Have Yourself, a Merry Little Switchmas: Why you should pick up a Switch if you haven’t yet

The other day I was in Target with my dad buying Christmas lights as we started prepping for the holiday season. At 21 I’d gotten used to gambit of “What do you want for Christmas?”  over the years my selection grew more mature and sophisticated (I think I actually wrote Roche Brother’s gift cards so I could get groceries), but I don’t feel that way this year. This year, I’m hopped on the band wagon and told my dad I liked the Nintendo Switch and thought it was a really cool system– he scoffed at me and brushed it off, saying he preferred the PS4 to, “just another Mario system.”

While he’s not wrong about that, I felt hurt that he brushed it off so callously. Not a sort of, that’s nice or you can buy that with your own money, but an answer filled with… almost disgust. I know it’s silly to get all worked up about something so trivial, but when I backed up my case, saying a ton of my friends play the Switch, he again just gave me rude remarks.

I’ve played bits and pieces of the Switch library thanks to some friends:

Mario Odyssey is incredibly fun and the worlds are gorgeous. The base game isn’t too long, but with 999 moons to collect, you’ll be busy for a while.

Snipperclips is silly and cute. That’s really all I’ve got. As the younger sibling, my childhood was filled with backseat-gaming and begging for co-op modes. Snipperclips delivers in a cute little package.

Stardew Valley is on the Switch. Let me say that again Stardew Valley is on the Switch. It’s similar to Harvest Moon apparently (I never played Harvest Moon), but I’ll take people’s word for it. Anyways… farming? Mining? Romancing? Building friendship? Betraying your loved ones for corporate greed? Any of that sound interesting?? Get it!

Just Dance 2017 made me want to get up and move for the first time in years. It’s not a secret, I’m a little tubby, but the only exercise I ever really enjoyed was dancing, problem is, it’s incredibly hard to get over that anxiety hurdle and actually do it. Now you’re saying there’s a game that only gently judges you AND has choreography already made? Sign me up!

And finally, Zelda.

I don’t like Zelda. We didn’t really click much when I was growing up.

As stated above, my dad really isn’t fond of Nintendo so while everyone else grew up on the Gamecube and Wii, I had the Playstation 1/2/3 and Xbox (360)… I should confess I did own a Wii and a Wii U, but had no one to really play with.

So I never really had a chance to play Zelda. It was always daunting and massive and I frustrating. I attempted Ocarina of Time and after sinking 10 hours into the game (9.5 of which were accompanied with a walkthrough), I gave up.

I did enjoy A Link Between Worlds, but from what I gather, it’s hard to dislike that game. Now, back to Zelda.

Breath of the Wild is a fantastic game. It’s still hard and frustrating and massive (oh boy is it massive), but if you’re stuck you’re not locked into a certain area. I personally struggled with the Zora guardian so just said fuck it and went to the Rivali. Now I can make air shafts under where I stand and it’s pretty incredible.

I would love to have a Switch if only for Zelda. I only got my one guardian freed, but my experiences up until that point solidified it as one of my games of the year.

Without getting too in-depth about that, because maybe you’ll hear from me again on the subject (MAYBE), I leave you all with this. As someone who doesn’t own a Switch… it’s worth it. It made me like games I didn’t before, gave me an opportunity to play cooperatively, and made me want to get up and move. And let’s not forget that Pokemon will be phased out of 3DS in the next generation, finding its new home on the Switch. Fire Emblem game coming soon? Access to more triple A titles and (N)indies galore.

Original Art by: Cuteosphere

If you can, buy a Switch. Take it from someone who doesn’t have one.

Overwatch Toxicity and You

There is really no need to ever get mad at a game.  Okay, correction, there is usually no need to get mad at a game.  Frustrating things happen, you get titled, a certain player isn’t pulling their weight, you’ve been put in a lobby with a dreaded thrower… I’m looking at you Overwatch.  You?  Yes, you.

I really enjoy playing Overwatch, like a lot- not like it was one of the only games I owned on my PC or anything, but I really like it.  It’s just cool to be a part of the team, and know that victory is only possible if everyone works together.  Unfortunately, that’s the dream, and not always the reality.

In truth, Overwatch is at times an extremely toxic environment.  It is ripe with anger, hostility, irrational thinking, and people who are so quick to pit the blame on their teammates.  It’s not fun being on the receiving end of these comments or just being a bystander to it all.  It sucks and it’s just not fun.

Most people play games to get away from it all, to just relax and wind down after a long day.  Unless your career is Overwatch, then I guess you just play for a living.  Truth be told though, the majority of people are not playing Overwatch for a career, most people are in the huge percentage of people who just play for fun, enjoying a bit of competitive play every once in a while, but then that’s the part most people seem to forget; the whole “fun” aspect.

There’s just no need to get so mad about something so small in the grand scheme of things.  It’s not your job to play Overwatch, so why waste energy getting mad at something you have no control over.

I don’t have the best internet in the world (there’s a reason I don’t host the streams on the Lifecast), so I know I’m not alone when a ping spike can ruin your good time.  It’s tilting, but I find too often that everyone else is madder at my inability to play than I am at my internet.

In the past, I’ve always ignored the onslaught of insults I have gotten from picking a certain hero, or from my inability to properly play because of my connection, or even just from not playing terribly great for any number of reasons.  It doesn’t help me feel better that you’re yelling and honestly, I can’t imagine it helps you much either.

So, then that begs the question, why get mad in the first place?  That’s a question easier asked than answered.  I know I can’t just hardwire everyone’s brains to be nicer to each other, but I can ask people to just step back for a moment and really think if being mad is worth it.  I mean honestly, your either mad at someone else, or yourself, neither of which is worth the time or the energy- especially since it would be negative energy.

It’s exhausting being mad.  Like, truly tiring and draining and it’s just not fun and it’s not worth it.  It makes you mad, it makes everyone else uncomfortable and mad, it’s a vicious cycle of anger and frustration and it needs to stop.

I’ve stated before that ignoring the toxicity can work, but it only works for so long.  You need to step up, take a moment to breathe and ask if it’s worth it.  Probably not, right?  So, then what can you do to be a better team player, and less toxic person in the gaming community.  Well, I’m glad you asked.

1.) If you’re not in a good mood don’t play.

It seems easy enough on paper, but having restraint and knowing your own limits is huge.  I know that when I’m not feeling right I don’t want to make other people feel bad.  So, next time you feel like crap maybe don’t pick up a team-based game.  Might I suggest a nice single player immersion game?

2.) Get up and go for a walk.

You don’t have to go on a vision quest or run around the block a dozen times, but just get up from your computer and walk- to the fridge, to get a snack, to the grocery store, across town- pull yourself out of the gaming mindset even just for a few minutes and focus on something else.  It’s amazing what going to make a nice little meal can do for your psyche.  Who knows maybe you’ll go back to your game with a clear head and a full belly

3.) Try not to get tilted- and if you do, don’t let other people know.

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t offer constructive criticism, but you can do it in a more delicate way.  A friendly suggestion is A-Okay, but screaming and swearing is not.  Just don’t do it.  It is fine to be mad or disappointed, but pitting the blame on others just lowers team morale and that’s no good for anyone.

4.) Stop blaming others and start blaming yourself.

Okay, let me rephrase that.  Instead of constantly blaming your teammates and pointing out their flaws, maybe acknowledge that you’re not perfect either.  We all make mistakes, even professionals mess up and that’s okay, but it’s not okay to get so absurdly angry.

 

And finally, …

5.) Stop playing.

You don’t have to stop entirely, but if it’s too much just stop.  It’s not worth getting mad over and even worse, hurting yourself or others.  If you are so mad about losing some rank in competitive, then just stop.  Turn off the game, pick up something different, go out for a bit, or nap… personally I always recommend naps.

 

Getting mad is no good when playing games, so maybe next time you feel a little flustered of find yourself trying to bite your tongue… or if it’s too late and you’ve already succumbed to the evil that is toxicity, consider these strategies to chill out and cool off any hot-headed feelings.

And remember, it’s just a game.  🙂

Nintendogs: Man’s Best Friend, Loyal to the End

In 2005 and 2006 a little game called Nintendogs took the handheld gaming world by storm.  Such a simple idea, taking care of virtual puppies, the idea had been done before, but most of those games had an ending; ultimately there was a way for the game to end whether it be training the dog after a certain amount of time or completing mundane care tasks with little reward.  Then the Nintendo DS artfully used its stylus and touch screen to create an interactive environment in which the person behind the screen acted more as an actual owner and less of an errand boy.

First of all, you got to pick your own dog.  You were given enough money to pick whichever dog you wanted that was available in your specific game.  Then you got to name it, feed it, give it water, give it baths, make sure they were happy and energized with toys and walks.  You can could teach your puppy tricks and even train it for competitions.  You could make your dog a pro athletics champ or maybe just dress them up and take them out on walks hoping for a special mystery gift to show off your doggy prowess to your friends who also had the game.

The game offered tons of opportunities to redecorate the house, dress your pup up, and become a competition champion.  The only real end goal was maxing out the trainer points which were earned while playing the game, but in the end there were always the dogs to take care of.  The puppies always needed to be fed, given water, washed and walked at the very least.  There was always something to do in Nintendogs; so why do so why are so many puppies left abandoned?

It is really sad when you think about it, the puppies being left all alone with only themselves or maybe they have a friend or two to play with.  They’ll be parched, starving, and filthy with flies jumping off of them, but they’ll slowly walk up to the screen begging for a bit of love and attention.  It’s almost heartbreaking going back to an abandoned Nintendogs game, simply because they don’t die; they just wait.

It could be said that this style of punishment is used in other games, but in games like Animal Crossing the villagers move away if you don’t keep up with them.  That would almost be better than the Nintendogs treatment.  Yes the dogs run away, but that actually only happens if the game is left on.  If that game isn’t played the dogs are left in a state of abandonment, still growing hungrier, thirstier, and dirtier with each passing day.

 

Thinking about the dogs being left to just wait reminds me of that one story, Hachi: a Dog’s Tale, the story of a very loyal dog who constantly waited at the train station for his master so that they could come home, but after the master dies while at work, Hachi finds himself waiting still for him to come to the train station, leaving Hachi to wait for the rest of his life.  He was so loyal he couldn’t bear to leave his spot.

You can’t really ever hurt your Nintendog.  They can get “sick,” but there isn’t a risk of losing them.  They just look a little off for the rest of the walk after they eat trash, but after a few paces they’re back to their chirper selves.  You can tug their leash a little too tight, but they only whimper for a second then they bark with joy.  You can tug their paw a little too hard and it prompts a sneeze or they dance a bit jumping back and forth on their paws, but you can never really hurt them at all.  They don’t hold a grudge over anything that their owner does or doesn’t do; they just continue to wait for love and attention, even if it’s the form of a few style taps on the screen.  Give them food, water, a bath, maybe even a walk; make your Nintendog’s day, they’ve only been waiting ten years.

nintendogs wikia
Image from Nintendogs Wikia