I hope the Switch can survive. After about a month of nonstop exploring in every corner of Hyrule, looking for Korok seeds and searching for every last dungeon, Nintendo Switch owners are sniffing around for something new to play. Gamers want something big to drop from Nintendo, and the latest installment of Nintendo Direct provided gamers with a little hope. However that hope seems to be on the other side of a chasm.
The Summer lineup of Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and ARMS look fun, but these seem like side games or revamped ports rather than game-changing powerhouses. Splatoon has an enormous following, and it has great potential to be the next big esports game. That being said, I personally did not enjoy the first installment on Wii U, so I’m not personally excited about the sequel. ARMS has my interest though. The game looks surprisingly deep, with unique mechanics that look like they may actually utilize the abilities of the Switch to its full potential. It’s still not yet a game I would buy an entirely new system to play though but it may help add to our library. Mario Kart 8 is a game my family and I have put hundreds of hours into, and a game we all still enjoy. However, I don’t see any reason to repurchase the game and invest in an entirely new controller set up just to play a few new tracks on what is essentially the same game.
All these announcements have sparked decent amount of hype, so what’s my hesitation to jump into the “next generation” with Nintendo? Is it that gamers wake up to announcements of The Last of Us 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5 or the new Uncharted series? Am I unfair in the comparison of the Switch and consoles in the prime of their life? I periodically convince myself that I will buy a Switch, but I’m always hit with déjà vu of buying the WiiU, which took me three years after release to purchase. I see Mario Odyssey in the distance, a game with killer potential, but I also see Injustice 2 (the first one still logs many hours monthly with me), Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, and Agents of Mayhem (a spiritual sequel to Saints Row). None of these games look to be coming to the Switch. I worry what the “great 3rd party support” that Nintendo flaunted at the debut of the Switch means. Are we doomed to expect only sloppy seconds like Skyrim, which has been an established game for nearly six years now (and won’t even come to the Switch until Fall), or will there soon be a new release that truly transcends the console-exclusive barrier? The release of mediocre party-games seems like a huge waste, especially considering the amazing portability of the Switch. When it was announced, I had high hopes of playing any game on the Switch, but right now, those hopes are flying dangerously low.
I know the Switch is only months into its life, and is still selling like hotcakes (and highly unobtainable), but I want this system to be more than another Zelda/Mario Machine. My Wii U collection consists entirely of first-party games, and it goes through cycles of collecting dust in lieu of my main consoles, to becoming my main console because these games have such high replay value. It’s undeniable, they’re just plain fun. My wife and I still make each other levels in Super Mario Maker, fight to the death on “Final Destination” with Smash Bros (no items of course), or pull on our cat suits and try to find missing Stamps in Super Mario 3D World. But, this enjoyment wanes after a while. What I really want is one perfect console, and it seems like the Switch might possibly be that all-in-one gaming machine.
Am I expecting something I should not from Nintendo? Do I want the same experience with my Switch as I get with my PS4 or Computer? Or should I be happy with my Mario/Zelda Machine? A Nintendo-only game-player isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I feel a lot of potential that has not yet been revealed with the Switch. I know I’ll purchase one someday, that’s undeniable. Nintendo pushes the videogame industry to think past what is expected, or even what is normal. Perhaps all the Switch needs is time to show us what it can truly be. I will always be a Nintendo fan, so for now I am content to wait.
Will the Switch survive? Again, I hope. There is too much excitement, too much potential, and too much at stake for it not to. But, until some harder-hitting releases come out, I’ll have to drown my contentment in the new Breath of the Wild Amiibos. Those are an insta-buy.