I Pre-ordered a Nintendo Switch. Here’s why….

Nintendo couldn’t have asked for better momentum leading up to the Jan 12th reveal. The 3 minute reveal trailer (filmed here, in Vancouver) had very positive reception. The NES Classic seemed to sell out before release and is still waiting for re-stock. Super Mario Run was their first real entry into the mobile gaming market, heavily promoted by Apple and wildly successful. Most people have already put their Wii U’s away and are eagerly anticipating the next thing from Nintendo.

After eager anticipation and coming home late, I watched the awkwardly translated Nintendo presentation from Tokyo. I came away thinking, “Okay, cool. Some weird stuff and disappointing stuff, but definitely some interesting stuff too. I know I’ll eventually pick one up, but I don’t need to pre-order one. Zelda looks amazing, but I have it pre-ordered for Wii U already.” Even with the extra info online regarding Micro SD and online service details, I felt they didn’t convey enough information to warrant pre-ordering. Vague descriptions that chat is somehow handled through a phone app?? The graphics hardware looks like it’s probably based on the aging Nvidia Tegra X1, and not the upcoming Tegra X2, which is unfortunate if not surprising. Third party support feels apprehensive. And no unbiased impressions about the hardware yet… I figured I should at least wait for those: how comfortable and responsive are the controllers?

I waffled a bit, but obviously, I changed my mind. Here’s why:

Japan. Console gaming has long been on its way out, in Japan. Handheld gaming is where Japan does most of its gaming, and if the presentation from Tokyo is any indication (Square Enix and Atlus providing great initial support), I think Switch will be quite popular, and possibly the next bastion for Japanese games. On top of that, the Switch will not be region-locked, so we don’t even need those games to be published by a North American publisher. Bonus.

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Using a Gamepad on Linux

General tips and resources I’ve come across. I will update this page every now and then. If a section grows large enough, I will make a separate post for it.

Steam Big Picture

Launch games from Steam Big Picture. A controller you thought wasn’t compatible with a game may actually work. When you launch a game using that controller (via BigPicture), Steam will attempt to send an appropriate button mapping of that controller to the game when launching it. This worked, for example, with LIMBO. Of course, the game has to support this and your controller must be known or configured in Big Picture.

XBox One Controller

Support was added in Linux 3.17. I have yet to upgrade my kernel and try it, but I did pick up a controller when they were on sale with that intention. (I don’t have an XBox One, but the controllers are so nice….)

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Use a PS3 Controller on Linux (USB)

With Steam recently coming to Linux, and all the great humble bundles, it’s becoming more and more important to have a good gamepad to use on your Linux PC. If you’re a console gamer, you probably already have an XBox 360 or a PS3 controller. In fact, plug in your controller via USB and it probably already works. Unfortunately, many games (Hotline Miami, Super Meat Boy, Bastion, etc.) assume you have a 360 controller and the button mappings of a PS3 dualshock controller will be horribly skewed (the PS3 select button is 360’s A button). In some games, like Cave Story+, this is not a problem because they allow custom key mappings within the program. Some correctly detect the PS3 controller. However, many games just assume a 360 controller, so it simplifies things if you make the dualshock pretend to be a 360 controller. Luckily, there’s a program that does just this: xboxdrv.

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