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Hands-on with the Nintendo Switch


NewsHubMoments after Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé finishes his presentation, another exec takes the stage to announce how things will go. The room is broken up into different sections, each following a staff member with Mario character on a placard. We’re each ushered off to a game – some semblance of organization before it all invariably erupts into chaos.
It’s inevitable, of course. A few minutes later, members of the press are screaming at screens and elbowing their way in to be among the first to play the new Zelda game on the upcoming console.
Last night’s unveiling was all news – pricing, availability, specs. Today’s event is about actually experiencing the thing. Being one of the first to try the strange new console in practice, in all of its strange, convertible forms.
There are games stationed around the space, laid out in two rooms of a Manhattan loft space, from proprietary titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the aforementioned Zelda title, Breath of the Wild (which had its gameplay debut for the Wii U back in June at E3) to perennial third-party favorites like Street Fighter II and Arms, a slightly more family friendly take on the classic fighting game.
Most stations just stand up TV and living room settings, but there are a few more creative takes, as well, like a fake airplane interior, complete with animated clouds, a cross section of a VW bus, and a small faux greasy spoon, called the “M Diner” run by some Italian plumber.
There are Nintendo reps waiting at each of the stations – standard practice for gaming demos, though in many cases requiring more than the standard explainer. Even games like Street Fighter, which the vast majority in the room can likely play blindfolded through multiple decades worth of muscle memory, require a sort of preface regarding precisely how the title is played.
After all, the Switch is Nintendo’s great new gamble – an everything and the kitchen sink console designed to learn from the stated mistakes of the Wii U, while bringing together positive lessons from both it and its predecessors.

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