The Nintendo Switch is the latest in Nintendo’s long exploration of where, and how, we play video games, combining a portable system with a typical, TV-based console. The famed game company has played with these big concepts before, via the Wii’s revolutionary use of motion controls and the Wii U’s embrace of tablet-based “second screen” gaming, and with each innovation they have also faced the struggle of explaining this new concept to the (typically conservative) gaming public. Get it wrong, and the aftermath can be dire: the Wii U never quite made sense to anyone, and now it has died a quiet death.
So this new ad for the Nintendo Switch, which comes out on March 3, is the latest in Nintendo’s salvo that you can play the Switch anywhere! Previous ads have shown typically raffish, handsome young men as they grab their Switches and jaunt on to a bus or airplane, or take a break from skateboarding beneath an overpass to play a quick round of Mario Kart. The newest ad, though, breaks serious ground, featuring several images of a raffish, handsome young man as he jams away on his switch while taking a shit. Here’s the whole ad:
But let’s dive in. It begins with this image—Chuck Taylors, bidet on the side (this is an ad from Nintendo UK). Perhaps this is just an image of a man shitting.
The reveal! The sound of coins being collected and the classic grimace of “gamer face” indicates that we have entered a new paradigm of video game advertisement.
Finally, we get this full angle, seemingly shot via telephoto lens after removing the roof of the man’s apartment to create the proper sense of scale, and also to cover his junk.
From there, the video goes on to show groups in various locations enjoying the Switch’s baffling assemblage of play modes, but it’s near-impossible to move your brain beyond the image of the man gaming delightedly as he squeezes out a shit. To be fair, this is one of the primary reasons to own a portable gaming device. The opportunities to play on mass transportation are massively exaggerated in pretty much all advertising for these systems, and so the vast majority of their use comes at home while, say, a football game drones on in the background, or, more pointedly, while you excrete the previous day’s ingestions as solid waste.
As Vice notes, Nintendo has made this suggestion before, but this ad goes in much greater detail. Given the way the company slowly iterates its ideas over the course of decades, a fully toilet-based video game system seems increasingly likely.