Be a Champion, not a Chump —OR— In Defense of Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

Amanda and I watched the big Nintendo Switch presentation on my phone before we fell asleep Thursday night. It wasn’t exactly the info dump I expected—a surprising amount of time was spent on motion control and the games that will showcase it, and a smattering of representatives from various third-party developers offering vague hints that yes, they might, maybe(?), be making some games for the Switch. I felt it was a program directed more at investors and retailers than consumers and fans. Overall, it was…awkward, I guess. A little underwhelming?

Still, I couldn’t sleep. Scattered throughout the pitch were videos of the real reason I tuned in: games. Lots of upcoming games. Zelda. Mario. A plate-heaping buffet of roleplaying games. Party games like Bomberman and 4-player Tetris. Pretty good stuff! Stuff I’m excited about. I couldn’t wait to play these games. I knew the Switch was going to be so much fun.

I got around the next morning. Fed cats, cleaned litter boxes, started getting ready for work. I made the horrible mistake of consulting the internet for their reaction to the Switch presentation, hoping that their enthusiasm and excitement would match my own. It was instant heartbreak.

Switch is too expensive.

Switch’s accessories are too expensive.

Switch’s launch lineup is too weak.

This is the worse-case scenario for Switch.

Endless scrutinization of every feature of the console and every decision Nintendo made to bring us this console.

This is fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and industry analysts are expected to provide deep, unbiased critiques of video game consoles and their impact on the business and market. A lot of folks are not excited about the Switch. Maybe it’s just not interesting to them. Or, if they are excited about it, they also have deep concerns about its long-term future and wellbeing. That’s fine, too. There are many aspects of the Switch that either don’t interest me or concern me, like motion control, motion control’s associated games, and Nintendo’s new online service. It’s not unusual to have reservations, and there are many people out there with similar feelings about every console ever created.

But I can’t focus on this stuff. The negativity, the disappointment. I allow myself to be a punching bag, willingly bathing in this cesspool of sadness, even though I know it will upset me. It extends beyond gaming, too, and into entertainment, politics, art, and more. (But I don’t have time to talk about all of that right now.)

The bottom line is this: It’s rare for a console, or any product, for that matter, to release without some drawback or disappointment. In such a competitive market, it never quite fills every desire. Costs must be kept down, and not every niche can be filled, so something gets left out, and we won’t get everything we want out of it. All we can do is take the bad with the good, but instead of letting that bad poison and consume us, allow the good to grow and flourish and eventually snuff out the bad. For example, the Wii U never saw the full potential of the gamepad, never had as robust of a library as I would have liked, and never found a means of being able to turn off the gamepad when not in use while, say, using the console to watch Netflix on TV. These are all shortcomings of the console, but rather than focusing on those negative aspects and allowing them to destroy my enjoyment of the Wii U, I just pay attention to the good aspects of it, like off-screen play, astoundingly good first-party games, and inventive use of the gamepad thanks to certain developers who really got what it was about. When I think about the good things the Wii U can do, I hardly notice the bad stuff. Now apply that to everything in your life, and you’re doing all right!

Instead of being chumps who go online just to air our grievances and complain about all of the stuff we hate, or to read other people’s complaints knowing that they will upset us, we should be champions. Champions who praise the things we enjoy, and either ignore or come to terms with the things we don’t enjoy. It’s easy to go online and post a knee-jerk reaction when we’re overcome with disappointment, but in my experience it does more harm than good, to ourselves and to those around us. Usually I feel dumb afterwards because I catch myself complaining about something superfluous, when I should be grateful for how great I’ve got it. Typical millennial, amiright?

All I can do is turn the bad aspects into good aspects and tell you all the stuff about the Switch that excites me! Here we go!

Good: Launch date moved up…!
Nintendo Switch launches March 3. That’s good! That’s almost a month ahead of the projected date. How often does that happen in the gaming world? Pretty cool!

Bad: …But at the cost of a better launch lineup?
The launch lineup is weak, but it does have Zelda in it, and that’s going to be killer. Super Bomberman R is also a launch game, and it interests me for its party potential. Snipperclips looks pretty cute, too. The launch games are not plentiful, but I am oddly excited about what will be available.

Good: First party games!
As is always the case with Nintendo consoles, give me good games that are Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid (anybody out there?), Kirby, Punch-Out!!, and so on, and I’ll buy the console and enjoy these games with unabashed joy and without shame. In fact, I’ll buy the Switch just for Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, if it comes down to it. I would like to have more. I think we’ll get more.

Bad: Motion control and motion control games
I’m not into this stuff that much, but motion controls are getting better and more precise, which is great news! The game Arms, for example, allegedly requires proper use of motion control and can’t be mastered by just waggling them all over the place. Plus, our nieces and nephews are all young people and like motion control, so it’s nice to have around when we have visitors.

Good: More party games than just Smash Bros. and Mario Kart!
Super Bomberman R and Puyo-Puyo Tetris are exciting and accessible party game prospects. Smash Bros. and Mario Kart have limited appeal with some of my circles of friends, so to see new iterations of Bomberman and Tetris on a new console is encouraging, and ups the possibility of the Switch seeing action when friends or family come over.

Good: RPGs!
There are a lot of great-looking RPGs coming up. Xenoblade 2, Dragon Quest XI, Project Octopath (weird name?), and several others immediately come to mind. The RPG selection on the Switch might be enough to make me finally feel better about not owning a PS4 or a Vita, where I’m missing a truckload of good RPGs.

Bad: The online service sounds a little underwhelming
We also don’t really know anything about it, yet. Nintendo hasn’t revealed much of what it can do. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt now and wait and see. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Bad: Price is higher than anticipated
I also wasn’t expecting all of the improved motion control or a capacitive touchscreen. If it has that stuff, it might be worth the higher price.

Bad: Low internal storage
32 gigs of internal storage is not a lot. In fact, it’s the same amount as the Wii U. But, unlike the Wii U, the Switch’s memory is expandable via SD card, eliminating the need for external USB drives. I don’t buy that many games (and many of the ones I do are physical copies), but I like knowing I’m covered by expandable memory if I do fill up what’s available.

Good: I want it!
I probably sound like a dope, being all unabashedly positive. But I don’t care. I am genuinely excited. Like I said earlier, Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey already have me sold. Now, I’m just curious to know what else the Switch will have to offer. The projected games library and the ability to take the console around the house with me offer a lot of appeal. I was already a Wii U fan; the Switch feels like the next, better iteration. Nintendo’s games are generally the most inventive and engrossing games I play, and I am looking forward to exploring huge new worlds in both Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before Metroid is revived. That will be a banner day in the Rhodes household.