Hey there! If you‘ve heard the chatter about the wacky new VR game Gorilla Tag and wondered if it‘s really free to play on Nintendo Switch, then this guide is for you.
As someone who has sunk countless hours into swinging around Gorilla Tag‘s jungle gyms as a wisecracking primate, I‘m here to answer all your questions. We‘ll dive into the game‘s origins, viral popularity, community, and why it probably won‘t be monkeying around on Nintendo platforms anytime soon.
So let‘s address the big question right off the bat…
No, Gorilla Tag is Not Officially Available on Nintendo Switch
While I admire the creativity some folks have shown in trying to hack Gorilla Tag onto the Switch through custom mods and workarounds, the game is unfortunately not natively playable on Nintendo devices.
Gorilla Tag was purpose-built for virtual reality. It uses modern VR headset features like 6 degrees of freedom tracking and motion controls to let you physically climb, swing, and slap each other with virtual monkey hands.
Porting such an experience to traditional controllers just wouldn‘t feel the same! The Switch‘s more limited hardware isn‘t suited for fully immersing you in VR either.
So for now, the only way to play Gorilla Tag as the developer intended is to grab it on supported VR platforms like the Oculus Quest 2 headset.
But even if you don‘t have a VR device handy, read on to learn why this quirky game became a viral sensation and the many ways you can join the fun for free!
Gorilla Tag‘s Meteoric Rise to VR Fame
For an indie passion project from a solo developer named Kerestell "Lemming" Smith, Gorilla Tag has achieved astronomical popularity in record time.
Just look at these bananas stats:
56,000+ reviews on Quest – More than double nearly any other VR game!
800,000+ copies sold – Comparable to major flat gaming hits.
>1 million monthly players – An immense community for any new game.
#1 in Quest simulated sports – Consistently topping the charts.
Gorilla Tag‘s player base now dwarfs many big-budget VR titles from major studios. All as a free game made by one guy!
So how did Lemming‘s game spread like viral wildlife to become arguably the definitive Oculus Quest title?
The Genius of Gorilla Tag‘s Design
As a VR developer himself, Lemming designed Gorilla Tag from the ground up to highlight the best aspects of social virtual reality experiences.
Everything from its lobby system to progression mechanics subtly pushes players together to interact in fun ways with very little friction.
Rather than flashy graphics or complex features, the game simplifies everything down to smooth social gorilla locomotion. It‘s easy to learn but with incredible skill depth.
Donning those virtual primate arms immediately taps into our childhood love of playground monkey bars, now amped up to 11 through VR embodiment.
Combine that primal, kinetic joy with infectious social dynamics, and you have a recipe for the perfect viral VR storm. Gorilla Tag succeeds by understanding what makes VR special, and crafting every part of the experience around that.
Lemming himself explained it best in an interview:
"I wanted to try and make something that was just fun for the sake of being fun. No monetization schemes or anything else like that. Just some good ol’ fashioned monkey fun.”
Hangin‘ Around With Friends Old and New
Beyond novel locomotion, Gorilla Tag‘s real magic is its possibilities for joyful social connections.
Part of why lonely player rates have spiked so severely in recent years is that many standard multiplayer games lack the camaraderie and human spirit of older titles.
Modern matchmaking and competitive ladders optimize for fast automated matches over forging real bonds. Voice chat becomes more toxic than welcoming.
By contrast, in Gorilla Tag you naturally come together in a shared virtual space that encourages goofing around, teamwork, and positive interactions with both friends and strangers.
As a VR game it transcends the shallow interactions of flat gaming by leveraging the cooperative spirit and embodiment that comes from literally inhabiting the game world together.
For many players starved of real social connection, especially during the pandemic, this welcoming virtual playground became a godsend.
Monke See, Monke Do – The Joys of VR Streaming
Another factor that rocketed Gorilla Tag‘s popularity was its insane viability as streaming and video content.
The comedy inherent to watching people scramble around improvising as apes was instantly memeable. Top VR streamers like Nexus and JoshDub helped spread that viral potential to millions of viewers.
But even for small streamers, Gorilla Tag‘s continuous emergent moments make it endlessly entertaining to watch and create content around. There‘s always some bananas interaction or fail just around the corner!
As streamer Poppt1 summed up:
"I don‘t think I’ve ever had as much raw fun in VR. My cheeks hurt from laughing!"
For VR enthusiasts without headsets, getting to live vicariously through streamers playing Gorilla Tag gave them a taste of its anarchic enjoyment.
The Gorilla Tag Competitive Scene is Going Bananas
With its simple pick-up-and-play design, you might be surprised to learn that Gorilla Tag has cultivated a thriving competitive scene.
Top players have clocked thousands of hours mastering the complex skill of chaining wall jumps, ladders climbs, dives, and other acrobatic maneuvers to reach insane speeds.
There are regularly scheduled racing and combat tournaments where the best monkey masters test their abilities for glory. Some other popular competitions include:
Speedrunning maps in the fastest time possible.
Tricking battles to land the most impressive sequence of aerials and spins.
Tag survivor challenges to withstand the hunter horde.
Obstacle courses demanding intense precision and reflexes.
Watching experts fluidly traverse maps at blistering velocity, regaining structures from apparent deadfalls, is a sight to behold. The chase dynamic in Gorilla Tag seems basic at first but enables immense depth.
While informal, Gorilla Tag‘s budding competitive scene shows how even the simplest foundations allow for boundless emergent gameplay riches through mastery.
How Does Gorilla Tag Make Money?
You might be wondering how developer Lemming keeps the lights on while giving away the game for free. Gorilla Tag uses several smart monetization systems.
On the Quest version, Lemming implemented an in-game shop where players can buy cosmetic items like hat accessories, nameplates, and victory dances using gems earned through normal play.
Dedicated players willing to shell out for more goodies help support ongoing development. But you can enjoy the full experience without spending a dime.
For the Steam VR version, Lemming charges an upfront $19.99 fee which includes exclusive cosmetics. This helps deter cheating through hardware bans while adding another revenue stream.
Combined with the exposure from streams, this careful balance of free play and optional purchases sustains Gorilla Tag‘s growth with integrity.
The Future is Bananas
With incredible momentum going into 2023 off the back of repeated VR Game of the Year awards, what does the future hold for Gorilla Tag?
Lemming has teased some exciting upcoming additions being tested:
New jungle temple map with deadly traps and secrets
Custom map editor for players to build and share their own domains.
Party queue system for matchmaking with groups of friends.
More gameplay modes and challenge variants to test your skills.
Expanded cosmetics like skins, trails, and taunts to show off.
And that‘s just the tip of the iceberg. With a passionate community and hunger for more monkey mayhem, Gorilla Tag shows no sign of slowing its rise to VR dominance.
Go Bananas and Try Gorilla Tag Today!
I hope this lighthearted guide helped explain Gorilla Tag‘s origins and appeal to fellow gamers curious what all the hubbub is about.
While not on Nintendo platforms, it‘s still easy to play for free on VR devices like the affordable Oculus Quest 2.
If you‘re hungry for some uplifting social play and primate pandemonium, give Gorilla Tag a swing today to see why it became a VR phenomenon almost overnight!
Just be ready for sore abs as you‘ll likely spend the next day recovering from laughter and wild monkey acrobatics. Let‘s go bananas!