You know how action movie heroes creep through a quiet, dimly-lit area and mutter "It's quiet... too quiet" right before something horrible drops on their head? A lot of Switch owners get the same vibe when they look at Nintendo's 2019 release schedule. We're currently in a big lull, but there's no doubt something is on the ceiling (probably some kind of Pokemon), and it's about to start salivating on us.
Granted, the Switch isn't the only system having a slow 2019. The first half of the year has been sleepy in general. EA's Anthem quickly fell off a cliff, and though games like the Resident Evil 2 remake, Devil May Cry 5, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice command happy buzz on social, there isn't a lot of "Wow-wee!" to their success. As Kat points out, the excellent indie title Katana Zero might be the only surprise thus far.
Aside from Katana Zero, the Switch's 2019 is largely being sustained by ports. Great ports, mind you, but ports nonetheless. That means Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 12, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy—I could go on, but you may as well check our list of 2019 game releases past, present, and future and add them up for yourself.
While you're there, marvel at how the next big release for the Switch, Super Mario Maker 2, is still more than a month away. Then we have more waiting for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Animal Crossing Switch, Luigi's Mansion 3, and Pokemon Sword and Shield.
What's to be done about this lull, this long, barren stretch, this silent path to the latter half of 2019? I vote "We all sit our butts down, roll up our sleeves, and work on clearing our massive backlogs." You know, our backlogs on Steam, on PlayStation 4, on Xbox One, and Switch. The backlogs we laugh sheepishly about even as we throw more money at the next Steam Summer Sale (or Humble Sale, or Epic Sale).
Be honest: If you accessed the main menu of your Switch right now and scrolled right, how many titles would pass before you inevitably came across a game you haven't played yet? What about a game you left half-unfinished? I don't mean a game you abandoned because you didn't like it, I mean a game you genuinely like but "fell off" for one reason or another—most likely because a deluge of incredible new releases rained down on your head.
When a system has a year as exciting as the Switch's 2017 or 2018, it means you spend months trying to dig your way up and out of an endless pile so you can play the latest, hottest release. And that means more great games you have to leave half-digested. Unless you've made a reasonable dent in your Switch's backlog, I don't think you have any reason to lament this slow period.
Before you throw your hat on the ground and ask me who the hell I think I am, please understand I'm including myself in this lecture. I was one of those kids who got a new NES game maybe twice a year for special occasions, yet here I am sighing over a slow spring for the Switch when I know perfectly well we're in for a great Fall. Plus, plus, I have stacks of games I haven't finished yet. Great games. Some of those games are ports, yes, but ports of classics that are well-suited for the Switch's handheld format.
I also believe making an active effort to slow down and take in the scenery we missed the first time around is an important step to ending crunch culture. It's not the only step, but if we weren't constantly chirping open-mouthed at developers, they might feel less worried about keeping us fed and happy around the clock.
At the very least, a slower release schedule gives us a reason to play the games we already have more carefully. We might even get through more adventures instead of sending half-finished experiences to the back of the Switch menu conga line. While it's not a replacement for stricter labor laws and unionization, it might comfort developers to know we take the time to really enjoy ourselves with projects they pour so much of themselves into.
You bought these games. Sit back, enjoy them, and have a nice spring.