Nintendo is a company with a weird history.
Either Nintendo is doing really, really well, as it did in the NES and Wii eras, or it’s doing very, very poorly, as with the Gamecube or Wii U.
There is no middle ground – apart from during the Nineties, when the Console War saw the SNES and the Genesis in a constant war for living room dominance.
With the Switch, Nintendo seems to have tapped into something potent with gamers around the world. The ability to pick up and move the console at will is greatly appreciated by many, as is the pick-up-and-play nature of the games that can be fitted around a busy schedule.
What really stands out, though, is the system’s huge, sprawling open worlds. Breath of the Wild will be remembered as one of the most important games of 2017, and as if that weren’t enough, Nintendo has now given us another sprawling epic in the form of Super Mario Odyssey.
While there’s never been a dearth of Mario games (not like we saw with the Zelda franchise), it’s clear from everyone who’s tried this new title that the big sandbox adventure is something special. The game makes perfect use of the Switch’s personal, portable screen, with a tiny world for players to explore that’s filled with loads of little moments of glee and fun.
The size and scope of Mario Odyssey isn’t all that impressive compared to other games on more powerful consoles – it’s no Skyrim in terms of the size of the world map, but then, it doesn’t have to be. If a game is fun, it doesn’t need to be so massively huge that players will get lost for days at a time looking for rare types of foliage.
Of course, the Switch is also getting Skyrim. And Doom, and Wolfenstein for some bizarre reason. This console has been flying off the shelves since launch, and plenty of developers are eager to get their games on the device.
We’re definitely looking at an upswing in popularity for Nintendo, but is it enough to catch up with Sony and Microsoft?
It’s a long shot, but Nintendo might just pull it off. It helps that their handhelds always sell better than their consoles anyway, and with the Switch combining the best of both worlds, it means that Nintendo might be able to pool its entire fanbase together for a single, power punch platform.
So keep your eye on the Switch if you’re not doing so already. Before long, this might just become the default games system for the majority of serious players around the world.