Oct 20 2016

First Look at Nintendo Switch

Okay, enough of me being excited that I guessed exactly what the Switch would be, let’s take an actual look at the promotional video Nintendo put out today:

 

So, what do we see here? Let’s break it down.

The video starts off with a guy playing a Zelda game at home, on his TV. Looks fine, looks like a normal gaming experience.

At 25 seconds in, we get a look at the unit in what I will call the TV dock. Looks solid, and it seems to cover the console nicely.

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Switch inside its dock.

Next up we see the gamer removing parts of the controller and putting them on the unit itself to take it with him. Alrighty then, first problem I see here is kids are going to lose these. It’s just something that’s going to happen, and parents aren’t going to like having to buy new controller halves every few weeks. Oh boy. Let’s move on.

At 35 seconds on, the gamer pulls out the now-controller adapted tablet thing that makes up the core of Switch, and continues to play his game. Awesome. This is how you do it, melding the portable and home experiences without issue. Nice!

At 53 seconds we see a gamer who is traveling inserting a Nintendo DS styled game cartridge into the NX. This tells us what I already figured: the console won’t use optical discs, so it’s more in line with the DS hardware as far as game media is concerned. Another good option since optical discs take a lot of equipment and power to read (look back at the PSP battery life, and you will see what I mean).

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DS style cartridges.

We move on to more video of people using the unit, but at 1:10 we see the gamer take and use the “wings” of the controller independently, much like the Wiimote and Nunchuck were held on the Wii, with the Switch console sitting on the tray table acting as just the screen. Also awesome.

At 1:25 we see him return home and continue his game in progress with a standard controller, not the one that attaches to the console, so there is that option as well.

The video goes on at this stage to show social gaming, both split screen on one unit, and multiplayer via multiple units, and just generally show off how it all “should” be when released to the market. One neat thing I do notice is one girl gives her friend one “wing” of the controller, and they can both play a game using just the face buttons and the analog stick. That too seems pretty awesome, and if you look at the controller you can see that each half is, in its own way, a separate controller ready to go. Awesome!

look at the controller halves: they mirror each other and look to work as individual controllers.

look at the controller halves: they mirror each other and look to work as individual controllers.

The video goes on to show Splatoon as an E-sport, which I’m just going to ignore since I don’t care for e-sports, but it shows Nintendo’s ambition with this console.

So, what do I think? You all know I’m quite cynical at times, and I haven’t really liked Nintendo products in years, but this is awesome! I actually am looking forward to this. I hope Nintendo has ditched motion controls for good and realized that core gameplay is key. You will notice too that this first look video shows young adults, not children, enjoying the console. Sure, that’s standard for most any game system release, but I think this will be the moment when Nintendo brings back a level of maturity to its offerings hardware wise, and focuses on real gaming rather than simple, disposable experiences focusing on poor motion controls and annoyingly weak hardware.

This. This is what Nintendo should have been doing all these years. It’s sad that it’s taken them this long to re-learn what innovation is.

Good job Nintendo. Damn good. Let’s see how the beast actually turns out, though. Promo videos are one thing, but the real hardware is where we see what we have to work with.

March 2017… right at tax season here in the US. I think I know where many gamers are going to blow their refunds.

http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/first-look-at-nintendos-new-home-gaming-system

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