Home » ‘1-2-Switch’ might be the worst idea Nintendo has ever had

‘1-2-Switch’ might be the worst idea Nintendo has ever had

by Ricky Fernandes da Conceição
12Switch_Presentation2017_scrn05_Milk

Last night, Nintendo ended months of speculation by revealing a ton of information about its upcoming console. Most importantly, Nintendo premiered the first footage of some exciting new games, including Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2, to name a few. While it was great to see a new Mario game, not to mention that breathtaking four-minute trailer for Breath of the Wild, the presentation itself was a huge mess. As I noted in a previous article, the event got off to a good start, with Nintendo outlining the specs of the hardware, the groundbreaking controls and the various modes of play. Everything was going well – that is until they revealed 1-2-Switch.

The Nintendo Switch’s first exclusive title, 1-2-Switch is a multiplayer social experience that, wait for it … doesn’t rely on players looking at their television sets. The title was announced onstage after an embarrassing two-minute promo featuring a cheesy Western shootout before cutting to random shots of what looks like people pretending to do martial arts and playing tabletop tennis. From what little I’ve seen of the game so far, 1-2-Switch is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon shoving yet another gimmick into a video game console than on producing something fun to play.

1-2-Switch, which could be described as a poor man’s Wii Sports, is a two-player party game that Nintendo says is best played by looking into the eyes of your opponent, studying their body language, and reacting to their movements – because what better way to sell a video game console than to advertise games in which you don’t even need a television to play? There’s even an eating contest, in which you place the Joy-Con in front of your mouth and chew as fast as you possibly can. I’m not making this up, and if you don’t believe me, just watch Treehouse Live. It’s no wonder Nintendo stocks have once again dropped after this reveal. The game seems exhausting, utterly without feeling, and pointless. This monument to the vacuous excesses of checkbook gaming highlights the desperation of Nintendo, who throws money at just about anything in hopes it will buy them a blockbuster.

The game uses the Joy-Con’s various components — including its IR camera, motion sensors, and new HD rumble technology for object and depth recognition. In a short demo video, players were shown doing a huge variety of activities, many relying on motion control while never once looking at the television screen.

The game sounds fu##en ridiculous because it is. I’m not dismissing the fact that perhaps some people will have fun playing 1-2-Switch with a group of friends, presumably when they are pissed drunk, but here’s the thing: when you take the world stage and announce your next video game console, following suit of the Wii U, your worst-selling video game console, you really need to bring your A-Game. 1-2-Switch is nothing short of embarrassing for a company with a track record of producing some of the greatest games for over four decades. It’s unclear if the game will be bundled with the Switch, but it is in Nintendo’s best interest that they stay far away from packaging this with the system. In fact, as far as I am concerned, Nintendo should downright drop the entire project and not release it at all.

When you think of Nintendo’s biggest mistakes, you think of the Virtual Boy or their decision to keep the N64 cartridge-based. When you think of worst modern inventions in general, you think of New Coke, Slime Checks, Microsoft Bob and the Segway, but 1-2-Switch might just top all of that. 1-2-Switch is all concept and no content and watching people play is like watching money burn on the screen. Few things are potentially more dangerous to the health of Nintendo than this joyless, bizarrely static fiasco, a ramblin’ wreck that represents the Big N at its worst.

27 comments

Michael J. Riser January 13, 2017 - 11:49 pm

Personally I think people are making a bigger deal out of this than necessary. Most of the people I know who actually tried it said it wasn’t bad. The main concern wasn’t whether it worked or was fun at all, but more whether it could possibly provide the quantity necessary to make it worth anything. They only showed 6 games, and I believe indicated there were going to be more, but didn’t say how many. From what I saw, I feel like they’d need 25+ to make the package worth something. Wasn’t at an event, so haven’t tried it, but some of the concepts were interesting (table tennis with only sound and body movement is pretty novel), and I think if nothing else it’s admirable that they’re trying to bring back something where people actually look at one another and interact. There’s nothing *wrong* with that.

But that said, is this what the audience is looking for? My first thought was they’re attempting to recapture the casual market they did with the Wii, but they really did push more toward the like party/drinking game nature of it, and their initial video stuff too focused more on college-age people. Maybe they’re trying for something different? If so, they probably missed the mark a bit. But who knows. If I had a Switch, I *would* bring it to a party or family reunion to try this stuff out, whether it ultimately is good or bad. We used to have family reunions in the summer at a lake, and if the concept actually works, I could see people being into it. But again, that said, I don’t feel like even the best-developed concept in that regard would be likely to sell systems.

I suspect I’m not alone in not overly caring about this stuff. In my case it’s largely because I don’t throw many parties and have moved to an area where I don’t know many people; but the real issue to me is just why did they lead with it? It doesn’t seem like a good lead, especially since the Switch in general seems to be trying harder to be less gimmicky and focus more on just providing a platform on which to play games, even if it has some of those other bells and whistles. It seems more like the ultimate realization of the Wii U controller’s potential. Like how does 1, 2, Switch get a big focus but the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe trailer doesn’t get run? If it had been more of a diversion, like hey, here’s something cool you can do with the Switch’s portability, that would have made more sense. Because good or bad, it’s a neat idea, and getting people to think about some of the possibilities of a more fully-featured console that can be moved around is sound. But making it a pillar of the branding seems like the wrong move given past failures.

Still, you have to hand it to them for one thing: they never stop trying to come up with ideas. They don’t all hit, but who the hell else would even come up with this concept, let alone try to run with it?

I may be a bit less critical because I haven’t been interested in a non-handheld Nintendo console since the Gamecube, but they’ve piqued my curiosity here.

Reply
Ricky D January 14, 2017 - 1:46 am

I just had a huge argument on the podcast about this. The bottom line is I believe that opening up your event with this game was a huge mistake. I’m sorry, but nobody, including those people who apparently claim to like it, is going to go out and buy a Switch for that game, much less shell out the $50 USD for it. They could have thrown this in at the end but to open up with this game was ridiculous and a bath marketing move.

Reply
Ricky D January 14, 2017 - 1:47 am

Also I wrote the article waiting to watch the Nintendo Treehouse staff play it for 20 minutes and it looked so boring. I will try it out later this month when I fly to the Toronto event and let you know if I regret writing this or not.

Reply
Michael J. Riser January 15, 2017 - 5:38 am

Yeah, it’s not likely to be my cup of tea either, and I think you’re right. It just didn’t need to be something they focused on. Like have this, sure, but don’t lead with it and give it a big push. I feel like they misread their market about just who was truly excited about this. That said, I don’t really think it points to anything especially bad. They’ve already clearly focused on third party support, and this is the successor to both their main console and their handheld. I still feel pretty optimistic.

Reply
Michael Riser January 14, 2017 - 2:11 am

Oh absolutely. As I said, I think this was fine as a sideline, but even if it’s good, I don’t think this is what people want to see. It gobbled up more presentation time than it deserved even if it was pretty good. I can’t comment on the quality as I haven’t tried it, but it didn’t really speak to me and likely didn’t speak to what most people watching want out of this thing. And it certainly doesn’t seem to be a proper followup to Wii Sports in terms of capturing the casual market. We’ll see how it turns out for them, but they’d have done better to develop another proper game to have ready at launch.

Reply
Ricky D January 14, 2017 - 3:47 am

It’s a shame the Wii U hardware was so problematic because that system has so many amazing games. I we posted a list of 25 and I would add in ten more that didn’t make the cut. Hopefully many of these games are ported to the Switch eventually.

Reply
ex fact0r January 14, 2017 - 2:22 am

I don’t understand the overblown reaction to this game, both here and on the internet in general. Yes, it does look like utter crap, but anyone not expecting Nintendo to have products like this during the show hasn’t been paying attention to Nintendo over the last 10-15 years.

This game is the Switch’s version of Wii Sports, with one key difference: its not a “free” game packaged in with the console. Wii Sports was barely anything more than a tech demo, but since people tend to be more lenient towards things they get for “free”, Wii Sports has always been seen in a good light (despite it being gutter trash). 1-2-Switch is again a tech demo, but because of its price tag, people are more willing to point out how awful it looks.

Either way, 1-2-Switch doesn’t even make the top 10 of Nintendo’s long (long) list of bad ideas.

Reply
Ricky D January 14, 2017 - 3:44 am

I still don’t understand how you can call Wii Sports complete trash when you say it was a tech demo and yet it help spread the popularity of the Wii. I think that in itself is an accomplishment. This … this … this is a travesty.

Reply
John Cal McCormick January 15, 2017 - 6:20 pm

I don’t think the problem is inherently with the game itself. The game looks like crap but so what? Lots of games do. No biggie.

The issue that I have with it – and why I think it’s getting such a negative response – is that this was Nintendo’s stage to show off what the Switch could do, and to tell us all how they’d learned from past mistakes. 1, 2 Switch was the first game they showed off. I guarantee, if they’d opened the conference with Mario, then done a little bit of hardware, then showed Arms, then 1, 2 Switch it wouldn’t be getting such a visceral reaction. But this was the first thing they showed, and so optically, it looks like this is what they consider to be a selling point for the console.

Reply
Ricky D January 15, 2017 - 6:29 pm

But that is the point I am trying to make and I said this on the podcast. I am talking about the idea overall, not the outcome and how good or fun the game may be. The idea was to make a game that will sell the system and they were trying to make the next Wii Sports. Nintendo struck lightning with the Wii and nobody including Nintendo expected it to sell as well as it did. Wii Sports is a once in a lifetime kind of thing and Nintendo needs to stop praying they can have another huge hit like that based on a gimmick. The fact that they showed this first tells me Nintendo hasn’t change much in terms of how they will tackle the plans for their home console moving forward. I’m also shocked that they are trying to market this as a great portable system and the presentation itself made no mention of the handheld component. It was a disaster.

Reply
John Cal McCormick January 15, 2017 - 7:07 pm

Yeah I just listened to the podcast and I thought you were making a lot of points. We just recorded one and I said quite a few things that were similar to what you were saying. It was a bad presentation from every conceivable angle and 1, 2 Switch was just the worst of it, for the reasons you listed.

Reply
Ricky D January 15, 2017 - 7:23 pm

OH man. I am curious to see how disappointed Mike is.

John Cal McCormick January 15, 2017 - 7:27 pm

That was supposed to say “good points”. I wasn’t just randomly telling you you were talking a lot ?

Yeah I think it will be a fun one. I ranted for an awful lot of it. Predictable. Mike… well… you can hear his take on it when it goes up.

Mike Worby January 15, 2017 - 11:11 pm

Mike was flabbergasted by this presentation, make no mistake, he has a lot to say on the subject 😀

Patrick January 15, 2017 - 7:36 pm

It’s interesting to me how some people have fixated on the 1, 2, Switch bit as so vital to the presentation overall. I never once got that sense while watching it, even though I also thought the game looks like garbage. Not long after I was shown a ton of things I’m looking forward to, and their little experiment went quickly from my mind. It was a logical extension of their intro to the Joy-cons, perfectly acceptable in my mind. I certainly never got the impression it was some sort of flagship title. They continued on and devoted just as much time to Arms and Splatoon 2. The progression seemed natural.

If Nintendo has to learn a lesson here, it’s that they need to stop giving cynics ammunition. When people are on guard, waiting for a screw up or looking for things to be wrong, it’s easy to blow something like 1, 2, Switch out of proportion. Hyperbole runs rampant these days, and though I’m not going to defend the game, I will say there was nothing to be THAT disappointed about. If it’s a game you don’t want, move on. there was plenty of other stuff to sell the system. If you don’t like any of that, then maybe Switch isn’t for you yet.

Reply
Patrick January 15, 2017 - 8:27 pm

Well, it’s partly about the cynics; no question there. The vitriol has been gleeful, and from what I’ve seen, mostly from those who were pessimistic in the first place. I guess I just disagree about the placement of 1, 2, Switch, at least to a degree. Like I said, when taken from the perspective that they’re trying to push the Joy-cons, it does make sense. Having Arms second, then Splatoon, is an easy transition back to traditional gaming that does have a logic. Whether that logic tarnished the presentation in your eyes is a matter of perspective. From mine it did not.

Again, hyberbole runs rampant. Words like “disaster” get thrown around far too much for things that clearly are not. Around the web after the presentation I see far more positive comments than negative. Yes, there are many valid criticisms, but there has been no PR crisis. Some things could have been done better, sure, but that could be said of most live press conferences.

Reply
Ricky D January 15, 2017 - 8:54 pm

Words like “disaster” get thrown around. I didn’t use that word in this article so clearly this is a jab at me for what I said in the podcast. Sorry if you disagree with my views on the presentation much like how I disagree with your views on one of the best games Nintendo has ever made, Majora’s Mask which you called downright awful and the worst Zelda game you ever played. just saying (with a smile on my face) 😛

Patrick January 15, 2017 - 9:46 pm

Haha, that definitely was a bit in response to the podcast (though not for the purpose of a jab – just because the word stuck out in my mind), but moreso to a multitude of other reactions I’ve seen around the web on a variety of subjects. I just feel like we’re quick to brutally attack these days, shooting first and asking questions later. Maybe it’s a feeling brought on by the political climate here over the last two years (and still continuing), but I’m seeing people latch onto the few bits they see as negative out of a whole and refuse to let go, letting certain facets paint over the rest of the much bigger picture.

But no worries about disagreeing! That’s fun every once in a while, and obviously we both care quite a bit to have such strong reactions. I’m glad you went all out, and I gotta do the same. I’ve been called crazy for my MM opinion (which I know I’m in the vast minority on), and totally understand. I’m not trying to convince anyone else; just giving my honest thoughts. I certainly can’t blame anyone else for doing the same, but that doesn’t mean I won’t argue!

John Cal McCormick January 15, 2017 - 9:04 pm

I, personally, wouldn’t go as far as to say disaster. It certainly wasn’t as catastrophic as the Xbox One reveal, for example. But I think as a console launch presentation it was awkward, badly paced, light on information and games, and perhaps even counter productive.

The conference started fine, and then 1, 2 Switch was the moment people spotted the ice burg. That’s why it’s got a negative reception. And the conference as whole disappointed for the same reason – this wasn’t a new Nintendo who had learned from past mistakes. It was just more of the same. And, other than the Nintendo diehards, we collectively sighed.

They can easily recover from it. There was plenty of good stuff in there in amongst the weirdness, the awkwardness and the disappointment. And there was enough stuff not there – Pokemon, Metroid, etc – that I assume is coming later to signal that they’ll be okay. A bad conference won’t kill the console.

QUIMICOMORTAL January 16, 2017 - 5:15 pm

just the fact that wii sports sold the wii AND WAS INCLUDED WITH THE CONSOLE justifies the reaction that you call overblown.

Reply
1 2 3 4

Leave a Comment

You may also like