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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ring Fit Adventure Is Conceptually BRILLIANT—Hope It Doesn't Screw Up...

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Vintage Nintendo creativity.

I am pretty proud to be a Nintendo fan right now. After last week's Nintendo Direct that I found quite despairing—with great fear that everything Nintendo puts out will just be overshadowed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (even if it doesn't deserve that)—I wasn't anticipating today's announcement to be anything more than a filler article. You know, the one teased last week about the Hoop peripheral with people moving ridiculously on a global scale.

Then you look at the thumbnail for today's announcement, and there's really nothing encouraging about...this:

But then you watch it, and you ignore the creepy presenters, and just focus on the game and the ideas presented in there, and if you're like me, you'll quickly come to the conclusion that Nintendo is onto something brilliant and their teaser was just doing a tremendous disservice. (Actually, if you rewatch the trailer from last week given what we know now, some of that STILL don't make sense. It never will.)

The hoop and the leg strap are called the Ring-Con and Leg Strap accessories, and you insert your Joy-Con in them to control your character in Ring Fit Adventure, a new adventure game (of the RPG variety, not of the visual novel variety—though some confuse the two) releasing to the Nintendo Switch on October 18.

A buff, egotistical dragon named Dragaux (you gotta read the press release to learn that spelling) “throws the world into chaos”, and for some reason, you got to stop him. (Must be Marina fans breaking Splatfest law and not accepting the results of the Chaos vs. Order Splatfest.)

Ring Fit Adventure bodybuilding dragon Drago Dragaux
YouTube's auto-generated captions are FAKE NEWS. The dragon is named Dragaux.
He's probably French, so he'd normally be just Benjamin Hunter's problem, but he's impacting the whole WORLD.
(Hence why the trailer last week took place on three continents.)

To do so, you need to run around (literally), attack and defend yourself from monsters with Fit Skills, and... well, exactly how the story plays out is unknown. You wouldn't expect the game to spoil all of its content in the trailer, would you?

Of course, I'm assuming that the story becomes anything resembling interesting. I've long been a proponent that “serious games” or “games for change” should try to be really interesting as games first, and then subversively get their message or mission in after. Otherwise, it won't maintain anyone's interest. Unfortunately, most people trying to change the world aren't game developers first and foremost, so they don't know what they're doing when they're designing a game. Established game developers typically don't go into the space because they see a lot less potential for profit.

That's why it's exciting when Nintendo does it, and they try to make an actual game out of it. That's different than here-is-a-menu-of-exercises that we saw from Wii Fit, even if that menu had a few inspired mini-games. If you're playing a game that's trying to encourage fitness from the very act of playing the game, you'll have more success if the very act of playing the game is gratifying, and story helps a lot with that. ...Since we clearly already know what the gameplay is like.

Actually, the precision exercise-based gameplay reminds me a lot of action commands in some RPGs I'm in. And they have similar effects to action commands, as well. They're also a lot more involved and interesting than timing the A button.

Wendy O. Koopa is the most excited KoopaTV staffer for this game, which makes sense. She loves rings and hoops.

Paper Mario Color Splash Wendy O. Koopa gorgeous golden ring hoop protect your neck
The golden ring is very prominent during Ring Fit Adventure, and Wendy O. Koopa already has her own.
That'll be redundant, because Ring Fit Adventure will retail for $80 and comes bundled with the Leg Strap, the Ring-Con, and the game.

This might be the one game that I'd want to be compatible with an undocked Nintendo Switch/a Nintendo Switch Lite, and there is no word if it is. ...And if it is compatible, it probably isn't comfortable. Quite frankly, my Switch is hooked up to one of my home office dual monitors, and there's really no room to be jogging in place or stretching. I'm looking forward to some confirmation around that.

Ludwig is also very happy that the Ring-Con seems to be substantially less evil than the Toy-Cons and their associated Labo. Hopefully the Labo and its world-conquering ways have been eradicated from any future Nintendo product development, and Nintendo puts that effort into helping gamers stay in better shape. If you're a normal person with normal concerns, how do you feel about Ring Fit Adventure? Do you have as many optimistic feelings about it as the Koopas on KoopaTV's staff? Or do you just reflexively despise anything that is out-of-the-norm?

The optimism continues as a new trailer shows that Ring Fit Adventure has towns and NPC quests.
Nintendo doesn't seem to want people to know that Dragaux is named Dragaux.
Ludwig and Wendy have very good reason to be into Ring Fit Adventure, which has now released.


  1. I'm not sure that I've ever seen you pull 180 this fast before, Ludwig. Maybe I'll even give this game a semi serious look.

    1. HOLD IT!
      In the article last week, I wrote,
      "Not until next week when we figure out what this torture hoop is. I'll be judging it along the lines of, “Will it be as evil as the Nintendo Labo?” How about you? What are you expecting out of this thing?"

      And I did just that, didn't I?

    2. OBJECTION! You still went from dreading to think what it could possibly be, to completely embracing--enthusiastically even--what it turned out to actually be! If that isn't a 180, sir, I defy you to tell me what one is!

    3. I don't consider anything in last week's article to fall under "dreading".

      Last week's article seemed pretty clear to me that I couldn't have strong feelings due to my feelings for the week already being used up from the Direct.

  2. It's bizarre and surreal... and... I kinda want it...

    I feel like Nintendo's big series are profitable enough that they're willing to take chances on all sorts of weird ideas to see which ones work and which ones don't.

    About the compatibility, I could see it being compatible with an undocked Switch, but I can't see it working with the Switch Lite unless the Switch Lite registers additional Joy-Cons.

    1. I can see it being compatible but that's why I also asked the question about comfort. This works because you can stand several feet away from a big TV and do stretches and whatever and see what's on the screen. With an undocked Switch, that's a bit different. You might have to stand unnaturally close and keep straining your neck.

  3. I expected it to be a multi-purpose peripheral that could work across several games, but this is so much better. Unlike the Labo, I could actually see this selling off store shelves. While it is pricy, the novelty of the accessories and game will certainly compel the casual crowd to buy these like crazy. Even if I was completely uninterested in the entire concept, the presenters' death stares were so formidable I feel as if I have no choice to purchase one or else they will come over and kill me in my sleep.

    1. It'd be nice if, like the Wii Balance Board, the Ring-Con could be used in multiple contexts.

      If the Labo Toy-Cons can be used in other games (including third-party games), some enterprising game designers can find a use for the Ring-Con. ...And Leg Strap.
      (I hope the Leg Strap can fit all sizes of leg.)


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