If you're reading this, I'm assuming you know some stuff about the Nintendo Switch already.
You know it's basically a portable console that you can also plug into your TV. You know it comes with two tiny joypads which combine to make one large, unwieldy joypad. You know it's a return to cartridge-based gaming (albeit little, 3DS-sized cartridges, which you will lose).
Many are speculating that it's a final throw of the hardware dice for Nintendo, following the relative disappointment of the Wii U, but... actually... no... it's too boring to continue to speculate about all that. Just read on, Papa, for my take on the latest Switch launch day deets.
DEET DEET! HONK!
- Release date: March 3rd.
- Price: £279.99-ish (check for deals).
- It'll be region-free.
- Battery life will be between two-and-a-half and six-and-a-half hours, depending on the game.
- There'll be an online service, but you'll have to pay (obviously). For that you get one NES or SNES game every month - freely accessible for one month.
- You can network up to 8 Switch consoles together.
- The controllers come in different colours.
- There's a share button, to capture screenshots.
- There'll be a classic controller available.
- It features 32GB of extendable storage (for saves and downloads).
- 50 developers are working on some 80 games.
- No specs confirmed. Though it does have a 1280x720 resolution touch screen.
Here are my thoughts on all of that:
- That's soon!
- That's too much! Way more than predicted.
- Don't really care.
- That's more likely to be closer to the two-and-a-half, I'm betting. Not great.
- 'Kay. But why don't you get to keep the games indefinitely?
- Nobody will care.
- You'll be extending that then.
- Yeah, sure they're aaaall going to be classics...
- Only rubber Johnnies care about specs.
For me, the single most important thing to get right with Switch was the launch games.
Nintendo is being a little cagey over who's getting what when, but it's fairly certain that Zelda: Breath of The Wild will be a launch title in most, if not all, territories. That's good. What's less good is that it's possibly the only major game that'll be available on day one. Indeed, depending on who you listen to, we might be getting just four games on launch day.
There's also 1, 2, Switch (a party game, which uses the Wiimote-like motion capabilities of the Switch controllers), Skylanders Imaginators and Just Dance 2017, but details beyond those are a little thin on the ground.
Nintendo is instead talking of a "launch window" - which will span until the end of this year - during which we'll also see Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (a new version of the Wii U title... hmmph).
It's hard to find highlights among third parties - Super Bomberman R could be fun, but it's difficult to work up too much enthusiasm regarding Skyrim (a six year old game), Sonic Mania or, y'know, Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together.
The sense I got in the run-up to last night's Switch reveal is that people were hoping for the best, and not really contemplating the worst.
There are a lot of Nintendo apologists and defenders out there, I've noticed. There are those who seem to stick up for the company at every turn, but they need to wake up.
With this announcement, Nintendo has done the bare minimum it needed to do to avoid the Switch being an immediate disaster. Obviously, because I'm so brilliant - especially when it comes to knowing all about running a major video game company - I would've done it much better.
Here's what I would've wanted from the Switch launch:
A £200 launch price, at most.
Zelda on day one.
Mario on day one.
Another big, legendary, Nintendo IP on day one - say, F-Zero, or Pilotwings, or Metroid... or something brand new. All these games were new once! There's Arms coming later in the year - a Punch-Out!-style boxing game - but it feels rather like a B-list Nintendo game.
That's it. That's all I think it would've taken to get everyone interested, from the off. Just three games, but make sure they're your best games.
I don't care about its tech specs. I don't care about third-party support. I don't care about the networking up to eight Switch consoles together. And nobody else will either. A new Nintendo console needs to be affordable, and it needs Nintendo games that people recognise - not Just Dance 2017, for pity's sake.
DIS NAE GOOD
Nintendo is the closest gaming has to Disney. Imagine if a new Disney theme park launched, and there was just one major, E-ticket Disney-themed ride, plus a ride based on, I dunno, Space Chimps 2, and a bunch of stage school kids dancing in the car park, flashing their white teeth, and performing cartwheels.
You've got to invite people into your park, and the way to do that with a console is through games - and brands - which they recognise and want to play. Nintendo is not doing that with Switch, and it's beyond maddening.
I have no doubt that the new Zelda is going to be brilliant. What they've shown of Super Mario Odyssey looks brilliant - with its new hat-based gameplay (though I've got reservations about its Sonic Adventure-ish real world setting). I'm sure Splatoon 2 will be great. The Switch itself, despite my initial doubts, actually looks like a rather lovely little machine.
Nevertheless, that's not enough. It simply isn't. Again: it needs the games. All the games! Nintendo needed to come out with the most impactful, aggressive, win-over-all-the-doubters, launch in its history. Instead, it's just Nintendo being the Nintendo we've sadly become accustomed to, and based upon this evidence, Switch isn't going to do the business that Nintendo needs it to do.
For me Nintendo has become that friend whose life is gradually spiralling out of control, one bad decision after another. You can see where it's all heading, and you try to help, and you give advice, but they don't listen.
There are enough hints of the person they used to be to keep you hanging in there. Then one day, in frustration, you eventually snap, end up grabbing them by the shoulders, and start shouting at them, but still it does no good.
Ultimately, sometimes, with people like that... the best thing to do is walk away.