You don’t know someone until you see them speed-eat an invisible sandwich. After a two player hands-on session of 1-2-Switch I had learnt plenty about my editor. We tried to chop each other’s heads off with katana swords, duelled pistols, and felt each other’s marbles...
1-2-Switch is Nintendo’s mad mash-up of minigames, designed as local multiplayer activities which double as a colourful array of tech demos for what the Switch’s hardware can deliver. They all simply require a Joy-Con to play, but what’s unique about 1-2-Switch is that many of the games don’t even require the player to look at the screen. Instead, you’re meant to play face-to-face with your opponent .
While the exact number of minigames included with 1-2-Switch are yet to be confirmed, we had the chance to try out five of them at a hands-on event over in Melbourne. The results were awkward, amusing, and in one case, something that should never be witnessed by a living human.
First up, we tried Ball Count, which requires two players to hold a Joy-Con each in the flat of their palms as if it were a small wooden box filled with little ball bearings. By tilting or shaking the Joy-Cons, players can feel these little marbles rolling around and – thanks to the tactile “HD rumble” feedback – guess how many balls are moving around inside. Each player dials in their guesses before the answer is revealed and correct guesses are rewarded. It’s simple and wouldn’t attract too many repeat visits, but it was an impressive demonstration of the subtlety of the rumble feedback that the Joy-Cons have to offer.
Next was Quick Draw, and after putting on cowboy hats each (Nintendo went all out with their costume department), my editor and I were engaged in a Western-style quick draw duel. Each player holds a Joy-Con down by their hips, as if it were a gun in a holster. After a count-down of random seconds, the first player to raise their “gun” and pull the trigger wins. The novel aspect here is the fact that players don’t look at a screen, and instead they can stare down each other up and throw insults to put them off.
Samurai Training was a similar affair, except this time we got headbands instead of hats. In this instance, one player pretends to hold a katana sword above their head and when ready, they have to slash downwards towards their opponent, while their rival has to try and catch the sword by clapping at the right time. With both players holding onto Joy-Cons, I can’t wait to read about the first reports of Joy-Con sized holes in windows... or people. The good news is, the Joy-Cons include wrist-straps and are extremely lightweight, so chances are they’ll bounce harmlessly off glass and human flesh.
Then we went into extremely awkward territory with 1-2-Switch. There was a cow milking game, which sadly we didn’t get a chance to play, but I was able to witness the carnage first-hand. It requires players to squeeze off an imaginary cow while moving their Joy-Cons up and down suggestively. I can imagine it being particularly uncomfortable when exercising the same intense eye-contact and insults as the Quick Draw game.
Finally, there was a ridiculous eating contest minigame, where a player has to hold up a Joy-Con controller around 5cm from their mouths (there is a hidden infrared sensor on one end of a controller) and pretend to eat it. The quicker they move their jaws, the quicker they eat imaginary sandwiches and the player who eats the most, wins. The resulting display isn’t pretty and I think I can safely say I’ll never play that particular minigame ever again. I did ask Nintendo whether players could level-up to pies or hot-dogs, but sadly it’s just sandwiches.
Truth be told, after a handful of rounds with each minigame, I had had my fill of 1-2-Switch. However it does appear that the game will ship with a lot more minigames at launch, and if the others are just as wacky and creative as the ones I played - it could definitely offer a lot more.
As I mentioned in my hands-on with the Switch, the console desperately needs some software to come bundled with it so that consumers have something to enjoy right out of the box. 1-2-Switch would be a perfect fit. From what I’ve seen, it’s not strong enough to sell on it’s own, but it is a crazy and fun introduction to the Switch, along the lines of Wii Sports or Nintendo Land for the previous Wii consoles. Hopefully retailers, or Nintendo themselves will consider this when March 3rd rolls around.
Angus travelled to a Switch press event in Melbourne, courtesy of Nintendo.