Nintendo’s NX has finally been revealed, and while many questions still circulate around the newly announced Nintendo Switch, at long, long last speculation has switched from what the console is to what the console will be capable of and what titles will be available on it. In keeping with the hype and ongoing excitement and speculation around the Switch, here’s my Nintendo Switch Wish List. Specifically, here’s a list I think will ensure the
NX NS has a bright and happy future.
There are countless Nintendo titles I would love to see for the Switch, from obvious answers like Metroid, to slightly more obscure sequels, like Luigi’s Mansion. The list is endless. However, with a mobile game in development and the home/portable console nature of the Switch, it’s highly probable that the NS gets a new Animal Crossing title sooner rather than later. The quaint, charming art style rendered in gorgeous HD on the home TV sounds inviting, but not nearly as enthralling as escaping to that quirky little town from the comforts of home or on the go. Not to mention that should Nintendo utilize the new home design elements and enhancements introduced in AC: Happy Home Designer which reformed how the player could lay out in-game houses, the next title in the series could be much, much more convenient. And what better way to keep players engaged with the new hardware than to release a game early on that encourages hours and hours of entertainment with a game that prompts players to return, at least for short amounts of time, each and every day?
Ports at Launch
The familiar sights of Mario Kart, a 3D Mario game, and Splatoon were all shown in the Switch reveal trailer. What’s unclear is whether or not these are ports or new titles based on each of the games displaying new features or locations in trailer. While Nintendo should certainly emphasize new titles and experiences at launch, the launch lineup could be immeasurably buffed by previous fan favorites making their return at the Switch launch. Not only would this provide early adopters more to play right out of the gate, it’s a remarkable opportunity for fan service; continuing to support titles fans want to continue playing and are far from done with. Titles like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, Super Mario Maker, and Super Mario 3D World are still providing endless hours of entertainment to Wii U owners, and the many of us who aren’t ready to say goodbye should support these titles. Offering new features and more content in the Switch versions of these games keeps them engaging for longtime fans and incentives adoption from the fans who used to play the titles on the Wii U. Simultaneously, players who missed out on the Wii U (especially considering the Wii U’s relatively low adoption rate as a console) would have far more reason to make the switch to Nintendo’s latest console so they can experience new titles and stellar titles from the Switch’s predecessor. If Nintendo could find a way to sell the Switch versions of these massively popular titles at a discounted rate to those who had already invested time and money into them (if not settling on selling them at the discounted rates of their greatest hits collection which typically sell for $20 here in the States) AND provide a way to transfer save data, I can’t think of a way this wouldn’t be a win for player and developer simultaneously.
While Nintendo hasn’t moved as many Wii U-nits as the competition lately, they did provide the most interesting online social functionality out of anyone in the current console generation. I’m talking about the Miiverse, the unique social space that opened up immediately when turning on the Wii U. Miiverse has functionality in many Wii U and 3DS games and is a less than quick but easy place to share with other players and enthusiasts grouped in game-centered communities. A combination of Twitter and a comment section thread, Miiverse provides a place for players to connect over specific titles and became an unexpected place to share incredible artwork, often irrelevant in the best possible way. And, perhaps thanks to the Nintendo community, it is a generally positive and very responsive social space. The NS should absolutely expand on the Miiverse, continuing to provide game communities to share with one another, but providing players a substantially quicker experience with the ability to share more.
My Xbox One has some decent sharing capabilities, but when I share something like a game clip I’m excited about, it usually makes it no farther than the dashboard. Sharing that clip via social media is a hassle, and generally garners no response. Miiverse featuring specific communities makes it an ideal space for me to share clips and thoughts to people participating in the same experience I’m in the middle of — and it has already proven to be exceptionally responsive. Should the Switch emphasize sharing more heavily, I don’t doubt that the Miiverse would flourish as a result. Further, with the recent switch to My Nintendo, sharing content beyond Miiverse and the Switch to other social spaces such as Twitter should be easier than ever. Plus, with Nintendo now partnered up with mobile focused DeNA, a mobile device Miiverse isn’t out of the question so Nintendo gamers can connect even on the go. The Switch stands to be an impeccably social device, perhaps beyond the its competition, and I’m hoping its a route Nintendo chooses to take. At the very least, each game should allow for selfies just like in The Wind Waker HD.
You don’t need to be psychic like Alakazam to see that Pokemon has a bright future and to divine just how huge it is right now. It’s absolutely everywhere, on the mobile market, on the 3DS, on YouTube, and all over the internet in general. The Pokemon Company has done a remarkable job celebrating the 20th anniversary of the franchise and playing up the nostalgia factor. Consequently, the Switch needs to feature the franchise prominently. If the words of Pokemon Company chief executive Tsunekazu Ishihara are anything to go by, the Pokemon Company fully intends to back the Switch with its products, which comes as no surprise. More encouraging are rumors that Game Freak itself, developers of the main series Pokemon games, may be responsible for the first Pokemon title on the Switch. A main series Pokemon game would be a huge asset to the NS, and perhaps the third game in the upcoming seventh generation of Pokemon games, Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, will have a Switch version (assuming there is a Pokemon Star, or Comet, or Black Hole or whatever its name would be that ends up happening). Since there was no Pokemon Z to follow up X and Y, there really is no saying, and, historically, Game Freak has been slow to develop main series titles for new hardware so as not to ostracize hardcore fans and force them into a new console purchase right away. With soon to be four main series games on the 3DS and two solid remakes, it may be time to switch to a new console. Needless to say, Nintendo should really push the Pokemon Company to produce a title close to launch, if not a main series title, then a substantial spinoff.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game is bigger than its ever been before, perhaps now would be the ideal time to introduce the first card centered Pokemon game since the 2000 Game Boy hit Pokemon Trading Card Game. Nintendo currently has two TCG ready consoles in the 3DS and the Wii U, both replete with touch screens and one complete with a tablet. The fact that there isn’t a TCG Pokemon game on console to introduce new players to the concept and provide fans another place to play makes me wonder what the Muk the Pokemon Company is doing. Think of it like Pokken Tournament, but where players battle card decks, with an informative campaign that teaches players the game, online matches, packs and cards unlocked with progress, and featuring new expansions as DLC. We’ve already seen what a powerful punch the nostalgia/Pokemon combo pack, and with the latest expansion to the TCG, Evolutions, featuring Base Set cards “reinvented for a new generation,” and the Switch console having an LCD screen on its own, now seems to be the perfect time. Or perhaps we’ll finally get a sequel or HD remake of Pokemon Snap or another, significantly expanded Pokemon Colosseum game with connectivity to Sun and Moon, though that would be a little less than exciting. Anything is better than nothing, though, now c’mon Pokemon Company, before I lose my s-Hitmonchan.
The NS already boasts a healthy amount of third party support at the moment of its announcement. Much of that support, however, may well be dependent on online functionality as many titles now are online only and popularity in online gaming and eSports increases. The end of the Switch announcement trailer indicates Nintendo is interested in taking some of its games and its console in this direction, and with highly competitive titles like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Splatoon, there’s more than ample opportunity. Let’s utilize Splatoon as an example, much like the announcement trailer itself: Splatoon is an immensely fun, online only experience pitting four players against four in an all-out turf war. However, competitively speaking, the game was greatly marred (calamarred?) and limited by its lack of a chat system and the difficulty in connecting and playing with friends, making it far easier to play in silence with random players. If Nintendo truly wants its games to be viable eSports editions, its going to have to provide easy ways for teams to connect, communicate, and play together, especially since lack of a party, chat, or message system may have been the Wii U’s greatest hinderance. As many games took the turn towards multiplayer, online experiences, the Wii U truly inhibited itself not by its specs, but by its inability to allow players to easily connect with friends and chat outside of game developer provided chat systems. As almost no developer wants to have to develop an in-game chat system that actually works, the Wii U proved not to be the ideal platform for innumerable titles.
Going forward, Nintendo needs to allow friends and players to connect with one another. Nintendo needs to recognize its responsible for providing ways for players to connect and communicate, and that, in the case of young gamers, parents are responsible for protecting their children from mature language and explicit communication. If its a serious concern for the Big N, which it shouldn’t be, they could at least limit messaging and communication to the friends list, but as it stands, players are left with nothing. The Nintendo Switch could truly open up online gaming for Nintendo consoles, and, with game specific communities already available via Miiverse, the ever more necessary LFG (looking for group) system is already in place. Nintendo, let us have our cake and talk with it too.
That’s my NS Wish List, one that would not only generate a truly memorable launch in Nintendo history, but ensure that the future of the console is bright and hopeful. In any case, its an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan, and for me March just can’t come soon enough.
** Above art by @DevSF4 **