My boyfriend and I have a complicated emotional relationship with Nintendo. Over the past couple of years, Nintendo has favored limited print runs of a lot of its products (as I discussed here), and it often feels like the company is both dishonest and out of touch with its consumers.
Nintendo reps are as slippery as politicians when speaking about the company's future plans. For example, in March, Nintendo denied rumors that it was planning to stop production of the Wii U. By November, Nintendo confirmed that production of the Wii U is indeed coming to a close. Nintendo also suggested for a long time that the NX would not be a replacement for the Wii U, although that's clearly what the Switch is intended to be.
That said, we still went out and preordered the Nintendo Switch this week. And I'm really excited about it for two major reasons.
1) Nintendo is willing to experiment.
I like that Nintendo consoles have a totally different vibe from other gaming devices. Although I am not an XBox or PC gamer, I own and love a PS3, PS4, and Vita. I feel like people who play on any of these platforms are able to have some common gaming experiences. When it comes to XBox or PlayStation, choosing a console is mostly a matter of personal taste and possibly a preference for exclusives like Fable (XBox) or Uncharted (PlayStation). PC gamers have a wider range of options, but a lot of games are released for both console and PC.
Nintendo, on the other hand, is never afraid to offer something completely different. The Switch is unlike any console out there. Not only are the detachable controllers going to lead to games with interesting mechanics, but Nintendo is never afraid to release weird games in general. (Game & Wario, anyone?) One of the mini-games in 1-2-Switch, one of the launch titles, is going to involve milking cows, and another will allow for living room sword fights that allow you to focus on your opponent instead of the screen. (Alas, I might be waiting until it comes down in price.) I'm also excited about Arms, a fighting game in which you and your opponent wail on each other with weird, stretchy appendages. This is too wonky and fun-looking NOT to play:
2) Nintendo first-party games are excellent, period.
Even Wii U haters will admit at this point that the console's failures were not a result of bad games. The Wii U has had some incredible releases, including entries into established franchises such as Super Mario 3D World and new IPs like Splatoon. The Wii U's gaming tablet also allowed for interesting and creative games like Mario Maker. Although the Switch has a weak initial lineup, I expect to be occupied with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for quite some time. And I have no doubt that Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 will be excellent—and here relatively soon. If you judge Nintendo by the quality of the first-party games it produces, you cannot help but have faith in Nintendo consoles, even when the business end of things is clumsy.
Nintendo has been stumbling in the last few years. It's not clear that they have learned their lesson with the Switch. The company has also picked up a lot of haters—even some Gamestop employees have openly pooh-poohed our Nintendo purchases over the past few years, and I have to wonder if that attitude has impacted sales to undecided consumers. But without Nintendo, something would be irrevocably lost from the world of video games, and I don't want to see that happen. So we're getting a Switch, and I have faith in it. Nintendo can always be trusted to do one thing: produce excellent games that will be fun and different. Also, by early March, Epona and I will be riding off into the sunset, and I can't wait.