This week was an excellent time for trailers, particularly long overdue trailers. Earlier this week, Rockstar treated us to the gradual reveal of Red Dead Redemption 2. Then we got a sneak peak of two upcoming Marvel movies: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Logan (aka Wolverine 3). Though I feel it all pales in comparison to one of the year’s most overdue announcements. Yesterday morning saw our first look at the Nintendo NX… whoops, can’t call it that anymore. We got our first look at the Nintendo Switch.(Interesting name, but I’ll accept it).
Fans and gamers alike have been waiting for this day ever since Nintendo first dropped news of a new console in March 2015. That’s right, it’s been roughly 19 months since we’ve first heard the name NX. That left ample time for numerous leaks, rumors, and speculation to fill the air while Nintendo worked on entering the mobile market and releasing the final big games in the Wii U’s library. At long last, Nintendo breaks their vow of silence. I along with many excitable Nintendo fans woke up early(ish) to be the first to see the new system. After a day to process what I saw and let initial news stir, I have to say, I’m definitely interested.
Here’s the short and skinny of it so far. The Nintendo Switch will be a hybrid system that combines at home console gameplay with portable handheld gameplay. As the successor to both the Wii U and the 3DS, the Switch allows you to play games on your TV with a controller in hand, while also allowing you to bring the system with you while you’re out and about. All you have to do to play the system on the go is place the two skinny controllers onto the main unit, detatch it from its home dock and boom! AAA console goodness is now at the palm of your hands. No longer shall we suffer being separated from our precious games for long periods of time while we’re away from home. The Switch is here to set us free!
Now, anyone who has been following the NX rumor train at any point in time already heard of this being the concept. I know I did. So this isn’t really a surprise for almost anyone, and perhaps there’s still someone out there who just bought a Wii U and is surprised it doesn’t do what the Switch is doing. Regardless, that wasn’t the reason most of us were looking forward to this reveal. We were just wondering how it was going to work, and thank God it looks very simple.
If there’s one thing the trailer did right, it was showing just how seamless the switch (no pun intended) from console to handheld is here. You can make the system portable in as few as two motions: slide the controllers down and pull the screen out. From the looks of things, there’s no strain to it, no lag time, and virtually no difference from playing it at home. I’m actually very proud of Nintendo for not mucking up the portable aspect of this system by discouraging it. In fact, this trailer was all about just how convenient it is to play the Switch outside of the house than inside.
See, all the magic of the unit comes from the roughly tablet size screen inside, which in and of itself uses Nvidia Tygra technology similar to what is found in tablets. The screen appears to be a decent size for outdoor use and seems to provide the same graphical fidelity as playing on a TV (assuming the trailer is to be believed). Plus, it provides everything you’ll need for the system: cartridge port (yes, the system will be using carts again), headphone jack (suck it Apple), kickstand (convenient), a slide-in accessory (for use in cars, trains or planes), and the controller(s).
Perhaps the most interesting part of this trailer is the Switch’s controller things. We’ve seen concept art of these things before, but they are by far the weirdest controllers Nintendo has ever made. Yes, this is the same company who created the Power Glove and the DK Bongos, but these are really weird. They’re basically skinnier, shorter Wii-motes with joysticks on them. They remind me a lot of those Pong consoles from the early 70’s, some of which also had detachable controllers on the side. You know:
It’s definitely an inventive choice for the system. I just can’t decide whether I like it or not.
I think my big problem is the size of the controllers, particularly when it comes to playing with the controllers horizontally. It looks a bit too small for comfort. You can see how the controller is barely longer than the player’s fingers. Not to mention how claustrophobic the button placement seems. Don’t even get me started on what I assume is the system’s D-Pad. I have teeth bigger than that thing. I’m really hoping that it’s similar to how the Wii U GamePad was more comfortable than it looks. Even if it isn’t, at least they’re giving consumers multiple options from the start. That controller slot thing that has both mini-controllers in it looks a bit more comfortable, and you can’t go wrong with the Pro Controller also shown in the trailer.
We don’t know anything about the specs as of yet, though we can at least be assured that the games shown in the trailer look at least at Wii U level (again, if this trailer is to be believed). It’s hard to compare the graphics to the PS4 and Xbox One since 4 out of 6 of the games shown were Nintendo games and 3 of them were/will be on the Wii U. Plus as we’ve already discovered, both NBA 2k17 and Skyrim aren’t entirely confirmed for the system despite being shown in the trailer. Really, we have no clue how good the graphics are and that’s pretty concerning. I’m hoping for it to be at least at PS4 and Xbox One level of performance. That’s going to be a deal-breaker if it isn’t, because Nintendo can’t go this route again where developers can’t develop for the console past the first year. It’s one thing to be behind the PS4 Pro and Scorpio. At least if you’re equal to the PS4 and Xbox One, you’ll be eligible for third party games for the next few years.
Lastly, there’s been a lot of talk of how close the release date was going to be for the system and whether Nintendo would end up pushing it back till the summer of next year to build up more advertising power. Nope, Nintendo surprised everyone by sticking to their intended release date of March 2017. Hell yeah! I was actually rooting for the system to release in March. Not so much because I wanted the console sooner, but because March just so happens to be my birthday. So, if any of you are up for getting me a really kickass birthday present, I’ll gladly accept a Switch. Thank you in advanced.
Do I think it would’ve been better for Nintendo to wait a little bit longer in order to build more hype. Maybe. However, I still think 5 months is plenty of time to market a system if they do it right. Sure it’s unconventional in the gaming scene, but it’s possible. Hell, iPhones have been marketed in the span of weeks with major returns, so why not Nintendo?
Besides, what will really sell the system are the things this trailer doesn’t show. What exactly are the specs of the console? How much will the console be? When’s the exact release date? What games will make up the games launch window, and what games are actually coming to the system? (Less than a day in and Nintendo already pissed people off by not confirming NBA 2K17 and Skyrim). We still have a lot of questions regarding the Switch, and as long as these things are answered somewhat soon we’ll be good in good shape.
As far as what we got, I applaud Nintendo for the quality of this trailer and just how much it showed off. This trailer was mostly a demonstration of the concept and design, and I’m glad it wasn’t something dramatic and cryptic. I would’ve been pissed if got all excited for the trailer, and it turned out to be a minute long trailer only showing the name and release date. The world isn’t ready for the amount of fury I was about to inflict if that happened… Thankfully that didn’t happen.
The point is Nintendo did a good job. Hats off, guys! Now stop showing games before they’re confirmed. You have a good thing going, so keep it that way.
What did you guys think of the Nintendo Switch? Were you impressed? Are you planning to get one? What questions do you still have for the system going forward? What games should be available at launch? Let me know in the comments so we can discuss it together.
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!