On April 12, Nintendo held an online “Nintendo Direct” presentation, which the company claimed would focus primarily on the upcoming Switch games Arms and Splatoon 2. The entire presentation lasted about 40 minutes, the last 10 of which were devoted to the aforementioned games and the Switch itself. Other Switch games briefly mentioned during the presentation included Payday 2, which is a port of a 2013 game, Minecraft, which is available on practically every other system already, and Rayman Legends, which came to the Wii U nearly four years ago.
The remainder of the Nintendo Direct focused on the 3DS – a handheld that originally launched in 2012. Nintendo’s library of upcoming games for the machine is certainly impressive, with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and multiple Kirby games on the way—impressive enough to make Switch owners jealous. Nintendo should consider bringing the best upcoming 3DS games to the Switch as well, where they’ll be greeted by an eager new audience and can receive a sizable graphical upgrade.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia looks perfectly fine on the 3DS, but couldn’t it look better on the Switch?
Last month, the 3DS saw the release of Mario Sports Superstars, a game that bundles together a few of the portly plumber’s favorite sports into one package. Though not an ugly game by any stretch of the imagination, the blurry visuals and aliasing common on 3DS games don’t make it an ideal platform for sports, and especially not ones that require quick reactions like baseball. The 3DS’ tiny screen, particularly on the original model, doesn’t help, either.
Nintendo has already sold about 65,000,000 3DS systems – it’s no secret that Mario Sports Superstars can reach more players by releasing on a system with such a large user-base. But the Nintendo Switch has been flying off the shelves since its launch in March, and players have been left waiting for another big-name game to play after completing Breath of the Wild. Sure, Mario Sports Superstars wouldn’t be the game for the Nintendo Switch, but it would give early buyers a reason to keep their systems turned on.
Looking through the remainder of 2017, the same basic logic applies. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia looks perfectly fine on the 3DS, but couldn’t it look better on the Switch? Hey! Pikmin, the Pikmin series’ first entry on a handheld system and its first foray into the 2D perspective, is bright and colorful, and mixes larger-than-life creatures with more realistic environments, but on 3DS, much of the magic appears to be lost. Without the power of a newer machine like the Switch, the game risks sacrificing much of what made people love the series to begin with.
Games like Hey! Pikmin and Kirby’s Blowout Bash, another 2017 3DS release, were clearly designed with a handheld platform in mind, with quick action encouraging short bursts of play. But the Switch isn’t just the next iteration of the Wii U – it’s also more than capable of being a replacement for the 3DS, with its compact size, large, crisp screen, and more ergonomic Joy-Con controllers allowing for a better play experience.
In the past, it made perfect sense for Nintendo to release its best games exclusively on 3DS, because it had the largest potential audience. But with the Switch continuing to pick up steam and offering a higher-quality experience, Nintendo should consider developing a separate Switch version of its upcoming 3DS games, even if they only offer a boost in visual fidelity or a smoother framerate like we’ve seen with games that released on both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. This will show players that the Switch can be the Nintendo system, and that it can eventually replace the 3DS completely. We’ve only barely scratched the surface of what the Switch has to offer, and with so many great games coming from Nintendo in 2017, it only seems logical for them to all be playable on the latest and greatest hardware. Fans have been standing outside stores for hours just for the chance to buy a Switch. Nintendo owes it to them to deliver a plethora of great games from the very beginning.