Breaking Down the Info from the Hybrid Console’s Big Presser
When Nintendo finally revealed the Switch back in late October, I was left more excited about the company’s future in hardware than I have been in years. Granted, that initial trailer was the idealized vision of the console: it was direct in its messaging while shrewdly omitting any hype-strangling details like battery life, resolution, and, most importantly, price. What we were left with was the exciting prospect of console quality games (like the newest Zelda opus) on a handheld hybrid that features modular controllers; a machine that cobbles together what Nintendo is best at – forward thinking portability and first-party games so good they stand head and shoulders with the best this industry has to give.
On Thursday, Nintendo began filling in the blanks, setting about to answer (at least some) of the questions fans have had circling in their heads since the system’s unveiling. You can watch the entire conference here but, coming from someone that sat through a livestream of the proceeding – awaiting something, anything, that signaled Nintendo’s return to form – I’d recommend just reading up on the cliff notes.
Though the affair was poised in the same fashion as one of Sony’s knockout E3 conferences, Nintendo couldn’t land the same blows. I began the show with more enthusiasm than Nintendo let me leave with. After the abject failure of the Wii U (a console that only managed to push slightly north of 13 million units – the worst sales in Nintendo’s hardware history barring the Virtual Boy) the Switch needed to be touted as a reckoning. It was Nintendo’s chance to convince the fence-sitters to choose their side of the picket. We didn’t get that Thursday night.
Nintendo has always floundered in the stage show department, though. You’re asking the same company that thought this shit was a good idea to try and wow us in an hour and a half. Nintendo’s like that shy kid at the back of the class: he tests well and always turns in his homework, but the second you ask him to walk up to the board and present, he becomes a mumbling, incoherent mess. Of course they shit the bed. This is Nintendo we’re talking about. Credit to that first Switch video, though. I fell for it, too! I wrongly assumed Nintendo was trying to demonstrate they’ve turned a new leaf (no pun intended, Animal Crossing fans). At the presentation, however, it seems Nintendo isn’t just making its same old mistakes but brand new ones.
But I think it’s important to remember that a poor showcase isn’t enough reason to condemn the hardware itself. The tech, despite Nintendo’s aloof messaging, still looks cool. So let’s try to unpack what we learned at the showcase (and the info we gleaned in the days following) without having to suffer through awkward squid doctors and a translator whose probably looking for a new job right about now:
Brings me back to being 8 years old. Saturday morning; just me, my controller, a freshly rolled joint, and Ocarina of– wait a second…
Katsuya Terada - Zelda Artwork