I shelled out hundreds of dollars for this thing, and yet – I have no interest in playing it. What am I finding wrong at this point in the game with Nintendo’s latest console?
Almost every night for the past week, my boyfriend Jon will say, “you should play Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” The exchange usually ends with me saying, “we’ll see,” or “maybe not tonight, I’ve got (insert task here) to do.” Jon will usually say okay, pull the Switch out of its dock, and play for a couple of hours.
I’m generally a pretty jealous person. I was an only child, so I’m not usually good with sharing (sorry!) but I noticed something odd with each of our recent interactions: I don’t care all that much about the system. I don’t care that nine times out of ten, my boyfriend is huddled over the tablet-like device while I do something else. Since we brought it home, I’ve only played with it for about an hour and a half, and I’m honestly not wowed. I don’t find myself running home to go play with the darn thing, and I’m not excited by the handful of games that are available to play. I think back to when I owned an N64, and used to get mad at the kids who came over and played Goldeneye 64 for more than five minutes at a time. Who did they think they were?! The audacity of it all! (Hah!) I think back to when I received a Wii for Christmas, when I set it up in less than 15 minutes and played Wii Sports (yeah, I like Wii Sports. Shut up.) the entire day.
I’m finding with each passing day I’m more and more unimpressed with the Switch. While it’s easy to handle and has some moderately interesting features (the JoyCons are a neat concept) I’m still not completely sold.
Yes, you can take it out of its dock and bring it with you. Guess what? You can do all kinds of portable gaming on your phone, your 3DS, and your tablet. This is not anything new in 2017, and I feel like Nintendo is trying to sell on-the-go gaming as if it’s some new bastion. (Yo, you guys are also responsible for Super Mario Run, remember?) What’s more, the Switch feels like a tablet. Stepping out of the box for a moment though, it might be because there isn’t really anything else (except for tablets, because they’re pretty similar) to compare it to. Battery life is also hit-and-miss. I talked to Jon about how much battery life you get on the go with the Zelda game, and according to him, it amounts to about two hours or so, give or take. Though, he does tell me that the Switch, out of its dock, doesn’t work as hard as when it’s in it, and argues that the battery life is just as good as his 3DS.
What I also have an issue with is the gun-jumping Nintendo is resorting to. Part of me thinks Nintendo is trying to slingshot itself back into the success of its yesteryears. As a fan, I’d like to see them go all out when they launch a console, not just release it – and then allow me to play, what, two games? Yippie. (Sarcasm.exe.) You have to play ball, and let the third parties in; help them get through the development process, and just suck it up. I do appreciate the direction they’re going in when it comes to luring in independent publishers, but there are titles that you just can’t give up with some of the major developers if you’re going to have a competitive library. I also know it’s a bit of a different situation when you’re comparing the PS4 (Sony) and XBoxOne (Microsoft) because those are brands that are not exclusively gaming brands, but when your scope is limited, you’re going to bore your consumers. As of publishing this piece, there are only 40 games available for the Switch – some of which are titles that have been ported over to the unit. The only impressive title in the library at this point seems to be Breath of the Wild. If you take the Zelda game out of the equation, the Switch isn’t really all that intriguing.
What’ll probably irk people more is how scarce the supply of Switches are. In our Nintendo Switch episode special on Just the Tip, Jon and I talked about how the console was not easy to get. It involved hours of driving around from city to city, and eventually lining up very early one morning out at a random stop in Abbotsford to pick one up. It’s not common to be in a line-up with as many as 20 or 30 people right at store opening each day, hoping to get your hands on this mythical, unicorn-like gadget.
When I look at the Switch, I see more of Nintendo’s 2017 mandate, and less of a playable console. I don’t see due care in planning and execution, I see “oh, here’s our new console. Good luck with that!” I’m not excited, and I’m barely holding on as a fan, so here’s hoping Nintendo is able to work its magic to get some of the other lost fans back on board.