Saturday, July 8, 2017

Holy crap Switches are expensive.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar by Airship Syndicate.

Every time a new, cool indie is announced for Switch, it seems more likely that I'm gonna' end up with one.  I've probably seen an announcement and said "goddamnit, I guess I have to buy a Switch" a half-dozen times in the past two months.  

It's not secret that I love my Vita.  Love, love, love my Vita.  I love that I have the Sly Cooper trilogy on there and God of War and Metal Gear Solid and Ratchet & Clank.  There are some excellent JRPGs - Persona 4 Golden, Trails of Cold Steel, Disgaea - and I love a good Japanese action game like Gravity Rush or Senran Kagura or Vanillaware's entire bloody library.   There's more, obviously - a lot more - but what kept the platform alive for me, for the last few years - beyond quirky Japanese fare - are the indies.

Limbo, Bastion, Severed, Axiom Verge, Steamworld Dig, Steamworld Heist, Dead Nation, Resogun, Broken Age, Grim Fandango, Severed, Velocity Ultra, ,Velocity 2X, Olli Olli 2, Spelunky, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Shovel Knight, Rogue Legacy, Nuclear Throne, Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2... like, the list just keeps going - and I've done deep-dives into all of the above, with standouts like Darkest Dungeon, Salt and Sanctuary, Don't Starve, Guacamelee, Olli Olli and The Swindle stealing between dozens and hundreds of hours of my life. 

The Switch doesn't have a list like that.  How could it?  The thing's only been out for like three months. ...but those announcements are coming.  

You may've noticed that not many major third party announcements have come, beyond the Switch's pre-launch hype train.  Bethesda's not putting anything beyond Skyrim on it, I don't remember hearing about anything cool from EA or Ubisoft going on Switch (could be wrong) - and based on every Nintendo platform like ever, I doubt we'll be seeing much outside of Japan.  

...but indies keep getting announced.  Indies that aren't coming to my beloved Vita, indies that I would really like to check out.  Indies like...

Steamworld Dig 2, Battle Princess Madelyn, Enter the Gungeon, Cat Quest, Owlboy, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Indivisible, Celeste (the next thing from Towerfall's dev), Hollow Knight, Ittle Dew 2, Neurovoider, Phantom Trigger (a Hyper Light Drifter-like) and Thumper. 

Enter the Gungeon.  On a handheld.  Battle Chasers, Thumper, Indivisible on a handheld

It remains among my greatest shames that I didn't Kickstart Darkest Dungeon, but I did back Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Indivisible, and neither of them are comin' to Vita.  Hollow Knight, maaaan....

Having, y'know, not played any of those games, I can't assure myself that they'll capture my attention in the same way the best of the Vita has.  When I bought my Vita, I felt pretty assured that Sony's first-party studios would keep the platform interesting - and they did, for about two years, before Sony completely abandoned the platform - but even the knowledge that Nintendo will be putting their entire first-party strength behind the Switch doesn't... move me, much. 

It's been literal decades since Nintendo's first-party games really worked on me.  Super Mario 64 to Skyward Sword - every Nintendo game I've tried post-SNES has been a disappointment, to me.  I wouldn't be buying a Switch with the assurance that Zelda or the next Mario thing will actually prove valuable to me - it would pretty much only be about Skyrim on a handheld, plus a lineup of awesome-looking indies.  

But those sexy new indies are calling.  Hollow Knight and Battle Chasers and... the idea of playing them on a handheld is very, very appealing.  The idea's been bouncing around in my head for a month or more, now, to the point that I've had dreams about trying to find one.  

So last week I fired "Nintendo Switch" into, ignored one listing for the console with a super jacked-up price from a third-party seller, and scrolled down through countless accessory listings.  Couldn't seem to find it. 

Maybe it's still super-rare, all these months after launch?  

I checked, to see if you Americans have more luck with the thing.  No listing that I could find - just a bunch of price-jacked third-party sellers.  What the fuck, Nintendo?  This thing launched in March and you can't find one when you go looking for it?  

Yesterday, a NeoGaf thread appeared announcing that ohmigosh, actually had Nintendo Switches listed!  Go go go!

So I hit the link - just to check the price. listing.

Four hundred and twenty-four bucks, American, for a new Nintendo Switch.  On, it's a different story. listing. 

...the fuck.  

Five or six hundred dollars for one of these things.  Are they that hard to get in Canada?  

For some reason, in my head, the Switch was $250 - three hundred dollars tops!  I'm not paying six hundred plus tax or five hundred plus tax.  There's no fucking way.  

Are they that hard to get in Canada? 

I called my local EB to inquire.  Mostly out of curiosity about what, exactly, the deal is.  Cool Indie Girl answered, and she told me they're usually sold out on weekends, but it's good to try back during the week.  "What do they go for, five hundred?" I asked.  

"Four hundred," she said.  

Hm.  Odd for Amazon to have an inflated price.  Odd for Cool Indie Girl to get her facts wrong, though - she's probably right.  I could probably give them a call on Monday, get them to hold one for me and pick it up after work.  

Not that I would.  Why is a Switch $250-$300 in my head?  That seems odd - first of all, that I would be mistaken about the price of a gaming platform - and second that the number seemed so clear, so plain, so obvious to me.  How could it be more than $300?  

Y'know why it's $250-$300 in my head?  Because that's all a Switch is worth.  To me.  

...which might be a crappy thing to say, but its crappiness doesn't make it less true.  A handheld pretty much explicitly purchased for indie games that might be good, on the assumption that more indie games that might be good might be announced, and that cool-looking third-party support might appear beyond Skyrim, and that Nintendo might figure out that there's likely a strong market for Super Nintendo game ports on the thing... 

That's a lot of maybes for four hundred dollars. Plus tax.  Assuming Cool Indie Girl isn't mistaken.  

So maybe the price'll come down.  Maybe more and more and more awesome indies will be announced for the thing, to a volume that I couldn't possibly ignore and couldn't possibly resist.  

Maybe I'm about to keep scratching out my newest save in Darkest Dungeon on my Vita. 


  1. Hey - love reading your blog and your love of Indie games! FYI - Switch is supposed to retail for $300 USD. Demand is just so high right now it's impossible to keep in stock. Typical Nintendo - but this time, they did at least produce a good amount of them (2 mil+), they're just selling out immediately. That - and they are supposedly competing for parts used in the system with Apple, which is slowing production down a bit.

    1. Thank you! And thank you for the info - that explains why now it's $299 on with Prime Day or whatever, and solidifies Cool Indie Girl's information as accurate ^.^