Nintendo Switch not as region unlocked as you might think

Nintendo Switch Joy con’s in the remote holder accessory

I found out the hard way! So, having done some research and learning that the Nintendo Switch console and games are region free, meaning I could buy a game/console from anywhere and it’ll work. Just in case you’re not a gamer, this is not how it usually works. For example, my Sony PlayStation 2 from the U.S. won’t play games from Japan and vice versa (without having the console modded/hacked, that is). So convenient, right? Actually, although the console and most games are region free/unlocked, that does not mean that the DLC’s are region unlocked too! DLC is short for Down Loadable Content.

So here’s the situation. I bought my Nintendo Switch in Japan because it’s way cheaper than in Singapore. I also bought the official case (which included a screen protector) and a game. Back in Singapore I bought a few more games and downloaded another. Here’s where it gets a bit confusing.

In the game from Japan, there was a sheet of paper with a download code on either side (it’s in Japanese and I have no idea what it says. All I know is there’s extra characters obtainable using that code). I was not able to redeem what the code was offering because my Switch is set to the “Americas Region”. After some research I found out that to be able to redeem the code, I had to create an account, more accurately an Eshop account for which the region had to be set to Japan (since the game is from Japan) and create another player profile in the Switch and link the two. Sounds easy but not really as you gotta figure out which reason your game is from too. I got it done after a try or two and was able to redeem the codes. The other code was for, what looks to me, like the very first version of the game. Pretty cool! I wasn’t able to find it in the “Americas Region” Eshop either so not all games are available on all Eshops. A good enough reason for diehard fans, like me, to have more than one region’s Eshop on their Switch.

The second issue I have is that from the games I purchased in Singapore, one is from the US and two are from Europe. How this happened, I have no idea and even if I did they’re not region locked, right? Yes, but the DLC’s might be. For example, for the US game, I was able to buy DLC’s (extra characters and stuff) and everything shows up in game. Then I bought a DLC from the game that’s from Europe and I can’t access it at all. I had no idea what region any of the games I bought (in Singapore) were from, the boxes were all in English so I wasn’t too concerned. To tell where your game is from, you have to look at the code on the cartridge, it’s on the front at the bottom edge of the sticker. The last three letter will tell you the region ie USA, EUR, JPN etc. Great way to know when buying used games. For more details you can go to your home screen, highlight the game and click the ‘+’ then click the [Support Information] button. Doing it this way may give you additional compatible countries. So apparently, my game is from Europe and the Eshop I bought the DLC from is “Americas”. So for me to get what I already paid for, I have to buy it again from the Europe Eshop! Apparently Nintendo doesn’t give refunds, I read it somewhere in their FAQ’s which I think is BS since there are no indicators anywhere that DLC’s are subject to region locks. I have been able to get in touch with Nintendo support and they have been very helpful and understanding so far. The service agent forwarded my issue for a refund review and gave me a link with info on the process that included some stern wording that this is a “one time review.” I’ll know the results in a few days. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Nintendo Switch with Joy Cons sliding on

Anyways, if you want to know how to make multiple Eshops on your switch here’s the details:

First off, you need to make a new user on the switch console, best to have some way of identifying which region when you name this new user account. Go to [settings] then [add user] then [create new user] .Then choose your icon and background color, click [link account] then [create a new account] then [send account creation instructions via email]. Enter the email address you want associated with the account you’re making now and click [ok]. This will now put a box on the screen for you to enter your confirmation code. Leave that on your Switch’s screen and go to your email. Click the link in the email which will take you to Nintendo’s account creation website. Fill in the details there and make sure you input the correct region, the region you’re creating this account for. When you’re done click the [submit] button then click [display confirmation code] button and enter the resulting number into your Switch and click [ok] then click [link] to link them. You’re done. Now you should have two users on your switch with different Eshops. Both accounts can access the games that are on your Switch so you don’t have to worry about which account has which game on it. The only issue is that funds are not shared across Eshops so you’ll have to find a way to buy things from foreign Eshops as some credit cards won’t work in some Eshops. Good Luck!

In case you want to know more about the Nintendo Switch. In the box is the console, 2 controllers, a charging dock, AC adapter, HDMI cable, 3 controller accessories. No case and no screen protector. I HIGHLY recommend a screen protector as I scuffed a bit of my screen not even an hour after opening the box. I purchased mine at the airport shop in Narita Airport and decided to open and charge it on the plane. I had the Switch with remotes attached (to charge those too) in the seat pocket. Thankfully I can’t see the scuff marks after I put the screen protector on. Games can be played with the controller pads attached to the console or detached. The console has a built in stand that also acts as a cover for the micro sd card slot (as seen in one of the pics below). You can charge the Switch using the USB-C port on the bottom edge or by putting the Switch in the dock (connected to an AC power source). The dock can also connect to an HDMI capable display, like your tv or computer lcd. The colors of the controllers in the box can vary, so make sure you pick the one you want. I chose the black one, my daughter chose the “default red and blue” when she bought hers but also bought an extra pink and green set thinking she can use the red and pink ones but it’s physically not possible (she bought the wrong set) as they are both right side controllers and they only slide onto the Switch in one direction. So make sure you buy the correct color for the correct side. The switch and joy cons are highly susceptible to smudges from fingers/palms, so be prepared to wipe a lot, or maybe it’s just me, haha. A large capacity microsd card should be on the top your shopping list as there’s only 32gb of storage on the Switch and it can fill up fast. The technology in the Switch can handle the theoretical 2 TB limit so just focus on the largest and fastest microsd card that you can afford. One thing to note, the Nintendo Switch does not have Bluetooth so you can’t use your Bluetooth headphones/speakers without some sort of Bluetooth adapter. Nintendo has a list of compatible Bluetooth headphones which have a USB Bluetooth dongle that you can plug into one of the dock’s three USB ports (one in the back by the hdmi port and 2 on the side). There are third party Bluetooth dongles as well but I haven’t tried any. I’ll stick to my regular wired earbuds for now.

Dock for the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch built in stand hides the micro SD slot

Nintendo Switch game controllers

Nintendo Switch game controllers in the included accessories

Included accessories in the Nintendo Switch box.

Nintendo Switch game controllers in the included accessories

The case has the Switch logo on one side and the Nintendo logo on the other. There is a folded divider piece attached inside that you can use to prop up your switch. This divider has a mesh pocket as well as 5 slots to hold your games. You can’t really put anything thick in the mesh pockets without feeling the bulge through the hard foam case although I do put my larger than normal ear buds in them with just very slight bulging. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply as soon as I can, happy gaming!!

Official Nintendo Switch case

Official Nintendo Switch case

Nintendo Switch in the official case

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed making it. Have fun with your games !!!

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Gurushots Photo Contest Game Site

Gurushots.com is a photo competition “game” website. There are themed challenges that you can join by entering up to 4 of your images. Prizes are not always the same, most will have in game currency awarded, such as “swap”, “boost”, “auto fills”. Some award prizes from sponsors, books and some are inclusions in exhibits. The exhibit and book ones have a small fee to enter. Challenges are run by “guru’s” and winners of the challenges are chosen by votes and one by the Guru. Joining is free as is entering the challenges. Player rankings start at Newbie and as your photos gain votes and as certain criteria are achieved your player ranking progresses, ending with the Guru status.

I’ve been playing for maybe 6 months now and currently at the “expert” level, here’s my profile. I think I’ll be stuck here a while since one of the criteria I’ve yet to achieve is winning a challenge. So here’s the gist of “playing” Gurushots, as I see it:

You upload your images and your shots get displayed to fellow players and if they like your image they click it to signify voting for it. You can increase the chances of your image being seen, the free way, by playing the game ie voting for the images in the challenge. Or the not so free way, which is using “boosts” either from winning them or purchasing them. There is an “exposure meter” (relating to your image) that increases as the number of votes you cast increases. If you don’t want to “play” or you’ve entered so many challenges that it’ll take you all day to catch up, you can use your “auto fills” to fill up your exposure meter. Again, these can be won or purchased. As you move up in rank. If an image is not garnering enough votes you can swap it out using a “swap”. Again won or purchasable.

Exposure and Voting…I have no clue of the inner workings of this and it seems this is the source of a lot of negativity.

I have no idea what the formula of how often an image shows up on a players voting page. But you can “keep voting” after the round of images shown when you first start to vote is done. But how many continues are you willing to wade through? There are thousands of photographers in each challenge each submitting 4 photos (I’ve seen over 10k photographers in some challenges), so if you’re not viewing pages and pages of images, there is a pretty strong chance you won’t see (and get to vote for) the eventual winners. Is this a flaw of the system? Maybe but I wouldn’t know how to do better, as long as I’m getting beat by better images, I’m ok with it.

Then there are those who believe that other players will deliberately vote for “bad” images to decrease the votes of the good images. That doesn’t make sense to me as I find that poor sportsmanship. While I believe it may happen, I can’t bring myself to believe that this happens so often that it makes a difference in the results. If you are skeptical look through all the winner’s galleries. I haven’t come across a single winner’s image that I can wholehearted say doesn’t deserve to win, not that I’m an expert or anything, its just I’ll know when an image is better than the one I submitted.

As for the buying the win…ya there is an advantage. Do I buy them, no. Why? Because I can win some if my images are good enough. After all, this is a competition. Am I handicapping myself? Not really, because you get a few boost, refills, swaps when you join. If my images are good and I use them then I should be able to win more to use. I find only when enter too many at once that I run out of boosts. Plus you can only boost one image in the set of four that you submit (that I’ve experienced). The swaps I only use at the very beginning if I don’t have time to vote in so many challenges. I do however pay to enter the challenges that have an exhibition or a printed book as a prize.

Now the prizes, I can’t attest to getting any because I haven’t won any. I can attest to getting swaps, boosts, and auto fills when my image or image set has done well. I can attest to being notified of inclusion in an exhibition (albeit only the digital section), you can see it here.¬†Also I can attest to receiving the book “Powerful Shots”¬†for free (my image is on page 60). It’s a beautiful, hard cover book measuring 30.5 cm x 22 cm. The entrance fee to be included for selection for each of these challenges was below $10 USD, can’t remember exactly how much it was. For sure you can’t buy a photobook of that quality for $10 with your image in it, even if you make it yourself! Personally, I think making it into an exhibition in another country for less than $10 is worth it. ¬†What would be even better is if a portion of the proceeds from the book makes it back to the contributing photogs. I’ve also wondered why images aren’t available for sale, I’ve seen some awesome work that if I had the budget, I would buy or recommend to someone who would.

So bottom line, do you have to pay money to play and win? No. Does it consume a lot of time? It can. How much is up to you.

I play almost everyday around 15 to 30 min. I have a certain block of time in the day to do my social media/marketing/emails and I play then. I find it really has honed my photographic “eye” and recognizing/understanding photographic artistry. For example, prior to playing gurushots, I would have a max of 2 image acceptances from photography salons (International competitions recognized by FIAP, PSA, GPU, IUP) the most recent one I got 15 acceptances, one merit and one honor mention. You can check this out on my instgram post. So for me there is a

It is my opinion that being able to put up images to compete and seeing responses in terms of votes, being able to compare the number of votes winners get has helped me to understand image making…from choosing an image to editing style. The extra benefit of buying in (cheaply) when my numbers are high enough to compete for a spot in an exhibition and or book are worth it for me. You can put these achievements¬†on your artist bio/CV, it’s worth it.

The only thing that I don’t really “like” but I do it too, is the entering of an image into multiple challenges. It’s just too easy and quick to do so. I shouldn’t complain because I do this too but I am complaining because many times it’s the same photographer(s) and or image that beats me.

And therein lies the challenge!

Thanks for your support.

Thank you, Cheryl, for your purchase of the “Poker Prayer” greeting card and for your continued support.