March 2017 see’s the release of Nintendo’s latest machine; the Nintendo Switch. Can Nintendo pull of another amazing release, or will it suffer the same fate as the WiiU or Game Cube?
In my humble opinion, Nintendo are the greatest ever games company. Sure people may think that today the console gaming market is dominated by Playstation and XBox. But to those people I say, you are wrong! Why?… Here’s why!
Nintendo are often underestimated because of their lower power capabilities compared to the same gen XBox and Playstation, and because the graphics (especially the home titles like Mario and Zelda) are mistaken for always being childlike. This is false, because Nintendo are capable of producing very realistic graphics and very dark games; ZombiU on the WiiU for example or House of The Dead Overkill.
But Nintendo are not about graphics and power, they are about innovation and revolution. Without NIntendo, we simply wouldn’t have the games systems or the interfaces that we have today. But Ninetendo are not without fault. Confusing and poor launches have always let them down, and are the driving factor in the failure of any of their systems.
Lets start with the original NES. This is the system that brough home console gaming to households around the world. A very popular console that saw the birth of Zelda and Mario (Nintendo’s two biggest franchises), it is still in demand today, with the recent rerelease of a mini version selling out around the World.
But it wasn’t until the Super Nintendo (SNES) that they really started to show their dominance. Nintendo had full control of the console market here. Superior games and a much more sophisticated controller, meant that the Sega Megadrive was left in it’s shadow. the SNES is beloved and iconic, and don’t be surprised if Nintendo release a mini version of this console too!
Wind forward and we come to the Nintendo Ultra 64 (later renamed the N64). I loved this machine. However a slightly awkward controller and the fact that it relied on cartridges, unlike the Playstations CDs, meant that games companies were reluctant to develop exclusive titles for it. The N6s saw of competition from the Sega Dreamcast, but it couldn’t combat the sheer range of titles of the Playstation. Despite that, the NB64 had 2 of the greatest games of all time; The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time and the fantastic Goldeneye.
The Gamecube was the first real miss for Nintendo and it was incompletely dominated by Playstation in the console market. The hype around the release of the Playstation 2 was incredible.
But then the Nintendo Wii was released. You could have been forgiven for thinking that Ninetendo was dead, but instead they released a game changer. Motion gaming with a real focus on a shared family experience where anyone can play. Nintendo outsold both Playstation and Xbox with this machine which currently stands at over 100,000,000 units sold worldwide.
Nintendo then released the WiiU. This console sold no where near as well as the original Wii, which is a shame as it provided further innovation in a touch screen P1 controller, and superior power. But poor launch titles and confusion on whether it was a new console or just an add on, meant it lagged massively. And by the time everyone understood, it was too late and gamers had moved on to the newest Sony and Microsoft offerings.
Before we get to the upcoming Nintendo machine, we need to speak briefly about portable gaming. Nintendo revolutionised and dominated the portable gaming market 3 times, and without doubt has made it the lucrative area that it is today. First with the original Game boy, then with the DS (which at the time was deemed ludicrous to have dual screens) and finally with the mighty 3DS.
Now we are on the verge of the next great Nintendo machine. The Nintendo Switch. The trailer has been released and it looks incredible Wireless game play and stunning graphics with an unassuming square controller. However take slide the sides off the controller and it connects to a tablet, which is the core of the machine. As soon as it is connected the game switches to the controller without apparently loss of power (because the machine ios now in the controller).
This isn’t the same as playing with the TV off at home with the WiiU touchscreen. This is fully portable. Pull out the kick stand, slide of the side controllers and it works like the Wii controller and nun-chuck. Want to play Mariokart on the move, no problem – just give your friend one of the controllers and turn it sideways! Want to use a Nintendo pro controller…of course you can! You can even play with 4 other friends with their own Switch tablets and get some real strategy that until now had been lost with the multiplayer TV split screen.
The Nintendo Switch console could be massive. As long as it has a strong launch with a new Mario Game (definitely) and the long awaited new Zelda title (hopefully), Nintendo have every opportunity to revolutionise the gaming World again. Don’t count them out just yet!