There are skeptical articles and videos floating around the Internet this past week after Nintendo’s press conference formally introducing its new console, the Switch. I won’t get into linking to them, because I’m lazy tonight as I write this, but the gist of the questions have to do with the priorities of either hardcore gamers or parents with young kids: Where are the multiplayer games? Too many ports!I’m not sure about playing in tablet mode — less resolution and the controllers will break; Will it come with the standard multimedia options (Netflix, Amazon) so my kids won’ get bored?
Call me out of the loop, but I roll my eyes every time Nintendo unveils a new console and people make an exorbitant amount of time to pick apart what should always be a joyful experience; which is, new Nintendo stuff to play with!
I’ve long lost my pride of calling myself a hardcore gamer. I probably never was. My youth consisted of of getting lost in Mario or Sonic games, or battling my friends in Mario Kart or Goldeneye 007 until the wee hours of weekend mornings. To be sure, I killed a massive amount of time with a game controller in my hand when I was younger. Watching Nintendo’s press conference this time around had me feeling like it was the ’90s all over again. Nintendo appeals to my sense of wonder, when everything in life seemed big, expansive, ready to be explored.
Today’s younger kids won’t remember Discovery Zone, a knock-off of Chuck E. Cheese that was actually better than Chuck E. Cheese. Climbing, sliding and bouncing around in that colorful playground was one of the most tiring, yet fulfilling experiences of my life. So was driving over to San Dimas, CA in the summertime and splashing around at Raging Waters. I don’t like roller coasters, but I love water slides. I’ve never considered myself adventurous, in almost all facets of life, but I certainly appreciated what being a kid was supposed to be about.
There are enough real-life problems for everyone. I’m back in school, trying again to someday attain a full-time job (maybe this foray will be the one?) while working part-time at other places. I don’t have time to sit down for hours on end, lock in online multiplayer and engage in realistic battles that actual brave people fight IRL every single day. How in the world do adults have time in their schedules for that? And isn’t that missing the point of video games?
To be fair, some of those games can be fun, and Microsoft and Sony also offer fantasy-based games. But those games are too intensive, requiring much for the average adult to take on. Kids, bills, school, work … um, outside activities; forget time management, where do adults find the energy to do play these games?
And about the games: that’s a main beef with the Nintendo skeptics. Where are all the games? There aren’t enough launch titles for the March 3 premiere. And before Super Mario Odyssey arrives for the holidays, presumably in November, there’s a so-called dearth of titles for people to play when they’re not saving Princess Zelda.
But the new Zelda, it looks fantastic. Not only in visuals, but in fun-factor. Nintendo has said this will be the most expansive Zelda game to date. The final trailer just might be one of the best cuts ever made for anything. Tell me you won’t be playing that thing for at least a few months. If you’re any kind of person with a normal life, this thing will take forever to finish, and you’ll love every second.
And if you’re an old school gamer like me, you’ll pick up Sonic Mania, a throwback to the Genesis days, where Sonic was king. This game — which comes out in the spring, and for all consoles — should have the been the true sequel to every Sonic title after Sonic CD (Sonic Adventure was above average, but the blue hedgehog should always be in 2D.)
Then of course, it’ll be time for Mario, a game featuring open worlds a la Super Mario 64 and Sunshine. While the Galaxy games were (are) classics, featuring world-class music composition and level design, I found myself checking the one-track mindedness of it all a hindrance to my enjoyment. To be fair, that was the only thing wrong with Galaxy; regardless, it’ll have been over seven years since the last proper 3D Mario adventure hit shelves. From the looks of the trailer, it’ll be worth the wait.
And that’s what I’m betting the Switch will do. Appeal to casual gamers who’ve waited for another Zelda, another Mario, a classic-playing Sonic –maybe Metroid is next? I can’t sit there from 4 p.m. to bed time playing video games like I used to. Honestly, who the hell has time for that? But I know when I do have a spare hour, or a free weekend and I’m exhausted from everything, Nintendo will help me get through it. As an adult, all I really want to do is create a small space in my life for some escapism, with some familiar friends.
No company does that better the Big N.