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The Nintendo Switch Chicago Preview Event

Friend of the site, Greg Meyer, had a chance to go hands on with the Switch at one of the exclusive events. In anticipation of tomorrow's release, he's put together a bunch of impressions to get you excited for what's coming next for Nintendo.

On Friday, February 17th, I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and check out Nintendo’s upcoming new system—The Switch, as well as fifteen different titles releasing within the Switch’s first year. As a longtime fan of video games, I’d read about events like E3 and press preview events and dream about going to one of these one day. Since I’m not involved in games journalism and live in the Midwest, I never imagined I’d have a chance to attend a preview event. The only time I went to something of this level was Nintendo’s E3 Best Buy event in 2013, where I spent three hours in line so I could play one Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze level. When Nintendo emailed me an invitation to preview the Switch, I immediately snagged two tickets. When I left for the event with my friend Marcus, I expected something similar to that Best Buy preview.

When we arrived at the Revlon Fulton Market and entered the event hall, we were blown away at the spectacle before us. Nintendo went all out in decorating the hall, with huge areas devoted to their upcoming first party titles. In the center of the floor there were TVs and couches set up with staff stationed at each TV to explain the game demos for the fans. On the main stage, Nintendo built an array of situational sets, like a cluster of airplane seats with trays and a diner with tables, as well as a huge screen set up for promos and competitions between players at different times during the event. Nintendo also had displays with dozens of Switch consoles set up in the various ways you can play it. In addition, almost every demo station had multiple console and controller configurations for players to experience the demos. Players had the chance to play using the joy-cons, two joy-cons with grip, the Switch Pro Controller, and using the Switch in handheld mode.

Nintendo sent out only a limited number of invites to fans from around the Chicago area, and when signing up, I had to pick a timeslot for when I wanted to attend. This reservation strategy ensured the event never felt crowded and guaranteed the fans in attendance had the chance to preview as many games as they could during their time allotment. We never had to wait more than five minutes to try a demo, with the exception of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. With Zelda, players received a ticket with a timeslot on it. Once my time came up, I waited in line for a minute as the last group filed out before I had my turn.

Nintendo showcased a variety of first and third party software that are coming out within this year. Even with my three and a half hours at the event, I wasn’t able to play every single game available. The titles available were: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 1 2 Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, Splatoon 2, Snipperclips, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, Sonic Mania, Has-Been Heroes, Super Bomberman R, FAST RMX, Disgaea 5, PuyoPuyo Tetris, Skylanders Imaginators, and Just Dance 2017. Nintendo also had a booth for Mario Odyssey, but it only played the trailer from Nintendo’s Switch reveal back in January.

Here are my impressions for the games I had the chance to play. As much as I wanted to try 1-2 Switch, PuyoPuyo Tetris, Has-Been Heroes, and FAST RMX, there just wasn’t enough time.

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Comments

Matt Snee Staff Writer

03/02/2017 at 02:10 PM

great article.  I'm pretty excited about the switch, but am waiting a bit until there're more games.  Excited for those who are getting it though!

TofuFury

03/02/2017 at 05:44 PM

Thanks! I think waiting to pick up the Switch is valid if you're wanting a fuller library, or a fleshed out eShop. I'm happy with what's coming out now to pick it up tonight, but I see why others would want to wait.

mothman

03/02/2017 at 06:45 PM

Oops, accidentally IP banned you. You didn't have  an avatar so I banned you instead of the spammer I meant to ban.

TofuFury

03/02/2017 at 10:25 PM

No worries! Gotta take down those bots when they pop up. I've changed my avatar to help distinguish myself.

Super Step

03/02/2017 at 04:31 PM

What would you tell someone who might just get a Wii U instead for Zelda?

How much are games like Arms and Snipperclips? 

Do you think the Switch will have enough battery life on the go, and do you see yourself playing it mostly that way or primarily at home?

How awkward does it get having to stare into the other player's sould instead of the screen during things like cow milking minigames?

TofuFury

03/02/2017 at 05:57 PM

Hey, I'll try to address all your questions in one post. 

1) Zelda on Wii U- We only saw the Switch version at the Nintendo event. My friend that came with me isn't getting a Switch right away, but owns a Wii U. He loved the Zelda demo, and definitely plans on buying the Wii U version. If I couldn't get a Switch, I wouldn't hesitate picking up the Wii U version. If you even only like Zelda, I'd still recommend picking it up. 

2) Snipperclips is $20 US on the eShop at launch. Arms doesn't have a price yet. Though I seemed a bit down on it in my impressions, I still enjoyed my time with Arms, and I'll be following it as we learn more about it.

3) I didn't get a chance to play Switch in handheld mode, but when I pick it up tonight I'll have an answer for you. I play a ton of off tv play with Wii U and my 3DS while watching TV, so I definitely see myself using this feature a ton. I won't take it on the go until I get a case for it, but I'd take it with me. I still go around with my 3DS for streetpassing.

4) When my friend and I went to the event, Marcus told me he didn't want to play that minigame at all costs. I obliged, though I don't think it would bother me. I like games like WarioWare, where you do silly games, so I'm immune to that. I'm not sure I would've wanted to milk a cow in front a crowd of strangers though.

5) Don't be so quick to dismiss Sonic Mania because it's a throwback. It plays great, and it was one of my favorite demos from the event. It might not impress you with the visuals, but it's still a neat game.

6) Don't feel bad for wanting another version of SFII. It looks like Capcom has put a lot of love in this game, and it shows.

Super Step

03/02/2017 at 07:33 PM

Thanks for the replies! To be honest, i love 16 bit graphics, I'm just not sure old Sonics are for me gameplay wise. I'd give it a chance though.

TofuFury

03/02/2017 at 10:24 PM

I totally get that. I played a ton of 16 bit Sonic back in the day and loved it. Playing Sonic Mania brought me back to those days. Keep an eye on it when it comes out, and it just might surprise you.

Super Step

03/02/2017 at 04:33 PM

I didn't realize Sonic Mania was a 16-bit throwback ... I'm actually less excited now, to be honest. I thought it was going to be like Generations. 

It's a little stupid that I still kinda want to play the 500th edition of SFII, but here we are. 

KnightDriver

03/02/2017 at 05:05 PM

I'm putting the Switch version of Zelda on my rental list. When it gets sent to me, probably months from now, I'm getting a Switch. The portability of the system actually is starting to appeal to me now. I think I have a use for it.

Catherine Hauser Staff Writer

03/03/2017 at 12:35 PM

Sold me on Snipperclips! I think I will grab that from the shop later today. Fantastic article. I tried to get tickets to this event but no such luck!

TofuFury

03/04/2017 at 12:31 AM

Thank you! My wife and I played Snipperclips today, and we've been enjoying it so far. It's a charming little game, and I can see why Nintendo decided to publish this themselves.

As for getting tickets to the event, as soon as Nintendo sent me an invite I jumped on it. I missed out on the Wii U event they invited me to in 2012, but I wasn't going to miss this.

TofuFury

03/04/2017 at 12:36 AM

A quick update on Bomberman's controls: I tried it out today using my joy-con, and I'm not experiencing the odd jerky behavior from the demo. There's two possible reasons. Konami might've tightened the controls since the demo, and I hope this is the case. The other possibility is that my problems came from the d-pad of the switch pro controller I used at the event. I don't have the pro controller, so I can't say for sure at this time.

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