The “hybrid” concept of Switch has proven to be a significant and significant success for Nintendo over the past four years. It’s not just about sales numbers and huge profits, but it has brought the Nintendo brand back to the kind of influence it last enjoyed during the DS and Wii era, although the scandalous sales of these two systems together is unlikely to be matched. Nintendo is once again incredibly popular and prominent in the mainstream entertainment space, playing a major role in setting trends and activating store checkouts.
Arguably the magic of Switch is its flexibility – for some it’s a laptop, others a console, and in all likelihood most of us use it both. Yet Nintendo’s promotion of the material is often humorous – how to say — unrealistic. As my colleague Kate pointed out in her Internet reacts to OLED Switch roundupNintendo doesn’t seem to know how most people play games. It’s ambitious marketing, I guess.
What has always tickled me about these ads? the original revelation in which a group of basketball players hang out near a playing field NBA 2K – is Nintendo’s idea of how we might use the tabletop setup. It might be ambitious, but the only thing that makes me yearn for is better eyesight, frankly.
As a 30-something who wears glasses, tabletop fashion has always been a fun, if impractical, quirk. At first I remember wanting to test the portable performance of Sonic Mania for our review and convince my brother to play split screen with me in tabletop mode. In a scene that certainly wouldn’t fit Nintendo’s airy concept trailers, the two of us – adults in our 30s – were hunched over the system trying to play Sonic with just three inches of screen each. Looking back, that was ridiculous.
I made exceptions where I went all-in in table mode, mainly in Ikaruga. If I had a Flip Grip I would play it on my handheld with that beautiful view of the TATE, but instead I use the stand accessory I bought (the original kickstand won’t allow this, neither will the new OLED, for that matter) to play vertically, squinting at screen when using a Pro controller. Sometimes a little discomfort is worth a big game.
But of course, when it comes to tabletop fashion, it’s all about memes. Who can forget the original trailer in which a system is taken to a rooftop party for a bit of Super Mario Odyssey? He spawned a million jokes but in fact, it’s not that crazy. In the distant past of real social gatherings, I saw a scene much like this play out. Sure, it was a friend’s wedding in which many attendees were downright gaming addicts, but someone actually released a Switch, at a party, for impromptu tabletop multiplayer. I couldn’t see the screen very well, but it happened.
In the distant past of true social gatherings, I saw someone pull out a Switch, at a party, for impromptu tabletop multiplayer. I couldn’t see the screen very well, be careful.
Maybe that’s part of why OLED exists, as Nintendo is determined to make tabletop gaming a “thing”! Damn, the kickstand is a gift, almost like Nintendo say ‘there, stop complaining, now go play Mario Kart at the pub’.
Okay, my tongue might be in my cheek there, but if you take a step back and look at the evidence, just about everything on the OLED model is there to improve portable and tabletop gaming, the only concession. to TV players being a LAN input and a slightly more curved / more beautiful dock.
Can that extra screen size and crisp, colorful OLED output help this near-sighted gamer rediscover the joys of tabletop gaming?
Uh, maybe? Well, probably not. I’m definitely not planning on going to a trendy cafe full of people chilling out, enjoying the vibe and the mellow jazz, to interrupt their vibe by screaming “oh dirty son of—” to a friend who just bombarded me with red Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Then again …
Maybe this improved kickstand won’t be much use, but it’s nice of Nintendo to think of us nearsighted glasses wearers anyway.