Nintendo Proves Once More That Graphics Are Not Essential

The success of Nintendo’s first-party offerings proves that it doesn’t need to compete with PS5 or Xbox to create memorable games. Despite potential limitations on Switch hardware, Nintendo’s commitment to creativity and imagination continues to wow fans. You can turn your nose up at many of the things it does, but when it pulls out all the stops and really delves into what makes it shine, the result is pure magic.

This week’s Direct was exactly that, and I still remain spellbound. It was an unending list of games that lit up the tailend of an already jam-packed year, while also acting as a loving reminder of what video games can achieve when they set aside sky-high budgets, photorealistic graphics, and instead pursue relentless creativity. Most of these games are running on dated hardware that has been lagging behind since 2017, but that ultimately doesn’t matter.

We hardly complain about performance and visuals on Nintendo Switch right now, so why bother improving upon the foundations? But Nintendo isn’t going to waltz up with a Nintendo Switch 2 destined to rival the power of PS5 or Xbox Series X, and I’m not sure if it will ever present a competitor like this, because it doesn’t need to. The GameCube, Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch might not match up with technological industry standards as third-party releases fall behind what we’d expect, but if the first-party offerings continue to be as frequently incredible as they are, none of that will matter.

My prediction is that the Nintendo Switch 2 will be more powerful and likely bolster the performance and visuals of games we already know and love, but it won’t be anything more. It will get the job done, and give the best developers in the world a little more fuel to the fire when it comes to Mario, Zelda, Fire Emblem, Metroid, and all its other classics. Maybe one day Pokémon will shine again.

We look past these struggles for good reason, but on PS5 and Xbox, gamers are far less forgiving because the bar has been set so high. But the core experience of a Nintendo game is so brilliant that most of us don’t care, and that’s where the Nintendo magic comes in and never leaves. This week’s Direct was crystal clear proof of that.

Games were constantly announced then showered in mountains of praise and anticipation, and whenever visuals were mentioned, it was to praise the graphical execution or how they brought previously beloved concepts to life. When Nintendo is building experiences meant for its hardware, it is able to push them so much further in ways that continually blow me away. Stray looks like absolute trash on the Switch, but that’s not what I’m coming to the console for, and it’s these types of games that will benefit most from the inevitable upgrade.

Resolutions and framerates don’t matter if a beating heart sits underneath spreading the Nintendo magic we know is going to hit every single time.

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