If you’re like me, you haven’t had to fight over controllers for quite some time, thanks to the introduction of online multiplayer games causing a decline in the number of local multiplayer games even available. Obviously, with less and less games focusing or even incorporating a couch co-op option, having to Rock Bottom your siblings and friends for a controller and a turn has become a thing of the past.
Now, it looks like the Nintendo Switch is going to bring some of that back.
It’s clear that the Switch is focusing on the multiplayer aspect of gaming, and more specifically, it appears to be couch co-op centric. In fact, Nintendo hasn’t even detailed any of the Switch’s online features or ecosystem, save for the fact that they’re going to start charging for it in the fall.In all of the Switch’s marketing so far, we’ve seen multiplayer games in action. With its most recent info dump from this past weekend, the
But in all of the Switch’s marketing so far, we’ve seen multiplayer games in action. With its most recent info dump from this past weekend, Nintendo revealed that the console comes with two controllers out of the box, meaning you’re able to immediately play with a friend without having to connect to any sort of online service. Of course, you’ll have to actually buy a game first since the Switch isn’t bundled with a game at launch, but that’s a rant for another day.
My point is that you’re able to play local multiplayer games with the Switch, and Nintendo has already announced a few games that have a heavy emphasis on multiplayer. First, there’s 1-2-Switch, which will sort of play like the Wii Sports games or NintendoLands that we’ve been given before, where it’s all about playing with a friend who is sitting right next to you. In fact, 1-2-Switch is so focused on you playing with a friend that the marketing team wants to tell us that we don’t even need to look at the screen to play; you’re intended to look directly at your opponent so you can react to their movements and little twitches in certain games.
Secondly, you’ve got ARMS, a game that looks like a fantastic twist on the arcade boxing game formula. It looks like a great competitive game that you and your friends can all take turns playing, and it’s a game that appears to cater to the fighting game crowd (or maybe even those who miss Fight Night, aka everyone). It has a broad appeal, though. It’s first and foremost a competitive fighting game, so you’re going to at least check some of the boxes for fans of the genre. It also takes a cleaner and less realistic route, meaning there’s no gore or violence; parents can assume that it’s safe for their kids to play. And it looks like the sort of game that’s going to provide more value if you’re playing it with your opponent standing right next to you, surrounded by a crowd of your friends. I can see ARMS getting a friendly tournament in my household, for sure.
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Nintendo will also release a slightly updated Mario Kart 8 soon after the Switch’s launch.
There’s also Just Dance 2017 for those who like to make themselves look absolutely ridiculous in front of their peers. But, that’s not for us, so we’re not going to talk about it. It’s coming, though. So, you know, +1 for local multiplayer games.
The marketing team for Nintendo is telling potential buyers that this is the sort of handheld/console that’s going to be acceptable to bring to parties. You know, like Karen being alone in her apartment and then joining her friends on the rooftop with her Switch in tow. Or like those guys playing basketball and then taking a break to play NBA 2K18 on their Switch right on the basketball court. Obviously, that’s never going to actually happen, but Nintendo is getting their point across that it’s intended for local multiplayer.
Nintendo has also shown some interesting imagery in both the initial teaser video back in October and their big blowout in January with there being numerous Nintendo Switch consoles in a circle. We’ve seen as many as eight Switches together, and although we haven’t seen them actually all playing together, it’s imagery that alludes to the capability to do so. I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would ever use eight Switches next to each other in a circle, but hey — you can do that if you want, it looks like.
With all of that, there’s undeniably a focus on local multiplayer gaming for the Switch, and it’s a breath of fresh air, especially when the vast majority of Xbox One and PS4 games ignore local co-op entirely. That’s not to say that there aren’t a ton of great local co-op games available right now, but my point is that some of the biggest franchises out there have disappointingly moved away from local multiplayer, including Halo and Call of Duty.
Of course, Nintendo has been trying to please local multiplayer lovers ever since they’ve been in business, with incredible multiplayer games like Street Fighter 2 Turbo on the SNES, Goldeneye on the N64, Wii Sports on the Wii, and NintendoLand on the Wii U. So, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see those types of games getting love on their upcoming console, and there are quite a few upcoming Nintendo Switch games focused on multiplayer.
Even if it ends up being the case that it’s just Nintendo developing first-party titles with an emphasis on the local multiplayer aspect of gaming, if Nintendo can put a spotlight on the fact that the Switch makes for a great gaming experience with a friend sitting right next to you, they ‘re going to see the demand for the console/handheld hybrid skyrocket. It’s about damn time for a local multiplayer renaissance — that’s a movement we can get behind.
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