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How you can try the Nintendo Switch before you buy

Want to try the Nintendo Switch? Now you can rent your own demo station

Nintendo Switch
If you are undecided on the Nintendo Switch, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, there’s a number of ways to try the console before you decide to invest in the console. Nintendo will bring a Switch demos to a select number cities, though we also expect major retailers to start integrating demo kiosks to storefronts in the coming months.

Nintendo “Summer of Play” Tour

Nintendo is offering a chance to not just play the console, but also a selection of upcoming games through its 2017 “Summer of Play” demo tour. Each stop on the tour will let fans get hands-on with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Arms, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as well as a few upcoming 3DS games. My Nintendo members who scan their QR code will also receive a free gift. The full list of dates and locations is below.

City Venue Date
Irvine, California Irvine Spectrum Center June 9-11
Pleasanton, California Alameda County Fair June 16-18
Bloomington, Minnesota Mall of America June 23-25
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Henry Meier Festival June 30-July 2
Chicago, Illinois Navy Pier July 7-9
Glendale, Arizona Arrowhead Towne Center July 14-16
San Diego, California Marriott Marquis San Diego July 20-23
Arlington, Texas The Parks Mall at Arlington July 28-30
Miami, Florida Aventura Mall August 4-6
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Musikfest August 11-13
New York, New York DUMBO Waterfront August 18-20
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania King of Prussia Mall August 25-27
Baltimore, Maryland Harborplace September 2-4

Retail Stores

Nintendo’s has partnered with six major retailers — GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, Toys “R” Us, Walmart, and Target — to sell the Switch. Of those six, only GameStop has started receiving Switch kiosks in stores across the country. From speaking with multiple GameStop stores, the kiosks only let customers interact with the Switch’s touch display to play game trailers. We’ve reached out to GameStop to find out if and when it expects to receive playable demo units.

The other five retailers don’t have Switch kiosks in stores… yet. We spoke with Target and Best Buy, and will provide updates as we hear more. We also contacted Amazon, Toys “R” Us, and Walmart, but have yet to hear back.

GameTruck mobile gaming parties

If you don’t want to go to a retail store to try out the Nintendo Switch, you can always bring the experience to you, instead. Nintendo has partnered with GameTruck, a mobile gaming party service, to add Nintendo Switch consoles and games such as 1-2 Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to its fleet of rental demo stations through June 20, 2017. The stations will also feature Mario Kart 8 Deluxe once the game launches at the end of April.

Each GameTruck will be accompanied by “game coaches,” who can provide tips to those unfamiliar with the system. Each truck will have multiple Switch consoles, so no one will have to wait very long, and party guests can try out the system in its docked, tabletop, and handheld configurations.

GameTruck is currently available in 30 U.S. states, with locations limited to major cities thus far. You can enter your location information on the company’s website to find the closest GameTruck-supported area right here.

Updated on 3-20-2017 by Gabe Gurwin: Added information on GameTruck parties in 30 states.

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