Yesterday night saw a bunch of new games announced for the Nintendo Switch, in a flurry of excitement that peaked when fans got their first glimpse at the roster for “Super Smash Bros.” on the handheld/home console hybrid.
Exciting as this news might be for fans of the series, it’s hard to be too surprised. “Smash” is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, and as such, it was only ever a matter of time before the game ended up on the Switch.
No, the biggest news is that, after twenty two years, the original “Crash Bandicoot” is coming to the Switch.
That feels momentous.
Once upon a time, Nintendo and Sony were locked in a bitter rivalry as the two companies competed for console market dominance.
(Okay, let’s be fair, that rivalry continues to this day, with Sony currently winning round four, but Nintendo’s star finally rising again as it did with the Wii.)
In the midst of this battle was the genre of mascot platformers. These games were the biggest thing in gaming, as cuddly cartoon animals (or plumbers) bounced and jumped around in 3D environments, collecting hidden items.
At this point, Sonic the Hedgehog was mysteriously absent, so the fight came down to Mario versus whatever forces the PlayStation could muster. Sony’ unofficial mascot became Crash Bandicoot, who took inspiration from Sonic by way of Taz the Tasmanian Devil.
Anyone during this era who had a Nintendo 64 desperately lusted after Crash, and anyone with a PlayStation was awkwardly over-dismissive of “Super Mario 64,” afraid to seem to interested in the Italian plumber’s 3D antics. Both were different kinds of games, but the fact remained: the Nintendo 64 didn’t have “Crash Bandicoot,” and that was a wound that stung.
Now, finally, the original “Crash Bandicoot” is coming to the Switch, in the form of the “N. Sane Trilogy,” which debuted for the PS4 last year. This is a modern remake of the original three “Crash” games, and while they’re not exactly perfect (the controls are a little too slippy compared to the original), they’re the current last word in retro nostalgia for modern consoles.
So for the Switch to gain the “N. Sane Trilogy,” the game becomes an implicit endorsement of all that the mini console stands for.
Essentially, this release is Nintendo saying “Anything Sony can do, we can do on a bus,” because playing games on public transport has somehow become the definitive argument for owning a Switch.
It’s hard to argue with this logic. “Crash Bandicoot” on the Switch will likely open the floodgates for more definitive PS4 games of yesteryear to arrive on Nintendo’s latest console.
Although we’re probably not going to get “PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale,” for obvious reasons.
At least Switch fans can make do with “Super Smash Bros.” instead. What a hardship.