I have hit the peak delusional stage of my ownership of the Nintendo Switch. Old delusion? I am going to play all these games I’m buying and downloading from the eshop. New delusion? I’m going to use my Nintendo Switch at all. The thing keeps dying on me right as I’m about to use it.
At least my new delusion is cheaper. I’m failing before I even get to the stage of splurging.
I know I’m not alone in having a strange gaming relationship with my Switch, of behaving not quite rationally when it comes to getting and playing games for it. I know I’m in denial about how perfectly it can deliver on its promise.
I really like the machine. I like the idea of it even more. So I take the general promise—that it can enable me to play any number of terrific games at any place at any time—and I use that to justify carrying the system with me every day, to and from work, on the chance I might play it.
Like many Switch owners, I’ve greatly overestimated how many nooks and crannies of time into which I can nestle the Switch. Sure, I’ve found time to play Zelda and Mario on the New York City subway and while lying in my bed at night. But I haven’t had close to the amount of time needed to play the many other games I’ve been hoarding on this device. No time yet to start Fire Emblem or Golf Story or Katana Zero or Dragon Quest Builders 2 or Creature in the Well, etc.
That was my old problem.
Apparently I’ve also overestimated how much its battery can keep up with how I treat it. These days, I’m not even making it to the eshop to buy more games—and, consequently, not even playing games on the machine—because my system keeps losing power in my bag, keeping me from even connecting to the eshop when I get to work to snatch more games. It keeps showing up drained when I’m about ready to play something on it. Bear in mind, I almost exclusively use (or intend to use) my Switch as a portable, and have done so since I got it in early 2017. Sometimes it holds its charge when it’s in sleep mode. Sometimes it does not. Sometimes it loses its battery power overnight, other times holding it for a couple of days of non-use.
That’s why I had a moment like I did on Friday, when I had the intent to buy The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and the temptation to buy Untitled Goose Game, but then failed to buy any. As I fetched the system from my bag and pressed the power button, it flashed the dead battery indicator. Bummer. I plugged the console in and laid it down on a table nearby. The work day ensued. As I was leaving work, I remembered I’d put my Switch on the table. I grabbed it, then realized I had no time to buy anything on the eshop, let alone download my purchases and put it back in my bag. I decided to play some Apple Arcade games on my iPhone on the subway instead.
On Saturday morning, I took the system out, again ready to buy Zelda and that goose game. Somehow the system was barely charged, but I did buy both games. Then I went away for the weekend, without my Switch for once, didn’t play others and didn’t pull my Switch back out of my bag until I was writing this diary. Shocker: its battery died while I was flipping through my icons of unplayed games. My system’s again too dead, this time to even play the games.
Clearly the battery on my Switch is nearly shot. Sleep mode on this thing has never reliably kept it from losing its juice. I can’t just blame the battery, though, as I recognize that I’ve somehow shifted from deriving pleasure from my Switch by playing games to buying games to now just intending to buy games, all the while recklessly failing to keep the system ready and charged for any of this.
I’m not too worried, though, because if there’s one gaming delusion I have that overrides all the others, it’s this: I’m eventually going to catch up on all these games, eventually will be playing everything, and nothing will derail that. I’ll keep charging my system and tossing it in my bag, expecting that the next time I take it out, I’ll be ready to knock through another game and be that much closer to catching up. Any moment now.