The next generation of Nintendo entertainment is approaching with the Nintendo Switch due to release on March 3, 2017.
However, before the home and mobile “hybrid” console will be played in homes, parks, cars, planes, and anywhere else, Nintendo of America has set up a series of events to showcase the console’s new hardware and games.
On Sunday (Jan. 29) Toronto hosted the second stop on Nintendo’s tour.
Doors to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre opened to the public at 7:00 a.m. and the line reached the cut-off mark before Nintendo started giving out the tickets an hour later.
Many walked away disheartened. Some were dressed as their favourite Nintendo characters. You could hear children crying and others trying to strike deals with Nintendo representatives to get into this one-time event – to no avail, of course.
Mariah Hoekstra, a self-proclaimed Nintendo fan from Toronto, was not too upset she didn’t make the cut-off.
“I had no idea it was going to be this huge,” said Hoekstra, who admitted she was happy she didn’t have to travel far to the convention centre. “I am a little bummed but not heart-broken. I know I am going to get it eventually.”
But hundreds of lucky fans did make the cut, including best friends Robert Stanica and Paul Boychuk. Stanica and Boychuk received tickets for the final time slot that went from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. despite showing up at 7:30 a.m., half an hour before tickets were given out.
Both said they are Nintendo fans but Stanica was more passionate about the company as a whole. Stanica said he is expecting big things from the hybrid console, adding, “I have about seven of them (Switch) pre-ordered.”
Stanica wore a Legend of Zelda t-shirt and said he was looking forward to playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The title was a playable game at the event and will be a launch title for the Switch.
Boychuk said he has also had a long relationship with Nintendo but that it was never worth it to buy their last console, the Wii U, despite his feeling like he missed out on some games.
The Wii U did not sell well for Nintendo. The short-lived console contributed to market drops every year it was out. However, the Switch has sold out its pre-orders online and in all major markets, including Canada.
“The Switch is a bit more unique,” said Boychuk. “I love the idea to take it anywhere.” Boychuk said he saw a Switch commercial where someone was playing the console on a plane and that he “can’t wait to be that guy.”
After the event, Stanica seemed pleased with the product.
Stanica said: “The Switch console felt great to hold. It doesn’t feel too light to be considered cheap but it’s not heavy enough to give you strain after prolonged use. The joy-cons are interesting. The buttons and joystick seem tiny for adult fingers but they didn’t feel uncomfortable to use.”
Stanica said it was seamless to “switch” from handheld to a TV via the Nintendo Switch Dock.
The Zelda fan also got to play the newest instalment of his beloved franchise. He said the open-world game looked beautiful on the Switch despite having technical flaws on a large TV. Stanica added that despite this, the art style and gameplay make up for it.
“It’s Zelda so it’s going to sell by the bucket,” he said.
With 48 third-party publishers; already announced Nintendo-original titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Splatoon 2; a plethora of great reviews for the Switch hardware; rumours about other console-selling titles like Pokemon and Metroid on their way; and a great advertising campaign, it feels like Nintendo is going to soon forget its previous console disappointment and reclaim the success it had pre-Wii U.