The Story of the Switch - A Year in Retrospect

Discussion in 'Switch - Games & Content' started by Scarlet, Mar 2, 2018.


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    Debuting with a short trailer in October of 2016, the Switch made waves. Confirming rumours of Nintendo's latest hybrid system and rekindling hope for third-party support, people were talking. Could a handheld device cope with the quality of gameplay expected from a home console? Would these detachable controllers herald in a new age of gimmick-reliant games? Will I ever get invited to a rooftop party? Through the hype building and mystery, Nintendo made one thing clear—this is not the Wii U. Casting it aside like a DSi in 2011, the Switch put forward a new aesthetic. Slimmer, sleeker, this system felt as though it was marketed to the population who had grown up with Nintendo, as opposed to those still growing. With just one more appearance in December on The Tonight Show, things were relatively quiet going into 2017.

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    January brought with it a livestream from Tokyo, showing off much of what was to come in enticing detail. Announcing Arms, 1-2 Switch, and a plethora of information surrounding controllers, price point, and release date - the stage was set. Though a large point of conversation stemmed from the awkward live translation, Nintendo fans got a chance to see just what was waiting for them around the corner. A moment I still fondly look back on is the unveiling of Hisashi Nogami, producer of Splatoon 2. His getup, his enthusiasm, and his dramatic poses stay with me to this day; all of this made better when considering he was presenting to a room of financial analysts and trade partners. It really drove home to me this is still a Nintendo system, and that Nintendo systems serve for fun above all.


    Just three short days before release, Nintendo had one last marketing push for the Switch in its February 28th Nindies showcase. Kicking off with the announcement of SteamWorld Dig 2, Nintendo showed the potential for a vast library of games; much of which we're enjoying a year later. Others, we still wait for—I'm looking at you WarGroove.

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    Launch brought with it a unique joy I haven't seen since the Nintendo Wii. With the intense sales force of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild behind it, the Switch took off at a greater pace than anybody could have anticipated, becoming completely unavailable in certain areas for months to come. Supported by the likes of Super Bomberman R, Shovel Knight, and the ever-memorable Vroom in the Night Sky, early adopters already had a small library of games good and bad to choose from. It stood as a shame to me party game 1-2 Switch wasn't bundled with the system, Nintendo instead opting to sell it as a full-priced standalone game. The Switch's launch was no doubt successful, but it lacked its Tetris, its Wii Sports; even to some extent its Face Raiders.

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    The months that followed saw a steady stream of support from Nintendo and third parties alike, none left without a major release to serve as its backbone. After the gargantuan success of Breath of the Wild, Nintendo offered up a different kind of experience for April, opting to bring a new version of Mario Kart 8 to the system. With the force of 42 playable characters and an all-new battle mode, owners of the Wii U version were coaxed and coerced into double dipping on this staple of frantic friendship-killing action. My personal pick for the month comes from a surprisingly underrated assortment of falling blocks and blobs with faces; none other than Puyo Puyo Tetris. Seeing its first release outside of Japan, this fun mashup captivated me not only in its well-established and polished gameplay, but in its incredible dialogue and puns. Even if you don't think yourself particularly sharp at Tetris, or find yourself unfamiliar with the cutest blobs in gaming, I recommend you check it out.

    May's big-ticket release came in the form of Disgaea 5 Complete, much like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe releasing with the DLC of its PS4 counterpart. This isometric trip into gruesome grinding and devilishly good humour provided players with all the goodness of a primetime Prinny for the first time on a Nintendo system in almost a decade. All in all, a relatively quiet month. Minecraft got its inevitable port and fighter fans were left largely disappointed with the lacklustre release of Ultimate Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. While not necessarily flawed, many saw its relative lack of new content struggling to justify its hefty price tag. Despite this, be it through a desperate wanting of something fresh in an otherwise slow month, or a genuine desire to Hadouken with the Joy Cons, Switch owners saw it worthy enough of their money for it to be a commercial success in the eyes of Capcom.

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    As summer rolled in, so too did the unforgettable anthem of ARMS; Nintendo's unique attempt at captivating the competitive masses. Creating a game largely reliant on motion controls does, after all, have a fantastic track record for Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword averaging 93% on review aggregate site Metacritic. Though featuring the polish and shine of a first party Nintendo game, many found themselves let down by the relative lack of content. It set itself up for updates much like the 2015 hit Splatoon, but ultimately found itself lacking the same spark that made fighting for turf so fun.

    One of my more anticipated titles, Splatoon 2 rolled, squelched, and sprayed onto Nintendo Switch in the midst of Summer. Building off the finale of the original game, it captured the hearts of series fans as their final parting decision influenced the events of the sequel. Now with new weapon types, new maps, and new special weapons, Splatoon 2 felt fresh; and yet managed to keep the same charm and sheer sense of fun as its predecessor. An interesting pairing to release alongside it would be the Nintendo Switch Online app for smartphones. With a unique area for Splatoon showing the maps in rotation, as well as a unique way of ordering high quality gear, it served me well as I threw myself into the inky abyss. Should you find yourself harbouring a particular hatred for your teammates, it also allowed for an infuriating and limited voice chat solution.

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    Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a game that came somewhat out of nowhere. Being the second game I reviewed for GBAtemp, I recall it in a strange light. Putrid minion-esque creatures sullying the Mario name, what was Nintendo thinking? I don't think I've ever been so happy to be wrong. Every element of this game just worked. A sense of humour only possible with these rabid hellspawn, a companion character spouting words and phrases I never thought I'd see within a mile of the Mario name. Even nine months later, I find myself in awe of what I played. A truly remarkable gem blending two franchises that had no reason nor rhyme to interact, let alone in such a brilliant way.

    Following in the footsteps of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe before it, Pokken saw itself lifted from the obscurity of the Wii U and decorated with the new title of Pokken Tournament DX. Adding characters previously exclusive to the arcade version of the game, Pokken DX offered a great port of the 2015 hit, portability being a huge selling point. Around this time, the floodgates were noticeably starting to open for the Switch eShop. What was a steady stream of one or two games a week now became three, four, upwards of twelve games appearing, hopeful to find their audience. One game truly deserving of such, is Sidebar Games' debut title Golf Story. With lush visuals, an engaging story, and the high-octane sport of golf serving as its backbone, it throws you back to the golden era of Mario sports games. Back to Mario Tennis and Mario Golf on the GBA, where each game had a lovingly crafted world, small as they may have been. It stands to me as a passionate love letter to a time long-since passed.

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    It would be easy to jump ahead to the colossal release of Super Mario Odyssey, but to do so would be to overlook perhaps my favourite game to have been ported to this capable device. Presenting a quiet farmer's life in a small town, Stardew Valley offers players the freedom to live as they like. If you want to farm, farm. If you want to fish, you know where the ocean is. You want to marry this man? This woman? It's your life, and this freedom is only amplified by the freedom to play it where you want. Stardew Valley is a game that always belonged on a handheld device. Crafting an experience enjoyable in ten-minute bursts, or six-hour marathon sessions, you have here a unique game to be enjoyed by a vast audience. And then a week later, you had Mario.

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    Super Mario Odyssey launched to a similar reception as Breath of the Wild. Marked down as one of the greatest Mario games to date, and a true icon of the Nintendo Switch itself, it was showered with high ratings across the board. It featured fun movement, bright and visually appealing graphics, and a neat new gimmick; a true 3D Mario game of exploration and open worlds after the linearity of Super Mario 3D Land, and World. A brilliant game I feel sorely let down by the littering of Moons across its landscapes. I found a great deal of enjoyment in playing it, but with a Moon for every random action, I couldn't help but grow tired of it. I applaud the developers for their foresight in level design, putting Moons at the end of every "what if" scenario, but this foresight comes at a cost. It feels as Super Mario 64 would if every red coin were made a Star, and it held it back for me.

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    With a number of third-party developers finding success in the Switch, now came Bethesda to test the water with their undying magnum opus: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While I find it easy to stand aside and laugh at just how many releases Skyrim has seen, I did buy it on the Switch when it launched. What the Switch has is unique. Porting a six-year-old game is nothing special, but porting a game of such scale, of such magnitude as Skyrim to a handheld system? That's different. To wander Whiterun, to slay dragons, to be a general nuisance to the people of Skyrim; to do this anywhere is something extraordinary in my mind. It's the one thing from launch to now I still struggle to come to terms with, and yet have gotten so used to. On any other system, you might say rereleasing a game for the third, or even fourth time is a shameless cash grab. Maybe it is on the Switch, but when providing such a unique selling point, the purchase justifies itself to me.

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    Ending 2017 with a bang, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 throws you into an immersive and expansive journey across the moving landscapes that are Titans. Having reviewed this, I found myself captivated from start to end. With its brilliant English dubbing and writing that can make even generic tropes into well-developed and interesting plot points, the Switch finally had its definitive JRPG experience.

    With two months of 2018 already behind us, the Switch isn't showing any signs of slowing down. With Bayonetta 1 + 2 recently released, Kirby, Attack on Titan 2, and Project Octopath Traveller ahead in the immediate future; even a main series Pokemon game coming soon. Stay with GBAtemp as we cover the latest and greatest of what this system has to offer.

    One year on, what are your fondest memories of the Switch? What are you hoping for the coming year? Let us know below.

    Official GBAtemp Reviews

    If any of the games mentioned in this article interested you, be sure to check out our official reviews:

    :arrow: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    :arrow: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
    :arrow: Disgaea 5 Complete
    :arrow: ARMS
    :arrow: Splatoon 2
    :arrow: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
    :arrow: SteamWorld Dig 2
    :arrow: Super Mario Odyssey
    :arrow: Xenoblade Chronicles 2
    :arrow: Bayonetta 1 + 2
     
    Discussion (119 replies)
  1. gameboy

    gameboy GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Waited outside a GameStop for 7+hrs in negative temperatures to secure my day one switch
     
  2. YTElias

    YTElias Ashley

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    Aug 23, 2017
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    It was a tough start for the Switch that sure
    But it has a great future:toot:
     
    Jacklack3 likes this.
  3. Anfroid

    Anfroid GBAtemp Fan

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    Was it? It seemed like a success from the beginning to me.
     
    Red771, Lukerz, Xzi and 2 others like this.
  4. HaloEliteLegend

    HaloEliteLegend Luminary of Illustrious Colors

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    The Switch has given me so much gaming time I didn't know I had. I waited in the cold outside many stores and many tracked shipments later, I finally procured a Switch at Target in July. This is honestly one of the best gaming systems I've ever owned. The Switch has a bright future ahead of it, and I'm very excited to see what new games this little system has in store!
     
  5. gameboy

    gameboy GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I always thought it was funny how people thought they could just wait a good two weeks before the next shipment only to find out that they still had to wait in the cold in hopes for the next shipment.

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    The article forgot to add the part where the only way to get a switch for the first 8 months was through GameStop for twice the price with a No More Heroes game and $120 of useless peripherals... And they still had to wait a month for it
     
  6. leon315

    leon315 POWERLIFTER

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    Switch was released in October 2016, where is the this place that had negative temp at October? Sounds unbelievable
     
  7. HaloEliteLegend

    HaloEliteLegend Luminary of Illustrious Colors

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    Don't even get me started on delayed shipments or out of date inventory systems pulling up false stock. I had Wii flashbacks the whole time.

    Wasn't about to cede to GameStop's glorified scalping. It was just a constant back and forth between Best Buy, Fred Meyers, and Target. And the stock was so paltry every shipment, too. I was first in the door at Target that morning and they had all but 12 Switch units in that shipment.

    Switch came out March 3rd, 2017, buddy. And October is cold up here near the Canadian border.
     
    Last edited by HaloEliteLegend, Mar 3, 2018
    Lukerz and gameboy like this.
  8. jimmyj

    jimmyj Official founder of altariaism. Copyright jimmyj

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    got mine on my birthday (christmas day,if you were wondering)
     
  9. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    The platform is certainly selling well so far, but in my eyes it has yet to cement its position as a truly successful mainstream device. I see the Switch as a console of contrasts - it's excellent in concept and poor in design. The Switch offers the promise of taking mainstream gaming on the go, but lacks the brawn to truly execute that promise with its relatively weak off-the-shelf Tegra X1 that's approximately three times weaker than the baseline Xbox One, let alone the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X. The choices made when creating the system are truly head-scratchingly confusing, from very odd I/O placement through lacking hardware features to just poor layout of the controllers. With apparently no plans for revisions anytime soon the way I see this shaking up is that the library will be the deciding factor - either developers will embrace it or they won't. It definitely has the sales numbers to back itself up, so there's ample consumer confidence in the platform, now developers need to follow suit and push it along. When the Switch was new I've suggested that Nintendo needs to kill the 3DS, and they need to do it quickly. I maintain that view a year later - they should focus their efforts on the Switch now. Users will happily migrate as long as there are games available for the system. With a mainstream Pokemon title in the works and a couple of system sellers already out, the future seems rosy - it's a successful Nintendo platform, let's hope it will be a big one in the long run and that it maintains its momentum.
     
  10. mightymuffy

    mightymuffy fatbaldpieeater

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    Good read OP, but while I agree this ain't the Wii U, it kind of is ....it's the Wii U as it should have been, done properly.
    Excellent first year for the Switch anyway, received better than anyone could've predicted (I bet even Nintendo are pleasantly surprised!). Probably the best first year game lineup ever too! The gamers have returned to Nintendo!
    This year is the interesting one though! We start with a focus on bits of cardboard - this is a good move to nabbing a certain audience, but it's not gonna keep the hardcore gamers is it... will this (plus maybe a couple of Wii U ports) be enough to keep said gamers? I don't think so...
    Early days though! Metroid Prime 4 is coming! (I'll put a tenner on us not seeing it this year of course) - what else have they got planned?? Looking forward to the next big Direct, and of course e3!
     
  11. T-hug

    T-hug Always like this.

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  12. Chary

    Chary Never sleeps.

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    The Switch has done well for itself throughout 2017. I don't think it's the most amazing Nintendo console out there, and many of the major releases fail to interest me, but at least by general consensus, Nintendo's come back strong after the Wii U disaster.

    I'm conflicted on the amount of ports it has. On one hand, it's awesome, to play games with the semi-portability of the Switch, but on the other hand, it's all just ports of games we've already seen before on other consoles.

    Anyways, hopefully we see a lot of major announcements at E3. The second year of the Switch needs to continue being strong, and Nintendo needs another main IP release, to keep up the hype.
     
  13. aofelix

    aofelix GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Dec 21, 2013
    I think this second year will be a lot more rocky than the first.
    BOTW, Mario Odyssey and Xenoblade 2 gave me my best gaming of 2017.
    Nintendo could only match it by Fire Emblem, Pokemon and a Metroid.


    It'll be interesting to see how they do but I imagine this year will be a lot slower. Its already March and only Mario Tennis really grabs my attention.
     
  14. Proust

    Proust Advanced Member

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    Mar 28, 2017
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    It had an easy start, the tough job starts now actually: keeping us interested... which sort of fails at the moment. I have the impression we will have to wait till E3 for some more news...
     
  15. YTElias

    YTElias Ashley

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    the tough start was to get a switch you know
     
  16. Sonic Angel Knight

    Sonic Angel Knight GBAtemp Legend

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    • See picture of puyo puyo tetris
    • reads comments below
    • Review of Puyo Puyo Tetris not on the list cause not OFFICIAL
    Well I guess he also didn't put official review of Elder scrolls V skyrim on the list so that is fair... :ninja:
     
  17. Scarlet
    OP

    Scarlet Respect the Hero

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    That's because there is no official review of Skyrim lol. I think the person doing it at the time had other things come up, leading it to be scrapped.
     
  18. Sonic Angel Knight

    Sonic Angel Knight GBAtemp Legend

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    You also put steamworld dig 2 and disgaea 5 on the list, but no pics for those game? :unsure:
     
  19. fedehda

    fedehda GBAtemp Fan

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    At your current screen. And in heaven
    I never loved any console like the switch. Since that trailer in october, I bought it almost two weeks after it launched.

    I think it's the greatest console ever.
     
    Scarlet likes this.
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