Opinion

“How The Switch Got Me Back Into Gaming”

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
-Robin Williams

 

EarthMage.png “The following is a contributor post by the Off-Centered Earth Mage.”

When it comes to growing up, getting older, having your Sunday lunch in a graveyard just to get yourself ready, every gamer comes to a point where they just don’t have the time anymore. We’ve all heard that, haven’t we? “Oh, I would play all these amazing AAA titles, but I’ve grown up and just can’t find the time.” Yeah, sure, Joanne. We can see you, sitting on Twitter for the past three hours! (Apologies to all the Joannes out there). For me, it was when I finished secondary school and was about to go on to third-level education. It was during the summer. I had gotten myself my first part-time job – floor staff in a nightclub in the city. I was about two months in, when I woke up one morning looking right at my PS4. It was like looking at a neglected animal. In all honesty, I could almost swear I saw the disc tray crying.

We all do that, though, don’t we? (Not the crying – although, let’s be honest, adult life is all about crying into your bag at work… but no…) We all have that moment where we realize we just don’t play games as much as we used to.

Picture the scene: It’s 2008, it’s the last lesson before the summer holidays, you’re looking at the tick tock of the clock in the corner of the room. And then… It happens! The bell rings. You’re free. What do you do? Go with your friends to the local park? Take that girl you like to the local ice cream shop? No. You rush home, you crack open your can of ginger ale (don’t judge me) and you boot up [insert console name]. Life is good.

Let me take you back to that time, when we were all at school. What did most of us do? We complained. That’s what we did. We complained. We complained about getting up at 8 o’clock, being in school for 9 o’clock with two lunch breaks (TWO!), and we complained about finishing between 3 and 4 o’clock. 4 o’clock? If somebody told me that I would be home every single weekday at 4 o’clock, with (let’s be honest), very little to do that night, I’d more than likely cry hysterically into their arms, every so often looking up into their eyes – no, their bright portals of happiness – and whisper, “Thank you. You magnificent specimen”. But hey, that’s just me. Or is it? (It’s not).

I had always been a Sony kinda guy. Of course I was. The PS2 era was my happiest time. I had the odd Nintendo console on the side, some of my best gaming memories are on the Game Boy Advanced. But Sony was it for me. Fast-forward to the present day. The Switch, at the time of writing, is 2 years old. I can honestly say that the Switch, although I had very little interest in it on release, is now one of my favourite consoles, if not my favourite console, if not my favourite format for all things gaming.

Think back to that initial marketing campaign for the Switch. What did we see? We saw people, adults with busy lives like ourselves, playing the Switch literally everywhere. If my memory is being kind to me, I remember seeing one ad of a lawyer-looking man coming home from a busy day, getting into the bathtub and playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild (2017). Look me in the eye and tell me that’s not the perfect life. (It is, don’t test me, Joanne!)

I know what you’re thinking: “If the initial marketing campaign for the Switch was so good and showed that you really could play AAA titles as well as brilliant indie titles literally anywhere you want, then why didn’t you pick the Switch up at launch, you fool?” Well, I’m a fool, as well as a poor college student. I’ll let you make your own assumptions from that.

When I picked up the Switch – only about six months ago, mind – I got it with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017) (I’ve never seen my not-into-gaming partner play a game more), The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (2017), Hollow Knight (2017) and Doom (2017). Now, when it comes to Doom (2017), I was skeptical as best. How can such a graphically impressive, awe-inspiring, heavy metal headache inducing, terrifyingly fast demon killing simulator work on such a little console? Trust me, I was pleasantly surprised. Doom (2017) on the Switch not only runs absolutely amazingly but it looks on par with the PS4 version! There are graphical downgrades here and there but nowhere near enough to make me feel betrayed.

Following on from Doom (2017), I picked up The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2017) (if you keep releasing it, I’ll keep buying it till the end of time) and I managed to get my hands on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017) as well. We can all agree that these games are graphical beasts of pure grace. To be able to play them on the Switch, literally anywhere, honestly got me back into gaming. Imagine for me, the satisfaction of playing Doom (2017) on the real-life Hell that is public transport.

So here we are. In truth, I never thought I’d get back into gaming. At one point, I was this close to trading in my PlayStation 4 at my local GameStop. (You can’t see me, of course, but trust me, I was close). Then I went on a whim and picked up this little handheld indie machine that allowed me to take out my pent up rage–I mean–use my problem solving skills to slay the hordes of the dead–I mean–play through Doom (2017) on the go. Need I say more? I probably should. Just pick up the Switch. You won’t regret it and neither will your anger management therapist. (ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, JOANNE?)

 

The Off-Centred Earth Mage, known as Thomas Kearns-Horan in some parts of the world, or The Vague Maker of References in even darker places,  can be found in any second-hand bookshop, game store, and occasionally the odd forest. Check in on his escapades here @thomasK_H for a bit of a laugh, and the odd dog photo.

 

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Categories: Opinion

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4 replies »

  1. Really enjoyed reading this, a great share. Glad to hear that the Switch saved your gaming career too! Somehow in my 35+ years of gaming, I never quite got to the point where I said I was too busy for games altogether (though there were some lulls). I think I just was resigned that I’d sacrifice sleep to game, even if it was just a 30-60 minute session. Probably not the best health choice, but gaming is also therapeutic for me, and helps smooth out a stressful day.

    I still haven’t picked up a Switch (though I have 2 sealed games for it sitting in my possession) – as I keep waiting for a cool special edition or the next gen model. But I’ll get one eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve told myself the same “too old, no time” story over and over, but that will all fade away when Metroid comes out, just sayin. I already hear the call of Octopath Traveler, but Metroid will put me over the edge and I will likely end up with a Switch.

    Like

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