Let there be no question here: I love Nintendo. Though I own all of the consoles, game across all of them, and generally abhor the fanboy mentality of console wars, I typically prefer Nintendo above all others. If I were to show you the bedroom of this 35 year old adult male you might be horrified or delighted to see every square inch filled with my favorite junk dedicated to my favorite hobby, most of it Nintendo.
I was one of those rare fans of the Wii U who felt it was system worth a purchase for the stellar game library alone. I enjoyed the aspect of the machine that allowed me to enjoy off TV play the most; something that gets a lot of use in a house with one TV, but also filled with two children and a spouse. Gaming time can then be a premium, something oft played in the wee hours of the night after the children have gone to bed and my wife has fallen asleep while watching TV. There I choose between getting 8 hours of shut eye, or enjoying my favorite hobby, typically the latter winning out.
The Wii U had its own set of problems that I also recognized, and often I fantasized that I could take that Wii U gamepad anywhere, or that off screen worked for every game. A lot of times some games required that you play with both, or at the very least when you were relegated to one screen you lost a lot feature wise. I also thought the Gamepad itself felt cheap, and the system’s UI was slow and clunky. It got better as the system got on in years, but it was never snappy.
Imagine my joy and delight when I heard the rumors, and then saw them confirmed during that first sneak peek trailer. Here was a system that took the best part of the Wii U and ratcheted it up to a thousand: a system that could be both a portable and home console system. I was enraptured by the idea, so much so that myself and other friends had a watch party late at night for the full announcement briefing in January of 2017. Watching that briefing I was overjoyed at what I saw, if not a little concerned at a few of the more casual games. When they announced my most anticipated game ever, Breath of the Wild, was coming out as a launch title with the system; well, I lost my mind a little.
Knowing how Nintendo had operated with amiibo and the classic systems I knew that these systems would be almost impossible to get your hands on day one. The day that the console went up for preorder I got up at 4AM and met my brother outside of GameStop in freezing weather, bundled up head to toe, and waited for nearly 6 hours for the store to open. We watched videos with another individual as insane as we were, as the Treehouse was running a stream showing off some of the games. Legs numb from the cold and hands barely able to grip our phones, we gaped and marveled over games like Breath of the Wild and ARMS as we impatiently awaited the opening of the store. Most importantly I managed to be awake early enough that when the Breath of the Wild Collector’s Edition went live I was able to instantly snag one.
Just a few scant months later my brother and I showed back up at the Midnight Launch event for that GameStop, which was one of the most fun events I’d been to since the Smash Brothers 3DS release. They had pizza, drinks, and a ton of Nintendo nerds on hand eager to get a hold of their system. My brother managed to place first in the Mario Kart tournament they had, with myself narrowly losing to him and pulling down second place. I also held my own against a tournament Smash Brothers player in the Smash tournament they had running, though he ultimately proved my better.
Finally the time came and the store began handing out the systems. The attitude was electric as we all rushed to our vehicles and headed back to our homes. There are few feelings as exciting as hooking up a brand new gaming system to your TV, but this was immensely heightened by the fact that I would also be playing my most anticipated game on it that very night. I had taken the next day off of work and in a rare moment of blissful irresponsibility, stayed up all night doing nothing but playing Breath of the Wild.
The following months I wouldn’t pick up another console’s controller, I was absolutely glued to my Switch. It went with me to parties where I would bring out 1, 2, Switch, and my more casual family would laugh and play. When I was at home Joy-Cons were constantly split up to play Snipperclips. My evening gaming hours were filled with Zelda on my TV, and those moments when my kids insisted on watching a cartoon show, or my wife wanted to watch her latest angsty teen drama on TV, I would continue my adventure. Those moments we as a gaming community had rolled our eyes at when we saw the console’s teaser trailer happened on a daily basis.
Little did I know that this was just the opening salvo of an amazing year for Nintendo. Join me tomorrow as I talk about every Switch retail game I played in 2017, and keep coming back for a full week of content while Home Button celebrates the Nintendo Switch’s one year anniversary.