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Get situated for the Nintendo Switch Sports play test before it's too late

Free codes are available through My Nintendo

It may not have that same magical ring to it as Wii Sports, but Nintendo Switch Sports is an interesting prospect. How will this evolution stack up? How can it stack up?

Are we still as into bowling with friends and family in 2022? And who’s going to enforce wearing controller straps for all of the clumsy, liable-to-let-go players in the room?

Time will tell soon enough. While the game isn’t launching until April 29, Nintendo is queuing up an online play test for Nintendo Switch Sports this weekend.

You might’ve missed that announcement in the hustle and bustle of the recent packed Nintendo Direct showing (I kinda did!), and if so, here’s a rundown on the dates, times, and what’s included in the play test, as well as some curious “wait, really?” caveats.

Nintendo Switch Sports play test chambara screenshot

How to participate in the play test

  • Given that this is an “online” play test, you’ll need to subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online — just the basic plan, so no need for the pricier Expansion Pack tier.
  • You can request a free code for the Nintendo Switch Sports play test — it’s a zero-points My Nintendo reward for North America, Europe, Oceania, and Japan.
  • Once you’ve gotten your code from My Nintendo, you can redeem it on this Switch eShop redemption page.
  • It’s possible to download Nintendo Switch Sports early and pick your avatar — there are several pre-made characters in the play test, but customization is disabled.

Which games are included

  • Tennis
  • Bowling
  • Chambara (swordplay)

When you can play

  • Friday, February 18
    • 7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. PST
  • Saturday, February 19
    • 3:00 a.m. – 3:45 a.m. PST
    • 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. PST
    • 7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, February 20
    • 3:00 a.m. – 3:45 a.m. PST

A few other tidbits

  • While there’s a Single Player and Two Player menu option, online matches in this play test are with random players, not friends.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite isn’t compatible with this particular play test.
  • Save data from the play test won’t carry over to the full game in April.
  • It’s wacky, and we’ll see how Nintendo enforces this policy, but “by downloading and participating in the Nintendo Switch Sports Online Play Test, you agree not to publicly share any details from this online play test, including on your social media channels.”

Gamers. Gamers always find a way.

One too many hurdles? Admittedly, I feel like you have to really love Nintendo’s take on tennis, or bowling — or sure, chambara — in order for this to be worth it. Otherwise, you’re just burning off a chunk of irreplaceable weekend evening energy.

Maybe your time zone is a better fit, though. I’m going to prepare for the play test just in case, but there’s no guarantee the timing will work out for me. If it does, cool.

The full version of Nintendo Switch Sports will also have soccer, volleyball, badminton, and eventually golf when it’s added in a free update this fall.

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