It was March 3rd 2017 and I was anxiously awaiting for my package to be delivered. The buildup of this moment for the past few weeks as I waited for my pre order was killing me. Talking with friends and coworkers about how amazing it will be to start a game on my TV and bring it with me to work or show people at a party. Making sure that toilet time is never boring again! The thought of pulling out that shiny new toy in a bar and handing a stranger half of my controller to play a few rounds of Mario kart is exciting! At least until they run off with my joycon. All of this is what was promised by Nintendo when they announced this bad boy. So does it deliver?
Fast forward 2 months later and my excitement for the system hasn’t wavered. My PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sit silently collecting dust angrily judging the little slate that now occupies my living room, bedroom, bathroom, break room and pretty much anywhere I damn well please. That’s the beauty of its design. Never before have gamers had the ability to bring a home console with AAA games on the go. The latest most ambitious Legend of Zelda to date, the always classic Mario Kart and the always entertaining Jackbox Party Pack. Nintendo definitely is trying to offer variety. It’s been the system on everyone’s lips for the past few months. Part interest, part intrigue, part nostalgia and part a glimpse of the future. Nintendo definitely made a machine worth talking about.
I spent a lot of time playing this thing over the past few months by myself and with friends. I think a huge moment for me was when I was in the lobby of my son’s martial arts class waiting for him to finish. I was playing Breath of the Wild and the kids for the next class came in and saw me and began to gather around and watch me. They all asked for turns, they turned to their parents and started begging them for one of their own. The best part was when the parents started asking me about it. “How does it work?” “How much does it cost?” “Where can I get one?” “Holy shit there’s a new Zelda!!” “It hooks up to a TV too!!” They all seemed amazed by this little tiny machine.
I think that Nintendo was banking on this. They knew that by releasing something so radically different that could be displayed in public that they would turn heads and they have. A coworker of mine bought one a few weeks after me and we’ve been coordinating our lunch breaks just so we can play together. Rounds of Mario Kart, showing each other progress and secrets in Zelda. It’s a throwback to when we were kids and would talk about how far we got or what we discovered. The feeling is very grassroots and word of mouth. It’s a magic that once lived in gamers that disappeared a long time ago, yielding to discussions of our gamer scores or kill counts.
Therein lies the secret to the success of the Nintendo switch. Nintendo took the Apple approach to the Switch, to think different and it works for them. They’ve developed a relatively simple device that’s easy to use. They made it versatile in ways no console has ever been before. They built an excitement by announcing some very interesting looking games. They definitely crafted something special with Breath of the Wild. I’m over 140 hours in and show no sign of slowing. Seriously this game is Amazeballs! Most importantly they created an experience that you cannot get anywhere else. Nintendo has always had some of the best first party games on the planet but they have always had gimmicky under powered hardware. This time is different, this time they have created something special. Nintendo has proved that they are one of the last great toy makers of our lifetime. They took a huge risk and it payed off big time. If you haven’t had a chance to pick one up I suggest doing so immediately, if you can get your hands on one that is. I’m 2 months in and still in love with it which is good for a modern console. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this little beast of a tablet, but I’m sure it’s promising.