Nintendo revealed their new console using a 3 minute and 37 second trailer that showed viewers just a sliver of what this console is capable of.
The new console from Nintendo is officially going to be named the “Nintendo Switch,” obviously a departure from the codename of NX, which was exactly that: a codename. Just one thought about the name “Nintendo Switch:” it is slightly amusing to me that one could think about it in terms of “Hey, we really want to switch away from this Wii/Wii U thing” (but I obviously understand “Switch” is representative of the idea that the console itself can switch from living room console to portable handheld).
The trailer begins with a man in his living room, playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, when his beautiful big dog suddenly barks for his attention (I SO can identify with that…good job Nintendo… no sarcasm, my dog does this exact thing). Since we certainly can’t disconnect and just stop playing for ten minutes to let our dog out, Nintendo is enabling us to take our games on-the-go with the new “Nintendo Switch” console. The trailer’s first example of the portable nature of “Nintendo Switch” shows the man taking off two panels from the sides of a controller, and then attaching those two panels onto a Gamepad-like screen that was secured between a little groove within the Nintendo Switch console itself.
The buzz surrounding Nintendo’s new console always was that it would be a home and handheld console hybrid, and this first trailer scene confirmed that right away.
Taking a home console out for a portable experience is a great idea, in theory and if executed properly. I’m a bit concerned about the size of the handheld screen version of the Nintendo Switch; a 3DS XL can fit into my pockets, but feels pretty big, so I wonder how the “Switch” will do in pant pockets because it looks almost as big as a Wii U GamePad. And on that note, is there no protective cover or casing for this screen controller when you’re transporting it? None of these concerns seem to be covered (pun intended) throughout the various scenes in the preview trailer.
Another rumor that seems to likely have been confirmed is the use of cartridges, rather than discs, for games to run on Nintendo Switch. A scene of a man and woman in the airport appears to show the man start his portable “Switch” after pushing in a game cartridge that looks quite similar to 3DS cartridges. This begs the question, will there still be a disc slot somewhere? The trailer showed a few Wii U titles being played on the Nintendo Switch, like Splatoon and Mario Kart 8. The other question is, if the console uses cartridges, will there be full 3DS backwards compatibility? These are the questions…
To show just how portable this system can be, Nintendo also made it clear that there are several approaches to using this portable “Switch” screen aside from just physically holding it. One other example is using the little kickstand that can be deployed from the underside of the screen to prop it up for you. Detach the side controller panels, drop down the stand leg, and you could play on an airplane! And while it should be obvious, perhaps it’s worth mentioning that there is a headphones aux port for you to listen on your headphones or speakers.
The next example of using the Nintendo Switch screen has a bit of mystery as to whether the console itself will come with some extra accessories or not, but the preview trailer contained a scene of some friends playing Mario Kart 8 in a van, with the screen mounted between the seats.
It’s unclear whether the mount in the image above will come packaged with the console at launch, or if it’s an entirely separate accessory. This scene in the trailer, however, stresses that you really can take this thing almost anywhere and have a few options at your disposal for how you’re going to display your screen.
As the two backseat passengers in the van were playing Mario Kart 8, fans are already excited at the possibility of an update or DLC that not only adds King Boo, but adds a dual-item feature that allows you to stockpile an item after already grabbing your first item. But in terms of the Nintendo Switch, this scene in the van also demonstrated that each of the side panels that can be taken off the portable screen can also be played horizontally, allowing two different players to utilize the two parts of that one controller. Boy, I sure hope consumers don’t get confused by all of this…
The quick tease of a new Mario platform game was definitely a welcome surprise for many viewers, surely. Very little can be said about it at this point, but it seems to be similar to Super Mario 64, Mario Galaxy, and/or Mario Sunshine. We will have to wait and see.
And if it wasn’t clear enough, Nintendo threw in a trailer scene to show an eSports environment around their Wii U title, Splatoon, but played on the Nintendo Switch. They made it a point to show four people with four different “Switch” screens, on their little kickstands, all playing a match in Splatoon together online. So the point is, clearly, that the Nintendo Switch is a full-functioning console with online capabilities even when the screen is not docked into the home console itself.
The Nintendo Switch certainly does seem versatile, but with consumers proving that they couldn’t even understand the Wii U being separate from the Wii, one can only hope for Nintendo’s sake that they can now grasp that this new console is a handheld and home hybrid. The two panels with face buttons and joysticks can either be attached to the side of the portable screen, detached and played almost like a Wiimote/Nunchuck combo, or can be combined with a controller that has a middle panel on it for a full controller experience. Nintendo is also still sticking by their proposed March 2017 release date, as noted at the end of the preview trailer, so hopefully there will be no delays. We will all wait in anticipation of what the Nintendo Switch has to offer, as Nintendo only scratched a thin surface with this preview trailer.