In the world of video games, nothing is quite as tantalizing as the prospects of new devices to play your games on. With any company, there’s always an air of mystery whenever a new console is in the works.
Is this the one that will change everything? Will it flop and be a horrible joke for five years?
These feelings are exacerbated whenever Nintendo is involved because it never does the expected. Nintendo exists in its own strange little universe where raw horsepower is traded for unique features, both good (the Wii Remote) and bad (most things about the Wii U).
This is all true with Nintendo’s next console, codenamed NX. Here is the story of an elusive game machine, the online detectives trying to solve the case, and the passion that drives them.
Whoa, hold on. What’s the NX?
Since the Wii U has been largely unsuccessful compared to Nintendo’s previous consoles (albeit charming with some great games), it’s time for the company to pull the trigger on a new game console. To add another interesting wrinkle to the situation, the popular 3DS handheld console is getting long in the tooth, having launched in early 2011.
In March 2015, Nintendo told us it was making something new, codenamed NX. No other details were given at the time, other than a vague promise of more details to come in 2016.
After a litany of rumors and patent filings seemed to hint at this very idea, Eurogamer got the scoop this summer that the NX would be a combination home and handheld console. That means every future Mario, Zelda and Pokémon game will live on one device.
It’s almost two months since Eurogamer’s leak and Nintendo still hasn’t said a peep about the NX yet.
Why hasn’t Nintendo said anything? When will they tell us more?
That’s the million-dollar question. Nintendo’s company line since the day it announced the NX has been “you’ll know more in 2016.”
Eurogamer’s report indicated a September reveal event, but there isn’t a whole lot of September left. Analysts have predicted no later than early October, but there isn’t much concrete evidence to back that up.
The truth of the matter is it could happen at, quite literally, any moment. I have a hunch that they’re waiting until “Paper Mario: Color Splash” comes out on October 7 because they don’t want to undermine their last “major” Wii U game by announcing a new console.
Truthfully, we just don’t know.
It’s worth noting that the only other thing Nintendo has told the world about the NX is that it’s launching in March of 2017. As of September 22, it would be the shortest amount of time between the reveal of a console and its release in Nintendo’s history if the console isn’t delayed.
So, what’s all this about internet detectives?
When I say “internet detectives,” I’m specifically referring to /r/NintendoNX, the proverbial water cooler for all who want to know more about the NX to gather around. After lurking the NX subreddit for several weeks, it’s become one of my favorite places on the internet.
It’s here that the intense passion of Nintendo fans really shines through.
People are illustrating (and, in the case of the one above, sculpting) mockups of what they think the console’s controllers and menus will look like. They’re also scouring every patent filing and financial report they can for any evidence of the console’s nature and possible reveal date.
Anything that could possibly be related to the NX is fair game for discussion and speculation. It’s also a place for jokes and fun times. Here are some of my favorite posts, just from the past day or so:
– This user tries to determine what “fall” really means in the context of “you’ll find out more this fall.”
– A user floating the idea that the NX has already been revealed, Nintendo just flubbed the marketing so much that nobody noticed.
– A calendar of upcoming dates in September and October, with each day color-coded by likelihood that the reveal could take place on that day.
– And, of course, plenty of memes.
Why do fans dedicate so much energy to this? Can’t they just wait until the console is revealed?
- Corey Protin / Tech Insider
Well, yes, they could do that, but that’s no fun! It’s a given that anyone who enjoys the “Legend of Zelda” games likes solving puzzles, and that’s all this is, right?
To understand the passion of places like /r/Nintendo NX, one must understand Nintendo’s place in video games. Many video game enthusiasts were essentially raised by Mario, as Nintendo’s output has generally favored family-friendliness and accessibility throughout the years.
People hold Nintendo games near and dear into adulthood because of this, but also because they tend to be excellent. It’s similar to how lots of adults love Disney and Pixar movies despite no longer being firmly in the target audience.
The childlike sense of awe and wonder extends to Nintendo’s hardware, but every once in a blue moon, Nintendo does something amazing and totally changes the game. The original Wii is a good example of this.
All of these factors line up to make the NX incredibly intriguing, even if the final product ends up gathering dust in closets. It’s all about the potential it holds.
Finally, to be totally clear, I am not making fun of /r/NintendoNX at all. I started lurking the site out of genuine interest of my own! I adore the passion these people have shown for something that doesn’t even exist yet. I hope their passion is rewarded.