Much like I am not a professional board game player, I am not a video game guru either. That being said, I’ve been around video games my entire life and have an immense appreciation for them. Growing up, my brother was all about Nintendo (what kid isn’t!?). Early on we were shooting ducks in Duck Hunt on the Super Nintendo and killing a pixelated Mario over and over. I’ll never forget the day he received his Nintendo 64, watching him sink into Zelda: Ocarina of Time; the score/music of that game will forever send me back to childhood. I’d race against him on Mario Kart, beat him in Mario Party- take him down in Super Smash Brothers- the usual. He was into much more than the classics, but there’s not enough time in the day to get into it!
These memories of plain and simple happiness sticks with me now as a married woman with a husband who also has a strong passion for gaming. He too grew up with Nintendo but has always preferred PlayStation and certain Computer games. He was no stranger to hosting huge LAN parties, and to this day still talks with people he met through his years of League of Legends and World of Warcraft.
Having skimmed the surface of video games and all their emotional power, I consider my mostly uneducated perspective of some value. I may not share the same passion or dedicate the time to perfecting my knowledge or skills- but I share the idea that video games are a valid way to enjoy downtime. Life is so hard to get through and it’s important to escape the mundane routines however it feels best. If that means running through virtual worlds solving problems and puzzles, go for it.
We bought the WiiU in July 2014, and though we’ve played countless games, countless times- the system has severe flaws. The Gamepad was a fantastic idea but poorly executed. The menus take forever to load (or so it seems) and is overall very slow and laggy. I appreciated the ability to continue the game on the Gamepad without needing the TV, but if you go too far away (which isn’t far) you lose the connection. I found it to be finicky and lacking and I didn’t care much for emphasis on interacting with the “post it to social media” options.
When Zelda: Breath of the Wind for the Nintendo Switch & WiiU was announced, my husband couldn’t contain his excitement. He is 26 years old, but in that moment he was a kid again. You can’t buy that kind of emotional nostalgic connection to something, it is priceless. His birthday is just 2 weeks after the release (March 3rd) and though he would have never bought it himself for the sake of our finances, I knew I had to get my hands on one. I wasn’t going to make him play the new Zelda on the laggy WiiU, and he wasn’t going to wait a year to play it- no way.
Of course the Nintendo Switch pre-orders were all sold out from every retailer, 1 after the release, and I’ve yet to receive my “in stock” alerts from Best Buy and Amazon. The emphasis on “only in stores” is a clear and direct attempt to get people off the Internet and back into brick and mortar. Something I understand but didn’t necessarily appreciate. I’ll be interested to see how sales were. Anyway, taking their advice paid off. A quick call to Target at 8:45am got me one of the five consoles left. I skipped out of there with my Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wind with a smile plastered on my face!
I wanted to have the “release day” effect on his gift, so we opened it yesterday (he had the best shocked reaction). First impression? It is SMALL. I cannot believe the entire console is on that little handheld screen. I find the design to be brilliant. We haven’t had it long enough to have strong opinions about the construction/execution of the two small controllers and how they slide in etc., but they feel surprisingly natural to use a part. It’s nice not being bound to a single piece, though you are given the option with the controller shell, as I like to call it.
One seemingly obvious downside is the inability to charge the handheld controllers without the screen. It basically ensures sales of the Pro controller though- so I get the motive.The portability option is what is most impressive to me. The fact that you quickly transfer from your TV to your hand is amazing, and would have solved so many “let’s go!”/”let me get to the end of this level” fights between my parents and my brother. It runs like butter, has a clicky interface (sound effects) – and is crisp as ever. Cosmetically it is 100% more appealing than the clunky WiiU, and so far on a functional level it’s pristine. But like I said, it’s early.
I am excited to have heard that the WiiU Nintendo account and purchases will be transferrable. We bought a decent number of games on the WiiU and if we can play them on the Switch that will help us justify buying them all. Mario Party 8, Smash Brothers, Mario Brothers- and more- will be so much fun to experience on this clean, impressive console. I’m excited to play!
Next week- back to board games!