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Nintendo Switch

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The Nintendo Switch is a console designed to live in two worlds. It is expected to hold its own as a home console while also serving as a handheld gaming device. The Switch does not excel in either way compared to its contemporaries, but I just don’t think that matters. The Switch is able to serve both purposes well enough to justify its purchase. In this case being a jack of all trades is NOT a liability. Without further fanfare: here is our Nintendo Switch review.

Hardware

The hardware specifications are the boring part. So let’s get them out of the way first, shall we?

 

Feature Switch Xbox One PS4
CPU: Cores 4x ARM Cortex A57 8x AMD Jaguar 8x AMD Jaguar
Memory 4GB 8GB 8GB
Storage 32GB flash (microSD-expandable) 500GB HDD 500GB HDD
Physical game formats Game Card Disc Disc

 

These numbers likely won’t mean much for the average consumer, but suffice it to say that in regards to home consoles smaller numbers are generally worse.

The Nintendo Switch is underpowered compared to the other consoles on the market right now. This means that it won’t be able to output the graphics that most game developers would need to be able to put the same games on the Switch that they would on the PS4. As a result, it is possible that the Nintendo Switch may lose out on some of the higher end games that are released each year like Call of Duty, Battlefront, etc.

Nintendo does have the strongest lineup of first party (internally developed) games of any of the console makers though. These companies are no stranger to making the best of underpowered hardware which they have been doing since Nintendo launched the Wii.

Portable Gaming

We live in a world where almost everyone has a giant phone or a tablet. Mobile gaming is no longer the novelty that it used to be. As a result, the Nintendo Switch needs to do something different to stand out from the crowd. It needs to provide experiences that are unique to the console and superior to the other options on iPads and phones to be worth the increased cost.

Fortunately, this is where the Nintendo Switch shines. All you have to do is pull the Switch out of its dock and you can take it anywhere to play the same games as you would at home. I know that I was concerned (before the console’s launch) that this would be a significant drop in the graphics. The drop is certainly there, but it isn’t nearly as severe as I was concerned about. Instead I am left with a console where I can truly play console quality games wherever I go. That is an amazing feeling and one that cannot be reproduced on any other piece of hardware on the market today aside from the Nintendo Switch.

Battery Life

The Nintendo Switch is limited by the size and power of its battery. Our experiences and testing has shown that a fully charged Switch will last for between 2-3 hours undocked while playing graphics intensive games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

It is worth noting, however, that the Switch is compatible with USB C cables and will work with many of the popular portable chargers on the market. Using one of those will definitely extend the battery life of your device.

Unique Gaming Experiences

The Nintendo 3DS, the PSP, the PSVita, and many others have given us portable gaming before. That really isn’t anything new. The Switch, however, offers options for gaming experiences on the move that were never possible before.

The biggest new feature is the ability to play local multiplayer games like Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe anywhere we want. This is going to be one of the biggest features for our family and for many others, I’m sure. Our kids have had 3DS systems for years, but they have never been able to play their home console games anywhere else without moving the whole system. The fact that they can easily play multiplayer games on the thanks to the multiple Joy-Cons included with the console is just an added bonus.

Controllers

Each Nintendo Switch includes a pair of Nintendo Joy-Con controllers. They will attach to either side of the Switch tablet or to either side of a special controller called the Joy-Con grip. The Joy-Cons are definitely small so you will need to be careful not to lose them.

The Joy-Con Grip is a reasonable facsimile of a controller and will work for a while. But, if you or your family intends to play games for any length of time then I recommend the separate purchase of the Switch Pro controller. This is a controller that is built to be similar to the controllers for the other home consoles. It also happens to be a very good controller.

Online Services

As of today’s writing, Nintendo is offering a minimalist online experience for its online focused games at no charge.

That will change later on in 2017 when they add in a paid online service that will include a multiplayer app along with other functions at a premium charge (estimated to be around $30 annually).

We will have to see how that shakes out as they explain the service to us over the summer.

Games

Consoles live and die by the power of their games library. As of right now I feel very strongly that the library for the Switch is large enough to justify a purchase. The fact that the system launched with the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was likely enough, but in the months that have passed the library has only grown with such titles as Graceful Explosion Machine, Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Puyo Puyo Tetris.

Conclusion

The Nintendo Switch is an amazing device. It is not going to replace any dedicated home consoles like the PS4 or Xbox One in terms of sheer power, but I don’t think that matters. This is a tremendous system that will be a worthy purchase for any family.

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Nintendo Direct Reveals Significant Details about ARMS!

Nintendo held a Direct event on Wednesday 05/16/17 that was focused primarily on their upcoming casual fighter ARMS.

The Direct came in the form of a stylized video that was narrated by an in ring announcer. The announced gave us details about the game itself, the weapons (or ARMS as they are called in the game), the different multiplayer modes, and the fighters themselves.

ARMS

Arms is a casual fighting game where players will compete using fighters that hand elongated, springlike appendages. These appendages can be launched at opponents and moved in wide arcs using motion controls. This gives most fights a heavy ranged component to them as most players will be able to fight without the need to get up close and personal.

After selecting a fighter, as is usual in fighting games, players will have the option to customize their fighter by selecting the ARM attacked to both their right and left hands. Each of these weapons will have a weight and an attribute. The weapons range from the toaster, a weapon that shoots out a flaming punch,  to the tribolt, a weapon that fires three smaller projectiles. The weights have an interesting strategic impact because weapons that are the same weight or heavier than the weapons they come in contact with will actually block them. This means that lighter and faster weapons will have a significant risk associated with them since they can be blocked so easily.

There are seven attributes that can be associated with the different weapons.

  • Fire – Knocks opponents down
  • Electricity – Reduces defense and creates openings for attacks
  • Wind – Knocks enemies back
  • Ice – Applies a slow effect that reduces movement speed
  • Stun – Stops movement, makes opponents vulnerable
  • Explosion – Big damage and knockback
  • Blind – Throws a gross ink blot on your opponents screen so they can’t see

Multiplayer Modes

Fight – In this main multiplayer* mode, two fighters battle against each other one-on-one to claim victory. During the fight, bombs and other healing items drop in, adding some strategic options to the proceedings.

Team Fight – In this mode, two players are attached by strings and must team up to battle another team of two. Attacks can hit allies, so watch out for friendly punches!

V-Ball – Similar to volleyball, but much more awesome. V-Ball is a sport that involves knocking an explosive ball into the opponent’s court.

Hoops – Grab opponents and shoot them into the net (or even dunk them for extra satisfaction) in this hard-core game of ARMS-style basketball.

Skillshot – Break as many targets as possible using the versatile powers of ARMS.

1-on-100 – Defeat 100 enemies in a row, one at a time, in this progressive battle mode.

ARMS Test & Training – In Test mode, players can try out randomized ARMS combinations, while Training lets them practice a number of varied drills.

Characters

Nintendo revealed the ten main characters on the Arms roster. They are:

  • Spring Man – “This passionate fighter’s bouncy hairstyle might look fake, but his passion for fighting is definitely real.”
  • Ninjara – “Using his nimble movements and ancient ninjutsu, Ninjara can disappear and warp somewhere else even in mid-air or when guarding.”
  • Master Mummy – “As the only character that can restore health while guarding, Master Mummy is a force to be reckoned with.”
  • Min Min – “With her ramen noodle arms, Min Min’s spin kick and throws are deliciously powerful.”
  • Kid Cobra – “A fan of selfie sticks and livestreaming, this hip fighter pounces on opponents with a charged-up dash.”
  • Ribbon Girl – “Possessing next-level jumping skills, Ribbon Girl violates the laws of physics with her unbeatable power.”
  • Helix – “Who is Helix? He’s an experiment gone wrong, that’s who. His springy body lets him move in unpredictable ways.”
  • Mechanica – “This mechanical genius dons a homemade power suit that can hover above the competition.”
  • Byte & Barq – “Two fighters in one! This robot fighter and his robot canine companion battle together to unleash devastating combo attacks.”
  • Twintelle – “As an A-list actress, Twintelle uses her celebrity status to render her opponents utterly star struck as she walks the red carpet to victory.”

Ongoing Updates

Nintendo also announced that they would be releasing free updates for Arms in the form of maps, characters, and weapons. This will be familiar territory for anyone who regularly played Splatoon on the Wii U.

We won’t likely get too much more information about Arms between now and its launch on June 16th. I have my doubts as to whether or not Arms will be a massive success. But, it certainly looks entertaining. We’ll have to see what happens when the game comes out.

 

 

 

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LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 Announced!

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 has been officially been announced!

The LEGO brand gets a new game every year, so an announcement like this was bound to happen sooner or later. This time we will be venturing back into the Marvel universe. Take a look at the teaser trailer below.

The full trailer will be released on May 23rd, 2017 so we’ll have to wait till then for more details. But, we can tell a few things from the marketing materials that have been released to far.

The story will span multiple time period and multiple realities. This will allow the developers to include some very deep cut super heroes like a wild west version of Captain America and Spider Gwen. The villain this time around will be Kang the Conqueror. He is a time traveling villain who is perfect for this sort of story because of his time and reality bending technology.

We can tell some of the characters that will be in the game already thanks to the cover art and the teaser.

The heroes announced so far are:

  • Rocket Raccoon
  • Baby Groot
  • Spider Gwen
  • Spider Man 2099
  • Doctor Strange
  • Captain Marvel
  • Black Panther
  • The Hulk (in Planet Hulk armor)
  • Wild West Captain America

We will obviously see more characters as we get closer to the release date on November 14th of this year. It will launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A Switch version will launch later in the year.

 

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Family Video Game Review: Graceful Explosion Machine

Sometimes a game just sneaks up on you and gives you everything that you wanted. Graceful Explosion Machines was that game for me this year. It came out right around the launch of the Nintendo Switch right in between two mammoth Nintendo franchises (The Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart). Just about any other game would have been forgotten amidst that kind of competition, but Graceful Explosion Machine was a neon pink sign that helped me find my way.

(Editor’s Note: The pink hat reference is perfect for ME, but definitely needs context. Back in the before times, when I was much younger, my family went to Disney World. My mother, in an effort to protect us, bought us these obnoxious, neon hats. This helped her easily pick us out of the crowd and find us as we pushed through the crowds.)

Graceful Explosion Machines is a classic space “shmup” (Shoot ’em Up) that is currently exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. It is also a spectacular video game.

Anyone who has ever played any sort of arcade game will recognize the gameplay loop immediately. Players pilot a ship around various colorful levels. The goal is to eliminate all of the enemies in each level as quickly as possible and without getting hit.

Eliminating those enemies requires careful use of the four different weapons at your disposal. Each of those weapons is assigned to one of the four face buttons. You have a standard blaster (that will overheat if you shoot too fast), a long range sniper blast that delivers continuous damage, a sword that swings around your ship, and a set of heat seeking missiles. The latter three of those weapons all share an energy bar. You cant just use those powers wildly.

This careful use of all of your different weapons while flying through the various levels pushes you into an almost meditative state as you play. It’s easy to get lost in the game during those brief moments. The longer you are able to play in that meditative state (without failing a mission) the more joyful that state it. This makes Graceful Explosion Machine one of those games where it actually feels better to play as you grow in skill. That is so rare in today’s market that some kids have probably never experienced it at all.

Fix that problem and buy this game for them. Trust me. It will be worth it.

Is it a kid’s game?

Graceful Explosion Machine is an arcade style game that is all simple shapes and bright colors. There is almost nothing to be concerned about with this game.

There is no narrative that expressed mature themes. The game does involve a spaceship blasting other enemy spacecraft, but all them are such simple designs that the inherent violence is very abstracted. This is a modern equivalent to Space Invaders.

Can a kid play it?

There is no doubt that GEM is a challenging game. But, it is still a very inviting experience. Failing at a level is painless and restarting is very fast.

The game does make use of all of the different face buttons on the controller and the should buttons as well so kids who aren’t used to that will have some difficulty.

Conclusion

This is currently the best game available for the Nintendo Switch not called Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Play this game.

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Mario and The Raving Rabbids to Team Up in a Switch RPG

Mario, Luigi and friends are reportedly teaming up with the raving Rabbids for an RPG coming to the Nintendo Switch.

Kotaku is a video game news website with incredible sources somewhere within the Ubisoft organization. They are  reporting that an RPG that brings the Super Mario and Raving Rabbids properties together is not only being released, but it is being released very soon. The game will apparently be called Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and will be announced during the E3 Nintendo Direct and will launch something in August or September.

The report was light on details, but indicated that the game would feature turn based combat, two player cooperative play, and all of the silly humor that we have come to expect from Mario and Luigi RPGs and the rabbids games. Players will be able to play as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, or a group of rabbids that just happen to look like them.

Nintendo has had some success with mash-ups before and their Mario and Luigi RPG series is a perfect place to inject the slapstick humor of the rabbids franchise. These games have also, typically, been reserved for the handheld market, so I find it interesting that they would put this on the Switch. It definitely makes me wonder what other commonly handheld games will find their way onto the Switch.

Will you be playing Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle this summer? Sound off in the comments.

Source: Kotaku

 

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Family Video Game Review: Has Been Heroes

Developer: Frozenbyte

Price: $19.99

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, also available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Has Been Heroes caught my attention right away when it was announced. It is a game about a group of washed up heroes given the task of escorting the king’s daughter’s to school. I am definitely a sucker for games with a sense of humor, but once I got over the humor in the game’s premise the experience turned sour.

You can’t really talk about this game without first defining the idea of a “rogue-like”. This is game genre where a  significant portion of the game play elements are random. Games in the genre are designed to be replayed over and over again chasing high scores. The random elements in these games are often combined with extreme difficulty.

Heroes exemplifies the rogue-like genre. Every time you start a game the map is random. The goal is to traverse the map and clear through five bosses to help the princesses get to school. To do this, players will have to navigate maze-like maps and try to reach as many locations that contain treasures as possible without having to backtrack. (Crossing over a piece of the map you have already walked through will end your game unless you have a special item.) When players die in the game they have to start over. The only type of progress that carries over are item and spell unlocks. The means that, in a way, as you “progress” through the game it gets more random as the vendors and treasure chests have a wider variety of items and spells.

The rogue-like elements definitely make the game hard, but the challenge involved in playing these types of games is part of their charm. They are popular because they reject some of the recent developments in game design that are there to help make experiences more accessible to players. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate well to gaming as a family.

The biggest problem with the game is the unintuitive control scheme. The combat is based on swapping the three characters in your party between three lanes on the screen. Yo have to swap them around in order to manage skill cooldowns and to have weaker characters that can attack multiple times soften up the defenses of various enemies so your more powerful teammates can take them down for good. The issue is that this is all done with the various face buttons on the controllers. The control scheme feels like it was duct taped onto the game to avoid using a touch based system.

In fact, the touch controls on an iPad might have made the game more enjoyable and, at least a little, less confusing and that gets to the heart of it. This feels like a mobile game that was full of potential that was switched into a console game during mid development.

Is it a family game?

Has Been Heroes is rated E 10+ by the ESRB. The content descriptors at: Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language (the word Damned appears in the text).

This is an action strategy game where players control a team of heroes, albeit washed up ones, as they do battle with fantasy monsters like skeletons and man-eating plants. The action is viewed from the side and is abstracted by the cartoonish graphics.

Damage dealt to enemies during combat takes the form of flashes of light and hit-point numbers floating up from the various monsters’ heads.

Can a kid play it?

This is, honestly, where the house of cards starts to fall down. The controls for this game are incredibly difficult to learn, Each of the games three lanes is assigned to a different face button on the controller. In order to proceed through the different fights you need to select one of the lanes, trigger an attack from the hero in that lane, and the swap people into that originally selected lane. The method used to facilitate these lane changes is confusing and often needs to be with extreme precision in order to make sure that enemies don’t reach you.

I have a difficult time imagining that many kids will dedicate the time needed to master the game.

Conclusion

Has Been Heroes has an awesome premise, but it is simply too awkward to play for it to be enjoyable.

Disclosure: This review was written based on a review code provided by the developer.

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The Nintendo Switch launches on March 3rd, 2016. It has a lean launch lineup, but the rest of the year looks much better. We showed all of the trailers for the launch window games to our stable of kid writers to collect their thoughts. This is a great way to take the pulse of some gamer kids and to see what they are excited about.

 

Launch Day

1-2 Switch

Evan – 10

I really like the idea of the game, but I have already played a lot of mini-game based video games like Mario Party, Wii Party, and Wii Sports. I still like the idea of being able to enter a saturated genre but with new hardware that lets you do more interesting stuff.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t see any Mii characters.

Jacob – 8

I think it looked cool. The coolest part of the game is that you can play it anywhere and with anyone. I can’t wait to play the sandwich eating mini-game. That looks funny.

Seamus – 11

This game is like a version of “Wii Sports” for Switch. Players hold the Joy-Cons and act out activities and games. I feel like it might be a way to introduce the uniqueness of the Switch but 59.99 definitely overpriced.

Just Dance 2017

Evan

I like that they will keep adding new songs during different holidays. But, I’m disappointed that they haven’t shown us anything special for the Nintendo Switch.

Jacob

It’s cool that they have an app where you can watch other people’s dances.

Seamus

This is your classic “Just Dance” game. There are no big changes and just a few new songs.  That’s all that changed. NOT!!! Just Dance is now on your phone and has access to 200+ new tracks!

But, overall it’s not something to be that psyched about in my opinion. I stopped after “Just Dance 2014” and I didn’t even buy that or ask for it. But I feel like I’m being too negative, because it’s not a bad game. If you liked the others buy it for sure!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Jacob

I think it looks really cool. I think it’s cool that some of the characters talk.  The monsters look pretty awesome too. I’m not a big Legend of Zelda fan so I’m not looking forward to this one too much.

Evan

First of all, my only question is: Where is the green tunic!?!?

But, aside from that, I think that is the highlight for the Switch in the year 2017. I think this is probably going to have the deepest story of any game that Nintendo has ever made. I really like that there will be voice acting.

The fact that it is an open world game is going to be really fun, but will make it a lot harder.

Seamus

<Time Passes>

Oh! Sorry! That took a while I was at the store… BUYING THIS GAME!!! Okay, not really.  But seriously that was an awesome trailer! CLICK IT RIGHT NOW!!! You don’t get much insight other than the graphics and some gameplay. But, those alone are enough to make me want to buy it right now! It’s also the first time Link can jump, I know it’s unbelievable but it’s true! Over 15 games and no jump until now! I saw many familiar characters such as The Great Deku Tree, the Rito,  Zelda (obviously), and much more! But seriously, CLICK THE TRAILER!!!!!!!

Super Bomberman R

Evan

I think it looks cool, but I think that it might be kind of insane as an 8-player game. Players will sabotage each other by accident while they try to play. But, I like the concept.

Jacob

I think it looks cool. I think it sounds fun to play a game with a lot of players and having bombs going off all over the place.

Seamus

I didn’t get a lot of information from that but It looks pretty interesting. I know this is lame but I don’t know anything about the Super Bomberman series and after a 30 second trailer of just gameplay I simply can’t say much more.

I am Setsuna

Evan

I am looking forward to playing this game because it was a PS4 exclusive, but when it came out we didn’t have a PS4. I’m looking forward to playing it on the Switch.

Jacob

I like role playing games like Pokemon, but I’m not a big fan of Final Fantasy though. This looks a lot like that.

Seamus

This is getting embarrassing, but this one was in Japanese and I don’t speak the language (except “Hi” and 1-10) so I don’t have much for you guys. But it seems like a good game, 3rd person, adventure, combating beasts. I’ll have to check the price.

Snipperclips

Jacob

I’m looking forward to playing this because I like puzzle games. I can’t wait to play a puzzle game with my brother. I also like crafts so cutting things to solve puzzles sounds fun.

Evan

This game looks and sounds super fun. The name is interesting. Also, puzzle games are fun but a multiplayer puzzle game sounds way more fun. This game looks insane!

I also like that you snip the other player and I can’t wait to see all the ways you can troll the other player.

Seamus

Now this looks good! It’s a two player puzzle game in which you control shapes to interact with each other and objects to solve the puzzle. It’s all about teamwork. Looks pretty good!

Launch Year

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Jacob

I like Mario Kart games. I like that they added the inklings from Splatoon and new cars for them to ride. I think the Splatoon map looks awesome, too. I can’t wait to play this game. This is the game I want to play on the Switch the most right now besides Splatoon 2.

Evan

For goodness sake, this is Mario Kart. Why wouldn’t I like it? I like they added new power-ups and I like that I’ll be able to play in balloon battle which is one of my favorite modes in Mario Kart 7. But, I’m really looking forward to racing as an Inkling, riding an inkling car, and racing on the inkling map.

I like they are keeping the DLC characters from Mario Kart 8 like Isabelle and Link. I also like that they are keeping the DLC maps as well.

Seamus

This looks sweet! I’m a sucker for Mario Kart but Nintendo stepped it up this time! It looks like they added some extra non-Mario characters,  too. But I’m not telling who! Nuh-uh! No way! Just buy the game! I will! Now go splat up that course! Oh shoot! I mean uhhhh… race it up! Yeah do that! You couldn’t splat it since there are Splatoon characters! Oh I mean aren’t! Shoot! Okay don’t say anything! (you didn’t read this!)

ARMS

Jacob

I’m not looking forward to this one because I do not like boxing games.

Evan

I’m really looking forward to playing ARMS, because I like the concept of boxing in video games and I like that ARMS makes you fight as Dhalsim from Street Fighter. I really like the added range because in Wii Sports the boxing was reallyweird  because you couldn’t move around too much. The longer reach gives you different strategies and more room for movement.

Seamus

This like boxing as Mister Fantastic! Your arms stretch all the way across the ring and are completely controlled by the joy-con in your hand! I don’t even want to know how Nintendo came up with this one!

Puyo Puyo Tetris

Evan

It looks good. I like that it is the combination of two games so you can play two games at the same time. That means someone who never played Tetris could chose to play Puyo Puyo. I like that concept a lot.

Jacob

It looks cool. I like that one person can play Puyo Puyo and the other person can be playing Tetris. I’ll be playing Tetris when I play it because I’ve never even heard of Puyo Puyo.

I really like the bright colors in the game too. It’s very cheerful.

Seamus

Huh? Tetris and Puyo Puyo? At the same time? Wouldn’t that be too hard? And why not just get the apps on your phone or ipad? I think that was a bad move. Probably not going to go anywhere.

Rime

Evan

I really like the artwork in this game. I think the world looked a lot like the world in Journey and I was a big fan of that game.

I don’t think I want to play this game though, because the trailer didn’t give me enough information about how the game is played to make me excited about it.

Jacob

It looks a lot like The Last Guardian. I think this one looks like it will be pretty hard. I don’t know if I’ll be able to run away and hide from all of those big scary monsters. But, I do like that the main character looks like a kid like me!

Seamus

Well now this looks interesting! The graphics are detailed but still cartoony but that doesn’t matter at all really, I mean we all liked Windwaker right? Looks like a puzzle game but I saw some action in there so probably half and half. Looks pretty fun but I’d recommend finding out a bit more before buying.

Splatoon 2

Jacob

Splatoon is one of my favorite games of all time. This looks cool because they added new ultimate moves like the raincloud. This means they added more weapons. I’m looking forward to playing this one a lot.

I wonder if they are going to keep Kallie and Marie.

Evan

First of all, I am looking forward to playing with the new ultimates. I’m looking forward to the new maps. I like that they are adding things from the single player mode from the original game into Splatoon 2. But, I’m really looking forward to seeing how many people use the new Splat Duelies.

Seamus

SPLATOON 2 IS COMING!!! I doubt I can even put to words the awesomeness of this! But I’ll try: Uh……………………………………….

Um……………………………

Nope.

I couldn’t do it.

You know what? Just watch the trailer and you can share the AWESOMENESS of it all. (Yeah I know that’s the second time I’ve said that) (Yes I know I’m being totally lame.) (But seriously watch it!!! It’s AWESOME!!! You will love it and thank me for making you!!! I PROMISE!!!)

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nintendo-switch-logo

Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 73. This week we are talking about video games. Stephen, Jonathan, and special guest Nicole Tanner (the Host of Gaming with the Moms) are here to talk bout the Nintendo Switch one last time before it releases.

My name is Stephen Duetzmann: Editor and Chief of EFG Gaming. You can reach out to us via our community page at www.EFGgaming.com/community. You can also reach out us via Twitter: @EFGgaming, and our new email address: EFGpodcast@engagedfamilygaming.com. I am also a co-host of the Gaming with Mom’s Podcast and a contributing writer to Pixelkin.

Thanks for listening to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast.

And Remember: Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and support us on Patreon.

Below are all of our website and social links. If the links appear broken, then go to the social media site and search for Engaged Family Gaming. You’ll find us! Thank you!

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The Nintendo Switch event is behind us and the launch is imminent. We find ourselves in the quiet days where the die hard fans have already pre-ordered their Switch, and everyone else is left to make their decision. This makes now the perfect time to think objectively about what the device is, and whether or not is a good idea for your family to think about purchasing one.

It may seem odd for me to encourage people to think about “what the device is” considering Nintendo spent an hour showing us what it is. But, the Switch is a device that is hasn’t had any peers yet. That makes it worthy topic of discussion.

Nintendo is doing their very best to market the Switch as a home console that has the added functionality of being taken on the go. This is accurate. But, positioning it that way forces the comparisons to be made. The Switch simply doesn’t have the hardware power that the PS4 and Xbox One do. These kinds of comparisons don’t serve the Switch well.

Instead, I think it makes more sense to treat the Switch like a handheld device. The New 3DS XL runs for about $200 US right now. This makes the purchase price for the Switch only $100 more. That may sound like a high price. But,  when you consider the improved graphics, the home console quality games, and the ability to dock it and play on your TV it isn’t all that bad. I would make that trade any day of the week.

Comparing specs and costs is all well and good, but the real reason that I am recommending the Switch is the games. Hardcore gamers might lament the relatively small lineup of games compared to other console launches in the past. But, for families who don’t buy a new video game every other week the Switch lineup for 2017 and beyond is more than strong enough.

The system launches with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which could be one of the best games of the year. It also has a steady stream of games releasing by the end of the year. That list includes games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and a new 3D Super Mario Brothers game.

Even more? This is a list of the currently announced titles. Who knows what will be announced between now and the end of the year.

Conclusion… For Now

At the end of it all, I think that the Nintendo Switch is a worthy purchase for Nintendo fans. It is a very cool device that includes unprecedented technology. That said, I m sure there are people who may have doubts. EFG will be presenting our impressions starting on release day on March 3rd and throughout the weekend.

Stay tuned for more information about the Switch as we get closer!

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Nintendo held a reveal event for their upcoming home console/handheld hybrid on January 12th, 2017. They revealed a lot of details about the console including the release date, the price, and even a comprehensive list of the games coming to the platform. But, we don’t know everything. They refused to answer almost as many questions as they clarified.

The Recap

Here is a quick hits of what we DO know right now.

Price: $299.99

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Console includes: Switch tablet, 2 Joy-Con controllers, the Switch cradle, a USB-C cable for charging, and an HDMI cable.

Internal Memory: 32 Gigs (uses expandable memory so you can use Micro SD cards to increase memory.

Online: There will be a premium online service that will allow online play and voice chat among other things.

Games: I wrote a comprehensive article showing most of the games currently announced for 2017. You can view it here.

The Missing Info

Are families doing to be able to get one?

Nintendo has a history of limiting the supply of their products as a means of creating artificial demand. They have been doing this for decades so it is reasonable to assume that we will have the same problem with the Switch. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has stated to other outlets that they are aware of the previous issues and are working to make sure there is enough of a supply.

Here’s hoping he is correct, because there are only so many times that people will be willing to put up with struggling to give them money.

How durable is the device?

This is likely my wife’s number one concern. We have had phones and tablets that have shattered upon even the most casual drops. This is a $300 piece of equipment so she is very concerned about how durable it is.

I don’t know that we will get much of an answer about this one until the product is out in the wild and someone tries to break one for science. But, I know that Nintendo prides itself on the durability of its handheld devices. So I am hoping that continues here.

How much will the online service cost?

Nintendo has told us about us a few of the features of the online service, and confirmed that it will be free until this fall. But, they haven’t said anything about how much the service will cost. That is an important factor as potential customers attempt to weigh the costs and benefits of using the service.

What are the exact hardware specs of the device?

We know that the tablet itself is made using custom hardware developed by NVidia, but we don’t know what that means. Al that the gaming community has been able to do is make assumptions about the console’s power by comparing screenshots from the Wii U and Switch versions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

It would be nice to hear on the official specs from Nintendo sometime before we are forced to read them off the back of the box.

Where are the rest of the games?

Nintendo showed off a number of games during the event, but outside of Zelda, Splatoon 2, and a new Mario game fans across the board were underwhelmed.

Nintendo is a company that has some of the most popular video game characters in existence on their roster. It would have been nice to see a few more familiar faces at the launch of the console.

What is going on with the Virtual Console?

We know that the Virtual Console project is going to continue to be a thing on the Switch. But, we don’t know how Nintendo will be handling existing purchases on the Wii U and 3DS, or what additional games will be coming to the service.

There was even a rumor of GameCube games coming to the Virtual Console a one point. That would be pretty awesome, but until we hear directly from Nintendo that is going to remain a hopeful rumor.

These are just a few of the questions we have. What about you? Sound off in the comments and let us know what YOU want to know.

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