The announcement of Nintendo’s new console Switch had everyone running on adrenaline-fueled excitement to spread the news. Once all the initial adrenaline wore off, people found themselves figuratively staring across a canyon of possibilities with the sound of their expectation’s echoing back SWITCH-switch…
The Switch appears to be the Swiss army knife of consoles, with footage showing its varied adaptability across many scenarios of potential gaming experiences.
An innovative mobile gaming console that can go anywhere and allows you to play solo or with friends... hold on – that’s what the Game Boy was to the world in 1989.
Strip back the Switch and see it for what it truly is - a mobile gaming device that can be played like a console. But, more importantly, competes with other mobile devices such as cell phones.
Nintendo Know How To Shake Things Up
Back in 1989, the Game Boy was the new and improved handheld gaming device, and I had one. Previous to the Game Boy, the Game and Watch series had been the standard, with games such as Donkey Kong. Those games were great in their own right, but the Game Boy was next gen. It was the first to be considered a mobile 8-bit game console.
Just like the Nintendo Entertainment Console (NES), the Game Boys games were on interchangeable cartridges, allowing for numerous game titles to be played.
The Game Boy was a critical advancement when considering the Game and Watch series were limited to the one game per device. It also had the directional pad, and "A"and "B"buttons to mash. In many respects, it was a hybrid NES, that took gaming on the road.
At the time, the innovation of the Game Boy blew people’s minds. A mobile NES – WTF!
Mobile Competitive Gaming
Before the Game Boy, mobile competitive gaming devices were the Game and Watch series. Besides the highest score bragging rights option, Nintendo also explored the possibility of dual participation on games such as Donkey Kong 3. This was 1984, and well before connectivity options of today, so to be able to play anywhere and anytime with friends was something that was considered amazing.
Move forward to the 1989, the release of the Game Boy now provided people with a mobile console that took the Donkey Kong 3 concept to a whole new level. The Game Boy included a link cable that allowed two Game Boys to be connected via a video link, providing high-powered (in 1989 terms) mobile competitive gaming. This was a cool feature that had me battling it out on Tetris with other people during school bus trips.
The choice of opponents was unfortunately limited to the length of the link cable, which meant that even though you were on separate devices there was no hiding from the reactions of your adversary.
If you lost, there was direct eye contact and obvious displays of one-upmanship – in your face!
We Now Have The Technology
The Switch won’t be a processing powerhouse with the highest frame rate, or any of those hardcore gamer specific must-haves because that’s not what the Switch is. Nintendo left that bitter neighborly contest long ago. What we do have with the Switch is the perfect merging of console and handheld gaming into a mobile device that delivers more.
Just like Steve Austin from the Six Million Dollar Man, finally Nintendo now has the technology to make a mobile console better, stronger, faster.
With the Switch, gamers can now choose to look their opponent in the eye or hide behind an avatar across different continents and time-zones. The Switch pulls together Nintendo’s strengths to provide a platform that brings people together in new ways.
The innovations showcased in Switch branch from the technology of today in an attempt to meet the modern world of interaction by placing itself in full view at all times.
The Future Is Clear
The Switch is the mobile gaming console Nintendo have slowly being critiquing for years. Nintendo have always been innovative in how they can bring people together with their gaming platforms.
To Nintendo’s credit, they have maintained their brand focus while always trying new things outside of the perceived curve. Over the years that winning formula was subject to the technology of the day. Now 27 years since the original Game Boy was released, people are once again invigorated by what Nintendo has done with the Switch.
Nintendo have always been good at mobile gaming platforms, the Switch pulls back the market from other mobile gaming devices such as smart phones. Nintendo is now once again a relevant and exciting option for the modern gamer to choose how they spend their gaming time outside of their homes.
Join me in standing tall once again and yelling Switch-switch!