Games consoles seem like a brilliant idea when you’re packing for university. The thought of your hall crowding around a TV screen for several games of Rocket League seems like the perfect bonding experience. It’s a shame, then, that it never quite works out like that. A four player Playstation session needs over £500 of equipment to facilitate play- a television and a games console, multiple controllers and even a wired internet connection- and, after all that, it’ll do little to stop people noticing your crippling personality flaws.
Enter then the Nintendo Switch, the system designed to revolutionise the idea of a ‘home console’. The Switch is being pitched as the ultimate jack-of-all-trades console; a portable tablet, but one that can be connected to the television and run games at a current gen specification. In addition to this, if it’s anything like the Wii U it’ll boast the best internet browsing experience of any console, which is an often underrated element of consoles. The Switch works through treating a console as a series of separate puzzle pieces.
At its most basic form, it looks and acts similar to a Wii U gamepad, a tablet/controller combination that can also stream to a television. However, like a kind of Frankenstein’s monster, parts can be broken off and combined into new forms, each side of the gamepad can be broken into two new controllers or combined together into a more traditional style of controller. For a student, this means you can put the entire system in a bag, take it anywhere, and still play with two people with no preparation. You can play Skyrim on a plane. You can stop playing real-life basketball to play fake basketball with your friends. You can play Dark Souls while you’re burying a bo-uh…reading in the library; the possibilities are endless.
If the Nintendo Switch lives up to the hype and achieves a cost effective price model, it could prove highly successful. Getting a high spec tablet that can be used to set up multiplayer sessions incredibly easily is both useful and cost effective for students, and eliminates the investment needed to buy both a handheld and home console. Initial impressions suggest Nintendo are trying to avoid every misstep they made with the Wii U by actually targeting a specific market, and has the ease and accessibility of the original Wii or DS, making it broadly appealing. If any console has the chance to capture the student market, with features geared towards ease of use and multiplayer, it’s the Switch.
But honestly, Nintendo’s new console could be a hamburger phone powered by £10 notes and I’d still buy it. You revere an artist for what they paint, not for what canvas they use and Nintendo, in the world of video games, is the greatest artist of all. Crazy things could happen with this new console; we already have a new Zelda, but Nintendo’s library of classics is such that almost anything can happen. We could have a new Metroid Prime, A new F-Zero, hell, even a new Beyond Good and Evil. And the fact many of people have never even heard of those franchises will make a potential revival all the more sweeter. While other companies pursue VR, which requires over a grand of tech to work, the Nintendo Switch is a simple idea that’s immediately accessible and fun for anybody and, for students, that’s invaluable.