Well done! You got a new Nintendo Switch and have now won the holidays. 

Before you go play “Fortnite,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” or “Mario Kart,” however, you will need to set up your new game system.

The good news: This process has gotten a lot simpler than game systems of the past, and with the Switch’s built-in touchscreen it is even easier than other systems. So whether you are playing on your TV or gaming on the go, we’re here to help get you started.

The “basics” 

The Switch includes everything you need to play regardless of how you want to play in its box. The included docking station allows you to play on a big screen, so feel free to take that out, plug the included HDMI cable into the back of it and your TV and set it aside. For the rest of set up we’re going to focus on the main console, which of course, has that touchscreen built in. 

Take out the two Joy-Con controllers and slide them onto the sides of the Switch. The one with a “+” sign goes on the right, the one with the “-” sign goes on the left. This is also how you will charge the controllers and how you can pair additional Joy-Cons. 

To remove the Joy-Cons later click on the little button on the back next to the trigger and slide up. 

Power on the Switch. If needed, plug in the included power cable to charge your device (when done with this process plug the USB-C cable into the back of the dock next to the HDMI cable). Follow the instructions on the screen and connect to WiFi. 

As the Switch has a touchscreen, you can fill in these details by using the controller or just tapping as you would on a phone or tablet. You may be prompted to download a software update. Do that, open more presents and come back. 

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Set up a profile, and you’re good to go. 

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Using the “straps” 

You’ll notice in the box that there are a few adapters for the Joy-Cons including a more traditional controller module and two wrist straps that make pressing the “SL” and “SR” buttons easier. 

They aren’t necessary, but when turning the Joy-Cons into two controllers for two people to play together, one of the Switch’s best features, they are welcome for games like “Mario Kart.” 

You’ll want to make sure that you slide the bumper onto the Joy-Con properly or else it’ll get jammed the wrong way. To do this make sure the “+” icon on the strap is slid onto the “+” Joy-Con and likewise for the “-” Joy-Con and strap. Both straps are reversible.  

To release the straps unlatch the little white latch with the string is pressed down in the “unlock” position. Then press that same “button” on the back of the Joy-Con by the trigger and slide up. You may have to use a little force, but it should slide off. 

Now if you put it the wrong way, don’t worry. It happens. Find a flat head screwdriver and grab a flashlight and check out this YouTube video from YouTuber My Mate Vince. It does a good job walking you through how to do it.  

Going online

With the Switch, Nintendo has a stronger rival to Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network in Nintendo Switch Online (clever name, we know). This service is what you will need to play games online.

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The good news is that unlike the $59.99 yearly cost of its rivals, Nintendo currently only charges $19.99 for a 12-month subscription. You can download games like “Fortnite” and sign up for Switch Online by going to the Nintendo eShop, the shopping bag icon on the home screen. 

Note: “Fortnite” does not require a subscription to Switch Online to play. Games like “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “Splatoon 2” will need a subscription, however. 

Other apps

Unlike the PS4 or Xbox One you won’t find Netflix, Spotify or HBO on the Switch. You can, however, download Hulu or YouTube for watching on the go. Both are available for free to allow you to watch videos on your Switch. 

Game on!

You’re all set up. Go enjoy your new Switch.

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal

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