[Nintendad Coffeehouse] Realizing the Incredible Power of the Switch Port

Talking Directly

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In a time like this and in a world like the one we have now, it’s easy to catch yourself pining for when things were seemingly good for everyone. Today, we’re more than a whole year removed from a gleaming experience that brought joy and excitement for weeks and months to follow: Nintendo’s E3 presentation. It was here that we learned of incredible things that blew our faces off: The Hero and Banjo were in Smash Bros, Breath of the Wild was getting a super great-looking sequel, Trials of Mana was getting not only a localization but a full 3D remake! As a shelf stocker at Wal-Mart, I couldn’t shut up about it for weeks.

But also, what we tend to forget about these big reveals are the console ports of older games. In this last E3 presentation we got Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Nearly every Resident Evil, and even, for some reason, Alien: Isolation ported to Switch. More recently, games like Assassin’s Creed III and the 2K collections have joined the seemingly never ending stream of ports of older games being put on the Switch, leaving many to ask, “why should I care about games I beat a decade ago?”

I don’t know if you know this, but having a Switch port of any game might actually be the best and most accessible way to play it. Let’s begin.

I’m Sure As Heck Not Twelve Any More

This whole realization about Switch ports being the best way to play a game really hit me over the last two weeks as I played Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for a review I was working on. See, in my house it’s my wife, myself, and our four kids. The TV is a precious commodity in this home. On top of that, I can’t really play games after work because I’m spending time with my kids before bedtime and after that my wife isn’t as much of a gaming fan as I am. She’s more of a watcher than a player. As such, playing on a bigger screen isn’t really in the cards most days.

And then, as if from the heavens, Nintendo bestowed upon humanity the greatest gaming console of the modern era: the blessed Switch. Finally, home console quality and caliber games that I could play on a screen I could fit in my hands. I didn’t need to decide between being alone in a different room from my family while I played games. I could be together with those I love while still playing the games I wanted to. But most importantly, I could play whenever and, I cannot express this enough, however long I wanted to.

See, I LOVE console gaming but something happened as the years went on: I gained a ton of responsibilities and all that jazz. Sitting down for a gaming session became more of a hassle than anything. Add on top of that loading times and updates and crap, and playing longer games became frustrating. Seriously, I would be faced with the decision of ignoring my family or not playing games. Given, the Wii U was a great step in the right direction with playing on the Gamepad, but it didn’t work as often as I wanted it to.

Maybe it’s time to dig in to my original idea. Let’s talk about why the port is one of Nintendo’s greatest assets and why there should be a TON more of them.

Bring On The Ports

Like I said before, having Borderlands on the Switch was a big deal for me because it meant that for the first time in my life, I could play it at my pace. Games like Borderlands need to be played in sessions of anywhere from two to three hours in order to feel like you’re actually getting anything done. See, I don’t have that kind of time any more. I’m not a streamer who gets paid by their fans to play games and reviewing games for Nintendad is a pro bono gig until we become huge. So, time is valuable – especially with little kids in the house. This is why having a huge game available on the go is such an extreme blessing for people like me. You put Borderlands on any other console and I can’t dedicate enough time to it to make it worth my while. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here with how great this is, but I can’t stress how big of a deal this is for me.

Take other games that have been ported to the Switch: Tales of Vesperia, Witcher III, Diablo III, Cuphead, both Bayonetta Games, Valkyria Chronicles, etc. and you’ll start to see my point here. I don’t have a full night to commit to playing Witcher III, but I have an hour while my kids are screwing around with the neighborhood kids while I’m chilling on a blanket making sure nobody gets hurt. Being able to commit gaming to smaller, bite-sized chunks is a DREAM for parents like me. The fact that I can turn the console off and immediately start right where I left off is key to making sure I actually finish all these games I own.

So when I see ports of great games from older generations getting added to the Switch’s library I get excited. Oh! Look at that! I might actually finally be able to complete Dragon’s Dogma or Burnout Paradise because I can play this wherever the heck I want to!

I have to be completely frank here. We all know some games was meant to be played while you’re dropping a deuce on the ol’ throne, right? Some of my greatest Smash Ultimate online moments were played in that regal position and I am proud to say it. If you can honestly tell me that you have never played your own personal Switch on the toilet I will kindly look you in the eyes and call you a liar. We’ve all done it. It’s a simple pleasure.

But Where do We Go From Here?

The Switch port has allowed more people to play games that they never had the time to play in long sessions. The 2K collections were a great way to bring this to light as a large audience had their first time to play some AAA level games like Bioshock 1, 2, and Infinite, XCOM and the first three Borderlands titles. As I’ve stated before, other companies have put ports of older games (Resident Evil, Bastion, Transistor) on the eShop, but what else should we be excited for?

Personally, tons. I feel like I’ve missed out on generations of great games because I couldn’t put in the time to really enjoy them. Xenoblade Chronicles comes to mind and that was a stellar port! EA has said that they are planning on adding a few more titles to the Switch, so give me Mass Effect and… uh… whatever good things EA made in the last little while. Here’s a list of big hitters from yesterday and beyond I want to have on the Switch:

  • Psychonauts
  • The entire Batman Arkham series
  • Rare Replay
  • Prince of Persia Collection
  • Shin Megami Tensei collection
  • Portal 1 and 2

And this list doesn’t even begin to touch what Nintendo should port to their OWN CONSOLE! That’s an entirely different article for a different time. I have issues with that in an order of magnitude greater than how I feel about ports.

Finishing It All Up

I want you all to look at the next announcement of an older game coming to Switch differently when it inevitably happens next. I want you to see those ports as games that might not be meant for you, but for somebody like me who never had a chance to fully enjoy them. Realize that there’s going to be fans of video games who are rejoicing that they will finally get a chance to play the games they have been excited about for years at a pace that will actually enable them to complete them.

Personally, I can’t wait for more ports to show up on that beloved eShop. Heck, I bought Sunset Riders the second I saw it and I already own that game. But now, instead of having to hunt down my SNES, make sure nobody else is using the TV and setting aside the forty-five minutes it would take to really enjoy it, I can just play it for a bit here and a bit there. It’s a pretty great thing.