“How the Switch saved the Gaming World”

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“He was after a sensational story and this, of course, could not be constructed out of mere truth; not out of officially released truth, anyway. It was essential that the news-reading public should feel, first, that the community was in danger and secondly that people—well-off people, “official” people—who ought to have known better, were to blame for it.”
―Richard Adams, The Plague Dogs

 

 

Sensationalism sells, right? That’s why car commercials treat driving their automobiles like experiencing euphoria. Unlike any other point in human history, our modern world of glowing screens, podcasts, online critics, and YouTubers is filled with more voices than ever saying more things than ever. There’s more information and opinion, bad and good, available to you at this very second than ever before. Therefore, only the loudest voices are heard. Sensationalism does indeed sell.

Hence all of the titles of posts and vids I’ve been seeing like “Nintendo fails again!”, “The Switch is garbage!”, and “21 hacks to fix the Switch!” Well, I thought I’d get in on the hyperbolic action with this post and its title. This is the opposite of shock value negativity like “the Nintendo Switch is doomed?!?!” for a positive shock post “How the Switch saved the Gaming World”. Can there be positive shock value? Yeah, guess so. If you’re reading this, then you’re proof that it’s a thing.

In all down-to-earthness, I’ve now spent my first full week with the Nintendo Switch and it’s wonderful. This thing works beautifully. Below I’m going to list several new inklings I did not list in my previous post on the subject on launch day, pros followed by cons after getting some experience in with the system.

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PROS.

  1. Bitter cartridges
    I did mention these before but now they’re one of my favorite things, having guests in my home taste them. The looks on their faces like they’ve just licked a toilet bowl is hilarious, though I have a theory that the taste affects older folks less. Plus, it’s super awkward and funny to shout at my friends when they leave: “Hey and thanks for putting my cartridges in your mouth!”
  2. No dead-pixels, blue screen, or scuffed surfaces
    Did Sega pay these people off to fake pics of broken Switches? Probably not. At least I haven’t had any negative experience like this with my Switch. I was extremely careful when first docking the console so as not to scratch the screen but now I just slide it in there. No scuffs at all.
  3. Accessories should go down in price
    This is a guesstimation based on the observation that no one I know who owns a Switch has picked up much in the way of additional accessories. Right now, the system works fine with the Joy-Cons, provided you’re close enough to the console as the signal is funky (more on that under cons). I’ve played dozens and dozens of hours on Breath of the Wild and it’s been perfectly comfortable with the Joy-Cons included with the system. I thought I’d need the so-called Pro Controller right away, but I don’t. Every once in a while I want a d-pad, especially for Bomberman R, but it’s not a necessity. Especially not an $80 necessity. That all being said, I can’t imagine Nintendo is pushing a huge number of accessories like the Pro Controller, and therefore, given the basic laws of a free market, I expect them to go down in price eventually.
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  4. Joy-Cons for couch co-op (emphasis on true sociability)
    Some of the best experiences I’ve had with the Switch thus far have been playing some co-op. I only own one pair of Joy-Cons right now so this means two-player multiplayer on Super Bomberman R, but it’s fun in both the handheld and the TV modes. The screen does seem a little small for multiplayer, so some neck-craning and septuagenarian squinting might have been involved now and then when a friend and I played, but it was still an enjoyable time. Most importantly, it brought back that feeling of playing alongside another human being which has been lost somewhere along the wayside of the road toward online multiplayer.
  5. Mobility
    I took my Switch out for its first test run a few days ago. I took it to work and showed it to some coworkers. I didn’t have a case for it but an Amazon.com box made for a perfect fit. The Switch didn’t feel heavy or cumbersome on the go and it turns on fast enough for a quick demo or a playthrough while on break that it was a pleasurable outing. It still blew my mind to play it on the go and then come home and dock it for my television.
  6. Impressiveness to the lay
    On said outing, I tried to gauge the responses of my coworkers. Several of them aren’t gamers. Some of them are. Everyone was impressed by it and its capabilities, especially those who somehow hadn’t heard of it yet. They were interested in how light it was and how tiny everything about it appeared to be. The look on some faces when I said you could take it home and put it on your TV was priceless. It’s the innovation that’s in some part selling Switches right now and that innovation is instantly impressive. I couldn’t get anyone to taste a cartridge, though…
  7. Once you reach perfect graphical fidelity, where do you go from there?
    For years now, the impetus of games development in mainstream terms has been largely placed upon developing better and better graphics. Yes, there’s the indie scene (which I love) where graphics are secondary or tertiary, but Nintendo has the icons and now the sales to truly affect the mainstream. Breath of the Wild is graphically gorgeous but not realistic. I’ve actually seen people turn this into a complaint, that it’s “fake” and “cartoony” and not “realistic” enough to be of value. Pooh pooh on them! With Nintendo we shall never expect to get titles so visually astounding that their games look populated by real images and real human beings. That will always be Sony and Microsoft’s private squabble. With Nintendo, there’s an emphasis on the joy and the fun of playing, which takes things like gameplay and presentation and addictiveness into account (we’re speaking in generalizations). Some of the most addicting games of all time were Nintendo games. Talking with a dedicated Xboxer this past Sunday, he slipped the admission that Breath of the Wild (as an example) is just pure fun to play. That stood out to him as unique. So then, if Nintendo is truly becoming more “mainstream” again then we can finally find somewhere else to go when we occasionally grow tired of the grim and gritty realism of mainstream gaming. To me, this is what the Switch’s growing success represents. It’s a much different system than PS4, though it remains to be seen whether that will be a successful route in the long-term or not.
  8. Battery life
    In over a week’s time, I have had a single low battery notification. It was for the Joy-Cons. I took a break and set the console into the dock and slid in the Joy-Cons to charge. I also made sure to charge them overnight with the console in sleep mode while docked. Full battery when I needed it. These things have a good battery life and for my needs, I don’t expect I’ll suffer a dead battery when I want to play the Switch the most. Describing the battery life in a few hours initially seemed like a drawback but they haven’t been a problem for me.
  9. Speed
    This thing is fast, it comes in and out of sleep mode in a snap. It takes screenshots, jumps between a game and the home screen, and loads just about everything really quickly.
  10. Silence
    There were times in the past when my PS4 or PS3 sounded like they were wheezing. Overheating is a fair concern where I live in an arid and hot environment. I’ve felt the Switch get warm after hours of gameplay but it’s quieter than a mouse, even if that mouse were wearing a sneaking suit made of duck feathers and the mouse was Solid Snake. It can play console-level games but doesn’t sound like a miniature hurricane.
  11. The death of CDs
    Cartridges are back, baby. CDs are going to be a thing of the past. No more downloading three quarters of your game after coming home from purchasing it. No more ridiculous installation waits and even more ridiculous loadtimes while you listen to your disc reading mechanism frantically search around inside the system like a blind man stuck in a broom closet. As a married man with children, space is a limitation and though I’m a collector, I have to ensure that my collection doesn’t take up an insane amount of room. That being said, I’m looking out for Switch cart holders, maybe something that can fold up like a wallet and hold a few dozen cartridges, which I can then just stick on a shelf. I couldn’t imagine lugging around a pack of CDs for handheld mode but carrying carts around is another story.broken_cd2.jpg
  12. The death of mobile gaming and its vices
    One of the most interesting factoids I’d read recently is that porn sites have been seeing a huge drop in traffic since the Switch and Breath of the Wild launched. That’s a pretty sad fact but incredible that Nintendo managed to take people away from treating women like objects with something much more innocent. With that kind of dominating success, the kind which Nintendo has had in the handheld gaming realm for years, might we expect to see some kind of effect upon the world of mobile gaming? Thing there is everyone already has a cellphone to play these games on, so it’s not like they have to purchase the $299 system, but people are getting tired of things like mobile microtransactions and game-clones. Let’s hope the Switch can at least be a good influence upon a lot of the rubbish going on in mobile gaming.
  13. The Joy-Con Grip
    It is super comfortable and I love that it stands up rather than having to be laid down on its back. The PS4 controllers are so extremely sensistive so the back triggers were constantly… being triggered when I just set it down, ruining a movie or video I was watching by jumping it ahead or backward. No problem there with the Grip.17264574_10158301704475099_3228666126247684193_n
  14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    Probably the best reason to own a Switch right now, unless you’re one of the two people who own a Wii U. The Legend of Zelda games have been industry-defining influences. They’ve been ranked as among the best games on each of their given systems. Breath of the Wild is no different. All of the sensationalism surrounding it is true, and if you knew me personally you would know that I very rarely ever say that. If you’re unsure about the Switch because you’re unsure about the quality of Breath of the Wild, then cast aside all doubts now because that thing is amazing.

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CONS.

  1. Lack of games
    Breath of the Wild is unforgettable, Super Bomberman R is fun and engrossing, and that’s about everything I own for the Switch right now. I’m looking to get Shovel Knight once I finish the Wild and a few more titles as time goes on. Objectively, fewer games are worse for a system then more (so long as they’re quality) and while this doesn’t particularly drive me personally away from the Switch, or rather it didn’t, I can see how this is thus far one of the biggest negatives concerning it. Looking at it over the year, there is still plenty of room for more announcements for BIG upcoming games, not just “Nindies” and ports.
  2. No Virtual Console
    Still no Virtual Console. This is something the Switch is built for with its different play modes. Nintendo has the richest history of video games, longer than Sony and Microsoft’s, fuller than Sega’s, more diverse than Atari’s. They need a robust VC that is constantly updated to include new old titles from the NES, SNES, Game Boy, GBC, GBC, Virtual Boy, N64, GameCube, and even the Wii. Gimme some Game & Watch screensaver-esque mini-games and I’m good for life.tumblr_ojmf57JzL21qjoleso1_500.jpg
  3. No streaming services
    This is one of the initial reasons why I wanted to get a Switch, just so I could watch Netflix or Amazon movies in bed or in the car on lunch break or chilling in the backyard and not just in the living room. I’m still waiting.
  4. No web browser
    This seems like a no brainer. In linking my Facebook and Twitter accounts to the Switch, I’ve seen it load some online web pages, so the possibility is there. There’s just no way to surf the web (does anyone still say that?) and that seems like it could easily have been one little extra perk. Apparently you can sort of trick your Switch into opening a web browser but there’s no official functionality.
  5. No vid capture
    This is just another one of the ways in which my PS4 out-performs my Switch. The Switch takes great instantaneous screenshots but there is no video capturing functionality built into the system. Hopefully someday soon! Until then, you’ll need some extra things like a capture card if you want to make milquetoast jokes on your own YouTube let’s play.
  6. News feed is lackluster
    The “news” button merely takes you to now ancient trailers for games you already knew about and a handful of stylistic tutorials that become obsolete after you figure out how to use the system. Other than trailers and a few tiny announcements, such as the one for Mar10 Day, there isn’t much here. I feel like they could’ve had much more content like interviews with developers, behind the scenes, and conceptual art highlights as well as announcements that are actually new and exclusive. As it is, the News section seems like a week-old newspaper.
  7. Joy-Con release button placement
    While not a huge complaint, the one button placement on the Joy-Con that is awkward is the button to release the Joy-Con from its rails to slide it off the console or the Grip. I always feel like I’m grabbing it too hard or smashing the buttons in my palm just to try to get at it to press it. It’s the one thing that’s most misleading in the Switch’s trailers. It’s not easy to slide them out, though conversely that means that you won’t accidentally be doing so.
  8. Joy-Cons de-syncing
    Out of all the wireless controllers I have, the Joy-Cons seem to have the worst range at about 10 to 12 feet. That means I can’t even play the Switch from all the way on the other side of the living room. I don’t have couches there anyway but I did the testing on its range just to be sure. When playing with a very large TV screen, like 55″ and up (mine is not that big), sitting back too far from the console may become a problem for some users. Also, the controllers de-sync (particularly the left one for some reason) not only because of range but if there’s anything between them and the system. I mean anything. Like we’re talking a knee or a laptop screen or a glass of water or even a stack of DVDs. I hope they can update this someday as their unresponsiveness has lost me a few Bomberman battles. Perish the thought!
  9. Joy-Cons unable to sync at startup
    This happened exactly once, thus far. I turned on the Switch in handheld mode but could not get the right Joy-Con to sync up. I had to search through some on-system troubleshooting just to get it going. Not sure what happened, there.
  10. Length of wires
    The HDMI cable that the Switch comes with is short enough for you to glue the console to your screen but not long enough for any other placement. Luckily, I had a bunch of those cables on hand so I could put the Switch out on a pedestal of sorts for the best possible “line of sight” for its Joy-Cons.

 

So that’s it! A lot of people are still on the fence with purchasing the Nintendo Switch so the big question is: should you get the Switch now or wait or pass entirely? I hope that the above information can be employed as deciding factors but ultimately, this is what I tell everyone who asks me this question: Go ahead and wait.

Unless you really, really want to play Breath of the Wild (which is every bit as wonderful as they say) and you don’t own a Wii U, then wait until there are more games and better functionality. Maybe wait until the end of the year if you can. If the call of the Wild is too much to resist, then pick the thing up. You’ll most likely love it and there are many small games coming out, being released in a slow trickle, to keep you occupied. If you’re like me and you aren’t interested in purchasing a new game every week because of your backlog, then don’t fret and get the Switch because… dude… Breath of the Wild.

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Well-Red-Mage-Black-
-The Well-Red Mage 

 

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62 thoughts on ““How the Switch saved the Gaming World”

    • Hey I’m glad it sounds like you’re enjoying the Switch as much as me! I love this thing. It’s really a revolutionary device. I wonder if we’ll start to see more hybrid console/handhelds following suit. Wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo has influenced the industry.

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  1. Great article! You make excellent points on both the pro and con sides. The Switch really does seem awesome (and I have Mr. Panda to thank for getting me super excited about it! 🙂 ) so I do plan on getting one at some point. I’m a patient person, so I can wait until they are back in stock and there aren’t a bunch of morons trying to sell it online for $500! In the meantime, I am one of the two people who own a Wii U, so I may get Breath of the Wild on that for now! 😉

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  2. Loved reading your Pro Controllers and Joy-Cons! (I’m not the first one to come up with this, I swear!) The Joy-Cons seem hit-or-miss. I didn’t have any problems with syncing issues, whether in handheld mode or TV mode. I don’t like the awkward button placement or small size though. The Joy-Grip is okay, but I much prefer the traditional d-pad and larger buttons on the Pro. Not to mention the design and handles are oh-so-sleek and comfortable! Agreed that it shouldn’t be expensive. I wish it were bundled in because it’s simply the ideal controller that would have helped the system packed in. Also, I like that cartridges are back. I didn’t mind CDs, but having games in SD card-form is great for the portable system. I loved it for DS and 3DS, and I love it for Switch! Viva la Cartridge!

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    • Ahh… clever Panda. I find it interesting that the things which bother you about the JoyCons are the things which I love (minus the release button placement), and the desyncing was not a problem for you. Lucky! I noticed it even desynced when my toddler got in the way! Viva la Cartridge! CDs just seemed to delicate to me. I like that these are more compact and they seem to facilitate greater speed and loading times. Coming off of FFXV, there’s really no comparison with BotW in this department.

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      • I loved FFXV, but BotW is like what FFXV should have been, from the open world to the loading times. Just saying. 😛 Also, I love how we have such different opinions of the Joy-Cons because I do believe that they’re awesome technological tools. I just don’t like how they feel in my hand as a controller.

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  3. I like that you were willing to be yourself and stay true and honest great article. Also the lack of games has always been Nintendo’s biggest issue if they offer more interesting titles and brand new original games it would be okay and they would prosper.

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    • Well thank you very much for paying me that compliment! I can never say I’m the best writer of the most quality material out there but I hope to be honest on the things I write about. Personally, I just think honesty is lacking in today’s media and journalism. As for the lack of games, when I was on the eShop today it seemed really sad. I know it’ll get better eventually, I’m just impatient for the ball to get rolling!

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      • You are right about that there are not enough people willing to be honest even though it would make things better. Nintendo will eventually add games like they always do but it will never seem fast enough.

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  4. Ah quoting Richard Adams (RIP), though I read that particular book many years after I read Watership Down, the novel that introduced me to his genius.

    That out of the way, we’ve already discussed the sensationalism and hyperbole of game reviews, which is why I’m glad I have a particular source of information for them. I was set on getting a Switch the moment I saw the commercial, nor did the legitimate issues dissuade me from that goal. It really just seems like the click-bait sites are hyping the negative…which is exactly what they do. The problem is too many people don’t realize that this is their end goal ad that kind of bias is not they type they should listen to.

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    • I got into Adams the same way too, through Watership Down, which is a brilliant and haunting piece of work.

      I’m not ever generally interested in discussing politics in any seriousness online but it seems like this kind of journalism bleeds into the political spectrum and isn’t isolated to just gaming, on both sides, it should be said. When news becomes click-bait or doesn’t even recognize its own bias then it becomes something else entirely. Writers and journalists really need to be honest and even up front sometimes about their bias, even politically. I’ve seen that in some cases but not in many. I hope that I’m pretty clear about my own way of thinking and I know I’ve said controversial things in the past but the point is I’ve believed them and my mindset has been consistent. I think there’s another kind of dishonesty that can lead to blandness when it’s clear that a writer is saying something that they don’t really fundamentally believe to be true, especially on a worldview standpoint.

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      • I saw the movie as a child, was not scarred by it at all (I’ve heard horror stories about that lol), and then read the book in high school. It’s one of those that grows better as you do; you understand more of it and see the political allegory he brilliantly made speaking of which…

        You really read my mind. I didn’t want to bring that up because often blogging is a way to escape from some of the less than pleasant realities of life, and I enjoy that such a subject is often foregone here, because I’m quite immersed it in elsewhere. Gaming and other leisurely pursuits are often an escape, though on the other hand, they also often drop you right into the position of finding parallels you just can’t ignore. I’m a big believer that everything is connected and failure to see or accept these connections is similar to ignoring history. It’s going to come back to bite you in the end.

        Recognizing bias requires personal insight and acceptance that you have faults, flaws, and just general life experiences that skew your opinion. I recognize that there are situations where my bias can get in the way (some of the major reasons for my FFVII obsession are a good example), and I often have to consider “Am I thinking this because it is this way or is my bias changing my thinking?” I think it’s worse to pretend to be objective when there are just some situations where we can’t be.

        There is a definite tie between such reviewing and current events. It’s all about the sensation and the show and less about the substance. It’s why even though we may not be blatantly talking about politics, continuing to do what we do and review how we review adds a breath of honesty and insight to a world that’s desperately in lack.

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        • I like to respect everyone’s personal approach to gaming. For myself, I interpret the gaming hobby as I prefer to interpret all entertainment in that it reflects upon real world issues. I think there’s tremendous value in escapism entertainment but that there’s higher value to art which says something about the way the universe is and expresses an author or developer’s intent. That being said, I don’t intend to belittle anyone for treating games as escapism. I think that’s a valid personal decision but it’s why I like to segue into real world topics in all seriousness now and then, which I think ultimately matures gaming in the eyes of readers, at least I’d hope so. I agree with you that there’s a tie between these things. I like to think I’m being as objective as possible, but ultimately reviews are opinions.

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          • We’re exactly on the same page. Games can certainly be escapism, but they can also utterly align with real world issues, and I love that dichotomy. The only issue I have with people using it as escapism is not their personal choice, but rather when they lambaste me for seeing the meaning behind what’s going on and/or insist it’s not there. That just grinds my gears. Since I try not to judge how they play/interact with it (try is the operative word. I am a shameful narcissist after all hehe. Seriously though, I do know that because I just see connections everywhere, that I can be snooty, and I’m trying to work on that because you shouldn’t judge how people participate in entertainment…I just…become irritated at the dearth of critical thinking skills. This could also be backlash to being mocked for delving deeper into what’s still considered a “bastard” medium in some circles), I don’t like to be judged for seeing more to it than just graphics. I think what it is is there are games that are definitely perfect for escapism, but I have to admit I do become irked when there’s just blatant parallels with a game’s plot and what’s going on in the world, and people miss it. That almost feels like it’s an insult to the game creator’s insofar as they’re not getting the entire point of it. Ugh, I really feel like I’m being elitist, but I want to be honest about it, because I feel that not being able to pick up on these motifs is a major issue with the world. It shows lack of empathy and also shows that critical thinking really needs to be cultivated.

            The fact that you do segue into real world issues with your reviews on nearly everything is a major reason why I follow your blog and take the time to read your posts (barring spoilers of course)!

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  5. “With Nintendo we shall never expect to get titles so visually astounding that their games look populated by real images and real human beings. That will always be Sony and Microsoft’s private squabble.”

    And may Nintendo always continue down that path. I feel that if they went Sony and Microsoft’s way, I would drop out of gaming instantly.

    Anyway, incredibly detailed and engaging review of the console’s pros and cons. I will only be getting mine down the line – probably when Super Mario Odyssey comes around – as I got Breath of the Wild for the Wii U. Nintendo really needs to address the console’s general lack of games, otherwise they could lose the sales-boosting momentum Breath of the Wild has given them. They are somewhat lucky the Wii U did not sell well – if that makes sense – because then a game like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe can be sold as “new” to a very large audience. Nintendo fans, though, do not have much to look forward to until Odyssey appears. One could claim Splatoon 2 also qualifies as a truly new game, but I still haven’t seen enough of it to prove it is significantly different from the original.

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  6. Nice review. I agree there aren’t enough games yet (same thing happened with PS4) but luckily Zelda is a massive experience. I do think I’ll need a case for the system and games – have you found anything worthwhile yet?

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    • Zelda is enough to carry initial sales over 1.5 million in this short time as I just read this morning but I wonder how much that may drop off as the months go on. I haven’t actively searched for cases for carts or console since I’ve already dropped around $400 on Nintendo! It’s an eventuality, as is everything else with the Switch. I appreciate your question!

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  7. This is a stupid reason to not get a Switch, but the Wii U had an HD remake of Twilight Princess, complete with amiibo and extra dungeon, that could influence play on the Wii U version of BotW. I’m waiting for someone on the interwebs to comment as to whether you can use the TP amiibo or not, because Wolf Link is awesome haha

    Anyway, it sounds like a great system! My friend got one and loves it. She’s been having some trouble with the left Joy-Con (one of the few people how had some issues with it?), but she can’t say enough nice things about it.

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  8. The critical acclaim for Breath of the Wild has brought out the worst in some gamers, though, who are currently bombarding Metacritic with scathing, poorly written 0/10 reviews to drag the game’s score down. These are the people who make me embarrassed to admit I’ve been gaming for decades.

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    • I never understood that kind of thinking. I used to frequent the forums at IMDb and the wars between the fans of DC and Marvel were ridiculous. There were people writing reviews giving 1 out of 10 scores for movies that hadn’t even come out yet. That says something profound about human nature. In today’s society I just wonder why people can’t let other people enjoy things, especially in terms of entertainment. As someone once said “I’m embarrassed to be human.”

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      • Yeah, IMDb is atrocious. I stopped using it as some people watch a film, have a weird reaction to it, and so give it 1/10. I use Rotten Tomatoes instead for the critical reaction – a step above often belligerent movie-goers. It gets depressing seeing people behave like that so I just ignore it and let these people do it. Incidentally, there’s a documentary film coming out soon about online trolls – a filmmaker reached out to them and some agreed to be interviewed. Should be… interesting. He concluded a lot of them are just extremely lonely, which might highlight why this keeps happening.

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  9. FF14 would be ace on the Switch 🙂 I already remote play it on my Vita and its oddly perfect for when you’re away from home (as it doesn’t need pinpoint precision, so even the heaviest latency doesn’t matter). What would really sell the Switch to me though is Final Fantasy 12 Zodiac Age. Technically I could still remote play Zodiac Age like 14, but I’d prefer a portable version I can play without an Internet connection (ie on the train). Get on it Nintendo and Square 🙂

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  10. Looking forward to having one of these, especially since rumors of FFXIV being a possibility. Oh the joy of having my Hume Paladin by my side at all times without having to lug around my laptop! Hurrah!

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  11. Nice overview. I think I’ll likely crack in the summer for Splatoon part two. And hopefully by then the needed tablet apps (Netflix, Hulu, Chrome, YouTube, etc.) will be out on it. Because this is basically a Nintendo Tablet. If things go as planned they’ll likely disrupt the mid-tier tablet sector.

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    • Yep I hope its capabilities continue to expand. Nintendo seems to just be playing it safe. Summertime may be a good time to jump on board and I wonder how big this Splatoon will end up being. Thanks for commenting and reading!

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