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Analyzing the Nintendo Switch Super Bowl Commercial

If you clicked this article, I'm betting you're all thinking right now that I've completely lost my mind. First I write a short story about Cookie Clicker, and now I'm going to analyze the details about the Super Bowl commercial Nintendo produced for the Switch. Well to tell you the truth I'm actually a bit sleep deprived at the time of writing this, but hear me out as I think I might be on to something with how the commercial is presented, but not in the way that you might think.

First, lets start with the commercial itself.

Now as you can see, the commercial starts up with the song Believer by Imagine Dragons. A young man in his home wakes up and grabs the Switch console off of his night stand so he can continue his gameplay in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Then it switches to a different scene of an older man and his son playing Arms with the Joy-Con controllers in TV mode. During this time, the lyrics of the first half of the first verse are playing.

First things first
I'ma say all the words inside my head
I'm fired up and tired of the way that things have been, oh ooh
The way that things have been, oh ooh

In my eyes, these lyrics surprisingly enough actually have quite a bit of weight to them in this context. The way I see it, this bit represents Nintendo's quiet thoughts regarding the reception of the Wii U. The console did poorly, so Nintendo got "fired up" to create the Switch because they were "tired of the way that things have been."

In the next part, the scene changes to the present the Switch's tabletop mode with the Joy-Cons being used to play some party games with a second person. The second half of the first verse starts to play during this section.

Second things second
Don't you tell me what you think that I can be
I'm the one at the sail, I'm the master of my sea, oh ooh
The master of my sea, oh ooh

To me, this part represents a frustrated Nintendo's response to the backlash of the Wii U. Also, by showing off that each Joy-Con can be used combined as one controller in the first part and as two separate controllers in the next, it mirrors the lyrics' message saying that Nintendo is the master of their domain. No amount of backlash will be able to tell them what everyone thinks they should be.

At this time, the song begins to reach the chorus and it switches back to the young man from the first part. He then proceeds to dock the console so it can switch to TV mode. Right when the TV screen flips on is when the chorus rapidly crescendos to display the feature that the Switch is both a portable system and a home console skipping the song's bridge in the process. The first half of the chorus couldn't describe Nintendo's situation better.

(Pain) You made me a, you made me a believer, believer
(Pain) You break me down, you build me up, believer, believer

This part to me shows Nintendo's struggles with the Wii U over the five years its been out. The Wii U broke them down to the point where they were built back up and inspired by it to make the Switch.

The second half of this part then shows off the Switch's local WiFi multi-player by using Splatoon 2 as the demo. The lyrics presented a nice pun during this part.

(Pain) I let the bullets fly, oh let them rain
My luck, my love, my God, they came from
(Pain) You made me a, you made me a believer, believer

The use of Splatoon 2's gameplay during "I let the bullets fly" was a nice touch, but my speculation is that the other half of this excerpt is Nintendo's way of saying that despite the backlash, they appreciate the criticism that they've had to endure and they're better because of it.

It's here where they skip to the final verse where everything culminates to one final demo reel of many of the games that are coming out for the Switch in the coming months mimicking the lyrics in this part as well.

Last things last
By the grace of the fire and the flames
You're the face of the future, the blood in my veins, oh ooh
The blood in my veins, oh ooh

This last part right here has two meanings to me. It's both referring to the games coming out for the Switch in the near future, and the fans who are what shaped the company to what they are today and likely who will shape the company in the future. If it wasn't for us and how verbal we are, whether it be positive or negative, Nintendo wouldn't be able to survive.

This commercial was so masterfully crafted that I can't fathom how they manged to present such a deep message in a 1 minute 41 second long advertisement (assuming it was intentional). Now this is all just theory and speculation, but I believe it to be true. And if it is true, then you can bet Nintendo has made a "Believer" out of me. So until then, I'll be seeing you.

Edited by Gilgamesh


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