The Nintendo Switch Gave Me Back My Video Games

Illustration for article titled The Nintendo Switch Gave Me Back My Video Games

For the longest time it felt as though video games were growing up with me.

When I was a kid, video games felt like they were for kids. They were platform games with furry animal mascots. They were as vibrant and sugary as the cordial I guzzled whilst playing them. Even zeitgeist games like Street Fighter II, while technically violent, represented the benign violence of the playground. It was Jean Claude Van Damme. A spontaneous crowd around 8-year-olds that can’t punch properly.



Then, when I was a teenager, video games were as clumsy as I was. The leap to 3D was as awkward as puberty. Video games had hair on their chest and nowhere to put all their bizarre, messed up sexual energies. The writing was like terrible teenage poetry. We stumbled over words, our voices breaking as we tripped over our slow-moving, train-wreck avatars.

“You were almost a Jill Sandwich”.

Video games were Resident Evil, Tomb Raider. We loved these video games then. They made sense in context. In 2017 it’s like cringing through a re-read of our crusty teenage diaries.

But personally, over the last five years or so, it feels like video games haven’t evolved with me in the way I’d hoped they would. It’s less about ‘sophistication’, more the form video games take and what’s expected of me if I want to engage. Over the last decade video games have become fragmented across an incredibly broad range of experiences and platforms, but the broad shift is clear: video games are Destiny. Video games are Overwatch, League of Legends or DOTA.

Consoles are designed, it feels, to keep us hooked on ‘platforms’. To make it difficult for us to leave. Consoles are eco-systems, individual video games are eco-systems, with their own currencies, cultures and sub-cultures. That’s fine. I get it. I just can’t be part of it. Not really.


I simply don’t have the time.

Illustration for article titled The Nintendo Switch Gave Me Back My Video Games

Which is such a patronising, boring thing to say — but it’s true. I spend 90 minutes a day on public transport. I’m married with a full-time job and a house that’s constantly being destroyed by my two very young children. Free time is at a premium and it’s mostly spent doing banal shit. Folding laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher. The idea of sitting down on my couch, turning on a console and dedicating time to Destiny dailies is insanely alien to me. Impossible to imagine almost.

And if that all sounds a bit ‘Old Man Yells At Cloud’ that’s because well... I am an old man and I am yelling at a cloud. That cloud is my ability to engage with video games in a meaningful way. An ability that was sorta stolen from me over the past few years for a number of reasons. The main one: video games haven’t catered to my lifestyle in a long, long time.


But that all changed with the Nintendo Switch.

This year I played more video games than I’ve played in a long time and I estimate around 80% of those hours were spent on the Nintendo Switch.


20% of those hours were spent on my couch, in front of my TV in the regular ‘gaming’ sense. 30% were spent lying in bed before falling asleep.

50% was probably spent on the bus, on the motorway in traffic, headphones blasting. In another world.


The Nintendo Switch is on some Bruce Lee shit. The ‘water becomes the cup’ kinda stuff. If I’m at home and somehow have the time the Switch connects to my TV quickly and efficiently. If someone needs the main TV that’s fine, I’ll just slot the Switch into the controllers. On the bus, fine. In bed, fine. On holiday, fine. Waiting at the doctor’s because your kid has hand, foot and mouth, fine. All of it is fine.

The Nintendo Switch is designed for a busy life. It’s designed specifically to filter seamlessly into the gaps of a busy life. I can’t tell you how liberating that has been for me. How convenient it is.

Illustration for article titled The Nintendo Switch Gave Me Back My Video Games

Handheld games have existed before — even premium handheld experiences like the PlayStation Vita — but the Switch is different. It’s not just that the console works as both a home console and a portable, it’s that the Switch is Nintendo’s primary, main console — that Nintendo’s best work will appear exclusively on it. Breath of the Wild isn’t a spin-off, it’s the new Zelda. Odyssey isn’t a weird Mario offshoot, it’s the successor to Mario Galaxy. That means something. Playing those premium, A+++ video games on the bus means something. I still — nine months later — refuse to take this for granted. It still makes me feel giddy.


For the first time in a long time it feels like video games are growing with me again. Not the games necessarily but the way I’m engaging with them. The Switch feels like it’s for me in a way that other consoles aren’t. The kids who sucked down sherbet whilst playing Super Mario World; who spent their moody teenage years hiding from their parents playing Metal Gear Solid.

We’re boring adults now; with our kids and their shitty nappies and half a chewed up banana under the couch. With a pile of laundry we can’t be fucked folding and a pile of video games we don’t have time to play. Only the Switch gives us that time back. The Switch does an audit on the timeline of your garbage life and says — actually you can still sink 200 hours into an RPG. You can spend hours tracking down every stupid moon in Super Mario Odyssey.


And for someone who thought those days were long gone, that’s powerful. That’s what makes the Nintendo Switch so special.

This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.



One old man to another this is the DUMBEST excuse for Nintendo’s shit system being “good” or “gave me my games back” I have ever heard. What sort of experience are you getting from a AAA title like Zelda-on-the-go with your earbuds in and light flash in the pan commute gaming times? How (especially with zelda being so huge) does one enjoy it 50% on the go? It takes me (at home) a good 20 minuets to acclimate to gaming, if I were on a loud bus with zero room to barely stand, I could not enjoy gaming at all.
I too am “old man shouting at clouds” granted I dont have the kids side of things but I work 9-5, have a wife and a life and still find time to game for a few hours in the evening (nestled in between laundry, chores, cooking, etc.)

I guess, you are the target demographic they hoped we all would be (commuting drones that have no way of playing games at home?) Playing games on a bad mobile screen (iPhone and nVidia shield are so much better), with earbuds on, etc etc.

How ostentatious must you look (man above) playing your switch on a bus or a plane? Now im not saying im not glad you found the switch to fit into your schedule, that is awesome! And many of my friends aren’t really gamers and therefore love the switch because it allows them moments of game time in the small downtime’s of life... What bugs me is that “it gave you games back??” well sure if you are the minority that spends that much time on-the-go. For me, I am the driver....ergo I cannot enjoy on-the-go-gaming and if I want to waste a few moments gaming, I have my phone (it fits in my pocket).

If the switch is that “audit on the timeline of your garbage life” maybe rethink that sentence, for I am not a boring adult and refuse to get to that point. (again I dont have the kids, but I have 100% the rest of your adulthood qualms, and still find time to game, on a home cinema with large HD screen and sound.....bouncing around on a bus, with a screen only a mother could love, is not my idea of returning to the glory days of SNES.)

old man to another #rantedtoolong #sorrymate #nintendofanboy100% <——-me, not sarcasm