With the console’s projected release just a few months away, fans have been anxiously awaiting for any sliver of concrete information about the Nintendo NX. Yesterday, we got more than just that. We got a name, saw the console, saw its key selling points and more. How does it fare at first glance?
The Nintendo Switch is essentially the fully-realized version of the Sega Nomad. It’s a hybrid machine that works as both a home console and portable platform. When connected to a dock, you can play it in the comfort of your couch like a regular video game system. Or, if you want to play on the go, simply take it out of the dock and continue right where you left off, as the core of the unit features a large screen with detachable controllers, or Joy-Cons as Nintendo calls them.
These play a key role in the use of the system. For one, when attached to the core unit, act as your traditional controller. Snapped off, you can either attach those pieces to a shell to form a regular handheld controller, or you can play it as two separate pieces a la the Wii remote and nunchuck. Finally, you can turn them sideways, allowing for two-player multiplayer on the go.
Lots of configurations to wrap your head around, but I love that most of them revolve around the modern controller standards. No weird motion controls, touch controls or shortage of buttons to contend with, though the d-pad has been replaced with the Nintendo 64 style C-buttons. The two Joy-Cons appear to be just fine when attached to the screen, though I’m glad that they also offer a traditional controller for home gaming. That will be my default. As for the sideways half-controller configuration, that looks awfully uncomfortable and impractical. Save for a few rare instances where I have to show my friends something cool and I don’t have extra controllers with me, I don’t see myself resorting to this method of play.
I love the idea of the system being a hybrid, but not necessarily because I want to play a home console on the go. Unless there are games that I just have to continue on my commute, the unit is probably too bulky for me to carry around on a regular basis. That being said, I like this as a consolidation of Nintendo’s product lines. I don’t have to be bummed out that certain Nintendo games are on one platform or another; it’s all in one. Now you can enjoy the epic Zelda game with pretty graphics on the same console you use for a main-line Pokemon game.
Another interesting quirk about the console is that it’s going back to cartridges. More specifically, cards that sort of look like a 3DS cartridge. Assuming that games aren’t limited by storage size, I’m all for it. While battery life on this thing is still a big question mark, it’s easy to assume that if this were a disc-based unit, it would burn through battery even quicker than this cartridge-based solution.
There are still a lot of other questions and concerns I have about the Nintendo Switch. How much will this cost? In terms of third party support, they showed off a large logo shot of all the third parties on board, but they’ve been doing that since the Nintendo 64 and the support has always dried up sooner rather than later. Also, while the game’s they’ve shown so far look nice, we already know that it’s not going to have the same type of horsepower as a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Is that going to hamper this in the long run?
We still have much to learn, but I will say that it makes a good first impression. Unlike the confusing Wii U, the Switch has the perfect name for a simple gaming concept that anyone can quickly wrap their head around. The hardware looks sexy for the most part, and it really has my head pondering where this idea could go. Looking forward to getting more info and finding out when I can pre-order this thing!
Side note, I have the link to the Amazon page below. As of writing, you can’t pre-order just yet, but you can sign up for notifications. When it does go live, I’ll put up a new post with new links. By ordering through me, you get the same prices and reliable service of Amazon, while helping the site keep the lights on!