So far, despite some early adopters experiencing the standard teething problems that every piece of modern tech falls foul of, the Nintendo Switch is a wonderful device with some potential. But after some solid time with my system, I feel that there is some real room for improvement, to make the system an easier sell for those who aren’t necessarily convinced that they need a Nintendo Switch in their life.
I’ve been mulling over a few thoughts in my head about some elements that the system is now missing, that it could really do with.
PIN Code Lock
The Nintendo Switch is an expensive piece of kit and is first and foremost a portable device. It was designed to be taken outside of the home, and you can’t help but worry about its safety. As a basic form of functionality, mobile phones have a lock screen, just like the Nintendo Switch has. But the Switch’s locked state leaves a lot to be desired, as all it takes is three presses of the same button to unlock the device and use it, which is very insecure for a device that can easily be stolen or lost.
So how about it, Nintendo? Could we please have the ability to lock our system’s with a 4-6 digit PIN or passcode, like pretty much every other portable device out there? It would certainly put our minds at ease to know that if the worst should happen, the slightly unsavoury folks out there who may find our Switch consoles in their hands, won’t be able to do anything with them.
Games that use HD Rumble
For two decades, we’ve taken force feedback (rumble to you and I) for granted, easily forgetting how great of an innovation it was, providing at worst a level of immersion to video games, and at it’s best – Some very clever mechanics that made the most of the technology.
The JoyCon’s HD Rumble feature has the potential to make force feedback matter again, at least with its limited use so far in games like 1-2-Switch. For example, one mini-game invites players to tilt their JoyCon to feel virtual balls rolling around in it, and guess how many there are. Before playing this minigame, the idea sounds like make believe, but in practice it’s nothing short of magical, and it’s hard to believe that this sort of tech is possible.
But outside of the Switch’s minigame collection, what else is there? Not even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild truly makes use of HD Rumble, outside of standard force feedback. And that’s a real shame, as this is a feature that’s crying out for a Nintendo development team to make full use of it. Sadly, there is no real indication on how HD Rumble can be used in practice, outside of being a gimmick. This needs to be rectified.
Nintendo Switch Virtual Console
I have a love/hate relationship with Nintendo’s Virtual Console. On paper, it’s a fantastic idea – Curate a selection of Nintendo’s greatest games and undiscovered gems, and allow people to play them legally on their console for a price.
In reality, it has been a feature that has fallen well short of it’s potential, as Nintendo release the same games that everyone’s purchased a million times, for too much money, before the releases eventually dry up.
Virtual Console needs to continue to be a thing. It’s a quick and easy way for Nintendo to get some gaming content out there, while the conveyor belt of Nintendo Switch new releases gets into gear. But it needs to be done correctly, and I’m hoping that’s why we’ve yet to see what’s happening with the service on Switch.
We know that it’s being factored into Nintendo’s premium online service, but nothing more other than that. Maybe a Netflix-style buffet of gaming goodness is on the way? Maybe we’ll see Gamecube games, or even Dreamcast releases one day? But, as the early days of Switch see little in the way of new physical releases, Nintendo need to get something out there.
Let’s clear something up. The Switch doesn’t have a problem with a lack of launch releases. There are no fewer releases available at launch than what any other console has launched with – And it’s a diverse physical and digital lineup too, with action games, casual party games, racers, retro platformers and more.
But there are plenty of people out there who aren’t necessarily aware of this, who own Switches. Outside of Snipperclips, there are no demos available and that seems a little ridiculous (especially as there have been demos of Breath of The Wild, 1-2-Switch and others, playable at public and private events.
So why can’t every launch game have a demo? You’ve already got them, so why not release them? Plenty of people might not have played a Zelda game, or know what Shovel Knight’s all about. So show them, and give them something else to play on their shiny new console.
To a certain extent, this point aligns with the very first point I made in this blog. Systems break, get lost/stolen, etc. and one of the worst feelings in gaming is the one you get when you lose a save file. Currently, there is no way to backup save data and that is quite a letdown.
Even the PlayStation Vita has the ability to backup saves to the Cloud, and it was a welcome feature. Again, being that the Nintendo Switch is a portable system, it would be great for there to be a way to ensure that the hours of progress I’ve made in Breath of The Wild is safe, should the worst happen.