The Nintendo Switch celebrated its first birthday on Saturday. What a first year it's been.

It's safe to say that no one predicted what a success this strange hybrid console would be, especially after the disastrous performance of Nintendo's preceding Wii U console.

12 months and some 15 million sales later, the doubters are eating humble pie. As for us owners, we're just lapping it all up.

Here, then, is a look back at some of the things I've personally loved and appreciated about the Nintendo Switch during its first year.

Freeing up the TV

Being avid smartphone gamers, everyone at PG is well accustomed to the virtues of having a second screen handy to play games when the TV is in use.

But with the Switch, the effect is even more pronounced. Now we can play bone fide top notch console games when our family members commandeer the living room.

It works the other way too. Personally, my nearest and dearest is going through a massive Splatoon 2 Salmon Run phase right now. With the Switch's handy stand and decent screen, she can indulge her habit while I play or watch something through our PS4.

Now that's what you call spending quality time together.

Mario Kart on the move

Two otherwise ordinary moments of my first year with the Switch were transformed by Nintendo's console. Both involved Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which, while great, is far from my favourite Switch game to date.

One of those occasions was a budget airlines flight to Croatia, and the other was a three hour coach trip to London.

Both events would ordinarily induce cramp, boredom, and heightened stress (why are other people so annoying?). With the Nintendo Switch and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, both trips blew by in a happy haze of premium multiplayer action.

Even a year on from the Switch's release, the extreme portability of high grade console games still feels like magic.

Brilliant first-party games

The Switch may well have the cutest console form factor in the world, but if didn't have a bunch of brilliant triple-A games during its first year it would have been another flop for Nintendo.

Oh, it's had brilliant games alright - and virtually all the big hitters have come from Nintendo itself.

We might have gotten a little more annoyed at Mario Kart 8 Deluxe being a (brilliantly judged) remix of a Wii U game if The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hadn't been there from the very beginning. It's not just the best Switch game yet, it's arguably one of the best games ever made.

The one Switch game that can sit alongside Zelda (or at least close to it) is Super Mario Odyssey - a startlingly inventive, freewheeling 3D platformer that turned the fun tap on and ran away laughing.

Splatoon 2 might have resembled the original game a little too closely, but additions like the aforementioned Salmon Run have given this wonderful online shooter an all new dimension.

Then there's ARMS, Nintendo's first big new Switch IP. It's a brilliant arena brawler that feels like the start of something wonderful.

Nintendo finally gets indie gaming

Nintendo didn't have a great history with indie developers in the Wii and Wii U eras, but the Nintendo Switch is rapidly accumulating a formidable library of cheap, brilliant, small-scale titles.

Celeste, Enter The Gungeon, Stardew Valley, SteamWorld Dig 2, Golf Story, Rocket League, GoNNER, Death Squared, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Tumbleseed... the list goes on.

Some of those are straight ports of long established indie gems, others are special-edition reworkings, while still others have arrived on Switch first or simultaneously with other platforms.

Whatever the case individually, they all combine to show that Nintendo finally gets indie gaming with the Switch.

What's more, with the Switch's unique portability, it's arguably the best place to play these small-scale labours of love.

Is there anything else that you've loved about the Nintendo Switch in its first year? Let us know in the comments below.