The Japanese company’s console was quirky, expensive, and short on games – but with the Legend of Zelda sequel it had a title worth buying it for

The Switch was Nintendo’s last roll of the dice. By the beginning of this year, the company was in dire straits: a decade on from the breakout success of the motion-controlled Wii, its follow-up, called the Wii U, had failed to take the world by storm.

A quirky machine, the Wii U replaced the controller with a hybrid tablet, seeking to replicate the success of Nintendo’s handheld DS console, which has two screens. Instead, weak launch sales and a poor initial lineup of games, combined with confusing branding that left many unclear whether it was even a new device at all, served to hand the console generation to Sony and Microsoft, who focused their fire on traditional gamers.

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