Nintendo Switch! That’s the name of the new console featured in this finely tuned ‘lifestyle’ video showcasing a bunch of actors being handsome and enjoying themselves muchly. Because Nintendo is a company known for innovating on a ‘macro’ level—changing not just what we play but also the way we play it—my question for you, dear reader, is as follows: will you be using the Nintendo Switch like the fake people are in the video? You can watch the video below and write us here to tell us your thoughts on the matter. In the meantime, enjoy how neurotic I am about inter-human relationships.
OK, let the commentary begin.
The video opens on this basic, normal dude playing the basic normal way. Using the weird Frankenstein controller Nintendo is calling “Joy-Con” (which sounds like a dystopian conservative political group) the guy’s enjoying a nice moment in his ‘aspirational’ home playing at a safe distance from his television. I think we can all agree that we will all enjoy this traditional mode of gaming from our couch, undisturbed by the world. Until, of course, the dude’s dog barks at him and he is forced to go out to the park. This is where shit gets sorta weird.
Now sitting in the park as his dog runs around without anybody to love it (because The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is better than a dog, duh!) our regular dude is playing his undocked, portable Nintendo Switch with both side-controllers clicked into the tablet-like screen. Other than seeming like a pretty absent-minded dog owner, I think we will all—at some point—play the Nintendo Switch outdoors like our dude is doing in the shot.
At this point there is a total disregard for fucking chairs. First you put your dirty shoes all over the sitting area of a park bench, forcing old people to dirty their fresh chinos… and now you’re right next to a perfectly good empty seat in an airport rocking the wall-floor combo like a goddamn rebel and attracting the gaze of the safe-but-alternative blonde girl beside you? And she’s stoked about what you have on your screen, despite having one of her own? Do you guys travel together? Did you meet at the airport? Can she not afford the same games as you? How did you get that cool scar to the right of your eye?
OK, buddy, I guess you weren’t traveling with the girl. You’ve now detached your side-controllers and your screen is propped-up on the tray table. I can actually totally see myself doing this. I once played Final Fantasy IX on an NVIDIA tablet with a bluetooth controller on a plane. I had the same vapid stare as this guy does. And it looks like an NVIDIA chip will be powering the Nintendo Switch, so good on you, NVIDIA. I’ve long sold your tablet on Craigslist, but I’ll probably buy the Switch.
Dude is now playing Skyrim on his second home’s TV. You either have two Nintendo Switch docks or you brought the other place’s with you. Cool. You wealthy bastard. You’re also using the professional controller, which is definitely the one I’m looking forward to using when I play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the game I’m probably purchasing the Nintendo Switch for. His second home may be fake, but this actor is playing the Switch in a perfectly realistic and acceptable way. (Note: I have since realized this is actually another dude, and not the first actor in the video. Which I think says a lot about Nintendo’s casting choices. Blaming anybody but myself here.)
So these two dudes are in the back of a friend’s van, which has a little plastic doohickey to hold up the Nintendo Switch’s screen, and they’re playing with the side controllers. I’m calling bullshit on the van and the friends and the plastic thing. I do see this happening, but it would be two kids in the backseat and their parents thanking the lord Nintendo has finally produced a suitable narcotic to keep their ungrateful offspring quiet. Also… battery life. Once the Switch runs low and the kids start screaming, do you have a portable battery hooked up to it, sorta hanging there? I also imagine the little controller bits lost behind carseats or smeared with sticky-candy muck…
Four guys stop playing basketball and sit down at an outdoor picnic table. Two of them have Nintendo Switch’s and they play a 4-player game of digital b-ball. Is this going to happen? I have no idea. It seems like a lot of organization. I wish I had 3 friends willing to coordinate shit this complicated just so we could have a good time in public. God, I’m so terribly, terribly alone.
Finally a female protagonist hangs out with a friend on a rooftop, but she’s not there to socialize. They’re both going to be playing Mario while others watch. I’ll defer to the reader on this one. I could see this happening in a corner of a house party… but then wouldn’t you just dock the Nintendo Switch and use a TV? To be honest, I’ve rarely seen so many people staring into a tablet at a get-together unless it has devolved into a boring ‘funny youtube video’ fiesta. Boy do I hate those.
A bunch of Splatoon pros sit in a circle on the floor playing and strategizing for their big night. Then they ascend the stage. I can actually see a bunch of friends bringing their individual consoles to a common (indoor) place for a weekend to play Nintendo’s version of an old-school LAN party. That’s not depicted anywhere in the video, but I feel like it would be a realistic occurence?
One thing I noticed in the Switch video is that Nintendo seems to be shifting their philosophy quite drastically. The Switch seems to be telling people: hey, who cares about your dog, the park, the people around you and the things you can see when you look out the car window… why not look at your screen instead? You never have to stop gaming ever again if you don’t want to. All your interactions with others can be channelled through the Nintendo Switch. The Wii, on the other hand, was selling itself as a way to physicalize what had long been stigmatized as a couch-bound, non-athletic, lonely endeavor. Just something to think about, I guess.
Bottom line: human beings are weird. Nintendo is taking a little bit of a gamble here in regards to how our species wants to game. I’m betting it will pay off. When you look more closely, the Nintendo Switch isn’t much of a gamble at all: it’s all things to all people. It’s a perfectly good replacement for the Wii U without that pesky second screen controller. It’s also a perfectly good portable console with a big fat screen. Do I think people will start hanging out in the exact ways portrayed in this video? No. Do I think the Nintendo Switch will sell? Yes. I’ll (probably) buy it. Will you?