Much of the videogame hype this holiday season is naturally going to be about the new consoles. But that hype is also going to be peppered with frustration over limited supply. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch has more or less bucked the “generation” trend, and is still kicking since its 2017 release.
2020 has been another big year for Nintendo Switch content, and Nintendo fans have plenty of new options. If you’re looking to pick up something new for the Nintendo Nut in your life this year, you’re in luck. Like I said, there are tons of new options, so there are plenty of opportunities to find something new, interesting, or both.
From Nintendo’s own first party output to the eShop’s massive indie offerings, there’s something for everyone. And in this piece we’re really only touching the highlights.
Nintendo Switch Holiday 2020 Gift Guide
Holiday Season Releases
The last couple months ahead of holiday time always include a few new games. The bulk of the holiday launch window is about the new consoles, but there’s stuff to dive into on Switch as well. These are some of the recent notable games to hit the Switch this season, minus the Nintendo-published “first party” software. We’ll get to that later.
- Immortals: Fenyx Rising
- DOOM Eternal
- Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
- Control: Ultimate Edition - Cloud Version
- Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
Of course, just because games come out around October through December doesn’t mean your giftee has already played everything else that hit throughout the year.
There are all kinds of games across myriad genres, so any kind of niche interest you want to appeal to likely has a match. For example, Japanese action games and RPGs, fighting games and music/rhythm games.
- Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix
- Langrisser I&II
- Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection (older game compilation) or just Samurai Shodown (new game)
- Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
- Trials of Mana
Another great facet of Nintendo in 2020 is its various avenues of appeal to fans of old videogames.
From the NES Classic Edition craze to the digital eShop, you can find re-releases of classics, curated sets with DVD-like bonus materials and even new games that invoke that retro style from the 80s and 90s. If you’re gifting to a “classic” gamer or someone interested in history, check these out:
- Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection
- Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle
- Streets of Rage 4
- Bloodstained Curse of the Moon 2
- Collection of SaGa: Final Fantasy Legend
Wii U Re-Dos
The Nintendo Switch is a hit, and will likely go down in history as one of the most favorable consoles ever. Ironically enough, this is the follow-up to the exact opposite, the dismal Wii U. But while nobody liked that console, there were some bonafide bangers on that thing, and Nintendo knows it.
So much so that Wii U re-releases have consistently been popular on the Switch. Here’s 2020’s batch of Wii U rescues:
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
- Wonderful 101: Remastered
- Pikmin 3 Deluxe
The Big Nintendos
Nintendo also had a pretty big year, releasing its own first-party content. One of the bigger focuses has been on expansive DLC content for last year’s Pokemon games, with major, brand-new Nintendo releases slowing down a bit. But Nintendo countered that with remakes and re-releases, alongside a few projects a little off the beaten path.
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
- Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
- Paper Mario: The Origami King
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
Indies and Smaller Releases
Not everything has to be a massive, blockbuster event release with a huge budget and a bigger marketing spend. Nintendo has been a champion of smaller games (affectionately branding them as “Nindies”) for a number of years now.
There’s a lot going on in this space all the time, but this year is especially notable as Hades is on deck to be a big Game of the Year winner, even in the annual Game Awards show.
The other games on this small selection cover multiple genres, from an adorable puzzler to horror and everything in-between:
eShop or Nintendo Switch Online
When it comes to talking about smaller games or indie releases, you aren’t always going to be able to waltz into a GameStop or Walmart and pick those games up off the shelf. A lot of games are only available digitally, and even the major ones can be found on the eShop.
In some cases you can purchase vouchers for specific games at retail, in case your Nintendo-loving gift recipient doesn’t want physical games.
If there’s something specific they want you can’t find a card for (or even if you’d rather leave them to choose something themselves) you can find Nintendo eShop gift cards, loudly branded with Super Mario characters, for set amounts going from $5 to $99.
Shout out to Nintendo for putting Donkey Kong on the biggest card, by the way. Big money, big monkey.
You could also gift subscription time to Nintendo Switch Online, the platform's Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus parallel. This one is much cheaper, so the benefits aren't as wild in comparison. But in addition to online gameplay, members also get a collection of instantly-playable NES and SNES games.
Releases for those have slowed down, but a recent suspicious system update has shown what may be big activity on that front.
When you’re talking digital software, you’re also talking digital storage. Nintendo Switch consoles have some storage included out of the box, but not enough to house a digital collection without deleting and downloading all the time.
A good gift option, albeit likely harder to pinpoint a need for without blowing your cover, can be extra storage in the form of Micro SD cards. These can be a pain to sift through online, but you can refer to the following metrics for compatibility:
- Micro SD - up to 2GB
- Micro SDHC - 4 to 32 GB
- Micro SDXC - 64GB+
When you look at a package or image of the card itself, the letters there are clearly marked. If you want to hit a higher storage point you want to make sure you see that “XC” somewhere. It’s also important to pay attention to user reviews, because getting a bad card is easier than you’d think.
Sticking to SanDisk is a sure bet, but there can be better options floating around out there with higher speeds. Whatever you do, unless your friend or family member is a huge Nintendo fanboy, make sure to avoid those Nintendo-branded cards.
Sure, the little yellow one with the Super Star on it is cute, but it also comes with a significant markup. And when it’s inside the Switch doing its job, it isn’t even visible. If you can find one on sale though, you might get bonus Cool Points.
Generally you can expect to spend around $20 to $30 on the higher capacity cards, all the way up to 512GB cards. Those jump up in price quite a bit, due to current storage technology. These things drop significantly over time though, so it’s easy to find deals in general.
Just don’t buy any on Wish; everyone involved will end up disappointed.
And that’s it, really! Nintendo has had a healthy enough 2020, even if the big, brand new AAA titles didn’t flow this year. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of the new console releases, such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, won’t be available at all for the Switch.
Ports of bigger games do happen (see DOOM Eternal) but are less common and potentially subpar. Unfortunately, videogame shopping involves some level of research, especially in 2020. But hey, it’s the thought that counts, and as long as you don’t buy WWE 2K18 everything should go over fine.