Sports and video games are like best buddies. Like ice cream and waffles. Burgers and buns. Fresh berries and pancakes. Wow. Who's hungry? Is it just us? Where were we...?
Right! Sports and video games!
No one knows this better than Nintendo, who have been pairing their consoles and characters with sports for years. This summer, they've released two of their coolest sports games yet: Nintendo Switch Sports and Mario Strikers: Battle League. And we got to test the games out at a recent launch event in Toronto. So fun!
Working up a sweat!
Nintendo Switch Sports is a return to some of the awesome motion-controlled fun of the Wii Sports games. Using the Joy-Cons, you can play one of six sports—soccer, volleyball, badminton, tennis, bowling, and chambara. The game play is super responsive and really gets you into the game. We worked up quite a sweat!
Mario Strikers: Battle League is also lots of fun. Think of Mario Kart on a soccer pitch and you get the idea. Zany and intense, we've loved the special moves each character used to score a power goal!
We meet Jonathan Osorio!
Soccer is a big part of both of these games, so at a recent event in Toronto celebrating their release, we got to meet a very special guest!
Canadian soccer superstar Jonathan Osorio!
Born in Toronto, Jonathan has been a midfielder with his hometown club, Toronto FC, for almost ten years. He is also a big part of the Canadian national team, who happened to book their place in this year's World Cup earlier this spring! Now that is a guy who knows his soccer!
Jonathan is also a fan of video games. In between him challenging kids to the Nintendo Switch Sports soccer shootout (which is super fun, by the way!), we got the chance to ask him some questions about how video games and soccer fit into his life.
OWLconnected: Did you play a lot of video games as a kid?
Jonathan Osorio: I sure did, yeah!
OC: What were some of your favourites?
JO: On Nintendo I used to play James Bond:007, Pokemon Stadium with me and my brothers, and any games involving soccer I played. I played a lot of them!
OC: Where are you in age with your brothers?
JO: I'm the oldest.
OC: Did you go easy on them when you played?
JO: No, no. I showed no mercy. (laughs) But my brothers were good, so it was always competitive. It was nice to play with them.
OC: So how did you hook up with Nintendo for this event?
JO: We just saw the partnership that we could start up with my love for video games and Nintendo. With Nintendo Switch Sports and soccer, we thought it would be great for me to come on board and play the shootout with attendees.
OC: Do you still play games?
JO: Yeah, yeah!
OC: Is it part of relaxing for pro athletes like yourself?
JO: Yeah, it helps me disconnect and still, at the same time, have my mind going. I think for a lot of athletes, they don't want to be just sitting around doing nothing. The relax part [of playing games] is important, but my mind is always going, too. So to be able to play Nintendo, and play online with friends where you can connect, it's a lot of fun.
OC: You grew in this area, right?
OC: When you were first playing soccer, when did you first feel like you were a part of a team?
JO: The first time I really started playing outdoor [soccer]. I played indoor when I was really young, and then I played outdoor on bigger team probably around when I turned twelve. And then from there on I loved it and I couldn't go a day without playing. It made me a lot of friends. I was a shy kid, not very social, and sports brought that out of me. It helped me get out of my shell and I was able to make friends—friends that I still have to this day.
OC: Nintendo Switch Sports is a motion-controlled game. As a pro athlete, do you ever foresee a time where a game like this could be a part of your training?
JO: Yeah, actually! I know that some teams do, and we have used it, some sort of virtual reality exercises in training. It's already being used. I mean, here [at the event] you're playing a game and it's for fun, it's different. But we use that kind of virtual reality in another way. It's similar in that it's virtual and it's catching your movements and your motions. It's really cool.
OC: This might seem obvious when you're a soccer player, but what is your favourite part of Switch Sports? Were you surprised by any of them? We didn't know anything about chambara before this, but it was so fun!
JO: Yeah, I really like tennis! But the one that surprised me most was badminton. So fun. Volleyball was fun, too. I enjoyed all the sports, but volleyball and badminton really surprised me.
OC: Okay, very last question. Has it sunk in that you're going to the World Cup this winter?
JO: Yeah, it has actually, finally! But at the same time, I'm trying not to have it at the front of my mind. It's still a few months away. But it's coming! It's crazy how quickly it's coming as well. Right now, I'm focusing on my [pro] season, which will help me prepare!