In Defense of Nintendo Switch Ports
As many of you know, the Nintendo Switch has been a port machine, sometimes it seems like Nintendo is relying on those ports. Perhaps that has never been more noticeable than this year, 2020. Nintendo fans have seemingly rioted in droves by the lack of stellar Triple A titles barely trickling out this year, you can kind of see why the Switch owners have not been happy. For me, 2020 has been solid. Sure, it’s nothing spectacular, but with Spongebob Battle For Bikini Bottom and Paper Mario Origami King, I’ve been enjoying my Switch over the summer. I still have Ary and the Secret of Seasons and Pikmin 3 Deluxe to look forward. That’s to say nothing of games I did not pick up such as Animal Crossing. Yet, when you look at Nintendo’s big holiday season, all we have is a port of Pikmin 3. Not great but not bad on it’s own. However, nothing is in a vacuum. Nintendo fans ran with every rumor and leak to come over the last 12 months. That means fans are still anxiously waiting for the BOTW 2 release date and official announcements for the Mario 3D games. You can see how fans view a $60 port of an existing game as just underwhelming. However, ports are not this big evil concept many consumers are trying to make them out to be.
Let’s start by saying that if Nintendo’s big holiday title is Pikmin 3, I will feel underwhelmed but completely okay. I mean many gamers do not have endless amounts of income to just throw at video games. Nintendo does not need three Triple A titles in November and December to have a good holiday season. By the end of the year, I’ll most likely have bought the four aforementioned games. That’s a good year in my opinion. However, I think for the general public to count Nintendo’s holiday season as a success, Nintendo needs one Triple A title that is not a port. Realistically, I think all Nintendo might have in the chamber would be a port of Super Mario 3D World. Which brings us back to Wii U ports. There’s two reasons this is okay. The first one, and you’ve all heard this, no one bought the Wii U. Remember the Wii U sold like 13 million units world wide. The Switch has already sold over 50 million units. Meaning virtually no one played Pikmin 3. The second reason is a bit more controversial. Nintendo always ports games over with bonus features. DK Tropical Freeze released with a new Funky Kong mode. Xenoblade Chronicles released on Switch with more story content. Even Pikmin 3 Deluxe is releasing with all DLC and bonus Olimar missions. Not to mention every game getting re-released on Switch has an added feature. It is mobile. That cannot be understated. You’ll now be able to play Pikmin 3 on the go. Jessica and I can play Pikmin Bingo while we are waiting on our next class to start. That is huge.
Now, why did I mention controversy? I saw a video ripping Nintendo for taking down the Wii U digital versions of DK Tropical Freeze and Pikmin 3 from the Wii U eShop, then selling the Switch versions for $60 dollars. Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t feel like Tropical Freeze added enough content to upgrade for the full $60, so I skipped it. I could see people taking issue with it. Now, with Pikmin 3. Jessica loved Pikmin 3 on Wii U. She never got to beat it because I was glued to my Wii U during it’s lifespan. However, she loves portable gaming. She loves the Switch, the 3DS, and the Vita. So, if she gets it on the Switch, she probably wont ever stop playing it. $60 probably doesn’t seem that bad for the game, the bonus content, and portability in her eyes when Pimin 3 Deluxe launches in October. So, if you already own the game on their former systems, it is really up to you how much the bonus content adds in your eyes.
Ports often carry a console when it first launches. PS4 coasted it’s first year with remasters of GTA V and The Last of Us while Xbox One’s big title was the Halo: Master Chief edition. That is nothing uncommon. However, the Switch is in it’s 3rd year. Having your big holiday title, remember as of right now, being a port is just so flat when Sony and Microsoft are pitching the next gen of gaming. But the theory is that Nintendo was just not prepared for Covid and the restrictions thereafter. Now, it is a little jarring that the biggest video game company in the world could be so blindsided by this but it might just be a product of old man philosophy we know Nintendo clings to. So, I look at these ports as a necessary evil. Nintendo clearly has a robust lineup coming down the pipeline if you believe all the leaks and rumors. My thought then becomes, “Wow, 2021 is going to be a crazy year.” 2021 could host 3D Mario remakes, BOTW2, the next mainline Kirby game, F-Zero returning, Mario Kart 9, Pikmin 4 and those are just the ones that have a shot. So, if Nintendo needs to use ports as a buffer while the world begins to fix itself, I’m okay with that. If you aren’t, that’s fine too. However, I would say don’t jump ship yet. Breath of the Wild 2 will be the biggest thing in 2021 if it is able to squeeze into the calendar year.
I also hear people degrading Nintendo fans because all Nintendo fans want are remakes and they get excited about ports such as Pikmin 3 Deluxe. Here’s the thing. We love our Nintendo games. Everyone wants Ocarina of Time on Switch because the game is timeless. We want the younger generation to experience it. We want traditional Xbox or Sony fans who picked up the Switch for casual gaming to experience it. We are just proud and nostalgic about our games and we want everyone to experience them. The Switch is selling like hot cakes with literally no sign of stopping. Nintendo would be wise to keep pumping out ports as long as we keep getting fresh IPs like Splatoon and Astral Chain and new games such as Odyssey and BOTW. The 2nd reason being to get these classic games HDified. Spyro getting the remake trilogy and Battle For Bikini Bottom getting HDified are some of the best games I’ve played. Destroy All Humans got a remake and it is amazing. Simply put, as long as they’re adding new content, updating the game play and controls, and improving the graphics, I am all for it. Quite frankly, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess coming to Switch would excite me to no end. If Nintendo ported over Super Mario Sunshine with more friendly FLUDD controls that would be a dream. I’m not saying they can, but FLUDD has inhibited me from enjoying Sunshine.
So, in defense of Nintendo ports, these ports have not stopped Nintendo from releasing new games. Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Breath of the Wild, Kirby, Yoshi, Smash Bros, Astral Chain, Pokemon Snap, and Bayonetta (if you’ll allow me to count it.) all have had sequels or births on the Switch. That’s just to name a few. Nintendo is also adding content, rarely just shoveling out the same game with nothing added. Many of these games were released on systems that sold poorly, meaning no one ever experienced these games in the first place. Ports are normally a win win. Sure, there’s people like us who buy every first party Nintendo game, but remember we are niche. These ports will help Nintendo while also allowing a brand new generation to enjoy these games for the first time. So, I defend Nintendo porting over titles and if those games do not appeal to me, I skip them.
Nintendo’s 2021 will probably be killer assuming they are able to get back to normal and prepare for the future. So, keep an eye on Nintendo and don’t jump ship yet.
What do you guys think about Nintendo Switch ports? I do not work in the game industry nor am I an insider, so I could be completely off base here. These are just my opinions on the public information and perceptions we have.
Thank you guys for reading. Have a great day!