Nintendo Switch Preview Tour in Toronto – Part One: What’s This All About?
This afternoon, two members of the Nintendo Fire team had the privilege of spending the afternoon at the Toronto stop on Nintendo’s Preview Tour for the new, upcoming Nintendo Switch console. It was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, and in case you’re reading this and feeling bummed that you missed the event…don’t worry! You haven’t! The Preview opens to the public on Sunday, January 29th at 10am, and you can read all the relevant details on this official tour page (http://www.nintendo.com/switch/events/) from Nintendo.
That said, you may be wondering if it’s worth the trek to head to the convention center on a Sunday, instead of staying in your warm bed on a weekend and sleeping in. Read on, fellow Nintendophile!
In this post, we’ll be providing an overview of the event we experienced in Toronto today, and in the coming week, we’ll be posting first impression reviews for each game we got our hands on, going into greater depth about each specific game, a look at the Nintendo Switch itself, and additional videos and commentary on what we see Nintendo bringing to the table with their next launch.
Once we post our first impressions for each game, we’ll link them here through the game list below, so that you can simply click through and head directly to our thoughts.
Nintendo definitely brought the goods when it came to their lineup of hotly anticipated titles for the Nintendo Switch, and our duo was able to get our hands on and try out these games:
- Has Been Heroes
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!
- Sonic Mania
- Splatoon 2
- Super Bomberman R
- Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
The games we didn’t get to enjoy, but were available at the event, were: Disgaea 5 Complete, FAST RMX, Just Dance 2017, Skylanders Imaginators and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Zelda line was packed for the duration of the event, but that’s a good thing—and two of our three Nintendo Fire team members are already holding pre-orders for this title!
Everyone we spoke to at each station was cheerful and happy to talk about each title. They spoke about the games as though they enjoyed them and had spent time playing, which is an issue we’ve run into with Nintendo reps at previous PAX events in particular. Nintendo seems to have rectified this over the past few years, and it was great to speak with booth staff who “knew their stuff,” so to speak.
One disappointment—and a bit of a surprise for us —was that Super Mario Odyssey was not playable. There was a photo-op station with Mario’s new hat, and a screen playing the trailer on repeat, but no demo. That said, we can certainly see how bringing the new Mario title might take the shine away from some of the other games, especially when another heavy-hitter like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild already pulled a considerable segment of the crowd.
Flashy lights, loud music, and staff in bright red shirts made sure to keep the energy high and the excitement at max level for the duration. We remained at the media preview for nearly the entire time, and even in those last few minutes, the 1-2-Switch crew was as boisterous as ever. It can’t be easy to keep that level of enthusiasm for so long, but it was absolutely appreciated.
Keep in mind, if you’re attending on Sunday, that there will be on-stage demos held for various games (1-2-Switch and Snipperclips, for example), and both the music and the mic’d MC are extremely loud. If you’re bringing younger children, you may want to bring sound-dampening headphones, and if you have any kind of hearing sensitivity (or simply want to keep your hearing intact for as long as possible), grab a pair of concert-style earplugs and pop them in once those on-stage demos begin. Note that they’re not too frequent and you do get some advance warning.
Aside from playing the games, Nintendo loves to bring out those photo ops! As previously mentioned, there’s a chance to take your photo with Mario’s new hat from the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, but that’s not all!
You can also climb inside Mario’s very own Kart and snap a pic in front of the cover at for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Once you’re done there, take a selfie inside one of the four “environmental” experiences—ie. gaming opportunities set up to mimic real-life instances where you can play the Switch, demonstrating the system’s versatility (we’ll be talking more about this in detail in one of this week’s posts)—and then head over to the Zelda booth for a snap in front of a rather large treasure chest.
Finish up your photo tour with a squid popping out of ink, in front of the Splatoon 2 booth.
But wait…that’s not all! While we were there, Mario greeted us at the front entrance, then made some special appearances inside the event. If you have a chance, take a photo with Mario!
If you use Snapchat, be sure to use the special sponsored Nintendo Switch filter for your event photos to add that extra touch—and to let your friends and followers know how much fun you had trying out the Nintendo Switch, of course.
Oh, what’s that…you actually want to know about the console? The thing we were there to try out? The very machine that everyone’s curious about?!
First, the graphics are fantastic, both on the TV and on the handheld screen. The handheld screen particularly impressed us during a round of Splatoon 2 (demo version), which was crisp and clear and worked remarkably well on such a small sized viewing area. Nintendo Fire team member Faith, who played far, far too much Splatoon in the summer and fall of 2015 (…or was it just the right amount?), was thoroughly wowed and decided that she’d be totally willing to play Splatoon 2 on a small screen…with motion controls enabled. Yes, it was that good. More on Splatoon 2 in the days to come!
One word you’re going to be hearing from us a lot in our write-up for this event is ‘versatility.’ The four different environmental setups allowed us to try out the various ways to play with the Switch, so we could truly test out the “switch” aspect of the console—you know, the main selling feature that gave the console its name.
While we’re going to reserve our in-depth analysis of all four styles for a later post, we won’t hold back on which one impressed us the most: The “airplane” environment, where both of our team members were able to play a round of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, each holding one of the Switch controllers while the screen was set up on an airplane tray table. It’s definitely a game changer for traveling with friends, or even for making new friends. Sitting next to a stranger? Ask them to play Mario Kart with you! I mean, maybe that’s a bit much for some people, but this mode is nothing if not interactive and encouraging when it comes to sharing the gaming experience with others.
Now, games like 1-2-Switch and ARMS demonstrated the ability and potential of the console’s new style of controllers. While Nintendo Fire team member Dave had some trouble with comfort when holding the full Switch controllers + screen (let’s just call it the GamePad setup), he had no difficulty when using the single, small controller for these games. They’re definitely made for smaller hands, which is going to present some awkwardness when it comes time to press the little buttons—and when playing 1-2-Switch, Faith told the team member she’s left-handed, and there was no opportunity to switch which top button to press for “Quick Draw.” Whether this will present a similar issue with additional games remains to be seen, but we’ll provide a full run-down of the three 1-2-Switch games we tried out later this week.
The Nintendo Switch Preview Tour definitely exists to showcase the strengths of the new console, as well as show off a wide selection of really great games—from big releases like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, to strange little gems like Snipperclips.
If you have a chance to head over on Sunday, we encourage you to do so, and to bring a friend who isn’t quite convinced yet about this whole Nintendo Switch thing. Whether you change their mind or not is secondary to the very real possibility that you and your friend will have a great time, a ton of fun, and leave with some new memories centered on a shared gaming experience.
And in the end, that’s really what the Nintendo Switch is all about—gaming with friends, in old and new ways, and having a great time in the process.
Stay tuned for our detailed breakdowns of our first impressions on the games and the Nintendo Switch hardware in the week ahead!