Despite rigidly serving its die-hard fans with the same roster of characters over generations, Nintendo’s reputation for innovation remains incredibly strong. That said, it’s not known for creating tiny, innovative games on a whim – and giving them away for free.
But it seems the company has got a taste of the hyper-casual market with today’s surprise release of Jump Rope Challenge. The new Switch game comes with no warning, no Nintendo Direct, no video trailer even on the official YouTube site. Instead you get a very simple and fun little game that allows you to play virtual jump rope (skipping as we know it) using your Switch.
“With hopping bunnies as the characters, simple menus and no tutorials to skip through, it’s quick and easy to learn the ropes and get started,” Nintendo said.
Jump Rope Challenge was created by “a small group of Nintendo developers while working from home in Japan,” said the company. Immediately making everyone else’s lockdown projects look self-centred and meagre… thanks Nintendo.
And of course it makes a lot of sense, providing some light exercise for anyone who still can’t, or isn’t often willing (my kids…) to leave the house. It also chimes in nicely with Nintendo’s popular Ring Fit device, if you want to take things up a notch later.
“By using a pair of Joy-Con controllers and imagining them as the handles of a skipping rope, players can virtually jump rope every day – it’s all the fun of skipping, but there’s not a rope in sight! Two household members can jump in and play together to reach the high score, with each person holding one Joy-Con.” Nintendo said in a press release this morning.
And to make it as inclusive as possible, there are options to play for those unable or unwilling to jump. “For those who aren’t able to jump, or are worried about disturbing the downstairs neighbours, players can bend their knees or move their arms to play the game without creating any noise.”
It’s a smart move by Nintendo, a company which is obviously bursting with creativity, we hope that we see more such experimental little games in future.