‘A Switch Surprise’ is a series of articles discussing games that I think should come to the Nintendo Switch. In this piece, I’ll be talking about Nintendo’s Art Academy series.
I’ve seen a lot of folks make requests for all sorts of different games on the Switch. But, what I haven’t seen is a request for something that I guess should be considered to be more of an application than a game. I’m talking about Art Academy. The series got its start on the original DS all the way back in 2009. There have been subsequent releases on the 3DS and also the Wii U, with the latest entry being from 2016. The Art Academy series appeals to a very niche demographic, but it must definitely have captured enough people’s attention for there to be seven entries so far. I’d love to see an eighth one on the Nintendo Switch; it would arguably be the best version yet.
Now, you may be wondering: ‘why do I even care about this?’ Well, I studied commercial arts (graphic design) for three years in high school. It wasn’t my first choice, but the other classes were full, so I got put into it. When I started, my drawing ability only went as far as stick figures, and the rectangle houses with the triangular roofs, half-circle sun in the corner, and trees that looked like cotton balls. I was about 13 at the time…so yeah, that was kind of shameful. But, I kept an open-mind, and somehow my abilities improved. I graduated from high school with an award from that class and a few drawings I’ve been more than happy to show to people. I’m no master, but I’m grateful for being able to learn enough to gaze at some scenery and confidently say: “I think I can recreate this.”
But, the thing about art is that it’s an expensive hobby. Constantly having to buy fresh supplies isn’t very easy on the wallet, especially if you’re trying to create new things regularly to keep your skills sharp. On top of that, there are so many things that can go wrong with your projects. They could be lost, something could spill on it, they can be destroyed entirely, or you could even make a mistake that requires you to start the whole thing over This is the main reason why I’m a fan of the Art Academy titles: the supplies are infinite and your projects stay safe.
What I like about Art Academy is that it’s both simple and intuitive at the same time.
I wonder how Leonardo Da Vinci would have reacted if someone told him that a few hundred years after his time, art would be in a computerized form; where the paint and canvases would be limitless and it would even allow each piece to exist basically forever. He either would have been over the moon or in total disbelief, thinking that something like that could only exist in fantasy. But yet, here we are, with it being a reality.
The Art Academy programs are one of many drawing applications out there, but I particularly enjoy them because they’re designed to be simplistic and inviting. The reason why ‘academy’ is in the title is because it’s not just a program for creation, but also education. Easy-to-follow lessons are included which are simple enough for basically anyone to pick up a brush—erm—I mean stylus and gradually learn to create some decent pictures. I even learn some techniques from using the software that I didn’t learn in my actual art class.
I mentioned earlier that I think a Switch version would be the best yet. The reason I think so is due to the fact the system is a hybrid. The series has so far been on dedicated portables and a home console. The DS/3DS titles are good because they allow you to work on your projects at any time, but the Wii U entry was nice because you could see your art in all its glory on the big screen. A Switch version would offer both these key features at the same time. But, that’s not the only benefit. The Switch also happens to feature a capacitive touchscreen. The DS/3DS and Wii U Gamepad all had resistive touchscreens. What’s the difference? Those resistive screens could only detect a single input at a time. This didn’t really make drawing any harder, but having a capacitive touchscreen like what’s on the Switch makes things a little bit more versatile. For instance, you could perform gestures for certain shortcuts.
After that explanation, I’m sure you can see why an entry of Art Academy on the Switch would be pretty sweet. But, would Nintendo actually bother doing it? I think it’s likely. After all, we’ve gotten games like 1-2 Switch and Snipperclips, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see another casual title such as Art Academy make its way to the console. We no longer have Miiverse to share our creations, but the native support for Facebook and Twitter sharing that’s already built-in to the Switch should easily fill that void. Seriously, you’ve got nothing to lose, Nintendo. Go ahead and make this happen!