Much has been unveiled the past week about the Nintendo Switch launch, some good, some bad, some down right questionable. Here are my thoughts about the Nintendo Switch so far as a dedicated Nintendo gamer.
Over the years for as far as I can remember, I’ve always had a Nintendo console or handhelds, whether it was given to me by my parents when I was a child, or I had bought for myself once I was older. Either way, I love Nintendo. People thought I was crazy for doing it years ago, but when the Wii came out, I was out in the cold lining up on launch day to get one. I have many fond memories playing games on Nintendo consoles, games like Super Metroid, Megaman X and Orcarina of Time come to mind right away.
There is a lot I like about the Nintendo Switch, in fact, in a way it’s my dream gaming system. I’ve always thought how cool and convenient it would be to be on the road, playing Monster Hunter 4 on the 3Ds, come back home, and pop that into something that could play it on my TV to continue playing, whether it be my Wii U or other consoles.There are times when I’m feeling lazy, and want to tuck myself away in bed and play on the 3DS, and there are times where I want to head downstairs, and play on the big screen TV with the volume cranked up to 11. Nintendo has given us that in a very seamless way with the Switch.
Sure the technology has it’s downsides, battery life that ranges from 2.5-6 hours, quite unpredictable if I’m to say, 720p screen, countless accessories to keep track of. That’s just to name a few, but then on the other hand, to be able to play a game as big as Skyrim on the go with such ease is incredible to say the least. Sure you can do it with your laptop, but then you are looking at something a bit more bulky, and gaming with a keyboard/mouse on the go isn’t exactly convenient, and if you elect to use a controller, that’s a separate accessory you need to keep track of. The Switch gives you all this with 1 piece of hardware.
In the presentation we saw on Jan 12th, there was a lot I saw that I liked. Although it’s not the game that will truly sell me on the idea, Arms, as silly as it may seem, had me laughing outloud when they showed off the first footage of the game, it looked genuinely fun. Xenoblade 2 has me screaming for joy, as I felt with the lackluster Xenoblade Chronicles X, and the length of time and the amount of money it took to make a game like Final Fantasy 15 has me thinking huge JRPG games like this would start fizzling out. I was scared big companies may not see it as a good investment to keep making these games. But Xenoblade 2 is going to give us more than that, and it looks like it’ll be more beautiful and epic then ever. Super Mario Odyssey also has me eagerly awaiting the holidays this year. Last but not least, Breath of the Wild has me even more excited than before knowing this game is less than 2 months from releasing. It’s a good time to be a Nintendo fan in a way.
To back up a bit with the Wii U, it’s a console I got later down it’s life cycle, I was aware it was doomed for failure already and had a very slim chance of recovery. Let’s face it, video games are all around us, whether it’s in your home, at your next door neighbours, at LAN cafes, at the mall, online etc. I constantly talk to people who are gaming on PS4, PC, 3Ds, Xbox One. Hell, the other day, my co-worker showed up to work with a Nintendo DSi XL saying he just found it in his sisters pile of junk. I’ve yet to run into someone in person outside the confines of my home who has a Wii U, or better yet, even knows what it is! Yes, I’m one of those people who give a damn about the console and is willing to try and educate people about it and bring up it’s strong points. I’ve not only bought a Wii U, but I’ve built of a substantial library of games, and bought DLC for several games I own. I don’t use half of the characters available, but I went ahead and purchase all the DLC characters and stages available in Smash 4.
Why do I bring up the Wii U? Well, despite all these great points I have brought up about the Switch, one thing sticks out like a sore thumb. There has been a lack of clear detail regarding whether it will be backwards compatible with Wii U titles on the Switch. Reggie recently addressed this in a vague comment. To summarize what he said, Nintendo understands that their fans have spent quite a bit of hard earned dollars on their vast library, whether it be Virtual Console or Wii U titles, and to stay tuned for more information to come. Why does this bother me? This comment although vague, leads me to believe that if there is backwards compatibility, it won’t be as simple as using your existing digital library on the Switch. If the Switch could play digital Wii U games, then why hasn’t Nintendo simply said that it can? Probably because they will elect to bring it to us in the form of some paid service maybe? Or maybe through virtual console? Or worse yet, not at all, which I do highly doubt.
Despite the Wii U being commercially a huge failure, it does have games I really enjoy and still play. I’m still on my ways to finish Xenoblade Chronicles X, and my brother and I are endlessly trying to get the better hand on each other in Smash 4. At some point I’ll re-visit games like Bayonetta 2 to try my hand at the harder difficulties. I also hear the calls of Wind Waker HD over the distant seas. All the games I have except 2 are digital downloaded games. I love the ease of getting games online and not having to swap out discs and needing to store the games on a nice presentable way, it’s just so darn convenient. Also a big reason I go digital is in a way future proof my library. I would expect if my games are digital, then I can carry them over to next iterations of the console seamlessly. I’m really hoping given that you could play GameCube games on the Wii, Wii games on the Wii U, GB games on the GBA, GBA games on the DS and DS games on the 3Ds, that we would be given some ability for backwards compatibility for the Nintendo Switch to play Wii U with my existing Wii U library.
If Nintendo elects to only allow Wii U titles to be played on the Switch by forcing their fans to dish out more money, this would be a huge slap in the face to the dedicated fans who did support the Wii U through it’s short life and tried to spread the little glory the console may have had. How is Nintendo rewarding these people? Am I expected to spend another $70 on Smash 4 if it ever gets ported to the Wii U? Am I to buy these games on Virtual Console? Or do I have to subscribe to an online service to play these games? I don’t know yet, and the fact that Nintendo hasn’t simply said yes it’s backwards compatible, it leads me to believe we would have to dish out more money to play Wii U games we already own. Given Nintendo’s track record, especially in their dealings with Angry Joe and his Mario Party videos and how Nintendo went after him, I feel like they will want to milk more money from the Wii U titles. I thought Angry Joe said it best. When Nintendo went after him, he was for lack of better words, angry and did not want to support Nintendo anymore. He had every right to be angry, it wasn’t enough that he bought the Wii U, bought the games for it, bought several Pro controllers, and praised the games on it to an audience who generally doesn’t give a damn about the console. Nintendo wanted that money.
I really want to like the Switch, again it’s like a dream console for me. If Nintendo starts rolling out more announced games like a new Smash Brothers game, and man oh man would I love another Metroid game, I may be more inclined to consider it more in the future and maybe get it much later on in it’s life cycle. But for the time being I can’t help but have mixed feelings about it because of the lack of details on backwards compatibility. If I have to spend a single penny to be able to play these games I have already sunk so much money into, Nintendo will lose me as a loyal fan.