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Why Doom Maybe Isn’t So Weird for the Nintendo Switch

Doom’s announcement as a port for the Nintendo Switch was probably one of the last things anyone expected from last week’s Nintendo Direct.

The versatile, ‘family-friendly’ console, at first glance, just doesn’t match up well with the bloody, raging shooter that is Doom. But in a recent video of the port’s gameplay experience (graciously provided by Nintendo World Report), there’s little to indicate separation between the two, that what we are watching is in fact from the Nintendo Switch (other than the obvious Switch system on which the screen is framed).

Is it a weird move for the Nintendo Switch? Maybe. But for a console that has also recently been described by developer Suda 51 as “punk”, perhaps it isn’t so strange. It brings further credence to the idea that the Switch is a console for all ages, that it can represent many different categories of gamers quite comfortably. If we think of the Switch as a console looking to work against expectations, then Doom fits rather nicely in the picture.

Personally, though I was never too interested in the Doom franchise, I’m glad to see the game being brought to Switch. With previous Nintendo consoles, this kind of release was something that would never happen. A year ago, if you had told me that the popular PC/console shooter was going to be on a Nintendo system, I would have laughed in your face. Not out of spite, but because is largely unbelievable in the fact that it represents a new direction for Nintendo; the willingness and ability to release more mature hits on its systems.

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Now I don’t necessarily believe this means Nintendo will dive immediately into the hellscape that is the arena of modern shooters. Call of Duty is still very unlikely, as is Destiny 2 or Halo or most other things of that sort. There’s a better chance for them to appear now, but they’re also titles that are quite comfortable sitting where they are right now. Doom’s new release is likely another means for last year’s shooter to get some more attention, in the face of increased competition with Destiny 2 and Call of Duty World: WW2 in the coming months.

Plus there’s the fact that, unless one has an iteration of one of the Switch’s controllers, first-person shooters are bound to feel a little awkward on the Switch for experienced players. So mobile play is a little unlikely too, if that was a draw. (Still something I’m bound to try out either way, however.)

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But all in all, I’m excited to see more of Doom’s Switch port. There’s an interesting meeting-of-the-minds going on here, and it may lead to some other cool, unconventional releases in the future.

Though that’s not the main reason I’m excited, to be honest. Those somewhat familiar with the history of the series–or the controversy that has haunted violent videogames–may remember that Doom is one of the more notorious titles in that it has been cited as a prime example for videogames that ‘teach’ or ‘encourage’ violent behavior. ‘Videogames as teachers of violence’ is a belief-system I have never subscribed to (as the same ‘bad influence’ argument was made with movies in the early 20th century), and so it’s nice to see Nintendo supporting a title that maybe isn’t as universally-loved as Mario or Sonic. It isn’t taking a stance on the issue per-say, but it provides a means of moving forward.

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