Tech News: The Nintendo Switch Is Starting To Feel Like The Absolute Best Version Of The PlayStation Vita – Forbes

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Tech News: The Nintendo Switch Is Starting To Feel Like The Absolute Best Version Of The PlayStation Vita – Forbes

Stardew Valley Credit: Concerned Ape I realized something last night, about halfway through a playthrough of Katana Zero, a wicked little side-scrolli

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Stardew Valley

Credit: Concerned Ape

I realized something last night, about halfway through a playthrough of Katana Zero, a wicked little side-scrolling game where you play a samurai capable of seeing a grim future depicted in some of the most evocative pixel art I’ve ever seen. The Switch has been my favorite console more or less since it came out: I take it with me to get a drink at the bar or on flights, I play it on my couch when I’m not going upstairs to boot up my console. And yet I now realize that I haven’t played a 3D game on this thing in months.

In recent months, I’ve used my Switch for Hollow KnightKatana Zero, Cuphead, Kingdom: Two Crowns, Dead Cells, Celeste and Ape Out, with occasional forays back to Stardew Valley and Shakedown: Hawaii on deck. There’s a theme here: my Switch has become an indie powerhouse to the point where whenever I see a game in that style that I want to play–Supergiant’s Hades comes to mind–my first thought is that I’ll just go ahead and wait until it comes out on Switch. The big-name Nintendo titles will always be there, and I’ve still definitely put more time into Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe than any of these other games. But failing a new Zelda, when I think of my Switch I’m beginning to think of indies first.

The funny thing is, we’ve been here once before.

We remember the PlayStation Vita, which in many ways now feels like the ill-fated predecessor to the Switch.  When it first launched, Sony positioned it as a way to play AAA-style games on the go, and Sony brought out a big gun to help sell that concept, or at least a little version of a big gun. Uncharted: Golden Abyss was a mini-version of Nathan Drake’s big(ger) screen adventures, with a little self-contained story, some motion-control gimmicks and at least enough swashbuckling to make it feel like a legitimate entry into the franchise. I liked it, but it was the only AAA-style game I really played on the Vita: shortly after it we got a Killzone title that felt a whole lot like the worst version of the Vita’s promise: like a PS3 game stripped down to fit in your pocket.

Then, something happened. I had largely stopped playing the games the Vita had been invented to sell, but the console quickly transitioned into being a beautiful little indie machine. Part of it was that indies tended to be what was available on the machine at the time, and part of it was that the brilliant OLED screen made the crisp lines of 2D graphics pop with the vibrancy that so many indie games rely on. A big part of it was the flash memory that the Switch also shares: instant-on, instant-off is well-suited to smaller experiences. But part of it was just that these games feel right in a handheld, sucking yourself into that little screen while curled on the couch. As the years went on, Sony abandoned the Vita but it retained a cult following among both players and small publishers for just this reason. Shakedown: Hawaii, which I mentioned earlier, actually released on the Vita alongside the Switch.

The Switch is an infinitely more capable device than the Vita, and it had the benefit of Nintendo’s undivided attention. It did not receive the portable version of the Zelda franchise, it received the full-throated next iterations of both Mario and Zelda, immediately setting it up for far more success than the Vita ever saw. But what’s really cemented it into my gaming life is actually very un-Nintendo: an expanse and open eShop stacked with, at this point, the lion’s share of major indie releases on the market. I feel like I’m now finally seeing the potential that the Vita promised so many years ago brought to full fruition with the added tricks of removing the controllers or docking to the TV.

The Switch is about to get its own version of Mutant Blobs Attack, a brilliant little sidescroller from Drinkbox Studios and one of the first indie hits I played on my Vita. Things come full circle, apparently.

“>

Stardew Valley

Credit: Concerned Ape

I realized something last night, about halfway through a playthrough of Katana Zero, a wicked little side-scrolling game where you play a samurai capable of seeing a grim future depicted in some of the most evocative pixel art I’ve ever seen. The Switch has been my favorite console more or less since it came out: I take it with me to get a drink at the bar or on flights, I play it on my couch when I’m not going upstairs to boot up my console. And yet I now realize that I haven’t played a 3D game on this thing in months.

In recent months, I’ve used my Switch for Hollow KnightKatana Zero, Cuphead, Kingdom: Two Crowns, Dead Cells, Celeste and Ape Out, with occasional forays back to Stardew Valley and Shakedown: Hawaii on deck. There’s a theme here: my Switch has become an indie powerhouse to the point where whenever I see a game in that style that I want to play–Supergiant’s Hades comes to mind–my first thought is that I’ll just go ahead and wait until it comes out on Switch. The big-name Nintendo titles will always be there, and I’ve still definitely put more time into Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe than any of these other games. But failing a new Zelda, when I think of my Switch I’m beginning to think of indies first.

The funny thing is, we’ve been here once before.

We remember the PlayStation Vita, which in many ways now feels like the ill-fated predecessor to the Switch.  When it first launched, Sony positioned it as a way to play AAA-style games on the go, and Sony brought out a big gun to help sell that concept, or at least a little version of a big gun. Uncharted: Golden Abyss was a mini-version of Nathan Drake’s big(ger) screen adventures, with a little self-contained story, some motion-control gimmicks and at least enough swashbuckling to make it feel like a legitimate entry into the franchise. I liked it, but it was the only AAA-style game I really played on the Vita: shortly after it we got a Killzone title that felt a whole lot like the worst version of the Vita’s promise: like a PS3 game stripped down to fit in your pocket.

Then, something happened. I had largely stopped playing the games the Vita had been invented to sell, but the console quickly transitioned into being a beautiful little indie machine. Part of it was that indies tended to be what was available on the machine at the time, and part of it was that the brilliant OLED screen made the crisp lines of 2D graphics pop with the vibrancy that so many indie games rely on. A big part of it was the flash memory that the Switch also shares: instant-on, instant-off is well-suited to smaller experiences. But part of it was just that these games feel right in a handheld, sucking yourself into that little screen while curled on the couch. As the years went on, Sony abandoned the Vita but it retained a cult following among both players and small publishers for just this reason. Shakedown: Hawaii, which I mentioned earlier, actually released on the Vita alongside the Switch.

The Switch is an infinitely more capable device than the Vita, and it had the benefit of Nintendo’s undivided attention. It did not receive the portable version of the Zelda franchise, it received the full-throated next iterations of both Mario and Zelda, immediately setting it up for far more success than the Vita ever saw. But what’s really cemented it into my gaming life is actually very un-Nintendo: an expanse and open eShop stacked with, at this point, the lion’s share of major indie releases on the market. I feel like I’m now finally seeing the potential that the Vita promised so many years ago brought to full fruition with the added tricks of removing the controllers or docking to the TV.

The Switch is about to get its own version of Mutant Blobs Attack, a brilliant little sidescroller from Drinkbox Studios and one of the first indie hits I played on my Vita. Things come full circle, apparently.

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