Best console ever? (pic: Nintendo)
Assuming this feature goes up at the weekend, I hope to be playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder as you read this. It is the second Nintendo game this year to get 10/10 scores from all of my most trusted sources and I have every expectation that it will not only be one of the best games of the year but of the generation too. For any other games company that would be a once in a lifetime achievement, but for Nintendo it was merely Tuesday (well, okay, Friday).
Nintendo has been around for longer than video games have existed and while they’ve had their ups and downs commercially the quality of their games and consoles has been almost supernaturally consistent. A Nintendo game being merely okay is the equivalent of other games getting 0/10 scores. This isn’t fanboy overstatement, this is a simple point of fact if you check Metacritic.
However, I should sperate Nintendo the developer from Nintendo the publisher, as the second can be just as anti-consumer and greedy as any other company, although generally it’s less so than most of its rivals. That’s especially true when the biggest complaint most people have about the company is that the price of their games never lowers. But many fail to appreciate the fact that the only reason that happens is because people are willing to pay that much – the general public accept that the games are worth the asking price, and they pay it.
But I’m not here to eulogise Nintendo in general, I want to be more specific than that. The launch of Super Mario Bros. Wonder made me look back at all the releases this year and it has been an incredible year, including Fire Emblem Engage, Metroid Prime Remastered, Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp, Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, Pikmin 4, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and imminently WarioWare: Move It.
And this is in what is presumably the last full year of the Switch, its last big Christmas when you’d expect things to be winding down and the biggest game to be little more than a B-lister. Instead, we get two of the best games ever made, two of the best remakes, the best Pikmin ever, and probably one of the best WarioWares.
Then look back at the rest of the Nintendo Switch’s catalogue: Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, ARMS, Splatoon 2 and 3, Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and 3, Super Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Astral Chain, Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Ring Fit Adventure, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Paper Mario: The Origami King, New Pokémon Snap, Metroid Dread, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Bayonetta 3, and Pokémon Scarlet/Violet.
That’s not counting third party games or great Wii U ports like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury but the amazing thing is that not only are all those games great but in almost every case the sequels are the best the franchise has ever been. From Zelda to Animal Crossing, to Metroid and Kirby… these classic franchises have been reinvented in a way other companies would never dare, when it comes to a guaranteed seller.
I don’t want to dismiss the quality of many of the third party companies, but I also don’t want this to turn into a giant list, but everything from Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids games to the amazing port of The Witcher 3 has been fantastic. And they’ve been all the better because they’re portable, with the central gimmick of the Switch, that you can use it as both a handheld and home console having been copied by dozens of different PC knock-offs.
The Switch has been an absolute gift for indie games too and even from the earliest days indie developers were finding that people were buying their games more on Switch, for the convenience and for the fact that that Nintendo, unlike Sony or Microsoft, actually bother to promote the games.
From the hardware itself, including the extremely clever Joy-Cons, to the games, the Nintendo Switch has been incredible. I know I’ve tempted people into list wars here, and I didn’t really mean to do that, but for me I have never been more entertained by a console than I have the Switch, and I’ve been playing since the SNES days.
My admiration of Nintendo has never been higher and the thought that the Switch 2 might be a similar concept but with the power (or DLSS tech) to run all third party games is beyond exciting. If you don’t agree the Switch is the best console ever then good for you, I’m not going to argue any further, but for me it most definitely is.
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A reader explains his love for the Nintendo Switch and argues that its games and hardware design are the best that gaming has ever seen.