Well, that's how you unveil a console. Goddamn.
Both Alex and myself braved the late reveal of the Nintendo Switch. We have thoughts. We have reactions.
They're pretty universally positive because um... I want one of those things.
Alex: So, it's not long after 1:00 AM Sydney time. I'm more or less wrapped in a blanket, somehow still freezing, and yet I don't mind a bit.
Because I've just seen the NX. It's ... sleek. It's slim. It's very, very small.
And even though its capabilities seem more or less in line with what everyone was expecting over the last few months — those patent finds weren't far off the mark — Nintendo knows how to make it seem cool.
What do you think, Mark?
Mark: I love it. By christ I love it.
I love the name. It might be the first Nintendo console name in a over a decade that didn't make me projectile vomit upon hearing it.
I love the stupid little finger click the ad made.
I love the concept. Jesus wept, did someone just make a console for me and my goddamn lifestyle where I have screaming kids watching Sonic Underground on Netflix for some reason and my wife watching The Block on our communal laptop.
I just click my fingers and CLICK. I'm playing Zelda on this cool screen with its cool controls and shit.
Then CLICK. I'm driving to Canberra for some ungodly reason, but I've convinced my wife to drive because I'm playing that new 3D Mario game they showed off.
And it's March 2017 Alex. That's five months away. FIVE MONTHS.
Sorry, I haven't been this excited by a gaming console in a while. This motherfucker has blown the cobwebs out of my ears.
Alex: I'm more excited for this than the PS4 Pro or Scorpio.
You know why?
There are games I can't take with me. I'd like to, but smartphones haven't quite gotten there. And Nintendo knows that. That premium gaming experience on mobiles is all too often sacrificed for games that aren't littered with microtransactions or designed in such a way that they leverage that little reward centre of your brain 24/7.
And so the door is open for these massive worlds, games that you could spend hundreds of hours in.
Think about doing all your crafting and grinding in Skyrim on the bus.
Fuck, a portable Skyrim. What a way to end the week right there.
But even something like a fully portable NBA 2K17. I can do my crappy workouts in the gym and get one or two extra games done a day on the train. On something that looks less obtrusive than a fat iPad.
AND you get Zelda, Mario Kart, probably Smash, Splatoon, a new 3D Mario as well?
Please don't price this console above $400. Do everyone a favour and make it $300.
But it'll probably be $399. And you know what? You and I will still pay that in a heartbeat. Because the Switch is the kind of console that fits into our lives.
Consoles don't really do that. We have to make time for them. It's fun, and I love doing it, but fuck.
That's how you reveal a console.
Mark: There's a lot of unanswered questions for sure: price (which I agree with you on), backwards compatibility, specs (which I'm actually not too interested in) — but right now I'm just really reveling in a high concept that I adore. A console that just really feels built for me on a number of levels.
It's smart on about a million different levels. This is Nintendo taking what it's arguably done best over the last ten years — handhelds — and expanding that into this clever hybrid. There's a clear gap in the market here. Tablets can't do what the Nintendo Switch will do. Consoles won't be able to do what the Nintendo Switch will do. It's classic Nintendo — making something feel familiar and disruptive at the precise same time.
The third party stuff? It's a promise Nintendo's been making since the GameCube days and I certainly don't expect them to fulfil it this time round. It actually doesn't matter. If Nintendo is putting all their eggs in the Switch basket (which I suspect they are — why have the switch and and a dedicated handheld device?) Nintendo will be able to put the full force of their development teams onto one single console for the first time since forever.
That's a game changer. A big issue for Nintendo in recent years has been their inability to create a steady supply of games for both the 3DS and the Wii U at the same time. You can see them shift focus: for a while the Wii U was game rich, then it was the 3DS. Now Nintendo just have to deal with one. single. console. That's got to be a positive.
People buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games, and I suspect we're going to see a lot of them.
Alex: The real question now will be support.
The Wii U got a bad wrap. But it deserved all the criticism it got for not having enough third-party support.
There was plenty of third-party support in that trailer. But the Switch has to be a legitimate third option, and not just for shovelware 12 months after release. It looks like a great console for massive open-world games with lots of busy work.
If Nintendo can convince developers to stick with it. And finding some way to make life easy for indies to make games on it wouldn't hurt, either, especially in the lean months.
But old habits die hard. How's the Switch when it comes to an online store? Is it going to be overpriced to the rafters?
Even if the Switch never got anything other than Nintendo games ... well, it'd still do real well. But I want Nintendo to try for more. Using the NVIDIA Tegra chip means it's not going to come close to the PS4 or Xbox One. At launch.
So Nintendo need to make up for that in other ways. Like lots of games that are great on the go. And not just their games, either.
Show me how much you've learned.
Mark: Honestly, this console has gotten me legitimately hyped. It's been a long time since I've felt that way about anything.
Also, one last thing.
What are you thoughts on the Nintendo Switch reveal? Let us know below.