Nintendo fans and Android fans experienced a bit of convergence last week when Android ROM developers released a mobile operating system build on the switch console. It's weird, awkward and a lot of fun.
This kind of modding never hits the mainstream of video game consoles ̵
Why are more tech-savvy switch owners excited about Android? It certainly is not appropriate to turn the switch into a traditional iPad-style tablet. The 6-inch plastic screen, 4GB of RAM and a reputable (but outdated) NVIDIA Tegra chipset mean it can not even be compared to a tablet well below the switch's $ 300 retail price. Nope! Android on the switch is all about games – games that players can not access in the switch's official software.
The surprisingly flexible design of the Switch as a portable gaming device is what attracts so much aftermarket interest. These outstanding Joy-Con controllers and their compact design – less cumbersome than an iPad and a separate Bluetooth controller – make it so easy to throw in a bag and take with you. However, some players are not content only with the series of official games of the switch, as outstanding as they are. They want more.
Players may want to access the Google Play Store and its thousands of mobile games. Not as much. Mobile games rarely appeal to console players outside ports such as Fortnite (and many of these games are already available in Nintendo eShop, such as Fortnite . The switch design is not suitable for utilities such as web browsers or email clients, as stated above. In addition, not even the Play Store is integrated in the Android ROM. For practical and legal reasons, another modified flash is required in addition to the basic software. To be honest, there are better and less awkward ways to play almost any Android game.
It's all about emulation
What excites the players is emulation. Long available on Android phones, but thanks to touchscreen control rarely practical, classic console emulation is booming on Android and similarly open platforms. With an Android ROM on the switch, the emulation software from NES to the original PlayStation and N64 should run at full power. The same goes for the Game Boy, Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. Players can play slower GameCube and Wii games on the Dolphin emulator on the NVIDIA SHIELD TV (which uses an almost identical but less battery-conscious version of the Switch chipset). That's tens of thousands of titles, all of which are available on a small portable gaming machine with fantastic controls (if legally questionable). What is not to love?
In fact, Nintendo should probably take a few notes. Although the Switch Android hack certainly only attracts a fraction (or less, thanks to security patches) of the switch owners, Nintendo promised virtually the same with its Virtual Console service for Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. Why was he skipped? The virtual console on the switch in favor of a small selection of NES titles tied to the 20-dollar online service is another article.
But the fact that Android modders have been watching the switch since its release shows that. There are still many players who are starving for these old titles.
If the prospect of thousands of classic console games that are available on your switch are exciting. Visit the XDA Developer Forum and see your options. If you have a switch that is compatible with the ROM (and that is not guaranteed), you can load Android onto a MicroSD card without changing the default console software. It's a cool process reminiscent of the beginnings of Android ROMs and hacking.
If you do not have a compatible switch, do not lose hope! This community is excited and growing. You'll probably find a way to access newer hardware, though the process may not be that safe.
Want classic portable games without putting your $ 300 Nintendo into profit? Take a look at our Clockwork Pi Gameshell review or consider rolling your own portable machine.