Matt Gemmell

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Dual room Nintendo Switch setup

tech & games 3 min read

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch. I wrote about why I find the Switch so compelling, and I also wrote about the game design of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

By day, and indeed night, I’m a novelist, and so I work from home permanently. My working space is very important to me, and I’ve recently spent a lot of time tailoring it to my needs and preferences. I wrote (of course) about redesigning and redecorating my home office, and there’s a bit more about my desk setup here.

I prefer to play the Switch docked, and I prefer to do that in the living room, with my wife and our dog beside me. I don’t like to be hidden away in the office while my wife is at home, if I can possibly help it. However, there are some situations when I’ll be playing the Switch and she might be on the phone, or it might be quite late in the evening and she’d find the noise distracting. I do like the Switch’s handheld mode for convenience, but I’m also thirty-eight years old and I don’t have great eyesight, so I find the small screen tiring if it’s after about 7PM, or if it’s just been an especially long day.

You can see where this is going, I’m sure: I made a secondary Nintendo Switch station in my office!

The timing was ideal. Since I use an iPad Pro full-time now, I had no use for the 24” Samsung monitor I used to attach to my iMac as a second screen. We’ve also recently added some Amazon Echo devices to the house, and I have one on my desk for music while I work, and basic home automation, which means that the SoundBlaster Roar brick I used to have in the office is also doing nothing. Lastly, my wife finally found the one remaining piece of living room furniture she wanted from the set we bought after we got married: a bookcase. This meant that the existing Billy bookcase in the living room no longer had a home. The stars had aligned.

Here’s how my office looks, if you haven’t read any of my other articles about the redesign. Clean, tidy, focused, and with that brilliant shade of purple.

My office

My Nintendo Switch is docked in the living room. We upgraded our TV recently to a 49” LG smart 4k thing, and we also took the plunge with a Sonos PLAYBASE. It’s quite a setup. I changed the TV’s legs for a VESA stand so that it’d go on top of the PLAYBASE, and the Switch dock goes on the pedestal. It works really well. You might notice the dog’s bed nearby; he’s a one-year-old labradoodle puppy called Whisky, and we brought him home the day after the Switch arrived. He’s always been fascinated with Breath of the Wild. He still watches me play.

My Nintendo Switch setup in the living room

(Below the Switch, there’s a PS4. In the cabinet, believe it or not, there’s a Wii, PS3, PS Vita, SNES Classic Mini, New 3DS XL, regular 3DS XL, and a Gameboy Advance SP. There might even be something I’m forgetting. And that’s a tiny fraction of the amount of — mostly Nintendo — stuff we have in the house.)

To get my office Switch station started, the first thing I had to do, of course, was get a second dock. They’re expensive, but they include a power supply and an HDMI cable too, so there’s nothing else to buy. They’re bulky too, but at least very light. There are lots of third-party docks around, but I don’t quite trust those yet. I worry that a future OS update on the Switch might make them useless.

Dual docks for Nintendo Switch

I took the Billy bookcase (one of the wider ones, in faux-oak), and cleaned it, stripped the backing off it (to reduce its visual weight, and make cabling easier), and rearranged the shelving. I positioned it directly opposite my desk, so it’s completely out of sight and out of the way while I’m working.

New Switch cabinet in my home office

I’ve yet to add much else to the interior, but you can see the basic setup below. The Switch dock is inside the cabinet, with the monitor above, the Roar sound brick above that. I wanted the monitor as low as possible to avoid any neck strain, since I’ll be sitting in my Aeron desk chair, swivelled around, when playing. It seems very comfortable for gaming so far. And as I said, the dog is fascinated by the Switch. It’s been around for pretty much his whole life.

Interior of Switch cabinet in home office

And here’s a shot of the overall office layout. If you’re interested in the rest of the room, including details about my recessed printer/tech cabinet (with motion-sensor overhead lights, and in-drawer USB charging!), you should read the previously-linked articles about the office redesign.

Final office setup, with Switch cabinet opposite my desk

I made a quick video of a pan from my desk to the Nintendo Switch unit, if you’re interested. It’s also embedded below.

Nothing particularly complex here, and nothing at all custom. Seeing other people’s gaming setups, and device Home screens/desktops, has always been a fascination of mine, so I thought I’d share this office tweak too. Thanks for reading.