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Switching Up

I have been playing video games since I was 5 years old. I had an original Game Boy when they were first released, a Commodore 64 with tape and floppy drive, right up to the current generation, when a couple of years ago, I invested in an Xbox One to feed my voracious need for escapism and adventures in other realms. I am pretty sure I can name the various devices in the order that I purchased them, right up to a week ago when a Nintendo Switch landed fresh on my desk.

Innovation means different things to different people. As a creative technologist, I try to look in all different directions to inform my work, not least of which is my gaming history, and quite frankly, the Switch has triggered so much excitement in my childlike mind, that I can’t help but love it.

Is it the beautiful creation that is Zelda tempting me with virtuouso storytelling, scrumptious scenery and an absolute bucketload of nostalgia, or is the modular console complete with pop-out kickstand and adaptive JoyCons, or (more than likely) a combination of the two?

Nintendo have been forced to innovate by the usual suspects; the high-end games consoles, the super powered PCs, the powerful smartphones and phablets, and the ever-changing expectations of its’ audience demographic. I am still pondering who they are targeting with the Switch, and can only conclude that rather than aim at their usual stomping grounds of the under-18s, they are now taking a pop at the slightly older generation; the affluent gadgeteers, the nostalgic old-schoolers, the group that rediscovered their Pokemon last Summer (at the same time as their kids) – the 20-30 somethings, and then some.

So childhood reverence aside, what do I really think? Without going in to techie specifics, the console and the operating system needs to mature, the software library needs to expand, and Mario needs to jump higher and drive quicker than ever if Nintendo hopes to do that phoenix thing. If Zelda: Breath of the Wild is anything to go by, they are well on their way, and I will personally do whatever my time and pocket money will allow to offer them support.

The Switch really is that good, and yes, I am nearly 37.

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