We’re not cancelled; these are just our Wilderness Years

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. arcbeatle
    October 26, 2016 @ 9:39 pm

    I’m so pumped for this console. When I first heard about the WiiU I actually assumed it would be something similar to this. When I learned the controller wasn’t independent of the console… I knew there had been a missed opportunity.

    I’ve wanted this, bad. I want this, bad.


  2. Ross
    October 26, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

    I must be really weird, because I am as disappointed by the Switch reveal as I’ve ever been by a console reveal. After four generations of Nintendo consoles being complete game changers, it seems like the Switch boils down to “It’s a high end tablet with a dock,” and the biggest selling point I see most people excited about is “It will have ports of many popular games I can already play on at least three other consoles I already own”.

    In the first place, I’m disappointed that it seems to lack anything more innovative than “It’s also a portable” (which holds a little bit of interest for me to begin with, but I see no particular advantage in “You can use the same console for the TV as for mobile play”), and I’m even more disappointed that the response to it from “serious gamers” seems to be something along the lines of “At last! Nintendo stopped doing all that stupid innovation and produced a console that’s functionally identical to the other two consoles!”


    • TheMagister
      October 28, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

      I agree. So what if it’s portable? It’s a smart move for Nintendo but will it actually be profitable for them? I don’t think so. It’s not going to draw in a new crowd. Why pay €150+ for a portable game console when everyone nowadays needs a smartphone? The Nintendo fans will buy it but they would’ve bought a Wii U 2 if it existed. And everyone who buys it…will play it at home. It’s not going to change anything.


      • Josh Marsfelder
        October 29, 2016 @ 12:49 am

        Worth noting here I think is Nintendo’s new strategy for courting smartphone owners and leveraging IP through different channels. Unlike previous generations, Nintendo is actually supporting smartphones now, either directly, as with Super Mario Run, Miitomo and the forthcoming Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem apps, or indirectly, through Pokémon Go.

        The logic being that people will get introduced to Nintendo properties through things like smartphone apps, and then desire to graduate to a real game console to get a more fully-featured and robust experience. A logic that has, in fact, played out already: The wild success of Pokémon Go this year led directly to a spike in sales for the 3DS Pokémon games. Nintendo believes, and not without reason or historical precedent, that their IP will move units by itself. And even if the Switch “only” does 3DS numbers, it will be a marked success.

        Either way, the Nintendo Switch is the exact video game console I have always wanted and I actually do leave my house sometimes, so your opinions are invalid.


  3. Nathan Mahney
    October 30, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

    For myself, I’m not fussed about whatever form the newest Nintendo console takes. The only concern I have is whether I can play The Legend of Zelda on it, and the Switch is looking to fill that requirement admirably.


  4. Keith Jones
    November 7, 2016 @ 3:34 am

    Count me as another who the Switch seems tailor-made for. I count myself as a gamer but my interest in home consoles has waned with every generation, even as I frequently play with friends and my brother on their various XBoxes and Playstations in multiplayer games, and have at least made a point to play some of the really top tier games (recently I finished Red Dead Redemption – hooboy, it’s like Grand Theft Zelda in a way, and watched my brother play through Witcher 3 like five times (Zelda for grown ups)). And I’m an absolutely diehard Nintendo fanboy, but I didn’t buy a WiiU. I could tell there was some AAA IP but nothing ever made me ‘have to have one’. The only thing that has come close is Super Mario Maker, which I’m sort of predicting hopefully will come out on Switch anyway. Which makes WiiU the only Nintendo console I never had besides a SNES (the exception, because we were poor when I was a kid and by the time I could’ve gotten one cheap on the aftermarket, I’d already played half the great library on PC ROM emulators.) I love my Wii, though. I find myself being more of a retro gamer these days anyway (I play Super Metroid a few times a year. I love the backwards GameCube compatibility for the Metroid Primes, and I’ve got a bunch of great NES and SNES games on there – still playing the Wii, it’s a fixture).

    But I did buy a Nintendo 3DS. And so did my brother, the XBox addicted online gamer/first person shooter enthusiast. For Pokemon. Pokemon sells systems. And this is where I come at it from a slightly different vantage point. We’ve often talked about wanting a AAA full console Pokemon RPG. Not that we’ll ever get it, but Nintendo solved that crisis by just taking their home console and handheld and combining them. Pokemon Generation Next will assuredly be on the Switch and at that point even if he’s a late adopter, even my brother will by buying a Nintendo console. And given Pokemon’s current advances in Sun and Moon, it’s (slowly) evolving into a full 3D RPG experience, anyway.

    More than that, since the days of Pokemon G1 and G2, we’ve been bemoaning the lack of a “Pokemon Stadium” – a game with such a great high-concept that we actually purchased multiple “Game Boy Adapters” for our N64 controllers so we could battle our Pokemon on the big screen arena, and use our own trained Pokemon to play a grandiose tournament-based game. The handheld Pokemon games have dabbled in this as well – Black and White 2 featured the PWT, and X and Y have made stunning advances in seamless online interactivity thanks to the 3DS hardware, so “more of that” doesn’t hurt us. The core Pokemon RPGs now include a lot of what made Pokemon Stadium so special. The other missing piece there was that the Stadium games allowed us to play the GameBoy games on our TV screens with bigger controllers (and sped up, to boot! Faster training! More organization! Save boxes for extra Pokemon! Search functions for types and moves!) (While freeing up the GB, the only one we had in the house, so we could play simultaneously).

    Nintendo Switch bodes very well for a return to that kind of play. I’m thrilled to get a second chance to get the WiiU titles I missed out on, because I wasn’t willing to shell it out for that thing without a killer app. But I don’t need the promise of future Pokemon generations to know I want the Switch. The new Zelda looks like it was also tailor made for me specifically, and that sold me the system the day they said it was being delayed and coinciding with the NX release date. I’m in the camp that hasn’t had a new Mario game since Galaxy 2 (I did play New SMB 1 on a DS a few years back and liked it). I’m thrilled to hopefully live the dream of making Mario levels a little late on the new touch screen, then throw them up on the big screen to play them, if they get that worked around.


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