The tech site conspiracy against Nintendo Switch games is getting me down12/11/2022
A reader believes that the Nintendo Switch is being unfairly criticised by tech sites and its 2022 line-up is going underappreciated.
2022 has been a fantastic year for the Nintendo Switch, and I really wouldn’t have expected that when it first started. Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Kirby And The Forgotten Land, Live A Live, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope, and Pokémon Scarlet/Violet have all reviewed well and sold well. I have a few waiting under the Christmas tree, so I haven’t played them all yet, but what I have seen has been fantastic.
However, I don’t feel this success has been properly appreciated by either the media or the wider gamer world. Splatoon 3 was the biggest game launch in Japan ever. Pokémon Scarlet/Violet was the biggest launch of the year in UK and the second biggest Pokémon game ever. These are groundbreaking releases and yet they’ve either been largely ignored or instead denigrated for their ‘performance’.
Especially with Bayonetta 3 and Pokémon, all I see in the press is talk about bugs and performance issues, neither of which are serious issues in either game. You’d think Scarlet and Violet was Cyberpunk 2077 the way some people talk about it and yet I’ve had almost no problems. It seems like an increasingly disturbing conspiracy against Switch games and any other game on other formats that doesn’t value technology over gameplay, and I find that very worrying.
Playing the games normally there are no serious issues that in any way distract you from the gameplay and yet the conversation around them has been poisoned by tech sites and channels that analyse things like frame rates and resolutions, and other metrics that they seem to have invented purely so they have something to complain about.
The problem is two-fold: not only are the issues these sites are complaining about largely trivial, but they need to find problems in order to have something to talk about – it’s their equivalent of clickbait. Nobody needed to read a tech analysis to know Cyberpunk 2077 or Fallout 76 were a mess at launch and yet that scale of problem is the only time the issue is actually relevant.
Consider this last paragraph from Digital Foundry’s analysis of Baynetta 3: ‘Temper your expectations on the tech side and you’ll have a good time with Bayonetta 3 but if unstable frame rates and inconsistent visual quality bother you, perhaps this isn’t the game for you.’
I’ll go further than that and say if unstable frame rates and inconsistent visual quality bother you, just give up gaming entirely and go watch a movie or something, because you’re in it for the wrong reasons.
The elitest, clinical attitude of tech sites, who try to distance games from any kind of artistic merit, is appalling to me and so narrow-minded and reductive I struggle to understand how they ever got interested in video games in the first place.
The enjoyment of video games is playing them, not attaching them to laboratory equipment, or whatever they do, to measure their frame rate and resolution. If you can’t tell these things are a problem just by seeing or experiencing them then they are, by definition, not a problem.
I certainly didn’t experience any ‘unstable frame rate’ or whatever other nitpicking nonsense was supposed to be going on in Bayonetta 3 (recipient of Best Action Game at The Game Awards, I might add). And while Pokémon Scarlet and Violet does have some bugs they’re not common or serious. It’s also a considerably more high tech game than the previous two Pokémon titles, that didn’t get anything like the same amount of abuse.
The reason for that is obvious: the tech sites and channels didn’t go on about those games so much, and so weren’t egging people on and changing the narrative.
The general advice for any game is to read reviews and then make your own decision. I would add to this by saying don’t read any tech sites until after you’ve played the game, as they’ll only convince you things are worse than they are.
They’ll have you constantly second guessing the performance and seeing problems that either you wouldn’t have noticed before or are completely irrelevant.
By reader Arrestor
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