Like its predecessors, the Nintendo Switch is a console with an awful lot of potential. Its portable screen and multi-format controllers mean that the door to any number of innovative new game and app design ideas has been flung wide open. Here now, in no particular order, are a ways the Nintendo Switch could innovate in ways no home console ever has before.
Pen and paper RPG’s
From the moment we first encountered the Wii U, we could see one particular use for the console that made us very excited indeed, despite how unlikely it was that any of it would ever come to fruition. The digitisation of pen and paper role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire has been growing for the last few years with programs like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds becoming life-savers for those wish to roll with their friends but for whom distance is a factor.
The Switch could be the perfect compliment to these apps, useful for Game Masters running the show to quickly draw a map on the Gamepad using the stylus, before returning the device to the holster and bringing the map up on the TV for all to see. For players, the Joy-Con controllers could be used to interact with the screen as pointers or indicators, adding a physical element to the rolling of digital dice, or they could use the Gamepad themselves as a way of tracking and updating their character sheet.
In-game controller realignment
One area we think the Switch will surely take advantage of its extremely malleable control schemes. Imagine jumping from a particular set of controls from a character that is on-foot (say using the Joy-Con grip) to a shoot-out (which would require sliding the Joy-Cons off the grip for more precise, motion-controlled aiming)? To escape the gunfight, your character dives into a nearby car or aicraft meaning you have to drop the Joy-Cons onto the side of the Gamepad screen and remove it from the Dock. This is an incredibly loose example, but you see what we’re getting at — shaking mechanics and control layouts up on the fly to keep things engaging.
New ways to look at old properties that don’t suck WE’RE LOOKING AT YOU STAR FOX ZERO
Nintendo seem to already be getting onto this particular point with their series-redefining approach to open-world exploration in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but we’d like to see them that this momentum and fan approval and apply it to some of their older franchises. Isn’t it about time Metroid came back from the dead? Enough time has passed since Other M that we can all put it behind us, right? What about Pokemon? With Zelda showing Nintendo know how to build an open-world explorer, isn’t now the perfect time for a Pokemon RPG to finally make the two-decade-overdue leap to a home console? What about Scribblenauts? With the high-fidelity touchscreen on the Switch, that series must be primed for a new outing. We’re even willing to let you have another crack at Star Fox, Nintendo. Willing, despite our better judgement telling us to take the property away from you and never give it back.
New and emerging genres
The Switch seems like it could be a machine primed to take advantage of the ever-booming independent game dev scene. Games like Papers, Please already make total sense for a system like the Switch, built as it is around interacting with software in novel ways. We would love to see what some of our local teams, like SMG or Flat Earth Games could do with a system like this (c’mon Flat Earth, Objects in Space on the Switch? *makes enticing hand gestures while knowing full well what an effort that would be*)
These are but a handful of things we’d like to see the Switch take a run at throughout its life-cycle. Will it get there? Time’s going to tell on that one. We’ll know for sure when the Switch finds its way into the public’s hands this coming Friday.