Nintendo flips the Switch

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Graphic by Sophie Lin

After a year of waiting, months of anticipation, and a tidal wave of leaks, Nintendo pulled back the curtain on the morning of Oct. 20 to reveal the Nintendo Switch, their newest “home console.” I put home console in quotes because Nintendo looks to change the way we define the term for the better.

The reveal came in the form of a three-and-a-half-minute video available on Nintendo.com and Youtube, which gave us a glimpse at what the Switch can do. Three minutes isn’t enough to get a good feel of what exactly the Switch will be and how it will revolutionize gaming, but there’s a lot of information packed into the introductory video and accompanying press release.

The Nintendo Switch is the handheld-console hybrid that many have been hoping for ever since the launch of the Wii U. The Switch offers the deep and comforting experience of sitting on your couch to play games, while also leveraging the portability of a handheld. No longer do you have to end your session of Skyrim or Zelda to catch the bus for school — just take it with you. Yes, you can just as well bring your 3DS or Vita with you, but the ability to have a console-like experience on the go without limitations is unbelievable.

The Nintendo Switch accomplishes this incredible feat thanks to its detachable Joy-Con controllers. The Joy-Cons are extremely versatile as they can be used in any situation. Want to take the Switch on the go? Just attach the Joy-Cons to each side of the Switch and head out. Want a more traditional controller set-up? Slide the Joy-Cons into the grip accessory and you’re set. Don’t feel like using the grip? You don’t need to. Want to play with a friend? Flip each Joy-Con sideways and you have two separate controllers. The Joy-Cons aren’t the only controller available for the Nintendo Switch, but they’re one of the most unique controllers Nintendo has ever made.

Other than briefly showing off the functionality of the Switch, Nintendo’s reveal video highlighted a few titles from both first and third-parties. Outside Breath of the Wild, the Nintendo offerings were tantalizing, but didn’t confirm anything. These teases for a new Mario Kart and Splatoon will definitely lead to new entries on the Switch. Personally, I don’t think it will be the enhanced Wii U ports some people are speculating.

The bigger news comes from the slew of third-parties Nintendo is looking to bring to the Switch. The video highlighted Bethesda and Take Two, two publishers that have avoided working with Nintendo in the past. Fingers crossed that Nintendo will deliver on the third-party support this time around. Many Nintendo fans, myself included, were burned hard by Wii U’s promised third-party support.

For everything that gets me excited for the Nintendo Switch, there is a plethora of unknowns surrounding it. How long will the battery last? How durable will the system be? Will there be backwards compatibility with Wii U or 3DS? How will the new Nintendo Network infrastructure work on Switch? What’s the price and release date? These are only a small taste of the questions swirling around the minds of gamers across the globe. The sad thing is we won’t be getting any answers until early 2017.

Although I would prefer more than a taste, Nintendo did a wonderful job of revealing the Nintendo Switch. In three minutes, Nintendo clearly conveyed the system’s functionality, its purpose, and how it will integrate into our lives.

While one video and 1,000 words isn’t much to give an impression on, I am confident the Nintendo Switch will be the next revolution in the video game industry.

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