Nintendo Announces New Switch OLED Model

I can’t say I was expecting Nintendo to announce their new Nintendo Switch OLED model so under the radar. After learning it is just a new model of the Switch with some enhancements and not a next gen upgrade, it made a bit more sense to me. Also explains some the negative responses I was seeing on social media.

So what exactly is different about this new Switch model? First and foremost, this is not a next gen hardware upgrade, so no need for existing Switch owners to be concerned about upgrading just yet to play new games. Instead, and the way I see it, this model is geared more towards new Switch owners or existing Switch owners who will primarily play games handheld and want the best possible experience. To do this, Nintendo designed this model with a 7.0″ OLED display, a wide adjustable stand, 64 GB of internal memory, and enhanced speakers. The dock for this model also sports a built in LAN port. Other then those, it’s the same internal hardware.

So, why the negativity on social media? Well, earlier this year, there were leaks regarding a “Switch” with an OLED display. Some fans took this information and started setting expectations this meant that Nintendo is working on a next gen Switch. The expectations got worse when rumors emerged that Nintendo was going to announce it either before E3 or during. Imagine their surprise when nothing was announced and then this announcement comes out of nowhere.

I’d wager that Nintendo is already planning there next gen system, they just aren’t planning on releasing anything new yet. The Switch is still selling very well and they have a bunch of new titles announced for the Switch. Just doesn’t make sense to try and switch everyone to a next gen system yet. Maybe next year.

Do I plan on getting this new OLED model? Nope. Sure, it features some great upgraded; but I primarily play on my Switch in console mode. If I primarily played my Switch on the go, I’d consider upgrading. The few times I had to play handheld, I did wish the display was better. I just don’t play it handheld enough, so the upgrades don’t really benefit me. Unless you have $349.99 to burn and really want a better handheld experience then your current Switch, then it is something to consider. If you are still considering buying your first Switch and plan on playing it handheld for the most part, this is something to consider for $50 more then the original model and $100 more then the Lite model. Just depends on your budget.

E3 2021 Impression

E3 2021 has completed (a little over a week ago granted, oh well). This year, due the pandemic, E3 went pure digital and free for all. So how did that all translate out in the end? Meh. It was okay overall. Don’t get me wrong though, there were definitely some showcases that brought their ‘A’ game (“cough” Xbox/Bethesda and Nintendo “cough”), but it was okay overall.

So, what exactly stood out to me? Take a look at my Post E3 2021 Guide to see what stood out to me the most each day. No big surprise that most of what I listed were either part of the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase or Nintendo Direct. Out of all the publishers/showcases, they had the best showcases in my opinion.

The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase had the most announcements with some 30+ games. A nice mixture of first party, third party, and indie titles. However, I think their strongest statement wasn’t the games themselves, it was the fact that almost every titled they showed was tagged with “Day One Xbox Game Pass“. If you have an Xbox or PC, and have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, you are set for the rest of the year with all these titles. I have to hand it to Microsoft, they know what they are doing with this service. Easily the best subscription service I’ve ever signed up for. Also, they had the best trailer of all E3 with the announcement of The Outer Worlds 2.

Nintendo Direct, honestly don’t think there is much else to say. Full confession, I’m a huge Nintendo fan, so I’m thinking they would have been hard pressed not to disappoint me. However, not only did they not disappoint, they threw in some unexpected surprises with Metroid Dread, WarioWare: Get It Together, and Advanced Wars 1+2 Re-boot Camp. The even showed off some new gameplay of the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel that revealed Link is going back to the sky in this one. Skyward Sword helped introduce new mechanics into Breath of the Wild, and looks like it will now contribute to the story, potentially. I was hoping for a new Switch announcement, but I can wait. They showed me more than enough for one Direct.

As for the other publishers, I did enjoy the Ubisoft, Gearbox, Indie, Freedom Games showcases. While not a diehard Ubisoft fan, I’m really happy their are making Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. I’m also intrigued by Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Gearbox I wanted to see more gameplay from Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, but I have to hand it to them on overall production. Both the Indie and Freedom Games showcases I liked just from the perspective of seeing what new Indie games are coming out.

As for those that had the weaker showcases, that would be Capcom, Square Enix, and Bandia Namco. Don’t get me wrong with Capcom though. What they had I’m excited for, but it wasn’t anything new they haven’t already showcases previously. Just wanted to see more or an unexpected surprise. Square Enix had some interesting titles they showcased that have my attention, but not enough to really sell me. Then there was the Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin trailer. I have no idea what they were thinking outside, Chaos! Must kill Chaos! Don’t know why they have to kill Chaos. They just need to kill Chaos! Chaos! Also, over the top brutal combat that has no place in a Final Fantasy title. Onto Bandia Namco, or should I say the Dark Pictures: House of Ashes showcase. For those that like the Dark Pictures series, you are covered, which I’m not, and that was it. Nothing else. Not even a new trailer for Tales of Arise.

All in all, it was okay. Would I watch free E3 coverage again. I would. Would I pay to watch it? Probably not. Either way, I’m excited for what all is coming down the pipeline for my Game Pass for PC subscription and the new iconic titles announced for the Nintendo Switch. This is going to be a good year for gaming.

The Outpost’s Post E3 2021 Guide

E3 2021 came and went last week. Meant to post something sooner, but here is my quick post guide to E3 2021. Each day’s header is a link to E3’s official coverage for that day. While I was planning on trying to list everything, being only one person with a fulltime job and doing this on the side, I decided to just highlight what stood out to me the most. All links to YouTube videos either on E3’s own channel or the specific publisher’s own channel.

Day 1, 6/12 – Ubisoft Forward / Gearbox

Day 2, 6/13 – Xbox & Bethesda / Square Enix / PC Gaming

Day 3, 6/14 – Indie Showcase / Freedom Games / Capcom

Day 4 – Nintendo Direct and Nintendo Treehouse

Dragon Quest and Sonic Anniversaries

This year really does seem to be the year of iconic anniversaries. Case in point, Dragon Quest is celebrating it’s 35 anniversary and Sonic is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary. To help celebrate these milestones, both series held their own anniversary announcements yesterday and today.

First up, Dragon Quest, which hosted their 35th Anniversary video yesterday. In case you missed it, here it is.

While I can’t say all of it excited me, they did catch me with two major announcements, Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake and Dragon Quest XII: Flames of Fate.

I’ll be honest, my jaw dropped while watching the Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake gameplay. Dragon Quest III remade using the Octopath engine, where can I pre-order? No platforms or release date, but I expect it won’t be long based on what they showed, at least that is what I’m hoping. In case you want to just see this announcement, here it is.

As for Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate, that is pretty much all that was released. Just the title. Granted, after showing the announcement, they did tease that this was going to be a darker game geared more towards an adult audience. It was also teased that they are going to be making some changes to the command based combat. What exactly, they are still trialing out some ideas, so more to come.

Next up, Sonic, which was hosted today as Sonic Central for Sonic’s 30th anniversary. In case you missed this one as well, here it is.

I’d say I am a Sonic fan, not hardcore, but I’ve always enjoyed playing a Sonic game since the the very first game. Those water levels always gave me major anxiety. Have to say that I am excited for the free online Sonic concert that Sega will be hosting on June 23rd. No big surprise, they announced Sonic Origins, which is a collection of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. No release date, but a nice collection of classics.

The bigger announcements however, were Sonic Colors Ultimate slated for a September 7th release and a new untitled Sonic game slated for sometime 2022. I’ll be honest, I missed out on Sonic Colors, but don’t think I will with this one. Haven’t played a Sonic game in a while and this one looks nice.

As for the untitled Sonic game, will just have to wait for more details and continue to wonder what this means.

All in all, I’m happy with the announcements. I’ll definitely be snagging the Dragon Quest III HD-2D remake and strongly considering Sonic Colors Ultimate. If either release on Xbox Game Pass, that’s a no brainer. Then I just have to attempt to be patient for more details on Dragon Quest XII: Flames of Fate and the untitled Sonic game. Strong anniversary announcements.

Gameboy Advanced Memory Lane

March 21st marked the 20th anniversary of the Gameboy Advanced. It was nice to see everyone else reminisce about what games they remembered the most that day. All the fond memories of all those amazing games that helped redefine handheld gaming and what would be the legacy of the GBA. The jump between the original Gameboy and the Gameboy Advanced was amazing. The fact that it could handle SNES games on a system that small, and that was just scratching the surface practically on what it could handle. It really was an amazing handheld system during it’s time.

From Golden Sun, Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Advanced Wars, Fire Emblem, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Mega Man Battle Network, there was always something great to play. Heck, I find myself brushing off my GBA SP and hoping into some of these classics from time to time. However, being reminding of all these great games got me thinking about what happened to some of these beloved games? Sure some games continued on like the Fire Emblem series which got a decent boost of fame in the US to help get the series going here; but what about games like Golden Sun, Advanced Wars, and Mega Man Battle Network? Heck, even some newer 2D Castlevania platformers along the lines of Aria of Sorrow. I know I’m not the only one who would love to see these series brought back on newer platforms.

Golden Sun was an amazing RPG and was one of the greatest looking games on the GBA in my opinion. I felt the gameplay style, while not exactly revolutionary, helped set itself apart from other RPG’s at the time and each one had stories that kept me engaged. The way they incorporated the summons that not only provided powerful attacks in combat, you could use their unique elemental abilities outside combat to get to hidden areas and open paths to new areas. I just really loved the story, characters, art style, and gameplay. True, it did have two sequels with The Lost Age releasing on GBA and Dark Dawn releasing on the DS, with the later releasing late 2010. It’s been almost a full 11 years since we have seen anything new from this series..

Advanced Wars was one of the first games that really got me into turn-based tactical RPG’s. I remember when the game was being promoted in Nintendo Power. I was a huge fan of Command & Conquer around that same time, so with this being military strategy, it was right up my alley. Just wasn’t sure about the turned-based part. Figured what the heck and gave it a chance as I liked the look. I was not let down. I loved Advanced Wars and quickly found out I also love turned-based tactical RPG’s. That game was perfect to me with a story that kept me engaged and strategy I was able to get behind to get through each map with least amount of units lost. It was a puzzle each time. Advanced Wars did get three sequels, one on GBA and two on DS. That last one being Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin in early 2008, so 13 years without a new entry.

Mega Man Battle Network was an interesting shift form the classic Mega Man platforming and is a real-time tactical RPG. To be honest, it was a little bit of a welcoming shift for me as I sucked at classic Mega Man platforming. In Battle Network, the game is split between a kid named Lan Hikari and Mega Man, who is a NetNavis (Network Navigators) named MegaMan.EXE, who only exists in the Net. Majority of the story content is played out by Lan, who then uses his MegaMan.EXE NetNavis to enter the Net where the real-time tactical RPG element comes into play. What is unique is that the combat takes place on a grid where you play a sort of chess match against the enemies. Depending on what grid space you put Mega Man on and what grid spaces the enemies are on will dictate which of your attacks can hit an enemy and if you can get hit by an enemy. Still being true to Mega Man, you can equip Mega Man with what are called battle chips to give him a unique set of attacks for an advantage in certain maps. It was an new and interesting take on Mega Man that I really enjoyed. So much so, I felt it needed a longer explanation. Unlike the previous two games I mentioned, this series got several sequels on the GBA with the last one being Mega Man Battle Network 6 in mid-2006 in the US, so almost 15 years without a new entry.

I know there are plenty of other games and game series out there that fall into this same boat for others, and not just GBA games. It just happened to be one of those days that got me thinking about all the fun I had with all the games I played on the GBA. Will we see new games or remakes of any of these series, I hope so, but I also know there is more than enough for me to play already. Have me go back down memory lane with some of the other consoles/handhelds and I can guarantee you there are other series I haven’t thought about in a while that I’d love to be brought back and made new. It’s fun to think about what studios might do with some of these IP’s on newer hardware, but I had my fun with them already. It’s always fun to hop back down memory lane though.