The New And Innovative Nintendo Switch: Will I Buy One?
Written by Nick Petrou
When I was a child I remember faking sick to stay home from school and play on my Game Boy. I would lay there in bed and play games like Pokemon and The Legend Of Zelda for hours... days. All the kids in my street had Game Boys too, and we would stay out as late as we could on front lawns playing with them... when I hadn't been faking sick. I remember how jealous I was of my neighbor when he got a Gameboy Advance. And I remember how excited I was when my grandma surprised me with one for Christmas. I don't think i'll ever forget that moment. I don't think ill ever forget that device either — it hosted some of the best games available... ever.
But now, all the kids have grown up, moved out... and I haven't owned a handheld gaming device in years. So, you can imagine how my soul was flooded with both nostalgia and intrigue when the Nintendo Switch reared its innovative head.
Nintendo's Brave New Console: The Nintendo Switch
If you haven't heard about Nintendo's new hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, it is likely that you have been dwelling in some subterranean labyrinth.
The Switch's power lies within a panel that features a high resolution touchscreen and all necessary inputs and outputs — this is the console. You are able to attach/detach Nintendo's "Joy-Con" controllers to/from the left and right sides of the console and operate it as a handheld device. Another wicked feature of the Joy-Cons is that each of them functions as a separate controller and can be used for local play/split-screen experiences through the same device. Obviously the control scheme would not be as complex; hence, the games suited for this mode of play are limited.
The console can also be stood upon a surface (using the featured stand), and the controllers can be detached to control it wirelessly. The Switch takes it a step further though: you can slide the console into an included dock, which is connected via HDMI cable to a TV or monitor, and now the Switch operates as a home console.
Like other available consoles, the Switch has online services. At present, these services are free... but also limited. It is not until later this year that the Switch's online potential will be fully realized, and that will come with a paid subscription. The service will feature online gameplay, access to Nintendo's eStore, exclusive deals, free monthly games, and much more. I think this kind of approach is to be expected these days, and that it is totally justifiable as I have explained in a previous article.
I am not here to review the Nintendo Switch as a console itself — this has been done to death. But I will be looking into the current games available, upcoming games, and also the future of the Nintendo Switch and the implications the hybrid console may have on the gaming industry. I will do all of this to help clarify my decision making and figure out if and when I am going to buy the thing. Hopefully my insights bring about a certain clarity for you as well — I know there are many of you that still reside upon the fence.
One of your first questions may be: "What games are available on the Switch?" or, "Does it have Pokemon?"
Current Games On The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch has been criticized for having very few launch titles with its release on the 3rd of March this year. This is totally true. But it's not as if this is the first console to be released in such a way. Take the PlayStation 4 for instance — I think the only launch title I was excited for was EA DICE's Battlefield 4.
A beast unchained with the consoles release was obviously Nintendo's The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. But other than that, what else was released with the Switch? The answer is... not much. Well, not anything that I found especially appealing. From the small list of games released with the console, aside from Zelda, only 2 of them caught my attention. These were Tokyo RPG Factory's I Am Setsuna and Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove.
Although, after the initial release of the Nintendo Switch, there has been a few interesting games made available for hard-copy purchase and/or Nintendo eStore purchase. But of those, the only games that at all appeal to me include Nintendo's Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nicalis' The Binding Of Isaac: Afterbirth, and Vertex Pop's Graceful Explosion Machine.
All in all, I would have to say the the amount of games currently available is fair, considering the short amount of time the console has been available, but still disappointing. Aside from Breath Of The Wild and maybe Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there just aren't any AAA titles, and I feel that a console needs those to establish itself in such a competitive industry.
Personal Experiences On The Nintendo Switch
To gain a personal perspective of the Nintendo Switch I have been allowed the privileged of borrowing my buddies' console for the last couple of days. Unfortunately he did say that I have to give it back...
I was able to play was Nintendo's The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Vertex Pop's Graceful Explosion Machine.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
This game was the catalyst to the release of the Nintendo Switch, and I think that the console may have fallen flat on its face without it. Pretty much every review for Breath of the Wild ends in a perfect score. I can only support such praise. Its style is absolutely gorgeous, the map can be traversed in a multitude of exciting ways, the combat is fast and exhilarating, and, with the short time I had with it, I found that the game runs beautifully on the Switch. This Nintendo exclusive rivals every AAA single player RPG available. And I believe it has given the Nintendo Switch a fighting chance among other non-Nintendo consoles, which expansive, open world games are so often confined to... for now, at least.
Graceful Explosion Machine
My friend, the same bloke who loaned me the Switch, sat by me with his eyes glued to its screen for a good few hours. I was like: "Dude, lets play Overwatch." I mean, I went to his house for a night of it, and all he could say in response was: "You HAVE to try this game."
That game was of course the indie, side-scrolling, arcade shooter Graceful Explosion Machine, and, of course, I gave it a go. Through my experiences that night, and during the time in which I have borrowed it, I found it to be just the perfect little indie game for the Switch. It feels great to play, its colorful and fun, the sound effects are awesome, and it is highly addictive.
Upcoming Games On The Nintendo Switch That I Am Psyched For!
Here are some upcoming games that will definitely help loosen my wallet:
- Tequila Works' Rime. — Such beautiful, stylized visuals, which I think suite a Nintendo console so well.
- SEGA's Sonic Mania. — Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia...
- Capcom's Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers. — As I will discuss soon, this was the game that sparked much of my enthusiasm for the Switch.
- Nintendo's Super Mario Odyssey. — You can't have Nintendo without a few specific games... and Mario is one of them.
- Bethesda Game Studio's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. — This here, is a definite oddball. But a very, very welcome oddball, as I will go on to discuss.
It is definitely reasonable to expect certain things from the Switch and Nintendo...
Abuse The Switch's Practicality
Even though the Nintendo Switch may have less muscle than other available consoles, it is able to compete due to its indisputable practicality. Through either an online or offline local connection, the portability of the Switch allows local gaming to be a thing of ease. And I think that this is a step in the right direction, as I find that, in today's video game market, this style of gameplay is rarely encouraged. I do expect both Nintendo and third-party game developers to continue to utilize the practicality of the console as it is such an appreciated, enjoyable way to play, and a great way to bridge the gap between casual and full-form gamers.
What better way is there to settle a dispute among friends than a fighting game? Capcom's Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers will be a perfect way to facilitate such brawling via online or offline local play on the Nintendo Switch. You could set up massive tournaments around a big wooden table, which could be held frequently due to the consoles practicality. In fact why do you need the big wooden table? This could be done in a park. I believe this upcoming fighting game is a fine example of a third-party game that utilizes the strengths of the Nintendo Switch.
Release AAA And Third Party Games
As I have mentioned, I consider Breath Of The Wild to be pretty much the only AAA title available on the Switch right now. In saying this, the AAA title, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is set for release on the console later this year. This seemed such an odd move by Nintendo, but I do believe that it will pay off if they continue to follow such a path as it will allow the console to be even more versatile, and hence, appeal to a far broader audience. I do expect Nintendo to continue to accommodate for AAA, third-party games as, for me (someone who nowadays doesn't frequent Nintendo devices and games), the news of Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch, was what sparked much of my curiosity for the console.
Nintendo have released a bunch of different styled Pokemon video games since 1996 — Pokemon RPGs being the most popular. I believe it is therefore reasonable to expect Nintendo to release a Pokemon RPG for the Switch. Great news too: such a game has already been hinted at under the title of Pokemon Stars. It would be a fricken' awesome to play a Pokemon RPG up on a big screen. Imagine the visual appearance of such a game when considering the relative power of the Switch in comparison to Nintendo's other hand-held devices which Pokemon RPGs have so far been exclusive to.
With all this innovation and promise, I cannot help but think about the future. Nintendo have tried something totally different, taken that first leap; and I think it has undoubtedly paid-off for them. But what are the implications of such a console on the gaming industry in general? Where can it go next?
The line between gaming technologies is blurring. Imagine, in the near future, that all games are playable on any device and that exclusives are non-existent. Even though it may be unfeasible from a marketing point of view, this is truly what I long for: no more rivalry between console, no more PC master race rubbish. I want gaming platforms to be a window to the limitless creation of the mind. And I want them to be PORTABLE. How is this relevant to the Switch? Well, I believe that the console will prompt other console developers to consider more portable options and place a greater value on local play. I admit, it's not hugely difficult to stuff my PlayStation 4 and monitor into my car. But I am lazy — I want things to be easier still. I think Nintendo get this. I think they are on the right track.
Yes! Yes, I will be buying one.
But when? And, why?
Well it comes down to the specific games and the overarching practicality of the console.
When? I will literally transmute matter to generate the gold coins necessary to purchase a Switch when a Pokemon RPG is released. Aside from that, I will likely wait for a few more solid titles, particularly those suited for local gameplay. As a bonus, the cost of the console may decrease while I wait.
Why? Imagine the luxury of travelling to your friends house with but a backpack housing your Nintendo Switch and accessories... and that's it. No full-sized gaming tower. No absolutely essential gaming chair. Just you, and your Switch. Easy, as it should be.
Thank you, fellow gamers. I hope my perspectives have made your decision easier!