Nintendo Switch: Gimmick or One Giant Leap for Mario-kind?

The News

The rumors: Confirmed or busted? It’s a little of both . . .

After what feels like years of speculation, Nintendo has finally revealed their plans for their next system. The Nintendo NX is no longer The Last Guardian of gaming hardware. It is also no longer the NX; Nintendo’s new system is officially called the Nintendo Switch.

There have been many rumors surrounding the Switch’s development. The most notable was the idea that Nintendo would be expanding upon the somewhat gimmicky Wii U’s screen-adorned gamepad, focusing on both at-home and handheld gaming in a single system. The truth? Well, it’s exactly that.

The good news? Those “leaked” patent diagrams and photographs of a touchscreen-only controller were mostly off base.

So how do you control it? There’s a number of options . . .

The better news? The dual-purpose system looks so much better than it sounds. The hardware features a fairly diverse array of options for playing games, with an intriguingly flexible take on traditional game controls. While docked, the ‘Joy-Con’ controllers can be attached to a base adapter to give a more traditional gamepad experience. These controllers can also be attached to the sides of the portable tablet component, giving a fairly traditional handheld experience.

Or you can take the tablet and keep the controllers detached.

Or the Joy-Con controllers can be used separately for two-player gaming. Basically, the Nintendo Switch is a Transformer having an identity crisis, and that’s a good thing.

Nintendo also confirmed a Switch version of the Nintendo Pro Controller for an even more traditional option. It’s also kind of awkward to explain in text, so instead, you may wish to check out the trailer for yourself. Because we’re such nice people, we’ve included it below:

Our Take

A console is only as good as its games; here’s what we know so far . . .

Nintendo didn’t talk about specific games, but the trailer does give some nice teases. Perhaps the most notable was the shot of the portable system playing The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. That’s right—We’ll finally get to explore the world of Tameriel on the go (Yes, please!) Of course, this also suggests the system will have a fair amount of power under the small hood.

We also get a glimpse of the next Zelda game running on the system—possibly the least-shocking revelation since the Trump sexual assault allegations. Still, the game looks so beautiful that you’ll undoubtedly want to grab it by the Joy-Cons.

A new 3d Mario game also makes an appearance, as does Take Two’s NBA2K17. I’m happy to see 3rd party games running on the system, even if it’s not the first time Nintendo has claimed an increased focus on outside publishers.

The Switch trailer also teases a new Splatoon while showing off wireless multiplayer gameplay, and an apparent focus on the eSports scene. As a current Overwatch addict, I can only imagine how bad (in a good way) it might be to have competitive gaming on the go. Goodbye, office productivity (Hello unemployment?)

It’s important to note that the official Nintendo press release (linked at the bottom of this article) states “local, face to face” multiplayer, though it’s unclear if that’s in addition to online play.

So, am I sold yet? Not quite . . .

As excited as I am based on the little we’ve seen so far, I do still have some nagging questions. For one, Nintendo kept mum on the price. With the kinds of capabilities shown, I’m worried at the financial investment that may be required in order to jump on board. Additionally, given the systems capabilities compared to current handheld options, I have to wonder how long the tablet can operate without a wired power supply?

The system is slated for release in March of 2017, which means should be a lot more information in the coming months. For Nintendo’s official press release, click here.