[Musing] Nintendo Switch: A childhood dream come true.

This essay belongs to the [Musing] category. What the hell does this mean?

In my pre-teen phase, I dreamed of being an Electrical Engineer to «build new things that are cool»; in reality, what I meant was to design machines that are elegant, technically advanced, intuitive and, most importantly, sociable (yes, despite being quite the anti-social).

I never became close to studying Electrical Engineering since I’m more onto the Software side of things, but looking and judging the design of everything is a usual mental exercise of mine, especially when Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, or even attempts from smaller groups like the OUYA (remember that?) announce new hardware.

The reason I included this little back story is simple:

The Nintendo Switch is a childhood dream of mine that came to fruition.

As a kid, I dreamed of humanity achieving (but not limited to):

  • Hover boards that would work anywhere,
  • Windows phones having a touch screen that discarded the idea of a stylus («Who wants a stylus?» was exactly my point),
  • A pill that would drastically decrease the amount of pee,
  • And a console that was a portable + living room hybrid with detachable controls from the display.

Thing is, I was just a kid, and as such, I never considered the implications of these dreams if applied in real life:

  • The technology behind the “hover” part is far beyond our capabilities, even in 10 years we’ll barely be able to achieve it;
  • Microsoft would possibly take a long time to execute the same thing Apple did in 2007 with the iPhone;
  • “Destroying pee” is pure science fantasy and downright impossible; not without nanomachines.

And the console hybrid thing… well, there were various problems with it that I thought of over the years.

Things like the device not being powerful enough to render console-quality graphics, to radio frequency limitations, to it being bulky as hell.

Still, I dreamed on. I even imagined going split-screen on the device, which was visibly a dying norm on home consoles not made by Nintendo.

Plus, technology seemed to be evolving well: last time I thought about this — I think back in 2011— I realized that smartphones were getting slimmer while still capable of displaying beautiful graphics, so I was confident that it’d take about 5 years before someone would take up the concept and face the many challenges, both in user interface and technical limitations.

Nintendo was that someone, and they showed that it might just work.

Holy. Shit.

I said 5 years, but they started a bit sooner. Leaks date back to at least 2014, back when apparently Nintendo was testing with custom AMD graphics.

We’ve barely seen anything, and yet as I watched the “First look”, I could see all the ideas I had long ago put into motion, but the key point that I seriously wanted on the dream console was there: interactivity with physical friends.

By that I mean each detachable piece of the controller suddenly becomes a controller itself for each one of your friends, plus the fact that split screen is still a thing.

With a few exceptions, games are better played together.

Now, you might be thinking that I’m completely lying to you when I say that literally everything shown in the the announcement is displaying my ideas; if it makes all the difference to you, I wasn’t not the only one (I should’ve said it too before, Arlo buddy…).

However, the most important thing for you to note is that just the ideas won’t matter. When I talk about my hopes and dreams to achieve what I want to achieve, a few people come up to me with the speech of «me needing an idea, an idea so good that I can sell it»; I cringe at this mentality, because although many, many people try to pitch their product with the idea alone, the execution is as important, if not much more, than the idea itself.

And that’s the point I’m trying to pass: will the Nintendo Switch be as good as it looks? Are the the key-points shown in the video be as well executed in real life (other than your introverted friend Karen bringing video games to a party)?

Who knows. Anyways, I’m really hopeful for this one, even if it’ll be a while before I can afford one to try it out for myself and embrace the mind-blow my pre-teen self would’ve had if I were to tell him «Here you go» and handing it to him.