Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Weekly Wizard, a new segment here at Miketendo64 by TheManCalledScott, the evil genius behind WizardDojo.com. Here I will give opinions and such on current happenings in the world of Nintendo gaming, or maybe give little retrospectives on Nintendo’s past. Whatever I’m in the mood for, really…
For this first ever edition of this new segment, I figured it only made sense to write about the biggest thing in the world of Nintendo right now: the imminent launch of the Switch!
There’s certainly a lot to discuss in regards to the Nintendo Switch, especially after the big Switch presentation Nintendo held earlier this month, which revealed a good deal of information on the console and the first-year lineup of games.
Let’s get some of the negatives out of the way first. The system is certainly more pricey than expected (though as someone who has been playing games since the early 1990s, I have admittedly seen far worse pricing scenarios. Remember the Jaguar?). Also, aside from Zelda, the launch is a bit on the empty side (1-2-Switch will surely get some parties going, but I don’t think we’re seeing the next Wii Sports).
Perhaps the most problematic features are those regarding online play. I’m not going to complain about the paid subscription for online. That’s fair enough. People have to pay for things. It’s how the world works. But needing to use a cellphone app in order to do matchmaking in online games? Uhhhh… what?
Say what you want about the Wii U’s online features, at least you didn’t need a separate device in order to set things up. Man, I’m really hoping this ends up only being temporary and Nintendo can implement proper matchmaking into the Switch.
The other big concern is the memory. Out of the gate, the Switch will only have 32 GBs of memory, which is…tiny. This sounds all the more tiny when Nintendo unveiled that they’re going pretty all out with the scope of their upcoming games, with Zelda alone taking up a good chunk of the system’s storage. Thankfully, it sounds like SD cards can solve this issue. But it really shouldn’t be an issue at all at this point.
Thankfully, this is where the gripes end, because otherwise, the Switch is shaping up to be a great piece of hardware. The simple fact that Nintendo is combining their usual home console and handheld concepts into one entity seems like it could be a great way for Nintendo to streamline its developments, and to have a more steady flow of releases.
While I mentioned that the Switch’s day one launch games are few in number, it thankfully looks like they’re going to maintain a pretty solid release schedule this year, with big releases such as Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey (among others) filling out the Switch’s first calendar year. As much as I love the Wii U (I consider it Nintendo’s most underrated and misunderstood piece of hardware), I am not about to defend its slow first year, or the big gaps between major releases. If Nintendo can keep this pace going, and hopefully keep a few big third-parties onboard, the Switch could end up being Nintendo’s most consistent console in some time.
The innovations Nintendo is making with the Switch also seem like the most logical step forward for the company. As stated, merging Nintendo’s console and handhelds into a singular entity just makes sense in today’s gaming world. Video games have changed rapidly since Nintendo’s early days in the business. Hell, they’ve changed rapidly since the days of the Wii – with mobile games cutting into the handheld market, for example – and Nintendo creating a device for both your home TV and on the go just feels so right.
Not only that, but the way you can detach the joycons for the third “tabletop” option is like an added treat. It’s almost an unnecessary addition, but an ever-so welcome one. And I don’t know what the deal was with all that “weight of ice cubes” stuff during the presentation, but I liked it! I want my joycons to sense the weight of ice cubes. It’s how the world should be.
As an added bonus, Nintendo is wisely streamlining other aspects of the Switch. Now we can charge the thing using any USB cables. Yeah, that sounds like a minor thing, but it will actually make things so much more convenient. I mean, what if I lost the cables that (hopefully) come with the console? Now I don’t have to track down Nintendo’s chargers (which have, in the past, been difficult to come by at times) and just break out one of the other USB cables I have lying about. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference.
But let’s all cut to the chase. The real reason the Switch has us all excited – like any self-respecting video game console – are the games. And great Gandalf, did Nintendo deliver! Breath of the Wild just keeps looking better and better. Splatoon 2 looks like it could be a great sequel. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks to improve on what was already the best Mario Kart and fixing its one glaring flaw (the Battle Mode). We have some decent third-party support with the likes of Sonic Mania, Skyrim (yeah, it’s five-years old, but its also one of the best-selling games of all time finally coming to Nintendo), and some solid JRPGs. Yooka-Laylee is expected to get a Switch release in light of its Wii U cancellation. And, of course, Super Mario Odyssey looks insanely good, and has already become my most anticipated title of the year on any platform (sorry, Yooka-Laylee).
Again, time will tell if Nintendo can keep this momentum going, especially in regards to third-parties (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Dark Souls). But holy cow, the Switch’s first year looks like a strong one! In fact, if everything sticks to its schedule I might say it could be one of the best first years of any console. And this is without taking into consideration any other potential games that are announced later this year (hopefully Nintendo will have a surprise or two at E3 this time around).
So while the Switch may still have some hurdles to jump if it wishes to leave all of the concerns behind it, the good ultimately outweighs the bad, especially in regards to the games, which are the lifeblood of any console. If the Switch selling out all over the place is any indication, Nintendo’s strategy is certainly working so far. Let’s hope we continue to see it improve all the more.
That’s all for this first-ever “issue” of the Weekly Wizard. What did you think? Did you like what I had to say about the Nintendo Switch? Do you think I’m a dastardly villain for what I said about the matchmaking? Did I go overboard with the gifs? Let me know what you think in the comments, feel free to give me any suggestions for what else you’d like to see in The Weekly Wizard (TWW?), and if you liked what you read, you can find more of my writings – including reviews for video games both old and new as well as movies – at my site WizardDojo.com.
Check back next week when The Weekly Wizard highlights 2017’s resurgence of the 3D platformer genre.