Today Nintendo released info on their new gaming console, previously referred to as the “NX”. It’s not the first time Nintendo teased a new system with a different name. Remember, the Wii was originally called the Revolution, but they thought Wii would be better for a family gaming system. This will be brought up again in my analysis. While other gaming console makers try for better graphics Nintendo prefers to innovate the actual gaming part of video games. The Wii introduced motion controls that changed the way you play games, and while there will always be naysayers it sold very well to every age group. Every one from Baby Dumpling to Grandma Moses were playing this game. When I was in the convalescent home after my first surgery they even had a Wii in the therapy room. (Sadly I didn’t get to play it because my issues were leg and arm strength as well as balance issues.) I did try it in the store or over my cousin’s house and it’s a great system. The Wii U tried to alter gameplay with the touchscreen game pad, basically making a console version of the Nintendo DS, which didn’t go over as well. Sadly, I have never been able to play this system in any form but would love to try it out.
So the question is what innovations has the Switch brought to gaming and will it be more like the Wii or the Wii U?
One thing that didn’t jump out at me until I saw it on a different site was the lack of kids and families, two demographics that Nintendo usually likes to market to, especially the last two consoles. They’re all 20-somethings. Naturally the hardcore gamers were thrilled because they hate kids having anything to do with what they enjoy lest someone complain they’re playing or watching a kids thing. Except for My Little Pony and Gravity Falls apparently. Remember when a grown man liking My Little Pony mean they were either pedophiles or gay? Or gay pedophiles? Actually I’m not convinced hardcore gamers don’t hate kids outright, despite the fact that they were kids and supposedly hating kids stuff means you’re an adult now. You know, like this totally grown up woman.
I love bringing that out. But they’d never be caught dead playing a game for kids like Splatoon, right? Right?
Fools aside, let’s look at the Switch itself. The first thought is “oh look, it’s a gaming tablet with proprietary technology like they’re Android or the I-whatever”. I kind of agree there. The big innovation seems to be in the interface and that you can more easily play local multiplayer with your friends, which is fine if you get together with your friends and do multiplayer, which I don’t. Or as one commentor put it, you can go to the bathroom and still play Zelda. I’m not sure I’m all that impressed. You have a module to plug it in directly to the TV (and I’m assuming charge the portable unit) and not much else. Just a fancy controller.
The controller is pretty interesting though. The smaller controller bits are called “Joy-Cons”. You can use them with a special unit that imitates a regular controller…or just use a regular controller. The Joy-Cons can be used in different ways and that’s pretty neat. You saw in the video what they can do. That’s really the only innovation here. I would like to know more about the games. Will they be cartridges like the usual portable systems or some kind of CD like the Playstation Vita, and will the screen look as good as it does in the video?
There’s also the question of how the online store will work with the system and whether you can put the game into an external storage device. Tablets has a nasty habit of taking up space quickly the more you put stuff on it, even with decent storage space, much of which on mine is taken up by the operating system and pre-installed apps. I’ve love to get the max micro SD card just so I can update the darn thing without deleting an app I really want. From what I can tell backwards compatibility with the Wii U or any other game system, something longtime fans have been demanding, will be impossible. So they won’t be happy.
I’m not saying it’s not a cool system with cool play features. It totally is and I bet it does well. However, it doesn’t excite me as much as the Wii did. It’s just plain old normal controls that just happens to be portable. I’m just not that impressed. Hopefully the games will make up for it, and I’m curious how the HD works and how much processing power it has compared to other consoles, both TV-connected and portable, as well as other gaming tablets. Otherwise, it’s not the leap in innovation I would have hoped for.