Introducing…The Nintendo Switch!

It never fails: Just when I’m about to write a post about how Nintendo fans need to chill out over the lack of news regarding the company’s latest console…Nintendo goes and announces an official introductory trailer for the device.

So what did we learn from this?

From a hardware perspective, there wasn’t a whole lot here that hadn’t already been leaked. We knew that it was going to be a home/handheld hybrid, we knew that controllers were going to be detachable and usable in multiple configurations (although the trailer didn’t show us any games involving motion controllers), and we knew that the system would use cartridges instead of discs. While I was impressed by the on-the-fly transition from home console to handheld in the middle of the freaking game, on the whole this trailer mostly confirmed what we already suspected. (My impression was that the leaks were received well, or at least didn’t inspire a lot of hate, so this was a probably a good thing.)

But then there were the games. This is where the trailer really caught my attention:

  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild? We knew that was coming.
  • Footage from a new Mario game? Looks like Nintendo learned its lesson about having strong titles ready at launch. This was one of the Wii U’s biggest failures, and I would argue that it was the main reason the system flopped. The trailer indicates that the Switch won’t be falling into this trap.
  • Wait…footage from a new Splatoon game? Now you’ve really got my attention. In my aborted post, I was going to say that the Switch had the advantage of drawing titles directly from the Wii U library as ports, considering that the Wii U’s pitiful install base meant that a lot of players hadn’t experienced games like Splatoon or Super Mario Maker yet. Those new Inkling “hairstyles” in the trailer, on the other hand, suggest that Nintendo is rolling out a brand new version of Splatoon for the Switch, and I am so on board with that. (Sadly, Super Mario Maker is being rolled out as a sub-par 3DS port, so we may not see a full version of that on the Switch.)
  • Wait…a basketball game? This tells me that a) third-party developers are on-board with the Switch (another failure of the Wii U that the Switch will avoid), and b) I’m finally going to get to play real sports titles on a Nintendo console again! Thank you, Nintendo! (There was also a Skyrim-esque game shown that I didn’t recognize, which provides further evidence for this point.)
  • Mario Kart was shown as well, but that looked more like a straightforward port of Mario Kart 8…except that MK8’s physical release was on a disc. This indicates that either some Wii U titles will be re-released as Switch cartridges, or that the Switch will have a Virtual Console feature for digital copies of past console games.

Overall, I think this trailer did exactly what it needed to do: Show off the unique features of the Switch, highlight the games that will be available for it, and above all keep the Switch hype train going for its eventual release in March 2017.

Hey, I’m excited.

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