2018 is all fresh and new and smooth, like a newborn baby. Not a single person alive can tell us if this year will end in prosperity, burn in a nuclear inferno, or wind up somewhere in between the possibilities. I think we can all count on this much, though: We're going to hear from Nintendo a lot across the next 12 months, and most of what it says will have to do with the Nintendo Switch.
What we will hear from Nintendo isn't necessarily the same as what we want to hear from Nintendo, however. So as a personal exercise, I tallied up a few things I'd like Nintendo to address as we slip-slide further into 2018.
News about the Virtual Console for the Switch
We've seemingly done nothing but grouse about the Virtual Console's under-utilized potential since the downloadable retro game service launched with the Wii. Justifiably so: Let's be honest, Nintendo never treated the Virtual Console right, especially in North America. But now that the service is noticeably absent from the Nintendo Switch, well, it's hard to ignore the void. There's a hole in our hearts, and it's shaped like the copy of Super Mario Bros we'll inevitably buy for the 10,000th time.
I don't doubt the Virtual Console, or some new variation, is coming to the Switch soon. Nintendo's "Arcade Archives" releases, including the recent Vs Super Mario Bros, indicates the company has something up its sleeve. I hope we'll know more before the year gets much older.
Web browsers, multimedia apps, social networking, etc, for the Switch
Modern game consoles are multimedia machines (the dream started as far back as the '90s, but it took some time to implement). We use game consoles to watch shows and socialize as much as we use them to play games. The Nintendo Switch is currently the major exception, however. The console was bare-bones when it launched, and, uh, it's still kind of bare bones.
The situation is improving, albeit slowly: You can use Hulu on the Switch, though you're SOL if you live outside of the United States (or want to use Netflix instead). But the Switch is sorely lacking in other features, like a web browser or even just a good way to reach out to your pals. Sure, the Wii U didn't set the world on fire, but the Miiverse was a ton of fun.
An in-depth look at Pokémon Switch
I don't expect Pokémon to hit the Nintendo Switch in 2018, but man, I am raring for some news about the series' mainline HD console debut.
Game Freak took things easy with Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, which tells me most of the team is hard at work on their next project—and it's a biggie. Maybe E3 will bring us some news.
More Switch ports of overlooked Wii U games—but plenty of news about new Switch games, too
Even though I owned a Wii U, I couldn't give my full attention to every game in the troubled system's library. I missed out on some unique titles (Tokyo Mirage Sessions, which I feel like I might appreciate now that I finally have a couple of Persona games tucked under my belt), or I never got the chance to go back to games that demand—and deserve—several hours of my time (Xenoblade Chronicles X, which might actually come to the Switch). Oh, and then there's the very tempting prospect of a portable Super Mario Maker game that doesn't have all the good stuff stripped out of it.
Heck, don't be afraid to resurrect a few dormant franchises for the Switch either, Nintendo. I'd be OK with a new Advance Wars game. Lots of people would. Matt, for example.
Still mad at the Nintendo director who says Advance Wars doesn't have shippable characters. pic.twitter.com/UtVhQsYANG— Matt Kim (@LawofTD) January 3, 2018
I'm not suggesting Nintendo should toss a bunch of ports our way and take a nap. Even though ARMS isn't my jam, I'm happy to know Nintendo developed a new IP for its new console, much like how it built up the fascinating Splatoon universe for the Wii U. In other words, Nintendo's been killing it for personable new properties in recent years, and I hope that trend continues into 2018 and beyond.
Finally: Please stop trying to make us fall in love with motion controls
I'm not against motion controls as a concept. Going back to ARMS, it's a good example of a game built competently around the Switch's HD rumble. When the game was introduced, we all immediately imagined ourselves playing the game in front of a TV with a JoyCon in each hand.
But most Switch games are meant to be played on or off the TV at a moment's notice. I personally played Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in handheld mode more often than not, which made each game's motion-based controls / puzzles pretty awkward. Not enough to ruin either game by a long shot, but certainly enough to make things weird. It's particularly disappointing with Super Mario Odyssey, a game with a delightful repertoire of moves locked behind motion controls. I'd love to be able to map Cappy's homing attack to a button, Nintendo. That'd be super-nice.
I know you love the Switch's HD rumble feature, and honestly, it's well-built! Just remember: There's a time and a place for everything, and that goes triple for motion controls.
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