Boris & Nigel have a lot to answer for.
I didn’t get too upset about the £300 million that didn’t go to the NHS every week because there was no point at which I ever believed that was actually going to happen. I am on an almost daily basis both vexxed and dismayed by the scandalous affront to my wallet and tastebuds that is today’s £3 meal deal. But £280 for the new Nintendo Switch? With no pack-in game to show for it? £70 for a second pair of controllers (or for some reason, £40 for each half)? Up to £60 for a game? Are they having a bubble? The bleak dystopia 1980’s science-fiction tried oh so desperately to warn us of has finally come to past. And our old friend, turned comic-book super villian, Nintendo is up front, leading the charge.
I jest of course. Obviously; not that deep. Far worse things are happening to the world right now. That this announcement was made in the in same month Trump is to be handed the keys to largest arsenal of nuclear weapons the planet has ever seen is a plan and simple coincidence. And as long as the Switch has a bunch of compelling new experiences to share, then the price of is entry just is what it is, right? If Nintendo comes out swinging, with an airtight roster of charming and innovative franchises, that prove just why Nintendo are the Disney of the videogames industry then everything will be alright, right?
Yeah… About that…
Zelda: Breath Of the Wild looks immense, in every sense of the word. I can see it ending up on everyone’s game of the year list come December. But its a Wii U game that has also been ported up to the new system. Not in and of itself a compelling reason to upgrade if you already own the previous one. The same again goes for Mario Kart 8, which isn’t even due to launch until a couple of months after the machine its supposed to be showcasing. And Splatoon 2 may as well have been called ‘Spatoon 1.5 redux: more HDerer than it was previously, not that the last one looked too shabby, eh’?
Although that is admittedly, not quite as catchy sounding now as it first sounded in my head.
Arms is new. We like new.
Its like Wii Sports Boxing, but with… um…erm… ah… Its like Wii Sport Boxing! It should be fun, depending on the depth of the experience, the accuracy of the motion sensors, and entertainment you think you’ll derive from swinging your arms around like Connor McGregor at a windmilling competition. And obviously, how much you like other people. Because if you want to play it with two players in the same room, you’re going to have to drop another £80 on second set of controllers. That’s right £80: because you’re probably going to want to invest another £10 on the wrist straps that go, but do not come with them. Your living room will thank you later.
At least Super Mario Odyssey looks absolutely stunning! It does look strangely like a DreamCast game, but to judge Nintendo games solely by the complexity of their graphics is to completely miss the point. It. Looks. Fun. If ever there were a argument to made for picking up the Switch on launch day, that would be it. Expect it’s not expected until ‘Holiday 2017’. Nine or so months after system launches.
Microsoft and Sony goaded each other into releasing earlier than either one perhaps needed to, without any particularly remarkable lauch window software to speak of and got away with it. This was mostly on the back of the fans of the previous system. Nintendo might get away with a similar strategy for the same similar reasons (I’m talking 3DS fans, obviously because Wii U fans don’t exist) but I am not falling for that shit again.
Which brings me to a rather personal confession I feel its only right I share with you: I really like the idea of Nintendo, but I an not the biggest fan. For example, I have never played a Zelda game. I grew up in a mostly Atari household (yes, such a thing did once exist, many egos ago), and it’s not the type of game you can quickly appreicate at a friend’s house. But I was really, really looking forward to this new one being my first. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?
But with that Apple-Tax price, coupled with that weak sauce, five game launch line-up does not justify the expenditure. And I am, typically speaking, am absolute idiot with my money.
Over past few days I’ve seen some of my ‘Nintendo devout’ friends – grown-arse men and women, with jobs and responibilities, who I both ‘like’ and ‘respect’ – effectively ignoring the price. Its a non-issue for them because at the end of the day, IT’S NINTENDO BABY! They keep the faith, they hold the line, and I wish them all well. I bought a 64GB iPhone 5, on contract, so I can relate to that kind of zealous stupidity in the face of all reason. They are the people Nintendo is looking at to carry it through this dead out launch window. And they had better well represent. Because if they don’t, Nintendo is finished. Dead. Done. Over. The 3DS didn’t perform as well as its predecessor, and the Wii U was an out and failure. There are no Pokemon cards to save it this time; it’ll be lights out for auld Ninty! And while as much as I don’t have the same personal connection to the house that Mario built as the devout might do, it’s still not a world I want to live in.
If Sony and Microsoft are going to keep throwing out mid-range laptops every couple of years with no particularly unique or innovative features to hang its hat on (PSVR is an optional extra, not a packed in essential), we need the company that brought us shoulder buttons, and analogue sticks, and even motion controls, to keep things moving forward. Because a home console you can seamlessly un-dock and take anywhere is the good type of bonkers. Having every new release available on one machine with minimal compromise is the good type of bonkers!
But Nintendo have in the past displayed a real strong affinty for that real bad type of bonkers. And nonsense in this most recent announcement, like an paid online service that only offers voice chat through an app on my phone, or that offers to briefly lend rather than let me lease one free 20 year old game a month, stank of that bad kind of bonkers.
So my first ever Zelda experience, in 2017, will just have to be me trying to capture the thirty something year old zeitgeist of whatever it was they graced the NES Classic with. I just so happened to pre-order one with a second the moment it was announced. Even though I could play all of those games for free via emulation. Because it excited me, in ways the Switch no longer does.
I’ll check back in around Black Friday. It’s the last thing Nintendo will be expecting…