So let’s address the elephant in the room.
As you have probably gleaned from the headline, yes, I am indeed a Nintendo fanboy. You may be inclined to lash out with scathing comments, pelting me with your digital barbs like the town drunk sentenced to a day in the pillory.
However, spare me your jibes, my impetuous friends, for we all know that the thrill of the vitriolic console wars died generations ago, back when the major claim was that “Genesis does what Nintendon’t.” A few short years later, Sony came onto the scene, routinely swallowed up its competitors, and morphed itself into the juggernaut it is today.
In short, I come in peace. In admiration, even, as I must confess that while huddled over my Switch/3DS/Virtual Boy (don’t judge me), I have found it impossible not to glance upwards, on occasion, and get a compelling view of life on the other side.
It’s not for a dearth of content to proudly call my own, of course, as Nintendo has generously gifted its fans with some of the best entries in its series for its hybrid wunderkind, to the tune of Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and the recently released Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
Sure, I can bandy about game of the year contenders with aplomb, and even make a strong argument for the strength of the Switch’s indie scene. But the unshakable bugaboo hanging over Nintendo remains the same one it has been stymied with for close to two decades.
Third party support.
The Switch has been slowly amassing the spasmodic offerings that so clearly abandoned it during the dreary days of the Wii U, but it’s typically an inferior facsimile, and sometimes, downright unplayable. I only experimented with WWE 2K18 for one misspent day in 2017, but there are rumors that Xavier Woods is still attempting to make his way to the ring at a sluggish 13 frames per second.
It’s hard not to ogle longingly at what the PlayStation 4 offers in comparison. I’ve never been a graphics nut, but I’d be hard pressed to ignore the polygon count on character models that I’d daresay look more realistic than I do.
The versatility of the Switch has made it something of a double edged sword; when games are created from the ground up, specifically with its features in mind, it can thrive. But multiplatform efforts take exceptional liberties to cater to its technical limitations, and other than being able to say “I’m playing portable Mortal Kombat with portable fatalities and portable Kabal and his portable dreadlocks,” the appeal is clearly left in the hands of the competition.
However, a glance at the hardware sales suggests that there’s more to it than that. After all, if it were that cut and dry, the PS4 and the Xbox One would be neck and neck in the race to first place, rather than neck and ankle, if you’ll pardon the awkward analogy.
We all know the reason why, and I’ll just outright say it—I want your damned exclusives, you lucky Sony folk.
The dizzying scale of Spider-Man. The brutal elegance of God of War. Or Horizon Zero Dawn, which in my opinion, defies suitable adjectives.
Therein lies the crux of my envy. Sony’s lineup of exclusives this generation has dwarfed that of its competitors, and though the aforementioned Nintendo first-party titles more than hold their own, the volume at which Sony has been pumping out classics has been feverish.
There’s a reason why the PS4 has been so dominant, and it can’t even be attributed to brand loyalty, as shown by the minor misstep that was the PlayStation 3. That damned Wii Bowling singlehandedly gifted Nintendo that generation, but it was little more than coming up for a gulp of air before it would disappear once again below the surface.
The PlayStation 2 is rightly heralded as one of the greatest pieces of gaming hardware, standing head and shoulders over its competition as the best-selling console of all time. I’d posit, however, that the PS4 has had greater singular titles to its name.
Could it not be argued that classics like Final Fantasy X, God of War 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 have been rivaled, equaled, or even surpassed by their most recent entries? Was there ever a singular year in the PS2’s lifespan that generated as much hype as 2020 promises for the PS4?
I crave Ghost of Tsushima. I fawn over The Last of Us 2. I could even be swayed by the Final Fantasy VII remake, despite the fact that it feels like sacrilege to play a FFVII that isn’t turn-based.
Alas, not only do I not have these to look forward to on my humble Switch, I understand that, were they to exist in some whimsical alternative universe, they would be stripped back, nipped and tucked, and less than their very best.
I could go on, and extrapolate on my desires for a competent online system and just how much I love that silly little share’ button—when you’re as desperate for fame and notoriety as I am, a button on a controller that promises untold riches is quite compelling—but it would devolve into idle naval-gazing at that point
I’m not here to stroke anyone’s ego, after all. I just want to visit, to share my admiration, and to scuttle off into the shadows, with only Mario, Link, and Byleth to keep me company. They’re lots of fun, but they don’t say much.
So to you, of the Sony elite, I raise my glass in unity, in kinship, and in solidarity. Let us praise one another for our excellent little consoles, look ahead to the riches that lie on the horizon, and share a laugh or two at the expense of the Xbox supporters, those pitiable scoundrels.
Oh come on, as if I wasn’t going to get one last playful jab in at Microsoft. I still haven’t forgiven them for taking Rare away from me.