Last week, while I was occupied with other things, Nintendo had a bit presentation to give details for their latest console, the Nintendo Switch. We already looked at the official announcement from October, but this presentation has the full details. For those less in the know than me somehow, the Nintendo Switch, formerly known as the NX in development, is a tablet-like device with a new type of controller called the Joycon. These two units can connect to the Switch for mobile play, can be used on their own for different play styles, or connected to a middle unit to emulate a normal controller. It’s designed for both home play and on the go, a sort of mix of the home and portable consoles, the later being a market Nintendo has hold control over since the first Game Boy. It does have a charging station that doubles as a connector to your television set so you can play at home on the big screen, while using the Joycon in the way that works best for you, or use a normal controller they’ll also be making.
I did have my concerns. There was no marketing for kids, or even families like the previous systems, which is where Nintendo tends to focus lately. It is a tablet with a neat controller and their own proprietary operating system. I saw the potential but it wasn’t exciting me the way the Wii or even the Wii U did.
In the presentation below we’ll learn more about the Switch and it’s new controller. Nintendo has always gone for innovative ways to play as opposed to their competitors who try to boost the graphics and maybe try something different with controls to catch up to Nintendo. I have avoided other reviews and commentaries on the presentation so you’ll be getting my unfiltered opinion as I watch this. You can watch the video (although most of you probably already have), gather your opinion, and then see what I think. Then you can tell me what a moron I am because I’m a dirty casual gamer.
- We know Nintendo has been testing smart devices with Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run but having the Switch interact with your Android, Apple, or Windows smart device is an interesting idea. Actually, I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t think of that with their X-Box, but considering X-Box and Windows have never interacted even with the computer maybe I’m not. Does this mean that using the Nintendo Switch app I could play a multiplayer game with someone who has their own Switch and game? Jackbox games has a similar setup, where one person has the games, and with a random code you can invite your friends to play on the computer, tablet, or phone, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
- I assume the online service will be some new version of the Nintendo store. Hopefully you won’t have to start a new account like you did switching (no pun intended) from the Wii to the Wii U, and I don’t know if you need a separate one for the DS. One account for all your compatible Nintendo systems would be the better idea. If I do get a Switch it probably long after the service is free. Even if I get disability I won’t have $300 to spare for a long time.
- The dropping of region locking is going to be a huge thing for import gamers. This way, any game that might not be brought to the US or other non-Japan countries can still find players through import services. If Nintendo or a third-party developer sees that Americans are exporting their game from Japan they may consider a translated release. It’s a good idea. Now if DVD and Blu-Ray can follow suit.
- Utilizing elements from every game system they’ve ever made (except probably the 3DS’s 3D screen and anything related their first failure, the Virtual Boy) shows they’re paying attention to what has worked in the past and combining those elements in the hopes of creating a new, better system. Good on you for not forgetting your history.
- I was hoping they’d include local gaming. That means with eight systems and some games allowing two people to use half the dual Joycons means you could in theory have a game with 16 people all playing the same game. It’s like having your own LAN party.
- They need to design a “Joycon grip” that can somehow be used as more than a way to use the Joycons like a traditional controller, especially since they will also have a traditional controller for the Switch. Maybe a smaller screen that works like the Wii U gamepad or the second DS screen, which inspired the Wii U gamepad. Or how about a microphone and speaker setup for voice commands? I’d say Amiibo support but that’s built into the right con.
- I’m surprised they’re talking about video capture given their recent copywrite strikes of Nintendo game let’s plays and review on YouTube. The photo capture is a good idea though.
I wonder how the Joycon will compare to the Wiimote when it comes to the therapeutic uses with seniors and the injured. There was a Wii in the therapy room in the convalescent home I stayed in when recovering from the first surgery last year and I would hope the Joycon and strap combo would work for that. The question is whether the thinner or thicker controller would be better. Maybe if the Wiimote can work with the Switch like it can the Wii U? Is there a therapist out there who can answer that?
- Finally, the games! 1-2 Switch appears to be the Wii Sports of the Switch, designed to demonstrate the new controls and potential gameplay styles of the new system in town while still being fun to play. It also uses the upgraded rumble control system, which if you’re into that sort of thing must be impressive. That means part of the success of the Switch will hinge on 1-2 Switch, so you better hope that the response time is good.
- Arms: Well there’s a unique fighting game for you. The style seems similar to Punch Out and similar boxing games in that you look behind your character directly at your opponent. It also seems to use the motion controls to alter the direction of the punch or activate your block as well as throwing punches. I wonder if the buttons and analog stick do anything?
- Actually, that makes me wonder if you can buy separate Joycons and have them work with the original Joycons like you can with Wiimotes on the Wii and Wii U? And if there’s a limit?
- Splatoon 2: The bright color kiddie FPS that even older folks have raved about. Already breaking out something for the “hardcore” base. They needed a dubber who seemed more like he cared about what he was talking, though, considering the Japanese presenter was playing a role. Although Suda 51’s interpreter later on seemed to be trying to keep up so this wasn’t the worst dub.
- Super Mario Odyssey: So Mario gets to go home to Brooklyn? Neat. And apparently Mario’s hat is alive and a fan of Odd Job from the James Bond franchise. I kid but it looks like an interesting new weapon in Mario’s arsenal. But what about Luigi?
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 & Fire Emblem 2: I never got into either of these games but I know they have decent fanbases. Xenoblade fans worked hard to get the game translated stateside while the appearance of Fire Emblem characters in the Smash Brothers games have given them fame. I don’t know if either game will be translated for foreign markets since this is a Japanese event, but with region lock gone they’ll at least be imported.
- The Dragon Quest Games: I know those will be released for US markets at least. It’s a pretty popular RPG, even when we still called it Dragon Warrior in the West. The Shin Megami Tensen (spelling?) game also has a good fanbase but like the game after it we know nothing about them.
- Skyrim: Fans of Elder Scrolls must have needed to change their underwear when that was announced. It was one of the games teased during the announcement trailer so seeing that must have been their biggest news. It’s good to see the Japanese event remember the US-produced games.
- unnamed No More Heroes sequel: Yes, the hardcore gamers shouldn’t have much to complain about by this point. However, at this point I’m wondering where the kids and family games besides Mario and Splatoon.
- And the sports fans are getting their games. If EA sees dollar signs, that’s a good sign for the Switch. The fans are probably going to get screwed by EA somehow again, but it bodes well for the system. Although it is FIFA soccer so it could just be a test of the waters. Then you have teases for a Sonic game, a Street Fighter game, and a Mario Kart game. But still there’s no sign of the regular kid and family games the last two systems bragged about. I guess kids would like Splatoon and Mario Kart but the target seems to be young adults now, which means all the other demographics they’ve been playing two the past few years are being left out.
- Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of Fire: They saved the best for last. While the visuals have been good, the cutscenes (I don’t know if any in-game footage was used) look really good. Visually all of the games have looked good. And of course Mario and Link would be part of the launch titles. Folks get mad if they’re not.
I think you already know my big complaint, the lack of anything for kids and family, although you could say the party games like 1-2 Switch may hold the latter and none of the previewed games (instead of simply teased) really looked kid un-friendly. Games like Arms, Mario, and Splatoon can be played that way, but the promotions previously have been games families can play together. The focus here was playing with your friends, which I don't mind. If you can play with your friends odd are you can play with your family, depending on the game.
But overall, I’m a little more curious about the Joycons and how they can be utilized than I was before. There are a lot of good features, like Amibo support, the camera, the enhanced rumble pack, and the various ways to hold the controllers for different types of games, allowing for simple to complex controls. There’s a lot of pieces to be lost, though, but that’s on the player’s head if they take it out of the house. (You still need some kind of controller.) Overall, I do see more potential than I did, and $300 isn’t a bad price for a new console. Time will still tell if it works and if you see people carrying Nintendo Switch units around. Oooh, you know what it could have used? A rear camera to play exploration games with, like the Wii U pad and most tablets (my only has a front camera, but my phone has both) have. Still, it could do well. We’ll find out when it drops in March.
Granted I’ll be learning third-hand since there’s no way I can afford it right now, but I know people who have already preordered so I’ll just watch their feeds to see what they think of it.