a semblance of a social schedule. As the years passed, a game console didn't fit into my life. A desire for new iPhones usurped the longing for, say, a Nintendo 3DS or Sony PlayStation Vita

MORE: Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite

This all made sense. As someone who uses "mobile" as an adjective to describe themselves, an all-in-one, on-the-go device like a big smartphone fit my lifestyle. But when I began my big-girl job over the summer, I slipped into a cycle of wake-up-commute-work-commute-sleep. As a result, I grew tired of consuming .io games and completing the New York Times daily crossword between answering emails and scrolling Instagram on the train.

Working with some of the most informed gamers at Tom's Guide (where lists of the best SNES games of all time or best free PS4 games this year are regularly written) piqued my interest in a gaming console. But the standard, widely recommended Switch didn't suit me; truth be told, I don't have a good TV, let alone one of the best TVs, for docked mode. So when the Switch Lite arrived, I thought, "Here's my chance."

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Since I've unboxed my preordered, yellow Switch Lite, I've struggled to put it down. I kicked things off with Pokémon: Let's Go (the Pikachu version, not Eevee — I've since learned there's a divide). This brought on the same gleeful addiction I experienced when I tackled Pokémon Pearl on the DS. 

Next, I resurrected my Super Mario Bros. prowess for Super Mario Bros U Deluxe. It seemed I'd lost my touch for scrollers, but I was thrilled to reexperience a part of my youth.

Despite my joy for games of old, I felt a bit like my parents, who haven't enjoyed a new song since the 1980s except for Macklemore's "Thrift Shop." I wish I were kidding. So I asked my co-workers for more "hip" recommendations, and they did not let me down. I dipped into Stardew Valley, which made my 45-minute train ride feel like 30 seconds the first time I played. I approved. 

MORE: Best Switch Games

I followed Stardew up with a dip into an established favorite, Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This game is simply amazing from what I've seen so far. In fact, I'm itching to whip out my Switch Lite to play it while I'm at work writing this article. 

But I'm really waiting for the games, like Return of the Obra Dinn and Luigi's Mansion 3, announced during the Nintendo Direct stream. I watched the event live on an iPhone 8 Plus in a bar with the same folks who have been encouraging me on my Switch Lite journey. We shared excitement over brews about forthcoming games that I'll probably play now, too. Maybe I'll even try to review one.

Still, the Switch Lite wasn't my mechanism for infiltrating the gamer world. If I wanted to be part of that world, I wouldn't have bought this device. Seasoned users of sharper, pricier consoles call the Switch a novelty item or even a children's device. But it has a purpose, exactly the one Nintendo positioned it to have: serving as an accessible console made for a mild mobile user. 

The Switch Lite just feels more "me" than any device I've seen in my short time as a technology writer. I don't make a habit of identifying with inanimate objects, but as a happy medium between modern entertainment and nostalgic nature, the Switch Lite and I have a lot in common.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef. 

  • slimshady666
    man, before I became a proud owner of my Nintendo Switch Lite, my last console was Xbox One S. BUT(!), to be more lined up with the context of the article and/or the emotion that is being displayed here: (side note, also, true facts: the only other thing that could make me feel dem butterflies in my tummy besides girls; VIDEO GAMES!) falling in love with gaming all over again!

    my last PORTABLE Console was; GBC (GAMEBOY COLOUR). I didn't even upgrade to GBA which is sad considering the library it has. seriously if you haven't yet, go GO! NOW! and check out the line up of games for the Advance it's amazing. the RPG's alone is just by itself a selling point and actual reason to drop everything and get a GBA now and catch up or just emulate it but donate to the developers of the games you choose to download the ROM of, piracy ruins careers. I could care less for music and movies (Hollywood = Satan lol) but game developers? support PLEASE.

    well 8 remember after GBA became an official missed opportunity, sigh. I remember seeing the GAMEBOY Micro being promoted@Gamestop and I was in love. So late 2005 I ended up saving up for 3 months or so, basically Christmas 2005 I walked into GameStop ready to purchase my next step in Portable Gaming, GBA, and keep in mind I'm not very interested in portable gaming but I always thought the Nintendo portables had the best action RPG's available (Sword of Mana for God sakes..) for us gamers. so that was my sole motivating factor to purchase the GBA , but, sadly when I walked in GameStop I saw the Xbox 360 and the rest is history.

    I still think the Xbox 360 is the second best all time console ever, with the first being: DREAMCAST, obviously. so I forgot about handheld gaming and became obessed with home console gaming. fast forward 16 years, after being a XBOX fanboy, I become addicted to heroin and actually lose everything and become homeless. so I know gaming shouldn't be a priority, it shouldn't even be a blimp on my radar! but, due to my increasing mental disorder and the constant flare ups. I have been experiencing a lot of stress and just plain negativity so I tried to brainstorm a solution, even if it's a bandaid remedy just for now; (I need to create moments in my life where stress, grief and just anything that's triggering my depression just DO NOT EXIST) i need something. so I started to look for a used PS Vita because I always thought the fact that it claimed to be a PS3/PS4 Lite and basically home console gaming but in a handheld format which is what I always thought handheld gaming was/should've been. but, as soon as I looked for a PS Vita to buy I started to realize how hard it was to find one to buy, and the fact that it was discontinued 2 years prior to my attempt of hunting down a PS Vita to buy, sigh..

    ANYWAY, GameStop stated that they do not carry any Vitas not even refurbished. so my next location scouting was Pawn Shops and BINGO! found it! it had a asking price of 175$ which felt high for a 8 year old handheld that is in it's 2nd year being discontinued. so I decided to Google a few things before I pull the trigger and just buy it. in doing so, I saw an ad for the Switch and keep in mind set this point I knew about the Switch but I didn't know much about it. I knew it had a handheld component to it but I didn't know the extent of it. I actually thought the handheld component was in the same vein of the WiiU and I had very bad taste in my mouth when it came to the WiiU so I never really pursued the Switch before. so in the midst of researching the Switch and graduaully as I read article after article. product reviews carried a certain agreed census that the handheld/portable aspect of the Switch is not, NOT, a afterthought à la WiiU.

    so as I mentioned earlier, I am homeless, that being taken into consideration because HELLO?! I have no television, which usually comes with being homeless lol. anyway so home console is not even a consideration but with the Switch being handheld also was like HEY! I could be part of the home console scene under 300$ (another thing being homeless comes with: no money basically) so I panhandled and saved up money and had 305$ so I went looking for a used Switch and then I saw something mentioning a different SKU with the word Lite attached and then... it happened. that's when I met, no wait, I fell in love with the Switch Lite and now I am so invested. I have 8 games and they're all so fun and addicting it's actually messing with my anxiety and OCD tendencies by not letting me just finish a game without even touching another one.

    I am AT LEAST at a completion rate of 30% or more in all of my games and that goes to testify how good the library is. the hardware, is no slouch. nice fps and amazing resolution being displayed despite the actual screen feels so cheaply made and forget prone to scratches, it's more like it has a destiny to live it's lifespan covered with superficial not-deep but just enough to make morning "under-the-sun" gaming be impossible. but the main reason besides the price (lol remember I am homeless) that I went with the Lite variation and not the "OG-Switch" was the D-Pad. the joycons are super cute and I already want one to just have one because I know I have no use for it, it's that cute lol. but it's not even "hey at least it has a D-PAD" it's actually one of the best.

    Atari Jaguar and the DREAMCAST had the top two D-Pads so that's not a light statement. well that's my story and now I am a homeless gamer on my Coral coloured Switch playing under overpasses and next to train tracks in Ozark Trail tents lol. and sometimes when I get deep into gaming, I sometimes forgot that my life is a hellhole and a homeless useless person, so yeah it's THAT good. wow I typed a lot lol.. so much stress I look for any avenues that encourage or just blatantly invites you to vent especially in the form of typing, thank you for your time and access to this platform that is allowing me to type this. bye 🥰

    Mod Edit - You're welcome for the platform, but if you want people to actually read this, please use punctuation and paragraphs. Thanks and again, welcome!