Today’s Nintendo Direct highlighted the company’s peculiar ability to make existing games feel like an event now that they’re coming to the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo finds itself in the enviable position of not even needing new titles to get people excited about the hardware.
The latest example of this trend is the remastered version of Dark Souls that’s coming to the Switch, not that the system is powerful enough to give the game much of a graphical overhaul. It will run at 30 fps at 1080p on the Switch, versus the higher resolutions and framerates the game will enjoy on PC and the other current-generation consoles. Who cares about those limitations when the Switch version will be portable, however?
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the latest Wii U game to make the jump to the Switch, and the addition of a new mode only slightly obscures the fact that Nintendo is using the success of its latest console as a way to help underperforming Wii U games find a new audience.
This isn’t meant as a criticism — we can think of plenty of games from the Wii U we’d like to see on the Switch — it’s just another example of how Nintendo has been able to make ports feel like a bigger deal than they might be on other systems. Yet another version of Skyrim feels exciting because now you can play Skyrim during your commute; the nature of the Switch hardware itself makes any game that comes to the hardware feel fresh and new.
Nintendo doesn’t require new games to make a splash in the first few years of the Nintendo Switch, a time when every game with an existing fanbase that becomes portable feels like a delightful novelty. The Switch has already become my preferred way to play Rocket League, and that’s a game I own on two other systems already.
The Switch has an impressive array of indie games as well, but it’s not like Crawl didn’t already exist on the PC. Nintendo is building the Switch library using games that have been out for a significant amount of time on other systems, but who cares? They’re portable now.
Fans aren’t complaining about reheated content and ports as much as they have strong thoughts about what other existing games should come to the platform. Nintendo has found a way to make everything old feel new again, and it’s quite the magic trick. And it’s a trick that still likely has a long life ahead of it before it begins to feel stale.
Now, how about a port of Ticket to Ride?