The first thing we need to learn is that video system launches will never again be as exciting as they were when we were young. This is not merely due to the age thing, although obviously that plays a part, but also in how we get our information. As a kid playing the Super Nintendo (Special Pack from Toys R Us with Super Tennis), I would grab the magazines as soon as they came out to see what games were coming. Then later, when my town got an import shop, I would buy things I had only dreamed of (Ranma 1/2!) playing in England.
Now it is different. All the information falls in your lap. Players all over the world could watch the Switch presentation and everyone has an opinion already, and they are spilling it in 140 character chunks. Suddenly a ten year old kid from Cleveland is telling people about it before a professional journalist who was sitting there watching the action unfold. From one angle, this is great – I was at work when the presentation took place, so I was able to come home and watch it and see all the trailers for the games and find out everything there is to know right now. From another, there are very few surprises. And cynicism sinks in – we all want a new Zelda game and a new Mario and then when we are shown these, the Net is full of “IT’S JUST THE SAME PROPERTIES AGAIN!” complaints. I don’t come here to bury Nintendo, I have grown up with them and just seeing Miyamoto playing a Zelda game made me super happy.
But I fear that Nintendo are missing a trick. Launch your console later and put out Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Kart on Day One. Suddenly a lot of people are interested, those casual fans that we always sneer at? That is where the money is, kids, those are the people Nintendo needs in order to combat Microsoft and Sony. We’re not making playing cards anymore, Toto.
Still, we have that beautiful looking Zelda out on Day One. Gotta love some Zelda. But what else? Er, 1-2 Switch looks like it will be fun for a while, but is it going to take over parties in the way that Wii Sports did? I doubt it. That lightning bolt has already struck. Arms? Splatoon 2? Blah.
SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY. Let’s look at the little Italian dude again, shall we? He has a new hat! He can use it to get to out of reach places. Clever. Graphically, this is the closest we have seen to Mario 64 since that classic game and just looking at him running around made me wanna play it. But as I said, it is not a launch title and so this is not a go-grab-it-as-soon-as-it-hits console. Perhaps there will never be one of those again. I do wanna play Zelda though.
Your move, Miyamoto!