Nintendo Switch Presentation Thoughts

The big Nintendo Switch presentation was held last night (you can watch it here), showing off the upcoming system and some of its games. There’s a lot to digest in that presentation, and I’m not going to talk about everything. I’m just going to cover what particularly interested me, for better or worse.

Most importantly, and somewhat surprisingly, the system is launching worldwide on March 3rd. That’s only seven weeks away! It seems odd that it’s coming so soon and we’re just now learning about it. The U.S. price will be $299.99, which is reasonable.

The hardware has some interesting features, including a sensor that can recognize hand gestures, and a new “HD rumble” ability. A capture button lets you take screenshots of games (and eventually, record videos as well). And of course, you can take the system with you and play on the go, but I probably won’t be using it that way very often. Interestingly, the system is region-free, meaning you can play imported games from other regions.

The system uses cartridges, not discs, and it is not backwards compatible. Backwards compatibility is something that Nintendo has been including in their systems for the past decade, but not this time. So if you want to keep playing your Wii U or 3DS games, you’ll need to hang on to those systems.

I’m now going to talk some more about the highlights of the presentation:

The Good

Zelda at Launch

Surprisingly, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a launch game, coming out along with the system on March 3rd. It’s been a long time since the last new console Zelda game (Skyward Sword back in 2011), so I’m more than ready to begin a new adventure. I’m just hoping they didn’t rush the game in order to get it ready for launch.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon is probably my favorite game from the past two years, and I still play it regularly. So it’s probably not a big surprise that my favorite part of the presentation was Splatoon 2. Thankfully, it’s not just a rehash, it’s a full-fledged sequel. Here’s the trailer.

There’s a jetpack power-up? A storm cloud that rains ink? And those inkrails from the story mode of the first game? A dodge roll maneuver? And of course, new maps to fight on. There seems to be a lot of new additions, and I can’t wait to play the game. It’s coming out in the summer, which sounds great to me.

Super Mario Odyssey

The trailer started out showing Mario in a realistic style city, climbing up buildings and jumping off skyscrapers. Admittedly, that seems like an odd scenario for Mario. But then it shows Mario in other environments that seem more fitting for a Mario game, like a platform-filled forest, a desert, a giant vegetable garden, an underwater area, and so on. So he’s not just in the Mushroom Kingdom, he seems to get around this time.

Mario can be seen throwing his hat and then using it as a platform to jump on. His hat also sprouts eyes at the end of the trailer. So the hat seems to be the key to some of the new power-ups and/or abilities.

But most importantly, they said Super Mario Odyssey is the first Mario game since Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine to provide a “large sandbox world” to run around in.  As much as I enjoyed Super Mario 3D World and the Super Mario Galaxy games, they didn’t provide the same sense of exploration that the first 3D Mario games had. So I’m really excited to see Mario return to this style at last. Super Mario Odyssey will come out later this year in time for the holidays.

The Bad

Paid Multiplayer

Beginning in the autumn, online play will require a subscription to Nintendo’s online service. This is a change in strategy for Nintendo, as online play for Nintendo games has been free for over a decade. I am not happy about this, and I think it really limits their potential user base.

We don’t know the details of the plan(s) yet, but the mere fact that a paid account will be required will turn a lot of people off. Not everyone can afford paying fees just to play the games they already bought and paid for. It eliminates the casual online player who might only play online occasionally. And that reduces the pool of players for all of us.

On the bright side, subscribers will get a monthly bonus. Each month, you’ll be able to play a designated game of the month, which will be either a NES or SNES game, with newly-added online play. You don’t get to keep the game permanently (unless you buy it, presumably), but the monthly rental is a nice little bonus. But still, it’s hard to say if this is a good deal or not since we don’t know how much the service will cost yet.

Launch Lineup

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is coming for launch. So is 1-2-Switch, which is a gimmicky looking mini-game that looks awful. And then there’s…well, that’s it. At least of the first-party games. Hopefully some third-party companies will pick up the slack, because that launch lineup looks pathetic. I don’t understand why they’re rushing to get the Switch out so soon when the first-party games aren’t ready.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Even though Mario Kart wasn’t mentioned during the presentation, Nintendo posted a trailer afterwards. Unlike Splatoon 2, which is a full sequel, this is basically a port of the Wii U game with a proper battle mode added, and some new characters and tracks (including one based on Splatoon).

As someone who already bought Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, and then paid again for the two DLC packs, I have no interest in buying the game again…especially at full price. And Mario Kart 8 wasn’t exactly one of my favorite Mario Kart games to begin with.

It would be nice if Nintendo gave a discounted price to people who bought and registered the game on Club Nintendo (and/or bought the DLC), but that’s probably quite unlikely. Still, that’s about the only way I would even consider buying it.

Re-releasing this game may be good for people who never bought a Wii U. But to me, it looks like a lazy money grab. And furthermore, Mario Kart games have always been limited to one per system. So this could prevent us from getting a true Mario Kart sequel on Switch. Of course, that might not be a horrible thing if they used those resources to make a different racing game instead (*cough* F-Zero *cough*), but I digress.

No-Shows

Aside from the previously known games, I was hoping for some unexpected surprises that interested me. Despite some rumors beforehand, Mother 3 was not confirmed. There was no Animal Crossing announced, no F-Zero, no Metroid, no Donkey Kong, no Pikmin, and not even a Smash Bros. game.

Of course there is still plenty of time for those franchises to show up, but even a confirmation of a future game would go far for people on the fence about buying a Switch. Especially when some of those series have been ignored on console for years.

Final Thoughts

The presentation was definitely a mixed bag. I’m excited about the system, and in particular, the big three of Zelda, Splatoon 2, and Super Mario Odyssey. I definitely plan on buying a Switch, and in fact, I’ve already pre-ordered it. Once it comes out, I’ll be covering the system with future blog entries and videos on Youtube.

There are some disappointing aspects, but most of them can (and will) be remedied in the future. If Nintendo is indeed going to focus all their development teams on Switch (as opposed to splitting them with 3DS or another handheld system), that alone is reason to be optimistic about the first-party support we’ll be getting from Nintendo. Let’s hope the Switch does better than the mostly-forgettable Wii U.

Long live Nintendo Switch!


Want to pre-order Zelda: Breath of the Wild or check the prices of Joy-Con controllers?

NX Revealed as Nintendo Switch

Nintendo unveiled their upcoming home system today, Nintendo Switch. It was previously known as NX. Many of the rumors and leaks proved to be true, as it can be played as a home console or taken with you as a portable. Here is the full trailer if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Name

NX is now Nintendo Switch…I’m not sure I like the name. It’s a bit generic sounding, and just one letter off from Twitch. But maybe the name will grow on me. At least it’s a much better name than Wii U. But then again, what isn’t?

At Home or On the Road

Attached to the main console (which looks like a tablet) are two controllers called Joy-Cons. Each one has an analog stick and four buttons. They can be detached and used as separate controllers for some games.

Detaching Nintendo Switch Joy-cons
All photos courtesy of Nintendo.

When played at home on a TV, you slide the system into a dock. The Joy-Cons can be attached to a Joy-Con Grip to be used as a single, solid controller as seen here.

Nintendo Switch system in the dock.That looks like it could be a bit awkward. But fortunately, there is also a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller you can use. That’s more like it. I imagine I’ll be using this most of the time.

Nintendo Switch Pro ControllerThe trailer shows people taking their Nintendo Switch with them, and playing together in a variety of locations. You know people are going to lose those Joy-Cons, and you have to wonder if they will stay attached firmly after years of use. I have trouble keeping my New 3DS XL stylus from falling out of my system, and it’s only a year old.

I don’t think I’ll have that problem with Switch personally though, as I will probably keep my system in the dock most of the time.

Touch Screen?

From the trailer, it doesn’t appear that the screen is a touch screen. Nobody is shown using it that way. And indeed, if the console is going to be in the dock much of the time, I don’t even see how it could be a touch screen. Many things possible on Wii U and 3DS won’t be possible on Nintendo Switch if that is the case, though.

Even though I prefer standard controls in general, you can’t deny that the touch screen works great for some things. Can you imagine Super Mario Maker without a touch screen, for example? If there truly is no touch screen feature, that seems a bit surprising. But I’m okay with it.

The Games

We all know about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But the Nintendo Switch trailer showed some other games as well, including a new Mario game, a new Splatoon, Mario Kart, Skyrim, and more. Unfortunately, they didn’t provide specifics on these games, such as official titles or release dates. They’re not even 100% confirmed as Switch games yet.

Nintendo Switch logo
My Thoughts

Since a lot of this information was already leaked, there weren’t really any huge revelations other than the new, official name. I’m glad it’s still on track for a March 2017 release, but I wish we had more information about what games were coming, and when.

There’s still the question of what happens to the 3DS line. Nintendo is referring to Switch as a home gaming system. Does that mean they’ll still be making portable systems beyond 3DS? If so, their software development will still be split. And as this past generation has shown, Nintendo doesn’t seem to be able to fully support two systems at once. At least, not without strong third-party support.

And even though Nintendo may boast about have lots of partners working on Switch games, that doesn’t mean much. Because that support can dry up in a hurry if sales aren’t high enough.

But I am optimistic about Nintendo Switch. If Nintendo puts their full support behind it (which I don’t feel they did with Wii U), I feel it can be a success. I’m definitely looking forward to the system. Bring it on.

Ten Years on Youtube

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my Youtube channel, jvgsjeff. I want to thank all of you who have watched my videos over the past ten years. To celebrate, I made a new video that’s a follow-up to one of my most popular videos, Wii Fit Plus: Obsctacle Course FAILS. This new one is based on Wii Fit U, and it features FAILS from a variety of game modes. That includes not just the obstacle courses, but also Snowball Fight, Soccer Heading, Dessert Course, Climbing, and more. It should provides some laughs and/or smiles. 🙂

It was ten years ago today (October 9th, 2006) that I joined Youtube and uploaded my first video. That video was a tour of my Animal Crossing house on Nintendo GameCube.

I’ve made many Animal Crossing videos over the past ten years, but I’ve also made a number of Mario, Harvest Moon, and Splatoon videos, among others. I plan on making game videos for many more years to come! I’m particularly looking forward to the Wii U version of Stardew Valley, the NX in general, and future Animal Crossing games. Thank you all very much! 🙂