Less than 24 hours ago, Nintendo unveiled in great detail the anticipated Nintendo Switch. After the commercial failure of the Wii U (a console that I was very fond of), Big N felt they needed to correct the wrongs of the previous home device and make a big splash. Was the presentation that big splash Nintendo needed? Well, I’ll answer my own rhetorical question I wrote for myself. A bit of yes AND no. But pretty good for what it was.
It really isn’t the presentation and unveiling of the console that garners it a success or failure. Nor is it the launch titles (though a strong launch is very key) A great first impression is important, but it’s the coming months that will determine if the Switch can maintain traction and gain momentum. That’s something the Wii U failed to do. There wasn’t much of a reason to get excited for the Wii U, unless the novelty of a new Nintendo machine is all it takes to appeal to you (guilty as charged). Some of the things Nintendo did with the trailer they made back in October was brilliant. Marketing it to adults and less of focusing on family entertainment. That isn’t being 100% excluded, they’re just illustrating everyone plays video games. So what this presentation had to do was give people just a little of a nudge in confidence in the Switch. I’m just going to break down a few things that kinda stuck out to me about what worked and what didn’t. This…is MAKE or BREAK (might be a regular thing. Or not. Unsure).
Online Pay: Granted, when I first heard Pay to Play online, I grew a bit weary. But later learned that it will function not all that unsimilar to Playstation Plus or XBox Gold. Games will be offered to you for free, and will remain playable until the end of the month, regardless if have saved data, unless you buy said game(s). The discretion is up to you. Consider Nintendo late to the party in deciphering ways to separate money from your wallet. Based off what I’ve learned, it mostly will apply (for the time being) for probably a back catalog of older Nintendo titles on Gamecube. I have an extensive library of games I already wanted to play, so I’m cool, but this could probably affect someone’s feelings towards it. So, KIND OF a break, but maybe not really.
1-2 Switch: Oh boy. Now I’m not in the camp of stating Nintendo needs to stop with the “gimmicky” stuff. Their efforts to innovate and reinvent things is the life blood of game ingenuity. But maybe the LAST thing they needed to do was to showcase 1-2 Switch as the very first thing people saw for your brand new console! I could feel the heat from Twitter as that trailer played!! What else could you have been thinking when that started!?
I don’t care about Red Dead Redemption 2, I have no interest, but 10 seconds in, I knew that’s what everyone was thinking, and it probably came off as a huge misfire. Certainly not Nintendo’s intent, but people aren’t wired that way and this comes off as a slap in the face. 1-2 Switch could be a neat ice breaker, but I really see this as a showcase for the new refined motion controls that can be put to better use in development of other games. This serves as more of a tech demo and not something the Switch will be based around and will collect dust in short order. I don’t take this as the console’s primary feature, but more as variety, especially if Nintendo dabbles into VR. Besides, the future of gaming probably won’t be pantomiming the milking of a cow.
RPGs: You like RPGs? The Switch looks as if it will be chock full of them for its early future. Dragon Quest titles, Skyrim (again), Xenoblade Chronicles 2, a teaser for a new Shin Megami Tensei, anshin-megami-tenseid a hint at a new Fire Emblem. Nintendo has stocked the cupboard on Japanese role playing games (and some potential Western ones on the horizon), something I thought could’ve been tailor made on the Wii U. I’m a total mark for Monolith Soft, so the trailer for Xenoblade 2 actually got me pretty excited. I look forward to seeing if I hear news from XSeed and Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Mistwalker studios if they have plans in the works for the Switch. The Last Story was a Wii title I really enjoyed, perhaps something in that nature could be present.
ARMS LOOKS PRETTY COOL: I get a bit laughed at for this one, but Arms does look pretty neat to me. It appears to apply way more psychology than I had initially thought. It boasts bright and colorful characters and a play mechanic that feels like a spiritual cousin of Punch-Out!, so I’m down with that. I really hope that Arms has “legs” (rimshot). Ha, haha……I wouldn’t blame you if you unsubbed after that. *Nervously tugs at collar* I’m personally glad that motion controls haven’t been abandoned. I know people want to label it a “gimmick”, but I disagree with the notion that gimmicky has become a bad word nowadays. It’s used in a derogatory term by what I feel are very complacent gamers who have forgotten what innovation means, because Sony and Microsoft has fattened everyone on two generations of the same old stuff. Say whatever you will, and they have their share of mistakes, but Nintendo’s sense and will of innovation will continue to be the lifeblood of gaming. Power and specs aren’t everything.
SUPER BOMBERMAN R: Hey, Konami. You know that an easy way to get me back into your good graces is releasing a Bomberman game, right? Well, good for you, because this a great start!! Something like Bomberman is on of those games I could totally play online, and I’m not an online gamer, but this would be the second game Nintendo has suckered me into logging on and having a blast (the sound of unsubscriptions due to pun related humor…). But this a great way for Konami to rebuild a bridge with me. Super Bomberman R is like John Cusack with the boombox outside my bedroom window.
Super Mario Odyssee: I’m intrigued by this venture out of Mushroom Kingdom. Also, it’s returned to the explorative nature of Super Mario 64, which allows it to be more puzzle solving oriented than linear. The game looks gorgeous, and seeing Mario a tad bit out of his element from an aesthetic standpoint is unique. This strikes me as funny, because I felt on the Wii U, Mario didn’t have the best platform games on the console. Rayman Legends, Shantae & The Pirate’s Curse, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Shovel Knight all felt more fun to play than Super Mario 3D Worlds, which was very fun! I felt the plumber was lagging behind and resting on his laurels while others blew past him.
SPLATOON 2: Do I even have to add anything? It’s Splatoon, it’s the first game since Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 that made me play a game online, and it bloody rules. I already paid it in full. It’s gonna be awesome.
IN CLOSING: The Switch presentation may not have knocked me completely out of my seat with excitement, but it’s Nintendo and I’m naturally curious. There is an audience of people who have made up their mind about the Switch, so they may see it as another underpowered gimmick. I really hope this console is very successful and shows that there could be a future for gaming like the Switch, and having Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild as a launch title will ensure immediate interest from a decent audience. It may not boast the biggest specs, but to create good, fun gaming, you don’t need that. Otherwise, every game on the planet would be The Order 1886. There’s still a ways to go, and E3 might be where the bigger surprises take place, but time will tell.