Opinion: Adding a price tag to 1-2 Switch is the best thing Nintendo ever did

Right now at this very minute, Nintendo is on top of the world again. The Nintendo Switch is selling as well as the Wii did all those years ago and the Big N can barely keep up with the demand. Nintendo is back, but they’re not just ‘back’. The Nintendo most of us 30/40-something-year-olds grew up with has returned.

There is much to compare to the days of old. The first thing many old-school fans would have noticed was that they finally dropped that dreadful ‘we want to be like Apple’ dull grey and white look for IN YOUR FACE red. It’s a return to the bright and colourful days of Nintendo’s best days in the business. Most important of all are the games. Slowly but surely third-party support is returning to the Nintendo Switch and combined with fantastic first-party releases it’s becoming a great place to play games. I do however remember that initial Nintendo showcase that took place nearly a year ago to the day. On 13 January 2017, we all got our first taste of what exactly the Nintendo Switch could and would be. The hybrid system was Nintendo’s future, but there was one big problem that had me very worried – 1-2 Switch.

Nintendo has for years been hellbent on being the console of choice when it comes to being something you enjoy with family and friends in the same room as you, and now you were going to… milk cows at a braai? Have they completely lost their minds? Make no mistake, Nintendo and ‘complete wacky out there humour’ is one and the same. If you’ve played something like Tomodachi Life you would know that they’re masters at being completely fucking weird, but this time they were playing with their future. At that infamous Nintendo Direct 1-2 Switch was the first game to show off what their new console could do. I remember a feeling of genuine dread and fear. Was this going to be the end of Nintendo? Was this silly game going to spell doom for one of my favourite publishers in the business? Understand, at that point the Wii U was a joke and that reveal was just a step too far. 1-2 Switch was not the answer to where Nintendo needed to head to next. Instead, it was a reminder of what traditional gamers really did not want. The best thing that ever happened was that Nintendo charged a price for it and that it was not packed in with the console. People voted with their wallets.

Along with the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which made the Switch a household name, came a bunch of traditional games. Titles such as Fast RMX, Super Bomberman R, Snipperclips and more all but thumped 1-2 Switch. The people had spoken and it wasn’t going to end there either. Having learnt their lesson for hyping up Wii Sports two generations earlier, most educated gamers ignored 1-2 Switch like a plague and kept buying those fantastic classic titles that could now also be taken on the go. Now, this isn’t to say that 1-2 Switch sold poorly. It sold over 1 million units to date. It’s just that when you compare it to Breath of the Wild or Stardew Valley that it fades away by comparison. This is the best thing that could ever have happened to Nintendo’s new console.

Red feels like a symbol that we’ve returned to the old classic Nintendo days.

Since then we have seen traditional classic games taking the Switch by the scruff and running with it. Be it AAA or Indie games, the Switch has become a gamer’s paradise. Publishers are falling over each other to ensure they get a piece of the action and it’s just feeling like the 80s and 90s era Nintendo experience all over again. Unless there is a sale (like the recent 50% discount) for 1-2 Switch it never features in the top sales on the digital store. Since launch, Nintendo has also focused their future on their own more traditional games (such as Metroid Prime 4) and if the recent Nintendo Direct Mini is anything to go by that trend is not about to end. We’re not complaining. Quite frankly, gaming on a Nintendo platform is the best it’s ever been since the NES and SNES days. No, we won’t forget about Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Maker on the consoles before it, but we’re just glad Nintendo are once again getting their teams to work on games we really want. I have no problem with them trying out their weird and wonderful experiments. Without them experimenting and testing the waters our industry does not move forward, but it’s time to return to what works.

Simply said – if Nintendo kept going down this road without taking a second to rethink their path it would have been an easy 1-2 switch for me.

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.
  • Scribbly G

    I was going to comment on how wrong you were until i read the article

  • SauRoN

    Maybe it’s a failure of marketing or something but I still haven’t had any inclination to get a Switch or even run out and go test one.

    About the only reason that I have it at the back of my mind is that the small controllers when split would be kid friendly and therefore that I would buy it for them to play with.

  • Voldemort

    I still couldn’t be bothered with 1-2 switch, Mario and Zelda were great though, took me a while to finish…

  • “…they’re masters at being completely fucking weird…”
    Normal considering where they come from. 🙂


    • LazyDemoni

      Have you heard of this group called Die Antwoord?

  • Dave

    Yeah I think you’re right. It did seem like that was going to be the pack-in title, and whilst I wouldn’t mind getting a free game with the switch, I’d prefer it was something good, not another title that plays to the casual market. I think the Wii’s success was largely because of the inclusion of wii sports and wii sports resort as pack-ins, which had the kind of pick up and play appeal for people who aren’t normally gamers, but then they never bought into the console beyond that, apart from maybe adding Wii Fit later. And the whilst nintendoland was fine and has some great couch party games, they needed something bigger to sell the console, especially at launch, and there just wasn’t anything there or even on the six month launch horizon to really excite fans. Most of the early games relied too much on the gimmick of the console.
    Yes it still has great games that came later, but the chain reaction had started, with the console not selling, so third party devs leaving it, so less people buying it, etc. But with the switch it was known from the word go that there were going to be all these games coming starting with the best Zelda game in years and a proper 3d Mario game, and that, coupled with the innovative design meant the demand skyrocketed.

    I for one am so glad they succeeded (and that their mobile ventures haven’t set the world on fire), because I was worried that if they had another bad launch, they might just go the way of Sega.

    • Yes, I too was very worried about this generation for Nintendo. The Wii U, even though it had fantastic games, just left them in a very bad position. I’m just happy the Switch is widely accepted by most South African’s too. Probably the best uptake with Nintendo I’ve seen locally since the NES days.

      • Dave

        Yeah it’s like finally gamers are willing to accept that Nintendo is it’s own thing, something we’ve been saying for years. In the ridiculous console wars, the ‘power’ race is between Xbox, Ps and PC, and gamers pick apart numbers and graphics for those. But more gamers are seeing Nintendo as we already do. They are Switzerland, not part of the big war, not trying to outgun everyone else, so you can still support them without denying your allegiance to team green or team blue. They are also keeping some of the best gaming gold behind the doors of their exclusive vaults.

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