Last night, Reggie Fils-Aimé and Shigeru Miyamoto visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. While many though this would only be about Super Mario Run, which will be Nintendo’s first mobile game (Miitomo doesn’t count), it ended up being more than that. It was also the TV debut of the Nintendo Switch. While Super Mario Run showed very well, the Switch didn’t really shine the way you’d expect it to. Nintendo had an opportunity to really show us what this new system could do and how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would look on it. Instead, it spent over five minutes telling us what it was like and what we should think.
To start, the Nintendo Switch segment of the presentation only began at the five minute mark of the under ten minute video. While that seems like it would be almost half of the segment dedicated to the Switch, time wasn’t used effectively. One minute was wasted, with Fallon only expressing enthusiasm for how cool the Switch is and how much he wanted one. We don’t actually start seeing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild running on the system until the six minute mark.
But hey, four minutes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Switch is enough time to really show how great the game looks and the console is, right? Well, it would be if we actually got four minutes. Instead, we only see the game on the screen from the six minute to seven minute, twenty-five second mark. Fils-Aimé pushes a boulder off a ramp, into a horde of bokoblins. We see an explosion, but don’t journey down into their now cleared camp. Instead, Fils-Aimé goes the other way, to an open expanse and begins the next part of the spiel.
At that point, Fils-Aimé takes the Switch out of the dock and gives it to Fallon, to show how it goes from console to handheld. We see a bit of it in Fallon’s hands and propped up on a table, but don’t really get a good, clear look at how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks on the go on a Switch. We see some off-screen footage from the seven minute, fifty second mark, but Fallon barely plays the game. He moves the analog sticks a bit, which adjusts Link’s position and the camera view, and slashes at a couple bokoblins, but it isn’t like we’re really seeing the Switch’s handheld form in action.
The entire Switch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon appearance was a clear case of telling without showing. Fils-Aimé told us what the Switch could do and what The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was like. Fallon told us how much he wanted the game and the system, as well as how cool he thought it was. But, those are only words. The TV debut of the system needed to show us firsthand how good it was. We needed to see actions.
This doesn’t mean the Switch is doomed or won’t be a good system. I’m super excited about this console/handheld hybrid. It just feels like Nintendo had an opportunity to make a real splash with the Switch’s first TV appearance. Instead of really giving us a great look at the system, there was a lot of talking at us. Let’s hope that, in the future, we get to see more of it in action, rather than hear more things we already know.