A closer look at Nintendo's '1-2 Switch' mini-games

Nintendo's party title is a crowdpleaser -- but be prepared to look silly.

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    I played plenty of Nintendo Switch titles during last month's launch event, but it was the mini-game collection 1-2 Switch that I couldn't get out of my head. (I suppose virtually milking a cow with highly suggestive gestures has a way of sticking with you.) It was unlike anything I've ever played -- it often has you glaring at your opponent and following audio queues, instead of looking at a TV screen. It's more like an actual party game, but instead of reading off cards or booklets, you're relying on a console.

    To give us a better sense of 1-2 Switch's appeal, Nintendo invited journalists to its New York City headquarters to get some more hands-on time with it. And after playing a few more short games, it's pretty clear Nintendo made the right move. When it's not competing for attention with Zelda and Splatoon sequels, the sheer ingenuity of the mini-game collection really shines -- especially when you're playing it in front of lots of people.

    To that end, Nintendo announced a new mode for the game, Team Battle, which lets large groups of people pick sides and go head-to-head. Reporters were split into two teams, and we were led by two Nintendo developers who worked on 1-2 Switch. We were also introduced to a new mini-game, Signal Flag, which has you follow an announcer to mimic flight control arm gestures. The catch? You have to do exactly what the female announcer says, but also do the exact opposite of what the male announcer tells you.

    Signal Flag isn't something I'd see myself playing with just one or two friends, but it's lot of fun with a bigger group. And that's a theme I noticed throughout plenty of the mini-games. Fake Draw is a slight twist on 1-2 Switch's other shooting mini-game, except this time you have to avoid shooting when the announcer shouting other words that rhyme with "fire." And for fans of Wii Boxing, there's Boxing Gym, which has you swinging boxing moves on command. It's fun, but not nearly as visceral as pummeling your friends' adorable cartoon faces on the Wii, though.

    Given that this was my colleague Chris Velazco's first time with 1-2 Switch, we decided to completely embarrass ourselves with Runway mini-game. As you might have guessed, it's all about strutting your stuff like a supermodel. With your hands at your hips (along with a Joy-Con controller), the game tracks how many times you successfully sway down the runway. And at the end, you also have to pose for a mini-photo shoot. Don't ask me how it calculates points for that, though. We also clocked in some more time with the 1-2 Switch cow milking mini-game, which will likely end up being the first thing I have friends try whenever I show off the console.

    Since this wasn't my first time with the Switch, I was far removed from the initial "wow" factor from the launch event. It's clear that 1-2 Switch, in particular, will be a hit with friends. But I also wonder how fresh these games will seem after you've been playing them for a few months. It's launching with 28 mini-games, but Nintendo developers at the event hinted that there are plenty more they're considering. They haven't yet decided what they'll do with additional mini-games, though. Some could eventually head to 1-2 Switch via future updates, while others could end up becoming individual games.

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