The Complete Nintendo Switch Startup Guide

November 3, 2023 • Zachary Amos


The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic console with many excellent video game titles to choose from. It is a great device you can buy for yourself or as a gift for friends and family.

However, since the console has a lot going on — it can function as both a handheld and a regular console — some individuals can find the setup process challenging. Here is a quick Nintendo Switch startup guide that will get you ready to play games in a few minutes.

Taking It Out of the Box and Initial Setup

Once you have purchased your new Nintendo Switch console, it is time to take it out of the box and get everything set up. It is worth noting while there are different versions of the popular console — standard, lite and OLED, they all follow the same setup process. After removing everything from the box, insert your joy-cons into the switch and turn the device on.

The Switch will now present you with a typical setup interface where you must input standard information, such as the language you use and the region you are from. Once this is complete, the console will start scanning for Wi-Fi networks. Select your network and enter your password.

If you want, you can choose to do this later, but starting with this is recommended since the console will need to download and install updates. Once you have set up your Wi-Fi, select your time zone and choose the “Connect to TV” option. You can also decide to skip this for now and do it later.

You will need the dock, HDMI and power cable to connect the Nintendo Switch to the TV. First, remove the controllers from the switch, plug the wires into the dock and then slide in the console. As you do this, you will need to confirm a few instructions on the screen.

Once the Switch is in the docking station, the setup will continue on the TV. Ensure your TV is on the correct HDMI input. Next, the console will prompt you to add a user. Here, simply choose a user image and nickname.

After you have completed that, you will need to choose whether you want to configure parental controls now or later. Once finished, you have successfully set up your Nintendo Switch Console and are ready to play games.

Personalize Your Switch Settings

Before hopping into your favorite games, you can personalize the device how you want it. Consider going through all your device’s settings and selecting the ones that match your preferences.

For example, many players enable dark mode, which provides an easier on-the-eyes interface. You can also change the brightness settings or even remap all your controller buttons if you have a preferred playstyle.

Should You Buy The Nintendo Subscription?

After you have set up your Switch, you will need to consider if you want to buy the Nintendo subscription. This ultimately comes down to how you plan to use the device and your preferences. Like other consoles, you need an active subscription membership if you want to play online with your friends.

If you want to purchase the membership, two Nintendo subscription options are available.

  • Individual membership ($19.99 annually): This membership allows you to play online and offers you the chance to play classic NES and SNES titles such as Super Mario Kart.
  • Family membership ($34.99 annually): This membership provides the same benefits as its counterpart but can be used on a maximum of eight additional profiles.

Both options are available with the expansion pack that allows you to play Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games for $49.99 or $79.99 per year. It also provides DLCs for three games, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion.

Extra Accessories You Should Consider Buying

While the Nintendo Switch does not require any additional equipment to play games, there are some extra items you might want to look into. The first suggested purchase for this complete Nintendo Switch startup guide is a memory card.

While the 32GB of onboard storage might work for many players, some might require additional storage as it can quickly fill up. Another great extra accessory to purchase is an additional controller. This will allow more people to play with you or enable you to switch to your second set of joycons while the others charge.

Many gamers prefer to go with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. While it is a bit more expensive, it does provide a similar controller experience as that of PlayStation and Xbox which some might prefer. If you decide to buy a few extra controllers, consider looking into a charging station as well.

Most charging stations allow you to charge up to four controllers simultaneously. One great accessory most people should purchase is a screen protector. This will keep your Switch screen safe from scratches, which are bound to take place.

Another few options worth considering are a travel case and a headset. Due to the Switch being a handheld console, naturally many people want to use it on the go. The case will keep the console safe as you travel and the headset will allow you to play without disturbing others nearby.

Games to Check Out on the Nintendo Switch

There are several awesome titles to play on the Nintendo Switch. Here are a few games you should consider checking out in order to complete your Nintendo Switch startup guide.

  • Pokémon Legends – Arceus: This is definitely a game Pokémon fans should check out. It brings a new take on the classic games and sends the player back in time to explore the Hisui region.
  • Kirby And The Forgotten Land: Despite being the 13th main title in the series, Kirby And The Forgotten Land is the first game in 3D. You will explore the area called New World and save several kidnapped Waddle Dees.
  • The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild: While The Legend of Zelda series requires little introduction, it is an action-adventure game that takes you on an incredible journey throughout Hyrule. Breath of the Wild did exceptionally well and is a must-play game for fans of the series and newcomers. Early in 2023, a follow-up title was released that improved many of the already fantastic mechanics in the previous game — The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom.

Following This Nintendo Switch Startup Guide for the Best Experience

While setting up the Nintendo Switch console is not a complicated process, some users might struggle especially if they are unfamiliar with gaming devices. The Switch is a great device with many exceptional games to play and offers a fantastic experience for gamers on the go. Get the most from your console by following this Nintendo Switch startup guide.