Switch!


#1483

After analyzing my favorite handheld games, what they had in common, and what made them different from my favorite games on consoles, I became more skeptical of the Switch and the impact it may have on handheld game design.

Why do people have less trouble getting through RPGs on the go than they do on home systems? Games you play in higher-distraction environments, like a bus approaching the terminal you transfer at, benefit from having a wide range of activities for different levels of focus. Idly grinding on the overworld might not fly when you’re spending the limited time you have in front of your TV at home, but you might choose to grind when you’re out and about because its lower-stakes nature is a better fit for the concentration level you have in that moment. Another example would be item fetch quests in Monster Hunter games: they were nice little quests I appreciated on handheld because they fit nicely into the end of my commute, but when you’ve only got a few hours to game on the TV at home (or if you primarily play your handhelds at home), you feel like your time is being wasted and should be spent on something more exciting. Handheld games need to be more versatile because of the range of environments they are played in, whereas console games largely do not.

My frustration with the Switch is that an overwhelming amount of games on it are designed as console games first, and therefore expect a higher level of concentration than what I am able to give them when I’m out and about. Instead of making developers have to choose which games make sense for which contexts, it puts the burden of that choice on the player, who might not even be aware of these things and choose incorrectly, giving the player a worse experience than had they just been limited in where they could play it in the first place. Part of why Breath of the Wild and Odyssey did so well in handheld mode is because they’re built around exploration, and that can be a low-stakes at-your-pace activity that is much more amenable to handheld use cases.

Beyond just font sizes and UI elements being unreasonably sized when games are designed for console play first, there were readability advantages to graphical limitations. The 3DS Fire Emblems have some really good sprites that made major story characters easily recognizable on the map screen, but the new Fire Emblem uses character models that are incredibly hard to tell apart from the overhead map. If your readability goes down, your required concentration level goes up, and that makes it a less versatile handheld game.

It’s kind of maddening that nobody else seems to care about any of this.


#1484

i can’t understand how anyone could play botw in handheld mode


#1485

it’s perfect and easy


#1486

It has this barely-HD crispness to it that I think is kinda of beautiful. But I generally prefer playing it on the TV.

@Sakurina, there’ve been times when either handheld or docked mode has been my primary way of playing because of various circumstances, and that’s definitely affected the types of games I’ve felt like playing. But you mention the GBA, and I think another appeal of that handheld was playing SNES games on the go. And the Switch offers a very similar appeal, only expanded to include games from the PS3, X360, PS2, Steam, Wii U, etc.


#1487

that’s fair. beyond the shrinkage of visual grandeur i also just don’t care for the way the system handles in handheld mode. my fingers are too long or something. it’s ok for marble it up or other simpler stuff but i feel like zelda/mario would suffer


#1488

i mean i played botw entirely on the wii u

without a tv


#1489

I feel like 75% of my botw experience was in handheld mode and it was fine for me. hand cramps were kind of a thing but I was able to manage it without much annoyance. I think I just really liked the game enough for it to not bother me.


#1490

well hooah for all of you


#1491

BOTW is boring no matter what mode you play it in.


#1492

Wake up, sheeple.


#1493

lol, bingo


#1494

I like how Mario appears to be having the time of his life while Cappy is missing all the action


#1495

so close…


#1496

Kind of want to hear the story behind why Mario Tennis had a new opening cinematic for it’s story mode patched in a year after release with Charles Martinet dialogue reused with questionable results from seemingly any source they first grabbed out of a bag.

New opening:


(there’s something somehow unsettling about having Super Mario noises be subtitled as if it were just another language entirely)

Old:


#1497


tbh, the most I’ve ever believed those two were fucking


#1498

They should have patched in an intro with Mask de Smith playing tennis with Bowser to keep up with that Killer7 intro No More Heroes got a month after release.


#1499

Okay, the fact that the pedal they have you build is designed to fan a gust of wind in your face when you press down on it to jump in the game actually sounds really cool


#1500

the goofy looking accessories actually do a great job lampshading how silly people look playing VR too. I honestly feel like “VR as a toy” is a better way to sell VR than some kind of high concept virtual experience thing


#1501

also getting major prop cycle vibes from the bird game


#1502

I’m a little conflicted on this one, since it looks pretty cool to try out. But having bought one of the previous Labo kits, I know that they basically amount to about 10 hours of fun building time and then playing around with the tech demo-like software for a bit before the cardboard just goes to the corner to gather dust.

Lucky this time you can buy a starter kit, and then get the other kits separately so it’s not as much of a hit to the wallet