Hello readers, and thank you for visiting here to see my first of (hopefully) many Skirmisher columns. I’m Neal Sayatovich, and have been a game reviewer and online editor here at Gameindustry.com for quite a few years now.
I never thought I would be in this spot as a primary columnist, as I believed that Todd’s column was eternal, but alas, here we are. We will see if I can make it for 22 years too!
I started writing this first column as I am fulfilling two of my favorite gaming activities, playing Fire Emblem with my Nintendo Switch and watching my Columbus Blue Jackets get destroyed by every other hockey team in their division. As I watched people get put into the wall, it made me miss the good old days of hockey videogames such as NHL Hitz 2003. So, I looked on the Nintendo Switch marketplace to find a hockey game and…nothing. That is when I decided to throw out this likely divisive take.
As much as I sometimes love my Switch, the truth is that when you compare it with other gaming consoles, the Nintendo Switch is underwhelming as a system and borders on being garbage.
I know Nintendo’s people will be leaving the trenches about now to tell me the same talking points I’ve heard before. They include “Nintendo does their own type of games, and don’t try to be another PlayStation or Xbox,” or “Every Nintendo console must be a family game system.” Before I address those arguments, allow me to state my case on the underwhelming nature of this system. Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to keep my Switch and will be reviewing games for it. However, even as I play Pokemon Shield, I still feel a tinge of disappointment in what could have been.
The first issue is going back to using a cartridge for their physical games. I am aware that the Nintendo 3DS uses cartridges and it has worked for that mobile platform, however the Switch is supposed to be a HOME console too. Few game companies want to spend the extra money to place their game in the form of a cartridge or reduce everything to fit the subpar specs of the Switch. If the system was a mobile-only successor to the 3DS it would probably be okay. But they decided to let you play games on your TV. Why yes, when playing my Gameboy or 3DS, my first thought was always “I want to take these garbage graphics and stretch them out three feet on my television.” I know one solution to my problem would be to buy another system like a PS4 or Xbox One to compliment my Switch, but that is not good logic. Not to mention, most of us are not made of money, so buying multiple systems can be a painful or even impossible option.
The second problem, and this is actually the biggest one, is the lack of AAA games in the marketplace, especially in the sports and action areas. Now, I am not a gamer who has to play only AAA games to be happy, however, I would like to have access to a lot of games that are not on Switch due to limited hardware, among other reasons. I really want to play Jedi: Fallen Order. Just look at how much our reviewer raved about it. And man, does it look great. Plus, like you saw when I started this column, can I please get a hockey game?
It looks like neither one of those are ever going to be on my Switch console. I understand that Nintendo has a habit of doing this, but it is pushing me away to other consoles. If I had paid $100 to $200 more, I could have gotten a console with access to a lot more games.
Recently, my home was broken into while my wife and I were at work, and someone stole our Switch. We had to replace the Switch at the same cost as an Xbox One S. Insurance dictated that we had to replace the stolen system with an exact copy, and doing so made me think Nintendo short changed us. Let’s look at it this way, in terms of the 3DS, this is a major upgrade in terms of hardware and games. However, this console has been following the sad trend of Nintendo focusing on coming up with goofy attachments instead of focusing on slightly stronger systems. The controller attachment and joy cons are so small that I can’t hit one button without hitting two others first. This means I have to spend another $40 on a regular size controller to play games like Fire Emblem Warriors or Super Smash Brothers. Even with the joy cons, I am afraid to use them because they feel like they will snap in half, and cost $50.
I feel like if Nintendo made the Switch a standard home console and gave it a little better hardware, this system could be epic. I have crashed my console twice because Pokemon Shield was too much for the Switch hardware to handle. My friend and fellow GiN reviewer Vincent Mahoney broke his Switch with Fire Emblem Warriors by making Lyn go just fast enough that it crashed his system. If there was some stronger hardware, these bugs would be less likely to happen. What frustrates me is that I will have to keep this system because of Nintendo’s lock on their IP. I have to keep a Nintendo system at all times due to exclusive series such as Fire Emblem, Pokemon, Super Smash Brothers and, of course, The Legend Of Zelda.
I’m really sorry to rant like this for my first column, but this was bothering me, so I decided to start here. To quote every parent “I’m not mad, I am disappointed.” I feel like Nintendo got a little spazzy when designing the Switch because of all of the goofy extra things you can do. Just once, I would appreciate it if Nintendo executives could design a normal home system with powerful hardware, and then bring back Metroid Prime for good measure. Also, separate mobile systems and home systems, otherwise the buyer gets shorted on the home system end.
If I haven’t scared you away yet, my next column will cover three games I would much rather see remade than Final Fantasy VII. Thanks for staying with me and I would love to hear your comments below.
Playing Now: Pokemon Shield, Remothered: Tormented Fathers
Looking Forward To: Biomutant