Late last year, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima announced that the company planned to ship 20 million Nintendo Switch units by the end of its next financial year. At the time, this seemed like a bit of a lofty aspiration; after all, this proclamation came right after Nintendo had just released both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch. While Nintendo is known for its plethora of beloved franchises and intellectual properties, there’s no doubt that Mario and Zelda are the company’s most iconic mascots, thus, some of Nintendo’s biggest system sellers.
Of course, in hindsight, Nintendo’s sales goal was more conservative than anything. Just a few months ago, Nintendo announced that the Switch had already sold 19.67 million units well before the end of its fiscal year on March 31st, 2019. What initially seemed like a far-fetched, pie in the sky sales goal to some, turned out to be yet another milestone that the Switch barreled past.
The Nintendo Switch owes its rapid-fire success to its current library of games, but more importantly, the games it has on the horizon. As we get deeper into fall (aka Video Game Season) with big releases like Battlefield V, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Fallout 76 around the corner, it’s important to remember that Nintendo has cooked up a pretty spectacular holiday lineup.
Sure: the most-hyped glitzy, multi-platform AAA games aren’t coming to the Nintendo Switch this holiday season. Hell, the only reason I say most is because you can technically play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch in Japan through the power of cloud streaming. However, that being said, the games available on the Switch this fall are not just something worth writing home about; they’re some of the best reasons to own a Nintendo platform, or any platform for that matter.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to sit down and try out some of the Nintendo Switch’s upcoming holiday lineup. Having owned a Switch since July 2017 (yes, I absolutely bought my Switch for Splatoon 2), I’ve been somewhat jaded about the different types of experiences that are available on the Switch. Since I’ve personally been using my Switch as a Mario Tennis Aces and Super Mario Party machine for the last month, I forgot about some of the massive third-party titles that are available on the Switch.
Often overlooked, the Switch is getting some of the best cross-platform franchises this holiday season. Sports fan can get their fix with traditional titles like NBA 2K19 and FIFA 19, with the options for less-traditional fare like NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 and Mutant Football League (which will be available at the end of this month). Additionally, fans of the toys-to-life genre (or really, fans of genuinely solid space shooters) are able to pickup Starlink: Battle for Atlas, while fans of the Civilization franchise can buy Civilization VI on November 16.
Of course, who could forget Nintendo’s first-party holiday lineup? There’s no doubting that Nintendo’s first-party (and second-party!) titles are the cream of the crop of the Switch’s software library. Nintendo has essentially created a silent murderer’s row for this holiday season; a collection of games that not only hold a candle to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s respective line-ups, but I feel matches them entirely.
Leading off Nintendo’s hits this season are Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!. Launching alongside their own dedicated Nintendo Switch bundle on November 16, the Pokemon Let’s Go titles have the opportunity to introduce an entirely new generation to the Pokemon franchise. Additionally, fans of the series that have been waiting for a reason to buy a Switch now have no excuses. While I personally had trepidations about the Let’s Go games, spending some time with the titles earlier this month ultimately changed my mind. Walking around a high-definition version of the Viridian Forest and watching Pokemon graze in the series’ iconic tall grass made the spin-off titles interesting for nostalgic purposes alone. Sure: I may be more excited about the mainline Pokemon titles that are coming in 2019, but the Let’s Go titles are certainly nothing to scoff at.
In this holiday season, Pokemon: Let’s Go is just the appetizer, a palette cleanser for Nintendo’s main entree: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Coming around only once every console generation, the release of a new Super Smash Bros. title is nothing short of a national holiday. I’ll never forget falling mysteriously “ill” the day after Super Smash Bros. Brawl released for the Nintendo Wii, nor will I forget the dirty look my eighth-grade teacher gave me when I returned to class after a classmate suggested that I wasn’t actually sick.
Smash titles were always my stay-home-from-school games and now that I’m older, they’re my “let me check how many personal days I have left” game. While it’s easy to get caught into a game like Smash‘s hype, this time around the hype seems more warranted than ever. Featuring a large ensemble of characters and a plethora of new game modes, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate seems like it’s going to live up to its name; by all accounts, it seems to be the end-all Smash experience. Now, if you will, let’s have a moment of silence for all of the fictional illnesses (and faux family emergencies) that will require absences when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is released on December 7.
Pokemon and Smash, both system-sellers in their own right, are joining an impressively established first-party lineup on Switch. Whether you’re a Smash aficionado or a superfan, the prospect of playing Smash on-the-go followed by Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Tennis Aces, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Donkey Kong Country: Tropic Freeze, Super Mario Party, and more should be too enticing to pass up.
Santa Claus, if you’re reading this, shoot me an email. I have a lot on my wishlist this year.