Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nintendo Switch? More Like Bait And Switch.


What does it say about me that I’m willing to ignore Obama’s farewell address and Trump’s press conference, but I’m more than willing to write an entire blog post on the Nintendo Switch presentation? (To be fair, am I really missing anything important with the previous two?) Perhaps I’m simply looking for a diversion from the political toxic waste that was supposed to remain in 2016 but has since been bubbling over into this year.

So what was my overall impression of the Nintendo Switch presentation? Meh.

There wasn’t much revealed about the console that we didn’t already know about from the trailer. The presentation merely offered a more detailed overview. And quite honestly, nothing about this presentation makes me want to drop $300—excuse me, $299.99!—for the system anytime soon, even if it’s release date is right around the corner.

Yes, it’s a shiny new system with shiny new graphics and even shiner new features and innovations (true to the innovative spirit of Nintendo), but the otherwise lackluster selection of launch titles, especially with the cooler games being released several months later, is going to keep me content in waiting a year or two like I normally do for other new consoles.

If there’s one thing that experience has taught me, it’s that most new systems only have one or two real “hit” launch title games with the rest of the games being those you can already play on any other console new or old. I never really understood that. Don’t game companies want to make a good first impression? Why wouldn’t they stick their best foot forward with several cool launch titles?

That’s the impression I received from this presentation. Not many of the games impressed me much. Fire Emblem? Xenoblade Chronicles? Skyrim? Perhaps if I were invested in those franchises, I would care. But I don’t. The only games that really caught my attention were Mario: Odyssey (which is going to be released later this year.) and Zelda: Breath of Wild—and personally, the latter I’ll probably be able to play on Wii U (it’s one of the reasons I bought the system), so what would be the point of even buying a Switch to play it?

And that’s probably one of the biggest problems with the Switch: it ain’t backwards compatible. All of my Wii and Wii U games would inevitably be useless if I purchased another console. In fact, the Switch seems so strained for new games that it’s essentially porting Wii U titles for the system—that and it has to make up for the lack of backwards compatibility somehow.

And do I need to say anything about 1,2 Switch or Arms? Sure, they’re nifty ways to showcase the consoles new innovations and features, and it’s certainly nice to see Nintendo experiment with how we play games, but these “games” don’t really look like real games. They’re more like tech demos. And unlike other tech demos like Wii Sports or Wii Sports Resort, they don’t seem to have any real replay value. In another year or two, they’ll be tossed on the pile with Nintendoland and Steel Diver.

As for the console itself, while the price seems reasonable enough, the battery life for the portable mode? Not so much. Sure a combination home and handheld console is game breaking as it is, but a two hour battery life won’t make me give up my 3DS anytime soon. No, wait! Make that a two to six hour range—though, let’s be honest, most games are probably going to sap the battery in two hours.

But perhaps the biggest insult is the online service. We don’t know anything about it. Not even how much it’s going to cost. Oh, but that’s the real kicker: they’re going to charge for online service now. You love being able to play your 3DS or Wii U online for free? We’ll too bad. Because with the Nintendo Switch, it’s now going to cost you. (And yes, I know other consoles also charge, but why ought Nintendo jump the bandwagon now?)

Sorry, but I think I’m going to wait another year or so before switching out my Wii U for a Switch—that is, as long as Trump doesn’t start nuclear winter anytime soon!