Nintendo Goes Nuts
The FUZE Experiment
I said in our first newsletter that I predict 2018 will be a very interesting time for Nintendo announcements. Can you believe this one? Nintendo is partnering with FUZE (an obscure coding tech company) to create a platform within their Switch user base where people can create games and share them with each other. You learn to code using their own little language, and make your own projects using pre-existing assets they provide. Apparently it was announced in June of 2017 and nobody noticed, but now there’s more information. Not many details yet, but seems you might be able to make money from it or even partner with them? Does this mean they’ll be a real indie publisher?
Why do we need help? FUZE Technologies Ltd is a very small company and as such we have limited resources to acquire the kind of content we’d like to include in the release version of FUZE Studio for Nintendo Switch. If you are a budding creative digital artist and are willing to provide game style graphics, free of any royalty, for use in the release version then in return, you will be credited within the application and receive a free full version of the software for both Nintendo Switch and Windows, along with a selection of merchandising items we may have available at the time.
The Labo Experiment
This one is way weirder. Check out the video…
Nintendo wants to sell you cardboard Do-It-Yourself toy kits so you can hook up your Nintendo Switch to it and play a handful of minigames.
As you can see below, there’ll be RC cars, fishing, piano, house, and motorbike activities you can play when you buy the kit. It’s aimed at little kids, but the assembly and careful handling of expensive digital devices isn’t something you expect a kid to do, so it’s more like a family project I suppose.
Just when you thought Nintendo was going to focus on making games and set up their paid online service, they announce something like this instead. And if you notice the kid with the punching equipment and special backpack, that’s a separate kit which also costs $70 or so. Who in their right mind will buy this? The name “Labo” is very unappealing and reeks of Japanese, which is not what the Switch was supposed to be about. I thought Nintendo was going to start making things that the ordinary English speaker would feel comfortable talking about. Have they gone peripheral crazy once again? Is this their ultimate peripheral addiction solution? Seems like it.
Kids are going to break these things. They’re going to forget that there’s a $400 system embedded in it and throw it around because it feels like it’s just a cheap cardboard toy when you’re holding it. There’s a reason why kids toys are made of cheap plastic instead of glass or porcelain. I realize there’s a magic tipping point where a smash-hit product can get away with anything (see Apple), but I don’t believe the Switch is there yet. This is something you’d expect to see in 2019 if they’re still dominating but want to refresh the thing, right? But there’s something more going on here…
According to their website, you can “create new ways to play” and even join their creator seminars held in New York City and San Francisco to take part in the development of new experimental gimmick development. This is such an unorthodox way to approach product development that it feels like Nintendo is just throwing away money on it. Of course they can afford it, but their image is hanging in the balance to some extent if they can’t contain their weirdness this generation. I wonder how much Miyamoto has to do with all of this…
Mario Tennis, Odyssey DLC, And More Games
The strangeness doesn’t stop at partnerships and experiments, however. The recent Nintendo Direct has raised a couple of eyebrows too.
Personally I’m only excited about two things in the video…
- Mario Tennis Aces announcement
- Super Mario Odyssey‘s free balloon collecting competition
I’ve always loved the Mario Tennis games. They’re such a pure multiplayer experience. It looks like this one might return to the traditional setup with minimal gimmicks. We can assume the Switch will allow for a bunch of configurations and portable play options, as well as single-player and online modes, which is why it could potentially be one of the best multiplayer games ever. This is a perfectly timed announcement in my opinion, right as the big question of “What’s Next” looms for the system.
Although it’s not getting a ton of appreciation online, the Odyssey balloon challenge mode is a bold move that shouldn’t be overlooked. Yes it’s a quickly thrown together feature, but it shows that Nintendo wants to support the game and foster a bit of a competitive community. If this becomes popular, you can expect they’ll add in more modes and features. For a major Mario title to get online functionality like this is a big deal. Who knows where it could lead.
I was baffled by the SNK announcement of SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy for the Switch, which pits a bunch of female fighters together and forces them to use “dream” abilities as finishing moves, where sprite-based images of food fly out of your super attacks to kill your opponents…? Something wacky is going on over there.
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