exodus And I don’t think platforms are inspiring that sort of wonder these days, since they’re not really doing anything different from each other. I wonder if we’re past that sort of wonder-inspiring at this point or if nintendo will give it another go… they’ve had so much success with just “the switch is handheld sometimes” that I’m not sure.
Overall, I think you’re right that most video game hardware these days is post-wonder. You guys talked about this on the show about the last two generations, but Microsoft and Sony have stopped even pretending that they’re doing something radically new. It’s just “that thing you like, but marginally better”. Even the 3DS, which I love, just kinda feels like “the new DS” which just felt like “a bigger, weirder GBA”. Nintendo tried with the Wii U (and I do remember my friends briefly being like “is this the new communal gaming experieince” and trying + failing to integrate it into our lives).
I definitely had the wonder reaction to the switch when I got it in 2018 at age 25. I bought it for myself as a birthday present amidst a really grueling work project, in a city I hated, where I briefly ran all the way out of money, and didn’t know anyone. After I finally got a raise, I bought myself a switch, a megabus seat, and a ticket to see my favorite band in a nearby town.
I’d grown up playing Marios 64 and Sunshine (mario 65?) and wondering why I couldn’t play the “real mario” on my gameboy. As someone whose first memory of anything was playing mario 64, I had sort of the opposite of your reaction to the 3D/2D divide in those days—I was confused people would still make these archaic-looking 2d games. But I could sort of understand it when it was a little handheld thing.
But now with switch, I could play the “real mario” on the bus! A full, 3D, open world-ish mario! And then when things like Dark Souls came to this thing that fit in my little bag! Wow. It wasn’t as big as the Wii moment (and unlike the Wii thing, it was probably better for those of us who were older – we grew up without smartphones in every pocket, because this was a thing we’d always fantasized about that seemed like the future).
Everyone’s talking about the Switch2 now and, while it’s probably a smart business decision for the reasons everyone’s laid out elsewhere here, I’d be a bit disappointed. I’m not that much of a nintendo fanboy these days, but I do like it when they go out there and do something weird and make gaming about fun.