I was going to write about how Dark Souls is a programmer’s attempt at creating the Lament Configuration, but then something amazing happened, I had fun. No, not with the exploration of BDSM that is Dark Souls. This kind of fun sprang from a happenstance event that Nintendo has always promised would happen, but never did until now.
That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to understand this astounding moment, allow me to offer a bit of exposition for my excitement. For years Nintendo has always made a point of encouraging players to play together. Two player controller ports were only the beginning. When Pokémon released, Nintendo made me realize a new fantasy. Going around and challenging people to Pokémon Battles. This seemed like the next step in multiplayer videogames, but it didn’t play out like that. Most times, you played with people you already knew, and the setup to connect two players required link cables, virtual lobbies, and waiting. The process wasn’t smooth, but it was functional. Functional enough so that from then on, I wanted to go on my own journey and face new challenges. That journey was my everyday life, those challenges would be other players inhabiting it.
Flash forward to 2017 and I could count the number of times I’ve encountered another player in the wild on two fingers. One time at Videogames NY and another time at the World Trade Center. I don’t frequent conventions, nor do I find myself at random Super Smash Bros. tournaments, so the opportunity to run into other players are memorable. The first time it happened, I was at Videogames NY looking for a Gameboy Micro, when I spotted a person playing a 3DS in the same section. The game looked like a random JRPG, but the spectacular array of flashing colors attracted me. I asked if he played Smash. He responded with a resounding yes. My 3DS whipped out like a gun fighter’s pistol, and a SSB4 match broke out in the store. The moment was exciting, and cemented my love of portable gaming.
The second time I ran into other 3DS players happened on my way home from work. Taking the John St. entrance at Fulton Station, and making my way down the escalator towards the World Trade Center PATH Train is my standard after office ritual. But as I walked down the underground corridor leading to my terminal, and leered at the candy display at a random kiosk, I spied two guys playing a game on 3DS. Curiosity inclined me to hang around and see what they were playing, when that familiar character select music struck a reflexive nerve.
“Are you guys playing Smash?”
“Yeah, do you play?” He inquired
“I want in.” I replied. It was a statement of fact rather than it was a request.
“See what you started?” Said a woman tending to the counter. “You all have to move over, this is STILL a place of business you know.”
The snow fall that Thursday encouraged a lot of people to work from home, so the frantic rush hour foot traffic was more relaxed. The placid commute drew a small crowd of curious onlookers wondering why three grown men were staring at these colorful handheld devices. We were having a five stock, three player, battle royale, with some of videogame’s most recognized icons. In short, it was a brawl.
This rare instance of organic social gameplay is the experience that Nintendo has been developing with the 3DS, which you can see in social features like the Streetpass system. When two 3DSs come into NFC range, (Near Field Communication) they exchange basic information about the games they were playing. Streetpassing (.v) adds a passive social element to the games that support the function by offering dynamic content accessible only by exploring the world around you. Nintendo managed to not only ensure 3DS owners carried the console with them at all times, but even made player interaction desirable.
My adventures in portable gaming made me think about the latest Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch. It looks to merge their console and portable worlds together. I’m so excited about the idea that I pre-ordered the system and lurk on the subreddit daily. Yet, Nintendo of America’s David Young announced that the switch will not support Streetpass or Miiverse (Nintendo’s social media platform).
Lack of Streetpass compatibility begs to question whether a new Switch alternative is in the works. Nintendo’s reasons point to disassociating the Switch as the next portable system, but why not? Doubling down on the Nintendo Switch as the one unifying platform between the console and portable businesses can only lead to stronger sales, and a clearer game plan. I can see that Nintendo runs the risk of alienating an established platform like the New Nintendo 3DS, which is the latest iteration of the Dual Screen platform, but I think there’s no room both systems to exist.
What do you think, can the New 3DS and the Nintendo Switch co-exist, or do they cannibalize each other’s markets? Some argue that the Nintendo Switch doesn’t function well as a dedicated portable device, and some just see it as Nintendo being safe. Let me know in the comments below.
Blog / Library / General Updates
I know you really come here for the progression update. So far, the year is starting off pretty good with 70 hours into Dark Souls under my belt. I’ve always wanted to beat this game, but never got close. Originally, I played it on the XBOX 360, but it was left behind all those years ago. I think I’m finally where I was the last time I left off. Should be smooth sailing from here on out. At least I know what I’m doing this time around. As for the Dark Souls related write up, I’m really thinking about Dark Souls and the Hellraiser puzzle box. The analogy is just too sweet to pass up.
Other than that, the Nintendo Switch has been on my mind lately, among other things that I can hopefully write about next time. I’m just counting down the days till my pre-order arrives in the mail. Thanks Amazon, waiting in line sucks during an American North Eastern North Eastern winter. Some say you gotta earn that pre-order, but I don’t have to be the guy that shows up first all the time. Imagine being that guy? That means you have to show up ALL THE TIME. Ain’t no one got time for that really.