Nintendo Switches It Up… Kinda

The next generation of consoles are sweeping in already, all the while the Xbox One and the PS4 are still being referred to as next gen, despite the fact that they’ve been current gen for 3 years now.

Nintendo Switch, formerly known as Nintendo NX, was finally officially revealed a couple of weeks ago now and it’s garnished a pretty deadly response with 20 million views and a phenomenal half a million likes already.

dc1
Reginald “Reggie” Fils-Aimé, Prince-Reagent at Nintendo.

Nintendo has been the king of gimmicks this last decade, but it hasn’t been a  bad thing, as a PC gamer, Nintendo produces the only consoles I’m actually ever interested in, because they’re not just budget PC’s wrapped in a nice branded box.

Whether it was the DS with it’s touch screen, it’s Wii and its motion controller, or it’s 3D screen on the 3Ds, all of which where extremely successful, Nintendo proved that games with fun, simple, and creative mechanics tailored to the hardware its on are more successful than traditional AAA games that rely on immense graphics & realism.

So what’s the gimmick with the Switch? Well, it’s actually a whole range of gimmicks that come together and form something that seems pretty damn cool.

From the ad it’s clear it’s essentially the tablet controller from the Wii U, except the ‘controller’ is the console itself! It can be plugged in to your TV like a conventional games console, but it’s also portable and can be played like a 3DS anywhere, it even shows another way of playing on the go where you can sit back and use your controller like the good ol’ WiiMote & Nunchuck.

The Wii U and the 3DS both sold incredibly well among teenagers & young adults(like myself), so it’s no surprise to see this ad tailored totally to ‘hip millennials’ as opposed to their usual target audience of families and little kids.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-10-06-16-am
Announcing Elder Scrolls GO

How powerful will it be though? Well it’s not really known, but we do see Skyrim being played on it here, whether this is the newly remastered version or the original release from 2011 is hard to tell. If this machine is truly ‘next gen’ it should at least be on par with Xbox One graphics, but you just never know with Nintendo, and it’s absolute portability makes it seem unlikely that it will be that high-end. I hope I’m wrong.

What’s interesting is the Switch seeks to replace the Nintendo’s 3DS(which my friend wrote about in more detail here) while simultaneously taking over the Wii U, so a lot is banking on its success when it comes out in March 2017.

Advertisements

Neo-Storytelling

This time last year I believed the only decent form of truly interactive storytelling could be done through video games, and I’m here to admit I was definitely wrong.

What I really enjoyed most studying concepts & collaboration in the digital humanities was delving into other forms of interactive media – which I wrote about briefly in my ‘storytime’ blog post last year.

Bear 71 by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes is an interactive documentary following the life and death of a grizzly bear in a Canadian national park, who was collared at the age of three. It was a decent concept for a traditional documentary, but it was made a particularly enjoyable and more impactful story as we the viewers (or perhaps more aptly put the players) got to navigate the documentary at our own pace, gloss over what we as individuals found necessary or interesting, and just become absolutely immersed for half an hour or so in a way that you really can’t with a traditional documentary.

Something I enjoyed even more, however, was S., written by Doug Durst, and conceived by Sci-Fi king J. J. Abrams himself. It’s a testament to the fact that interactive media doesn’t necessarily need to be digital. An article on The Chicago Tribune declares the novel “part work of art, literary experiment, and love letter to the physical expression of books”, and I’d be inclined to agree. I’m not a big book reader myself but the concept alone was enough for me to love it. It’s essentially a book within a book with supplementary material, and it was this simple extra physical material, like a compass and some fake photographs stashed in the middle, that are used to understand the story more thoroughly, that made the novel so much more wonderful & immersive.

Everything said and done I still think video games are the best way to engage & interact with a story, and I believe what I’ve mentioned above works so well ultimately because they’ve been gamified – they are mechanically very similar to classic point & click adventure games like Grim Fandango, and the more recent Broken Age.

Ultimately now that virtual reality is finally becoming a physical reality, and having tried Oculus Rift & the HTC Vive myself, I’m more excited than ever for the influx of more unique interactive media.