On May 31, Nintendo announced new updates that included Virtual Reality compatibility for a few popular games on their official Twitter account.
— 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ【スマブラ公式】 (@SmashBrosJP) May 31, 2019
The notice read, “The free Version 3.1.0 updates are now live, including a VR feature compatible with our Toy-Con VR Goggles. Use your VR goggles to watch the battle unfold before your very eyes. See our promo video for more.”
As the tweet explained, to enjoy the new VR enhancements you’ll need to get your hands on a Nintendo Toy-Con VR Kit, which was released in April this year. Games that got VR updates include fan favorites Super Smash Bros., Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey. But far and away, Smash Bros. is THE game that had the internet buzzing most about the VR update, thanks in part to the promotional videos released on Nintendo’s YouTube channel in both English and Japanese to promote the new feature.
The two videos have over 800,000 views combined, and they showcase several highlights of the VR enhancement to Smash Bros., which is mainly being able to see new perspectives and areas in several battle stages.
In response to the initial announcement, many fans were excited to try out this new technology, although several voiced concerns about possible motion sickness and the controls being difficult to operate.
One of these fans was Twitter user @taiyaki_sokeibu, who wrote, “It looks like it would be hard to work the controls, but it could be fun to just watch CPUs battle it out.”
— たい焼きの鼠径部 (@taiyaki_sokeibu) May 31, 2019
Another fan who had tried the new VR update themselves, @mikirisi2, echoed this sentiment in a tweet and said, “Just tried it out and it’s so hard to control, but I think it could be fun if we could watch the battles online.”
— みきりし二世 (@mikirisi2) May 31, 2019
While this is a great idea, it seems that some magic from the VR gets lost in translation when posted online in its current format. Some gamers who have tried out Nintendo’s VR and shared their experiences online voiced frustration, including @hallons_kabo who posted some screenshots and wrote: “Smash Bros. VR is super fun, but doesn’t translate in pictures.”
— ハロ🎃ンズ (@hallons_kabo) June 1, 2019
Meanwhile, others such as @9seaBLUE4 were disappointed that the VR perspective is still the standard third-person view, saying they would prefer a first-person viewpoint from the fighters’ perspective.
— シ青 (@9seaBLUE4) May 31, 2019
They wrote, “If I had a choice, I wish we could see from the fighters’ perspective… but then maybe characters with limited vision like Meta Knight, Captain Falcon, and Samus would be at a disadvantage so they couldn’t do it…”
While there are some gripes about the VR enhancements, it seems to be keeping the majority of fans entertained.
One player made an acute observation when playing on a Sheikah Tower (from Zelda: Breath of the Wild) battle stage, writing, “I noticed when looking around the first tower stage of Smash Bros. VR… There’s no place to rest while you’re climbing up. You’d never be able to climb this tower with a rookie Stamina Wheel!”
— おばか (@obaka_rhcp) June 5, 2019
As the first iteration of VR for Nintendo, there’s sure to be a few hiccups. But with many Nintendo fans showing interest in the new enhancements and excitement at seeing their favorite characters duke it out in virtual reality, there’s hope that with some more refinement, this VR technology could be a new staple for Nintendo games.