For the past few weeks, the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour has made its way through a few cities, giving the general public a chance to play with the Nintendo Switch before its release. On February 26th, I attended the San Francisco event and recorded my experiences with the new console.
At 5:51am, I arrived at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, ready to experience the Nintendo Switch for the first time. Although the Nintendo website stated to not arrive before 6am, there were already about 100 people lined up ahead of me, some of whom waited since midnight!
The wait wasn’t very long; the event staff began distributing wristbands to the first 250 visitors in line to attend the first session. Each session lasted 90 minutes, so I just needed to report back before 8am. Different colored wristbands represented different sessions, and it’s fitting for the first session color to be red, the motif color of Nintendo Switch media.
The first game I played was Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. This latest upgrade to the retro fighting game felt just like playing the original Street Fighter II on the SNES. The classic arcade and HD remix graphic options allowed players to either feel nostalgia from their arcade childhoods or experience a modern twist to a classic game.
Afterwards, I played Arms, an evolved fighting game that implemented the new technology of the Switch. Rather than mash buttons to fight my way to victory, I focused on tilting each Joy-con to perform certain actions, such as moving or blocking. The HD rumble feature of the Joy-con was very sophisticated, as different parts of the controller rumbled throughout the match.
The Nintendo Switch trailer showcased various play styles to provide both home and portable console gaming experiences. Each play style was represented by one of four stations near the front stage, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe used as a demonstration. The settings for each play style were similar to the settings used in the original trailer, such as the airplane for Tabletop Mode.
Many of the announced games for the Nintendo Switch appealed to retro gamers feeling nostalgic for the classic games of the NES and SNES era. One of the games included Super Bomberman R. There haven’t been many Bomberman games in recent years, and this one brought back the formula of the Super Bomberman games from the SNES. Given the various play styles of the Nintendo Switch, up to 8 players can partake in multiplayer battles, each with varying control schemes as desired.
Another game, Sonic Mania, felt just like playing the original Sonic games from the Sega Genesis. Two demo levels were included, one “remixed” level from the first game and one new level in the style of the original games.
Throughout the program, demonstrations were also held on the front stage. Visitors could compete against each other and win free swag, such as Nintendo caps and messenger bags. The first game showcased was 1-2-Switch, the casual minigame collection announced as a launch title. Among the featured minigames included Quick Draw, which was first seen in the Nintendo Switch Presentation.
The next game showcased was ARMS, with four guests competing against each other in a tournament. Excitement in the audience brewed as the combatants brawled their way to victory.
Overall, the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour was a fun event and a good chance to experience the new console prior to its release. The organization of the event went smoothly, and attendees were able to walk away with a few trinkets, such as a cord wrapper and Nintendo Switch cookies. With a diverse selection of games, the Nintendo Switch is bound to appeal to retro and modern gamers alike.
The Nintendo Switch will be released worldwide on March 3rd, 2017.