Debate: Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

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nintendo-switch

C: I should probably have checked the news before we ran that previous debate because the reveal of the NX, now known as the Nintendo Switch, came a little sooner than expected. With the design and new features having being shown off now, I wanted to look back on our previous debate and see how our opinion has changed.

Personally, I am cautiously optimistic. The Switch, in my eyes, is an improved Wii U, allowing the tablet controller to function as its own, independent system that can be played on wherever you may go. The Playstation Vita already promised us portable gaming with console quality and I think the Switch may have the right idea by just not making it a dedicated handheld, potentially allowing it to avoid the same, sad fate that befell the Vita. The list of third-party developers on-board with the new system deserves some skepticism because all it means is that these companies will put “something” out, it’s not a pledge of continued and loyal support. Still, there are a lot of names on there like Nippon-Ichi, Grasshopper, and Platinum that we can expect some cool projects from.

What are your initial thoughts Stian?

nintendo-switch-partners

S: I am unfortunately not sold. The concept is a neat idea, but I am afraid it will be too vulnerable, making me have to buy an accessory for it to prevent damaging it. Having the screen become the main-console (no joke), is also an oddity due to how small the screen is and how big the…. Holder is. The detachable controllers are neat however, and I like that it can have multiple uses. I just hope it is comfortable. The games however did not interest me a bit, with the exception being the new Mario-game, but that can also simply be a tech-trailer. Since I already own a Wii U, most of the ports don’t interest me and we really did not need another version of Skyrim. I like the idea of bringing the consoles easily together for some lan-gaming, I just hope the batteries can last. Maybe a screen-less version would be welcoming? I mean they even dropped the 3D with 3DS afterwards and the Gamepad has been less and less used…. Despite of the latter having some clever uses and more potential. I might just go with the Wii U version of Zelda, unless they showcase more for the Switch.

nintendo-switch-mario-kart

C: The tablet being the console bothers me too, mostly because that vastly limits the potential power of the hardware. That is a lot of compact space to fit parts into and we have already seen how much of a dive quality takes when playing Wii U games on the tablet. It makes me wonder if the new, upcoming games will even be able to meet Xbox One levels of visual fidelity and complexity.

The main issue I have is that it’s another gimmicky controller and one that feels like a second attempt at the Wii U’s gimmick rather than a whole new idea. Killing the Wii U made me grumpy, but killing it for the sake of a controller that is just the tablet without the box is even worse. How many people are honestly going to take a big lump of plastic around with them to play with in the park, how will the hardware inside even handle that much shaking? I could see myself bringing my console along to play something like Monster Hunter with my cousin at his house, but it’s too big to conveniently set up for my hour-long daily train ride to work.

The gimmick is useless, but I believe Nintendo could potentially make it click with the software. If they can make the darn console convenient to develop for (please Nintendo, just this once…) and not force in touchscreens, motion controls, or whatever, I could see that list of partners growing over time. If they can splurge a bit to assure some strong early support to ship more consoles and establish a line of games, that will do. If we are just going to see ports of five-year-old crappy fantasy RPG’s, then this is a skip for me.

Skyrim is terrible.

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S: Well, many people do bring a tablet with them, but I do agree: I am unsure of its quality. I would rather play it over the net (which I usually have to) or use my 3DS on the go. I am intrigued to play Splatoon with others, but on a small screen with a big controller that seems even wider than the Wii-U? I have my doubts

That is a good point! Being able to play Doom with traditional controls would be nice. Heck, the setup is cool on its own and I know Image and Form (creators behind Steamworld Heist and Steamworld Dig ) are on board to make something new and that intrigued me! But if we will only get ports, I will…. honestly be a bit of an ass and join “the PC Master Race” as much as I hate that term and people inside this cult.

I try to be respectful, since I have two close ones who enjoy Skyrim… but yeah: I do agree with you there: Skyrim is not worth your time, go play Pillars of Eternity or Witcher 3 instead.

steamworld-heist

C: The difference between the Switch and a tablet is that tablets are an all-in-one package. You can work, chat with friends, play games, watch videos (even the lewd ones), and conclude with typing an email. They are convenient to move around and efficient on their battery life. The Switch would be like bringing a second, bulkier tablet with you for the sole purpose of typing emails: it only fulfills one function that your other machine could do too. That’s why I am skeptical about using the portability as a selling point here.

I think we can both agree that this will come down to the unsurprising conclusion that we must wait and see, as well as the other statement: “depends on the software”. With that said, do you think Nintendo should continue to innovate the way we should play games (motion controls, tablet controls, handheld/home console hybrids) or that they should just join the hardware race and sell on quality?

Nintendo Switch tablety.png

S: Oh my. Just had flashback to all the weird extras the Wii-U had, such as the video-chat thingy! So worthless, but some were great such as Miiverse! Indeed, and the controls on the go, especially on the side, seem uncomfortable. I suppose, just like with everything: we will indeed have to wait and see.

That is a good question: I love that they are so risky and try new stuff as often as they do, but I think at times they forget what Satoru Iwata said: Above all, video games are meant to just be one thing: Fun for everyone. Creativity is important to innovate, but at times (like with Paper Mario: Color Splash) they forget some fundamental parts that work for a reason. Basically: a balance is important. Having creativity been done with one small step at a time (like with Wind Waker), is never a bad thing.

Satoru Iwata.png

C: I agree that games should be fun and innovating new ideas are certainly a way to achieve fun, but I want them to be the means to an end. Innovation for innovation’s sake is exactly what leads to gimmicks and, as we have both pointed out already, neither of us sees any use in making the Switch this weird portable hybrid machine. You know what would be fun for once? A Nintendo console that is convenient to develop for and has a healthy library of games to it.

With both the Nintendo 64 and GameCube Nintendo ended up being the laughingstock of the generation for insisting on using outdated media to put games on. With the Wii they stayed behind on HDTV and had to have the motion controls forced into everything. Sure, it sold a lot, but besides Nintendo’s own games and a few high-quality niche titles there was nothing to play, which is the same thing that happened with the U. I want the Nintendo Switch to be a fun console not because you can carry it around, I want it to be fun because it’s a nice machine with good hardware that third party developers like to produce for. I want Nintendo to invest in building strong relationships with that list of partners they showed off, to lock in exclusives like they did with Bayonetta and to support developers with good pitches like they did with Splatoon.

We can do with less features so long as the platform is the best it can be. In Nintendo’s case this may require more restraint than actual money. Do you have any final words or are you secretly pre-ordering the Switch already?

splatoon-nintendo-switch

S: Well, there was a huge library for the Wii though, both by Retro, Platinum, and third-parties such as Zack and Wiki, Xenoblade, Pandora’s Tower and Red Steel 2. I think it had a lot, but I also think that the forced concept led to a lot of crap, similar to PS2. However: a console that would make it easy for developers to make games for would have been a fantastic and unique move for Nintendo! Maybe they could even have a form for RPGMaker or something similar to Steam/GoG-library? Building stronger relationships with more developers and maybe even get in individuals that have shown great potential (similar to what Sony did with Kojima), would be important to keep up. And as you stated: restrictions will be important for Nintendo.

As a person that became a gamer thanks to Nintendo and is immensely fascinated by their company, I will actually not be pre-ordering the Switch. I think I will rather be upgrading my PC, while still be keeping to my older consoles (should get to a certain Lombax for the PS3 soon as well). If I see a title that is beyond my wildest dreams that is not the new Zelda, I might give it a look after its release. What about you Casper? Will you get the Switch before or maybe after its launch?

C: I stand by what I said last week. After the fiasco with the Wii U I honestly can’t convince myself to get a Switch and risk being left in the dust again. I bought a U to play ZeldaScribblenauts UnlimitedRayman Legends and see what could be done with the tablet. Zelda is coming to the Switch now, Scribblenauts‘ European release was delayed by 13 months, and Ubisoft famously bailed on keeping Rayman exclusive. I still feel betrayed by that and unless there is a specific limited edition Switch I want, I won’t be getting the machine until games have come out.

Hopefully not everyone has the same attitude, because then nobody buys a Switch and we get to do this whole dance all over again.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I am the same as you Casper, cautiously optimistic. I wish Nintendo had given us gamers the possibility to try it out and give some input but its frankly to late for that since release is the spring.

    But i am still waiting for a pricedrop and a more extended library of games mostly.

    Like

    1. Casper says:

      Hello Adrian,

      To an extent I am somewhat happy the release is so soon around the corner. It’s more of a gamble, but if it took longer for the system to release people might forget about it or get distracted with other releases. Let us hope Nintendo pulls through and we get a selection of games that appeals to many people.

      Like

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