Nintendo and I have had a rocky relationship this year. While I’ve tried to be excited for a lot of their announcements and new releases this year, it’s been difficult not to feel discouraged. For every moment of excitement, there’s been a moment of disappointment. Exciting new Zelda one minute, unfortunate Paper Mario game the next. 2016 has been lots of exciting Pokemon content followed with what is essentially the death of the Wii U. I’m not saying that Nintendo has been terrible this year, just not very encouraging. Perhaps the biggest reason for the lack of excitement with Nintendo is how they’ve handled transitioning to their next console. 2016 was supposed to be the year of the Nintendo NX, the mysterious new system that was supposed to (once again) change the way we play games. Instead, we’ve had months of no real development and a release date but no actual info. To say that made fans like myself agitated is putting it mildly. But as of today, my relationship with Nintendo is starting to get on some slightly more stable footing.
After months of silence, leaks, fake leaks, delays, and more leaks, Nintendo has finally revealed its next big console in a reveal video. No longer the NX, the Nintendo Switch is looking to “switch up” how play video games, albeit in a less revolutionary way. While said leaks turned out to be true on a lot of things, seeing a trailer of the system in action has certainly got everyone excited. As predicted, the Switch is a Handheld/Console hybrid that allows players to either play console games on their TV by docking it and playing with a traditional controller or play on the go in a myriad of ways. You can play it like a standard handheld, or you can prop it up on its built-in stand and play either with the conventional controller or the detachable “Joy-Cons” (Nintendo just couldn’t resist strangely naming something about this system). As shown in the trailer, you can play on your own or even play multiplayer on a single Switch display. From what we can see there’s a lot that the system can do, and I’m beginning to understand why Nintendo is trying so hard to get this right. While these ideas aren’t as revolutionary as say VR gaming is, their execution and approach are in comparison to their biggest competitors Sony and Microsoft. But in a way that’s always been their shtick, not relying on graphical power but on simply what’s the most fun you can have.
Needless to say, there’s a lot about the Switch that’s exciting. Based on the gameplay we see on the system, it looks like we’re going to get a decent amount of third-party support which Nintendo has sorely lacked. While it’s not going to be the most powerful system on the market, it claims that you’ll be able to play games on the go that traditionally you couldn’t. I don’t think it’s hit me yet, but as someone who used to play a lot of 3DS titles while traveling, I’m sure the Switch will fill that void more than I could imagine. Plus, the variety of controller inputs could mean a variety of exciting gameplay mechanics that we haven’t even thought of. However, there are still some prospects that make me a little hesitant about the Switch.
For starters, while I’m not stressing over the power of the Switch like some nay-sayers are, I am skeptical of the handheld mode of the Switch. Skyrim HD Remaster, one of the titles shown off in the Switch trailer, is a graphically-intense title. So unless you’re turning down the settings in portable mode to keep the framerate up, there’s no way you’d be able to run it at the same level of quality as if it were docked. Plus, the Switch occasionally seems like it has too much going on. One can play games in so many different ways; I’m worried that it will be a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. We also don’t know what the price of the system will be. Normally, Nintendo is the better bargain of the big three consoles. However, with all the tech clearly in the Switch, I’m wondering if it will be a bit more expensive this time around.
But I digress. The trailer hasn’t even been out for 24 hours, and everyone is busy making wild speculations about all the things that Nintendo hasn’t told us. All we know is that it’s called the Nintendo Switch, you can play it anywhere, and it’s scheduled to be released this March. Nintendo themselves have said that they will be providing more information before the end of the year. Until then, I can get excited about the Nintendo’s future once again, albeit a little more cautiously this time.
P.S. The Internet has reacted to the news in the best possible way.