WWE Superstar John Cena played the Nintendo Switch at a pop-up event in California yesterday and he wants gamers to know one thing: the hype is real.
We were able to talk to Cena over the phone a day after he was spotted in the desert with a Nintendo Switch playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch. Although the two games are pretty different experiences, he loved both.
“Dude, I haven’t played Zelda since gold-cartridge Zelda,” Cena said, referring to the first two Legend of Zelda games that came out for the NES in the ‘80s. “I got on Breath of the Wild and they had to take it away from me.”
Cena is a self-professed lover of 8-bit games, having grown up in the ’80s as home consoles were in a video game boom.
“I’m a relic from a bygone era,” he said. “If I were to walk around in my game personality, I would be an 8-bit graphic interface. That was my sweet spot.”
He ran through a list of some of his favorite games from his childhood: Tecmo Super Bowl, Baseball Stars, Castlevania, Ghosts and Goblins, Ninja Gaiden, Ikari Warriors, Metal Gear, Super Mario Bros., Urban Champion.
“I was at the right age when the Nintendo explosion happened in ‘84/’85.”
“That was my youth, man, I was at the right age when the Nintendo explosion happened in ‘84/’85,” Cena said. “I got my first 8-bit system in ‘85 so I remember Nintendo Power subscriptions. I remember when The Wizard came out — they showcased the Power Glove for the first time. I remember losing in Track and Field to a kid who had the NES Advantage [controller] and the turbo button and I was blown away. He should’ve been tested for PEDs because he had the unfair controller.”
After playing the new Zelda game, Cena talked about how he liked that it’s a play-anywhere game, both because you can undock the Switch and play it as a mobile console and because you can go anywhere in the game.
“You don’t have to follow the story of the game, you can go anywhere, do anything, and there’s adventures to be had outside the underlying storyline adventure of the game,” he said.
Cena said he was impressed by the hardware of the Switch, particularly how it works as a mobile console. As a professional wrestler, Cena does a lot of traveling and these days he only plays games on his tablet, so the Switch is something he could see bringing in his bag thanks to its versatility.
He also likes the Switch as a home console, made evident by his affection for 1-2-Switch.
1-2-Switch is a party game made up of 28 different minigames that utilize the motion sensors, infrared sensors and HD rumble of the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers. It’s sort of like a cross between Wii Sports and WarioWare.
“1-2-Switch is a game made for a dude like me — I love it,” Cena said. “It’s something that is very social and I think it’s really something that can be enjoyed by anyone.”
The way the game makes players interact with each other would make it a fun centerpiece for an evening with friends, Cena said.
“What a fun way to spend an evening with a bunch of crazy adults having coffee or tea or whatever adult beverages you want to have.”
“That’s a game that you want to get together with friends as adults and have a fun party night where everybody just flies off the handle —1-2-Switch is built for that,” he said, mentioning the game’s team battle mode. “What a fun way to spend an evening with a bunch of crazy adults having coffee or tea or whatever adult beverages you want to have.”
Cena particularly enjoyed the games Quick Draw, where players have to quickly draw their Joy-Con controllers like Wild West pistols, and Runway, where players have to walk like runway models, swaying their hips and striking poses.
“I was horrible at the Samurai [Training] game, I just could not block the sword,” he said. “I was cut in half numerous times.”
Despite the struggle with Samurai Training, Cena said he would be down to play 1-2-Switch with fellow WWE Superstar Xavier Woods. Woods hosts his own video game show Up Up Down Down where he plays games with other WWE wrestlers.
“You may actually see my first appearance on the show if we can do that,” Cena said, adding that his absence from Up Up Down Down stems from him waiting for the right time.
Cena doesn’t get along with every Superstar on the WWE roster, though. At Elimination Chamber this month, Cena lost the WWE World Championship title to Bray Wyatt. Given the opportunity to win his title back over 1-2-Switch, Cena explained which minigame he would choose to face Wyatt in.
“I would pick Fake Draw, and I will tell you why,” Cena said, his voice changed to a noticeable, more serious tone. “Because Bray Wyatt talks a lot — and I know I’ve been talking your ear off about video games in this interview — but if you listen to Bray Wyatt speak on SmackDown, he talks a lot, and he’s very prophetic when he talks and I think he gets caught up in his own words a lot. At Fake Draw, you really have to listen.”
Fake Draw is similar to Quick Draw, except instead of just saying “Fire,” the game tries to mess you up and say things like “Fork” and “Five.” If you draw at the wrong word, you lose.
“Bray Wyatt is very skilled in the ring, but he’s also one who likes to hear his own voice, and I think as far as Fake Draw is concerned, he would either fire early — which is a problem for some dudes, not for me — or he just wouldn’t be paying attention and I would be able to beat him to the draw.”