Every time I obtain a new Switch game from Nintendo’s eShop, I worry. Will this be the one that forces me to archive or delete something else from my SD memory card in order to make room, and if so, how am I supposed to choose?
When I got my Switch back in 2017, I felt invincible, at least from a free memory standpoint. I’d purchased a 128 GB micro SDXC card, which isn’t the largest supported size but is pretty far up there. It was enough for all my launch games—Breath of the Wild, Super Bomberman R, Skylanders: About To Be Cancelled, et cetera. But then Nintendo had to start releasing a dozen or more indie games a week on top of its big first-party stuff. Now, only two years and five months since the console launched, there are more than 2,500 titles on the Switch. I only own maybe 150 of them, and there’s no way in hell all of those will fit on one memory card.
And so, every time I want to install a larger game, I get this.
That damnable X, indicating there’s not enough room at the inn-tendo for the latest game I want to play. That X is the prelude to one of the most gut-wrenching moments of Switch ownership. What do I get rid of?
I appreciate that Nintendo gives me options when asking me to kill my video game babies. I can choose to archive my games, which deletes their data from my system but leaves the icon, or I can delete games completely, removing all but their save files from my system. The choice seems easy enough. Archive the games and keep their memory alive, right? But if I leave the tile, with the little redownload icon beside the game’s name, I am constantly reminded of my failure to show both self-control when buying new games and managing my storage space.
I don’t need to keep the icon for Senran Kagura: Peach Ball on my Switch. I am a mature adult and have no need for a game that involves hitting ninja women in the chest with pinballs. Besides, I am playing through it on PC. But the decision to remove its data from my system, made recently as I downloaded my preview copy of Astral Chain, was agonizing.
Maybe one day I will want to play boobie pinball while on the go. Who knows when I will get the itch to play Towerfall again? I can’t delete Musynx or Gal Metal or Aaero; they are rhythm games and those are my jam. So what if I haven’t played two out of those three in nearly a year? Why am I tearing my hair out over this? Why does it bother me so?
I have a feeling it’s because we are deep in the age of digital downloads. I am a collector. I like to look at the things I have. I’ve worked hard for those things, and tucking them away out of sight feels wrong. I suppose there’s only one real solution.
To me, my dusty and bitter plastic friends. Soon you will be legion.