In the beginning
One of my favorite childhood memories is when I was in elementary school and one of those catalog sales campaigns went around with the ability to sell enough product to earn yourself some cool stuff. The biggest prize of all that I had my eyes set on was a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System. You know, that big grey box that took cartridges of games in all their 8-bit glory. I went door to door in my neighborhood, around the blocks of family members, and to every office at my parents work to finally be able to claim my NES. From the first time I played Mario Bros, I was hooked.
I can remember days where my little brother and I would start playing a game before school, turn the TV off while letting the Nintendo sit patiently for us to return to finish that level. This was the days before saves or the Game Genie, of course, so you had no choice but to leave that brick on and keep a fan pointed at it just for good measure if you wanted to continue the game where you left off. Let’s face it, Nintendo changed my life forever.
Eventually, we were upgraded to the Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis, and a few years down the road a Nintendo 64 and friends who had moved on to the Sega CD. When I was in my first few years of the Marine Corps, I purchased a new Game Cube and soon after a Sega Dreamcast. This is about when I left Mario for shooters and RPG’s—something that Nintendo just hadn’t created a huge fan base out of.
While I did get my hands on a Gameboy when I made my first deployment to Iraq, it was purely for convenience and strictly to stem boredom. Over the first decade of the 21st Century, I and many people my age had moved on to Xboxes and Playstations and never looked back. We were in a new age of video gaming and expected a AAA title to come out every month or so that would keep us engaged long enough for the next one to come out. They got us: hook, line, and sinker.
Unfortunately Nintendo never really caught up. The Wii and the second gen Wii-U didn’t market to us for many reasons. As cute and fun as Pokemon could be, nothing could beat the amazing graphics that console and PC gamers could get out of a mobile platform. In reality, if I wanted to play a mobile game, we are in a stage of technology where I can pull out my phone and get a quick gaming fix.
Back to the Future
Just a few weeks ago, Nintendo changed that. A few months before that, I saw a video introducing the Switch. It was a dockable gaming tablet that plays full HD graphics in my hands as well as on the big screen, depending on where I needed it to go. No longer would a graphically stunning game be restricted to having what amounts to a small computer connected to my television or exclusively on an expensive gaming rig at my desk. I had to have one. But being the logical purchaser that I like to be, I held off until the bugs got all worked out. Unfortunately, my wife caught wind of this and needed it as bad as I did—but I was not about to scour eBay for something at twice the price for something like this. Sorry internet; I’m not biting.
As luck would have it, I read an article on Forbes that hinted at Gamestops getting a few Switch consoles in on a Wednesday, the 22nd of March. Conveniently, I just happened to be on leave. There I was when the doors to my local store opened that morning and patiently waited with four other eager customers who picked up on the news as well. The UPS delivery guy came in almost two hours later with a total of five lovely boxes of this new video game system. Huzzah! I walked out of the store like a fat kid at a cake festival and headed home to unbox this machine. Happiness ensued for many hours after this and now almost a week later I have found myself playing Zelda: The Call of the Wild more often than I logged into EVE Online.
Having not played a Zelda game or used a Nintendo console since The Minnish Cap, I was unbelievably impressed at how engrossed I was in the world of Hyrule. I could now take Link beyond the story line and find my own way in the game. Even though there are several other consoles in my house to play, no other title has grabbed me as much as this has in years. When Mrs. Decadence wanted to just go watch a TV show in bed, I would pull the Switch out of its dock and seamlessly continue, propped up against a pillow. Right now, Link is sitting in my backpack waiting for me to get back to saving Princess Zelda during my breaks and lunch at work. I’m in love with Nintendo all over again.
Yes, at launch the Switch doesn’t have very many titles, but the promise of games like Sonic and Mario Galaxy has me baited. In the meantime, I am absolutely happy with the promise of a new kind of gaming and can’t wait to see the direction that Nintendo is headed in. EVE Online will still see love from me, but I might have to scout out some extra time in my busy schedule to jump into a new adventure from time to time. Now, to play some Zelda.