There were piles of great gadgets this year, but nothing left a mark quite like the Nintendo Switch. A laptop is a laptop, a phone is a phone. Theyâ€™re cool, but theyâ€™re still exactly what they are. Is the Switch a handheld, or a console?
With one piece of hardware, Nintendo is mixing things up in the game industry, bringing people together, revitalizing its image, and offering up something totally new to gamers.
While the Wii was an unprecedented success for the company, the Wii U left much to be desired thanks to a confusing name and some crud marketing.
The Switch represents a total reset for Nintendo. The company shot out of the gate with a look that appealed to early adopters without alienating its fanbase, and packed more than half the power of a PlayStation 4 into less than a tenth of the space.
Meanwhile, Nintendoâ€™s been working on rewriting its history of slow, plodding game releases. The system launched with the paradigm-shifting The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and closed out the year with Super Mario Odyssey. In between we saw games like Arms, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Snipperclips, the weirdly-excellent Mario+Rabbids strategy game, and even a port of 2016â€™s Doom thatâ€™s better than it has any right to be on such a small system.
The system has helped Nintendo outsell even Sonyâ€™s unstoppable PlayStation 4 juggernaut at retail. Once again, we were too soon to write Nintendo off. The Wii U painted a pretty grim picture, but here we are with the Switch â€“ the best hardware of 2017.