One year ago today, after what felt like an eternity, the Nintendo Switch finally released. While the wait felt like an eternity, it was released only 5 months after it was officially announced! Nintendo had the world on their shoulders after the disaster of their last console, the Wii U. While I actually liked the Wii U (despite regretting buying one the week it came out), it will forever go down as one of Nintendo’s biggest mistakes. There are many theories as to why it failed but I refuse to believe it’s anything other than the fact that it was marketed horribly letting people assume it was just another Wii.
I was immediately sold and pre-ordered it as soon as I could. I decided to take the same risk as I did with the Wii U except this time I was going to get it day one instead of waiting a week.
Nintendo ticked every box with the Nintendo Switch. Massive games that you can literally play anywhere. They took the fun of the Wii, the power of consoles like the PS4, and the probability of the Nintendo DS to make the ultimate gaming experience.
I’ll never forget getting a phone call from GameStop the day before release. My heart absolutely sunk because I assumed they were going to give me bad news that they didn’t get enough in, or the shipment never arrived or something. I was kind of right, they called to let me know that they didn’t get a whole lot in because they underestimated the demand. Basically telling me to be in as early as possible to collect mine because there was no guarantee they’d keep it if I left it off. This didn’t really worry me because I had fully intended on being there at 9am on the dot.
Me and my friend Eoin had this day planned out since we preordered. 8:30am meet at our usual rendezvous spot between our houses. From there, we’d head to the Tesco across from GameStop and stock up on junk food for the weekend. Then we’d queue outside to be there when doors opened. From there, the plan was to squeeze as many hours of gameplay in before Monday morning.
Good news was that GameStop opened 10 minutes early, bad news was there was a guy in front of us with his mom and he was literally buying everything to go with the Nintendo Switch (well, his mom was buying them). Now, I’m sure he wasn’t at the counter for THAT long but it felt like an eternity. This motherfucker was the only thing between us and our Switches. We already had them paid for, we just had to take them and leave.
After Moneybags Magee lugged his 3 (yes, really) bags of games, accessories, and figures out of the shop. We finally got our hands on ours. I was like a kid on Christmas. There was only one game I needed with the Switch. Zelda. The new Zelda game was something we were promised before the Wii U was released. This game was postponed and delayed for like 4 years before we finally got it.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was absolutely worth the excruciatingly long wait. Nintendo brought a new twist with this game and absolutely redefined the open world adventure game. Zelda has always been my favourite videogame franchise so I was slightly worried when they were showing how they’ve moved on from the traditional linear story and gameplay to more of an open world, ‘do what you want’ approach. I had nothing to fear, I’ve just started my third playthrough of the game. Considering it’s only a year old, that’s pretty incredible.
The only slight negative to the Nintendo Switch launch was that it HEAVILY relied on Zelda in it’s first few months. There was a very limited number of launch titles but once we started to come into summer, the games were flowing. With Zelda being such a huge game, I didn’t really mind there being such a limited launch but there were a few who did. Saying this, once the games started coming, they REALLY started coming.
The Nintendo Switch has since become an indie-game powerhouse. Games such as Stardew Valley and Rocketleague have been ported over and it also boasts one of the best RPG’s I’ve played in years, Golf Story.
Towards the end of last year it was blatantly obvious that Nintendo had struck gold with the Switch. Games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Sonic Mania saw them through the Summer but two massive Fall/Winter releases solidified a perfect 2017 for Nintendo. Skyrim was ported over which enticed me to purchase the game for a 5th time (seriously, I love this game). Being able to play one of the best games ever made on the go is a dream come true.
Skyrim was huge towards the end of the year but the real show stealer was the release of Super Mario Odyssey. For the second time since it’s release, the Nintendo Switch had a first party game that completely redefined its genre. After basically creating the 3d platformer with Mario 64 in the 90’s, Nintendo has now seemed to perfect it with Mario Odyssey.
There’s so much more I can say about the Nintendo Switch and the killer first year it’s had. Nintendo knew they had to deliver with this one and failure was absolutely not an option. They absolutely knocked it out of the park. I don’t think a console has ever had such a successful first year which is really exciting.
Nintendo have already announced that they’re working on a proper Pokémon game for the Switch which will break records. No doubt we’ll get Smash Bros. at some stage too. The future is bright for Nintendo after a rough few years. As someone who’s been playing Nintendo games since I could walk, I almost feel a sense of pride in Nintendo for what they’ve done here.
One last thing I have to mention. It’s such a shame that former President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata wasn’t around to see this. After the Wii U flopped and Nintendo took a big financial hit, Mr. Iwata took a paycut and went back to the drawing board. He served as the lead developer of the Nintendo Switch right up until his death in 2015. I’m absolutely certain that he would be very glad that this is his legacy, even if he didn’t get to see the love it’s gotten.
Do you have a Switch? Are you as impressed with it as I am? Hit me up on Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and let’s keep the conversation going! Now, excuse me while I go back to sink my teeth into more Zelda!
Until next time,