It’s been quite the wait, hasn’t it folks. From rumours, to hints, to secrets, mysteries and all manner of speculation, people the gaming world over have pondered what the letters NX will bring to the console realm. Well, now we have our answer; portability.
Yes, rumours regarding this specific feature have been on the forefront of speculatory news for a manner of months now, but we have confirmation now, which makes all the difference. Trust me. The Nintendo Switch (nee NX) will centre around the concept of alternating between a home console and handheld gaming device. With the “console” seeming to comprise of a charging dock and relay point, the heart of this machine is a portable screen larger than (but still comparable to) the Wii U GamePad. It is this screen that seemingly holds the inner workings of the Switch, as the trailer showed brief focus on the insertion of a cartridge, which is the confirmd manner in which physical games will be presented. Digital versions of games are still said to be another viable option, as one would expect of this day and age, but that’s a little bit harder to show in a live action party trailer. You know, the ones that make you wish you lived in an area with such ready access to chill hangout locations and a number of charmingly boisterous people. But I digress. The reveal trailer also made a point of depicting the rapidity of switching between a television display and that of the handheld device. Though technology permits and bugs are sure to occur, the main takeaway is that the change can be made without exiting a game or turning the device off, further linking to the proof of concept that both devices share similar visual integrity and graphics. A goal which certain handhelds have longed to reach and one the Switch will hopefully achieve upon its release in March 2017, give or take a launch window.
The controller of the Switch also follows this slide-and-click style of assembly, as it is shown to exist in a number of forms. When utilised at home, the controllers left and right halves attach to a central block, rendering it similar to most standard controllers. When, however, it is needed for the portable screen, the two halves disconnect and attach to the sides of said screen, rendering it reminiscent of the Wii U GamePad once more. All in all not bad, as the GamePad was a surprisingly comfortable controller to wield, despite its size. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this deconstructible controller however, and one thing not entirely foreseen by NX rumours, is its ability to act as two individual sub-controllers. Left and right may both act as whole, much smaller devices, that allow for multiplayer gaming. Though they admittedly seem to be something one must handle to truly determine their worth in the comfortability department, the concept is a sound one that delves into an area that other handhelds cannot. Though the Switch can seemingly connect with others in handheld form, the notion that multiple people may play one a single device is certainly worth some weight in the arguments for the Switch’s credibility.
Regardless of this however, the Switch is still learning to swim in the vast ocean set forth by the gaming titans of old, of which Nintendo is a part of. Though the concept is interesting and, admittedly, cool, we currently possess three minutes of information on a console we will perhaps devote cumulative months to in play time. Thus, it is best to remain substantially hyped, whilst still retaining a modicum of incredulity. Is that perhaps cynical? No doubt, but in a world where the glory of the hype train can lead to the most horrendous of fanbase divergences, I say a little reservation is necessitous. Still, the Switch looks pretty neat and considering people carry tablets around from A to Z and beyond, I don’t think anyone will look twice if you decide to bust out Breath of the Wild on a particularly long train ride…or flight…or seat in front of the place where your friend said they would meet you at 11:00 but it’s now 11:30 and you haven’t heard anything from them and have tried calling them three times and decided to give up on that but hope they understand that you’re not trying to be pushy but you just want to know where they are and that you’re kind of worried that they may have gotten lost or worse hurt and you don’t want to have not done anything because you were slightly upset with them for being late and will have to live with that knowledge into your winter years but you don’t because actually you see them now and they’re very apologetic about being late and explain that their phone ran out of battery and they couldn’t call to tell you they would be late and you both laugh about it and then they ask you what you’re playing and you explain that it’s the new Nintendo home console and they think you’re crazy because you clearly aren’t at home and you laugh and then they laugh and everyone lives happily ever after…or in a car. You could also play it in a car.