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Reasons to Mod Your Nintendo Switch

If you're like me (a 30-something techie with a love for new game tech/gfx breakthroughs and a FPS-focus on gaming), you may have been weary about investing in a Switch since its release. Nintendo's got a penchant for releasing its gear for the younger age groups, that recycle the saaaame old Sesame Street-style wholesome characters we grew up with year after year. And the hardware, as always, is nothing to write home about. So graphics are never going to really impress. But, it's still a current generation console with some really cool exclusive titles, and a novel controller setup that is almost custom-built for local multiplayer. And that in itself is what made me finally consider putting it in my entertainment center. You want a quick, easy to learn game that you can pick up and play with friends and put down 30 minutes later- the rest of the gaming world seems to encourage us retreating to our rooms for anti-social, internet 'multiplayer', but getting that real in-person fun... Nintendo always has you covered there.

However, I'm not a fan of Nintendo's Sony-like content protection mindset they've had since the NES days (remember the 10NES lockout chip?). Their internet-based multiplayer is a joke, with little to do past checking out your Mii's with friends online on most titles- and great example for pointless MP... the Gamecube (GCN). There was an almost useless internet adapter add-on made and forgotten about on the GCN, while the PS2 and Xbox released PSN and Xbox Live to great acclaim and brought the rest of the gaming world to the internet's door.

So... this combination of them being stingy and tough on consumers with their exclusive rights and brand protection (leading to even basic things like paying again and again for a game you already own if you want to play it on a new system's virtual console), AND making games that just really don't have much use for the internet and more a focus on real-life multiplayer interaction (which I really commend them for), makes the Switch a pretty amazing- and rare- current-gen platform for modding.

Some of the coolest things you can do when you mod it literally ADD functionality to your Switch. For instance, remember the Gameshark or Action Replay from consoles past? Well, download a plug-in called EdiZon, and you've got cheats you can automatically update for every game on your system, and are free to turn them on and off at will.

Edizon overlay in action^

OR- and this may be the single most useful functionality you'll get from modding- more performance! With the plugin 'sysclk', you can unlock the power of the Tegra X1 (your Switch's Nvidia CPU/GPU SoC) and push it to a massive overclock frequency to run during gameplay that the Switch even officially uses during load times, and the Tegra X1 was engineered to be run at (1785MHz CPU/921MHz GPU). Nintendo decided to underclock the Switch upon release, I assume for 'more comfortable' heat and battery reasons- as overclocking back up to the intended stock speed does absolutely nothing negative to reliability... you can play 24/7 at full clocks and the Switch doesn't even break a sweat (in my own testing I've never seen the internals rise above 52C, which is very ideal).

There are plenty of other things you can do too, from utilizing save states, to backing up your data offline, there is a lot there that can make your gaming experience a lot more enjoyable- and none of it blurs the line of legality or pirating... this is just existing functionality that Nintendo didn't want to allow us to use (and for good reason with some of these functions) themselves.

So there's a great reason for the investment- the modding scene. Now if you're interested, head over to my article on modding your Nintendo Switch to get started.

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