The Nintendo Switch Changed My Game

I’m not a social gamer. Even when I was playing World of Warcraft, I didn’t really play with “people.” For all I cared, I was content paying $15 a month to play by myself. And I did this. I did this for years. Then the Nintendo Switch came about.

I remember a year ago when Nintendo first previewed the Nintendo Switch. I had already written them off as done. The Wii ultimately fizzled out and the Wii U was a mess from day one. So when Nintendo announced the Switch I remember calling my dad the morning after. The phone call went like this

Me: So Nintendo announced a new gaming machine for your TV. And when you are done playing it on the TV you can rip it from the TV and it is a portable gaming machine. And when you want to play on a table, you can rip the controls off and use a controller. And when you want to play with friends you can rip that controller in two and now you have two controllers.

Dad hangs up on his crazy son.

It was nearly impossible to explain to someone who didn’t see it.

I preordered one. I didn’t think that I would, but on the pre-order morning, I said what the hell. It delivered just days before I was flying to Japan so I made sure I had room to carry it on the plane. I hadn’t played Zelda on a plane since Oracle of Ages on the Game Boy, and here I was playing a full on HD Zelda game.

And then I didn’t really touch it until Splatoon 2. This was Nintendo’s first attempt at showing us online play. And as far as social went, they blew it. The ability to play with your friends online was nowhere to be found and there was no local multiplayer.

But then something happened: in October we finally started getting a bunch of good indie games. This inspired me to take it to Tennessee where I was playing Arms with a friend I had just met in the backseat of a car on a road trip to the Smokey Mountains. Since then my Nintendo Switch has not had a chance to gather dust again.

I started taking my Nintendo Switch to work. It’s small and a decent carrying case and HDMI adaptor can be bought for relatively cheap. So now my coworkers and I can gather around in a conference room and play whatever game we want.

For those curious, our favorite four-player game is Overcooked, which launched super buggy on the Nintendo Switch but has since been fixed. Our favorite two-player game is Super Mario: Odyssey.

Basically, I have created a Slack channel at work called #switch and we make sure at least one person brings a Switch to the office and then we have a recurrent meeting booking a conference room on Friday evening and we all gather around. All are welcome.

And if we’re playing Overcooked? We gather around and scream at each other. It’s great.

I’ve always heard of people having these fun moments with Nintendo games, but those situations never seemed like something I could do. Between consoles being a thing that is pretty much hard-wired into the back of a TV where cable-hell-incarnate lives and all the other staples of console gaming, making these moments possible required a lot of planning. The Nintendo Switch makes it work on a much easier spontaneous level.

I’m looking forward to pass-and-playing Battle Chef Brigade this week.