Nintendo Switches Up the Game

Jared Cacace, Staff Writer

On March 4th, 2017, Nintendo released what very well may be the future of gaming as we know it. They have deviated from the norm yet again and decided that just putting as much power as they possibly could into a box wouldn’t cut it. And so, with this creative, passionate, imaginative ideology in mind, Nintendo began selling the Nintendo Switch through video game retailers all across the world.

There has been a lot leading up to the highly anticipated release of Nintendo’s newest console. With Nintendo’s last console, the Wii U, being an abysmal failure commercially, there’s a lot riding on Nintendo to make sure the new console sells well. According to the statistics listed on Nintendo’s own website, the Wii U only sold 13.56 million units worldwide compared to the Xbox 360’s 84 million and the Playstation 3’s approximate 83.8 million. If the Switch doesn’t sell, they may not have the means to continue manufacturing their own hardware alongside Microsoft and Sony whose current consoles include the Xbox One and Playstation 4, respectively. Luckily, Nintendo caught on and made a much better point of making sure they marketed their system as much as possible, including a commercial for the system during the Superbowl and a plethora of ads on a myriad of TV stations and websites.

So what makes the Nintendo Switch different from their previous consoles and those of their competitors? The main allure of the console is the fact that it can give you a full HD console experience anytime, anywhere. Then you can place the screen in a dock plugged into your TV via an HDMI cable and play it on there as a normal home console. The Switch is composed of three main components that make this possible. First, there is the screen itself which contains the cartridge slot and the actual system and hardware required to make the console run games. Next, there are the unique controllers for the system called “joycons,” which are two separate, rectangular controllers with rounded corners that come in a set of two gray controllers or a neon blue and neon red pair. These one of a kind, innovative controllers can easily attach and detach themselves to the screen, making the transition from handheld to TV mode (or table top mode, more on that later) seamless. The final piece of the triad is the dock where you plug the HDMI cable (the dock is required for TV play) and the charger for the screen (you can also plug the charger directly into the switch itself without the dock). This setup allows for three different, unique ways to play the same game and are known as handheld mode, tabletop mode, and tv mode. Handheld mode lets you play Nintendo Switch games wherever you want as you connect the joycons to the side of the screen and hold it as you play the game. Tabletop mode lets you play the Switch on the go without holding up the screen as you detach the joycons, deploy a kickstand located on the back of the console, and place the console on a surface in front of you. It essentially works as a smaller, portable TV for your games. The last mode is called TV mode and is the classic method of playing a video game, controller (or controllers in the Switch’s case) in hand as you play the game that is projected onto the tv screen just like any other home console.

The retail price for the Nintendo Switch at launch is $300 and it comes with all the components of the system: the charger, an HDMI cable, and what Nintendo is calling the “joycon grip,” a little plastic holder for the joycons that is meant to simulate a more traditional video game controller when in tv mode. There are no games in the packs, and the launch lineup is somewhat scarce with only about 9 games for sale and a decent portion of them being made up of ports of games already available on other platforms. However, there is one game that really steals the show, and that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is the first entry in this fan favorite series in almost six years and has received vast, critical acclaim with an average score of 97 on Metacritic, making it one of the best reviewed games of all time. Some of the scores that make up this fantastic score include Gameinformer’s 10/10, Time’s 5/5, and Gamespot’s 10/10. Couple this with the fact that you can take this masterpiece anywhere you want and still play it only adds to the interest and attractiveness of the console. Other standouts include the entertaining, adorable multiplayer puzzle game, Snipperclips and the gorgeous, fast paced, energetic racing game, Fast RMX that also has multiplayer to boot.

With Nintendo now confirming that they are doubling production of the Switch to 16 million units from the 8 million that they had originally announced, the future’s looking bright for Nintendo’s newest console. While the lineup that is available now may not tickle everyone’s fancy, there is a variety of unique, fun games coming down the pipe that many people of different tastes and preferences can enjoy. Some of these highly anticipated releases include a number of indie games from smaller developers throughout the lifespan of the Nintendo Switch, a new entry in the Mario Kart series coming at the end of April, and the sequel to the critically acclaimed third person shooter featuring kid-squid hybrid creatures who use colored ink as ammo, Splatoon, arriving sometime this summer. Hopefully, Nintendo will be able to encompass the magic that made their games and consoles so enjoyable, nostalgic, and timeless in this new era of gaming history.   

* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license