One year ago, Nintendo held a live-streamed stage show in Tokyo, Japan. It was a multi-regional effort, with groups of translators working feverishly behind the scenes to help introduce the world to Nintendo Switch… I remember the day fondly.
We had been told the new console was supposed to come out sometime in March, and all we had was a brief video of the hardware being played by a group of attractive millenials—not a lot to go off. We had no idea as to the extent of the Joy-Con’s abilities, which games were going to be launch titles, what would come in the hardware box, how everything would be priced… it was an odd situation to be in as a Nintendo fan, planning to purchase the Switch in two months’ time, but being largely in the dark.
It was good to see Nintendo president Kimishima take the stage. Although he had stepped into the role shortly after Iwata’s passing, this January presentation was truly the first time that the company’s new leader addressed fans directly.
He’s not a showman; Kimishima is more of a down-to-earth businessman. He demonstrated some smart presentation skills by outlining all the important details first: release date, price, region-locking (or lack thereof!), and paid online services were all touched on at the beginning.
I’ve been trained over the years that when Nintendo says “release date March” that it usually means “launching around March 31st, might as well be April” so the earlier-than-expected release date of March 3rd instantly pleased me. The console’s price point was satisfying (though I’m still taken aback by how much accessories cost). Shortly after setting the facts straight, the president stepped aside and allowed developers to take over the show and focus on the fun!
I was on board with Switch from the moment the show began. One of the first things described about the new console is how it was conceived of a combination of elements from Nintendo’s past consoles; a little DNA from all prior systems made its way into the formation of Nintendo Switch. Throughout the show, I was quite surprised how much of the Wii I recognized in the Joy-Con controllers and games like 1-2-Switch.
It was really fun seeing the wide variety of software being developed for Switch. We finally got closure on some of the initial teases with Mario kart and Splatoon, figuring out which games were sequels and which were ports. Nintendo sure dragged out the Breath of the Wild release date, though—clearly having a bit of fun at the audience’s expense. (When the jibing ends with the revelation that we get a gigantic open-world Zelda game at console launch, we quickly forgive them for stringing us along.)
My attention was rapt on the presentation from start to finish. Fellow Crew member Ryan had to work during the live stream, so he entrusted me with his online accounts and payment information in order to snag a pre-order in his absence. I was refreshing webpages like a madman, hoping that Nintendo would allow their retailers to take pre-orders that night and praying that I could go through the checkout process fast enough.
I needed TWO consoles, one for myself and one for my poor friend who had the remainder of a night shift left before he could catch up on the news. Here’s the problem, though: we weren’t expecting the neon Joy-Con bundle to be announced, so now I didn’t know what to pre-order (I couldn’t reach him by phone)! I was even having trouble making up my own mind as to which bundle I preferred.
Best-Buy updated their website with Switch pre-orders and my fingers flew across the keyboard like a blur. Before I let out my pent-up breath, two neon Switch consoles were in my digital shopping cart. Proud of myself for securing the goods, I went to lay down and try to get some sleep after all the wild excitement.
A few hours later, Ryan gets home and starts watching the Switch presentation. I receive a text that reads “Please tell me you ordered the grey Joy-Con bundle!”