The Return of Gaming: The Nintendo Switch

In 2012 I wrote a series of posts that chronicled my favourite computer games "of all time". The reason I suggested at the time was that I was "over" gaming - my reasons were laid out in the first part of that series:

"...but the most important of all is that I don’t like the games being made anymore. They are not what I want to play, and not what I want to spend my money on, and as such I’ve fallen out of the loop. Also, the idea that games can only be played on one type of machine by one manufacturer doesn’t wash any more, and that’s annoying more than anything."

I thought to myself that I was over it. It had become a thing from my past. The games that were selling millions weren't my cup of tea, and the last really awesome game I enjoyed, Mass Effect 3, had soured everything about the series. Not even the promise of new Sonic games, new Shenmue games, or new Mass Effect games could get me interested in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nothing was even remotely what I wanted - a console wedded to my television that I can't take with me seemed so backwards and... last century, it put me off dropping money on a system I knew wasn't right.

Then Nintendo announced the Switch. I bought a Wii back when everyone was buying Wiis and I was so critical of it only a few months afterwards - my blog post about it is, naturally, amusing reading, with all the over-wrought drama of someone exaggerating their ill-will towards something that they actually feel remorse about buying. Notice that I actually bought a Nintendo Wii on launch day (with Colin, who was buying one as part of this 21st birthday that all of us, his friends, had chipped in on) and promptly sold it to a close friend and his then-boyfriend. I regretted it a bit, but later didn't.

Nintendo replaced the Wii with the Wii U, a catastrophically poorly performing console with umpteen issues. I was interested in the Gamepad idea, but it was poorly built and poorly executed, feeling more like a Mega Drive 32X add-on rather than an all-new console.

The Switch, however, is totally different. It fits the bill perfectly. It plays the games I want - that new Sonic game I mentioned, plus Mario Kart, a favourite of Con's, as well as a host of other cool games. It also is portable. Like, really portable. It's basically a portable console that plugs into your telly. It's fucking awesome.

And then when the TV's free, I can hook it up and be ready to go. It's unlikely that, in my current life, that hours of hours of play sessions are on the cards, but playing the console when historically I've been dicking around on Twitter or Instagram is much more interesting - the Switch slots into my current life style fairly well.

So we will see how it pans out in the long run, but the ability to take the games away to play where I want to is exactly one of the criticisms I made at the current generation of consoles five years ago - I might not have said portability, but I was certainly thinking that "one machine one manufacturer" limits it to one TV. I'm not sure I'm fully back, but it's nice to be a consumer and have one of my wishes fulfilled.