This new addition to the Nintendo family is exciting, mysterious, and even a bit confusing. While I totally want to pick this up in March, I probably won’t be getting a Nintendo Switch anywhere near its launch timeline. Of course that doesn’t mean I can’t still get excited over the prospect of this being a solid Nintendo system that I will purchase someday if it’s discounted or packaged with a sweet bundle. There’s also the more likely scenario, where it manages to slide its seductive hand down my pocket to swipe my credit card during a late night, drunken Amazon binge. Although Nintendo has kept an infuriatingly tight grip on the Switch’s features, I’ve managed to single out what I’m looking forward to.
There may be some skepticism floating around this particular portion of the Switch, but it definitely has my vote. While the Switch’s unique, attach/detach, dog-faced remote scheme does seem like a big leap in the controller spectrum, it’s not unlike Nintendo to lean on the hardware innovation. Granted I had more than enough reservations towards the original Wii-mote. Sure it was an extremely successful system that opened up a lot of new markets for video games, but having the setup be reliant on motion control didn’t appeal to me as a traditional gamer, and is the main reason the system is currently collecting dust as a stylish bookend on my shelf. The Wii U’s controller was a different story. From the first time I held the tablet/controller hybrid, I knew it was a good fit for the system. It pulled back from the motion gaming, but still gave us some truly overdue features. A number of games supported the display switching function, which allowed you to move your display from the TV to the controller screen instead. Utilizing minor motion controls for games gave us a useful tool without forcing us to perform acrobatic maneuvers around our cramped living rooms.
As the marketing campaigns become less vague, there are all sorts of new features to speculate about. There are some similarities to the Wii nunchuk as shown in the motion play trailers. The Switch seems to derive strongly from the Wii U with its tablet style appearance and functionality, although touchscreen capability hasn’t been confirmed. There are also already some nice alternative gamepad options. This tells me that Nintendo is trying to make the Switch accessible to multiple demographics, rather than occupying one lane too heavily. Being able to detach the gamepad from each side of the screen and clip them together to transform them into something reminiscent of the classic Gamecube controller shows how adaptable this new system is too. It also further supports the idea of the Switch borrowing from its predecessors — I personally like the idea of a Frankenstein Nintendo console!
If I wasn’t constantly reminded that I’m an emotionally unstable adult in his late 20’s, I would swear that it’s 2001 again looking at these launch titles. We have a promising new Zelda (if it doesn’t get pushed back), a Bomberman resurgence, and a number of original titles that are peaking my interest like a sonovabitch. The last time I felt this sense of anticipation was during my bike ride over to Gamestop to grab my new Gamecube. Not to mention, there’s going to be a new sandbox Mario game! You got me good with that one Nintendo… right in the soft, nostalgic bits.
It’s been a while since I felt like the games I buy for a Nintendo console (excluding the handhelds) will actually stand the test of time. As stated previously, my Wii has become an ironic drink coaster and conversation piece for party guests. The few games I still own for this system don’t entice me enough to put together the 36 components it takes to run it, or relocate the cat hammock taking up the majority of my living room. The Wii U demonstrated more value in this sense; the Zelda remasters were beautifully done, and there’s a strong roster of party games that should get you your money’s worth. However as the Wii U reaches the end of its time in the limelight, I can’t help but feel like the library is a bit lacking. Their exclusive titles were entertaining and a nice homage to the classics, but the lack of third party support limited the system in the end. Fortunately, it looks like is going to be changing once the Switch is available. For many, this may be their primary game system, and it will be nice to not have a gaming embargo restricting them from exploring popular titles.
For me this is something that should have happened generations ago. Nintendo has always had such a strong presence in the hand-held gaming field that I’m surprised it took until 2017 to bridge that gap. We’ve seen connections made from Nintendo’s home consoles to their portable ones: the Gamecube had the Gameboy Player and the Wii U allowed you to share certain applications with your 3DS, but no console has ever been completely portable. Sure, you can walk to the kitchen with your Wii U in tablet mode, and now that I’ve hollowed out my original Wii system it serves as a delightfully retro bento box that I can take anywhere.
Don’t get ahead of yourselves though! This is a full-fledged console, so the battery life is not going to be remarkable. This leads me to my biggest reservation with the Switch. As everyone knows, the batteries in rechargeable devices have the tendency to diminish overtime, holding less charge and eventually securing 30 minutes of disconnected use. This is definitely more common with larger more powerful devices like laptops, but who knows how the Switch will fare after two years of being tossed back and forth between battery and auxiliary power. On the off chance that we won’t encounter this issue, we’re looking at 2-6 hours before you have to tether yourself to the wall, but that’s nothing that an avid 3DS user won’t be able to handle. Regardless of the what the ads promote, I doubt I’ll be taking my Switch to the ends of the earth, but moving from my bedroom to my living room without having to migrate wires and parts to another TV sounds pretty awesome.
Are you feeling anticipation too? What are you looking forward to when the Switch finally makes its debut?