It’s as weird as the Wii, which means maybe someone’ll buy it
by Matthew Whitaker
On October 20th, Nintendo revealed their new home gaming console, the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid between a portable and home gaming console, allowing users to play their favorite games on the go or in the comfort of their own homes. Complimenting the tablet-like console is the Nintendo Switch Dock, which connects to the portable unit and allows it to be played on a television. The price of the console has not been announced. While the console’s reveal was a surprise to most, Nintendo had already announced in 2015 that a new piece of Nintendo hardware was coming. In addition, the console’s hybrid design had been leaked several times prior to its reveal. Regardless, the Nintendo Switch has turned out to be a pleasant surprise and a major improvement over Nintendo’s Wii U console.
The Nintendo Switch is a brand-new concept in the gaming industry, mixing elements of traditional gaming and mobile gaming. Its handheld unit, powered by Nvidia technology, offers a strong gaming experience with intuitive controls. The device can be used like a Wii U GamePad, with buttons and a joystick on either side of the screen, allowing it to be held like a tablet. Each joystick and set of buttons is located on detachable controllers known as Joy-Cons, which can be held like a Wiimote and Nunchuck once removed. Two people can each use a Joy-Con to play multiplayer on one unit, and the unit can be propped up with a kickstand for a great portable gaming setup. Also, the device has a traditional controller known as the Switch Pro Controller, which is similar to the Wii U Pro Controller. Aside from the control options, the console has a high-definition display and uses cartridges as its storage format. The handheld unit may be connected to the Nintendo Switch Dock, which has USB ports and connects to a television.
Nintendo has already revealed a selection of games for the Nintendo Switch, with more likely to come. The games’ visuals are stunning and are a major improvement over the Wii U’s graphical capabilities. Three new Nintendo titles were shown in the video including a new three-dimensional Super Mario game as well as new entries in the Mario Kart and Splatoon series. These titles show off the Nintendo Switch’s abilities and uses. For example, the new Mario Kart title demonstrates the ability to use the detachable Joy-Cons for two people to play on one portable unit. It is unclear whether the Mario Kart footage is an entirely new game or a port of Mario Kart 8 with new content. In a similar case, the Splatoon footage shown has some changes from the original Splatoon on Wii U, including new content and a major graphical upgrade, but again does not specify whether the entry is a new game or an enhanced port. The Splatoon footage does demonstrate the Nintendo Switch’s support for local multiplayer between multiple consoles. In addition to the games Nintendo has shown, Sega and Ubisoft have already pledged their support for the console with a new Sonic the Hedgehog game and Just Dance 2017, respectively. It is great to know that the Nintendo Switch has a library of games in the works, as much of the Wii U’s struggle can be attested to its lackluster launch lineup.
The Nintendo Switch seems like a huge improvement over the Wii U, both in power and design. Nintendo struggled with the Wii U because of the console’s weak hardware and gimmicky GamePad concept. The Wii U also had very little third-party support because of the console’s poor capabilities, giving it a very shallow library. Hopefully, the Nintendo Switch will be a breath of fresh air.