There is so much negativity in the world around us that I became inspired by a podcast called Wonderful. In it the hosts, a husband and wife duo, bring a few things to the table they love every week. The only purpose? To share the joy of the thing they love, no matter how big or small.
Lately I’ve been rocked by tragedy, and have sunk into depression. Writing helps me cope, and listing the things I’m grateful for, or that I take joy in, can be a reminder that there are little rays of sunshine in my life.
Considering gaming can sometimes be borderline toxic, I just wanted to share the things I love every week, and every week I encourage my readers to share one thing in the comments they love. In order to fully embrace this topic, I decided that in this one regard I would not limit myself to gaming.
Not only do I hope maybe you discover something new to love yourself, but maybe these articles can help to foster discussion and camaraderie on my little corner of the internet. I hope to do at least one of these a week, and they will be as long or as short as they need to be.
That being said I’m going to open up with something gaming related anyway: Nintendo Switch.
I absolutely adore my Nintendo Switch.
True, I’m a big Nintendo fan, and that will likely be a +1 to Joy article down the road, but today I want to talk specifically about the Switch and the happiness it has brought into my life in the just over a year it has been in it.
You can read all about the wonderful launch of the Switch here, or about all the digital games I enjoyed here, or maybe you’d like to figure out what retail games I loved. Well I’m glad you asked, you can find that here. It was a part of a whole week full of coverage I did for the birthday of Nintendo Switch, and I found I was quite happy to relive some of it.
It started with a fantastic experience waiting in line to pre-order the console with my brother, and culminated in a fantastic launch event complete with Smash brothers and Mario Kart tournaments (of which I took home second place). That night I got to play my most anticipated title ever with Breath of the Wild, and was so relieved that it was everything I was hoping for.
Maybe that is one of the reasons I love the Switch, before I even had started playing it the system was bringing me wonderful memories.
The next reason became readily apparent in the days to come, as the novelty of being able to take a huge game like Breath of the Wild on the go became a reality. I didn’t use it to ignore my family, but it allowed me to play the game I was enjoying in little chunks. I would take my Switch to work every single day, and found myself at lunch times journeying across Hyrule. More than once I ended up with an audience, then I would place it in table mode and disconnect the Joy-Cons.
Allowing me to choose when and where I wanted to play my games gave me a new freedom to simply play more. I have two kids and a wife, and so inevitably there are moments where the TV is taken with something I find of no interest. In these moments I don’t have to have a secondary portable game, I can keep enjoying whatever game I’m currently playing, completely seamlessly to boot. This is further made convenient by being able to put it into and out of sleep mode at a whim, letting me jump into experiences in a moments notice. When you have limited gaming time, anything that allows you to get straight to it is a welcome thing.
I started to be a walking commercial for the Switch, bringing it and the wonderful Snipperclips game to work and splitting out the Joy-Cons to play with a friend on break. This just hadn’t been possible before, unless you knew somebody who had a 3DS and the same game, and that was extremely rare. Here someone with even the most basic of interests could join in. I was flabbergasted months later when I ended up with an impromptu four person Mario Kart 8 race, and while it would have of course been better on a TV, it never would have happened without the Switch.
When I spent a week in a hospital waiting room waiting for my father to recover my Switch was there. My brother owns one as well and we would huddle around them in those bleak moments when hours stretched into days, my mother even getting in on the action with some Puyo Puyo Tetris, welcome distractions from our worry.
After Dad died, Super Mario Odyssey came out, and to see this little bundle of joy in my hand and experience it anywhere allowed me to go away to a place filled with more sunshine then I could currently experience in my daily life. Seeing that little plumber smile and hear his joy filled wahoos was something I desperately needed.
It went with me on the trip to Blizzcon, and made hours in airports, on planes, and in line simply fade away as I played ARMs, Mario Kart 8, and a host of other games with my brother. At that same convention it started conversations, impromptu gaming sessions, and seemed to draw most everyone out of their shells. It is hard to be shy when everyone is laughing and playing a game together, and I formed online friendships I still maintain because of it.
None of that is to mention how insanely easy it has made playing with my family. The Joy-Cons provide a whole host of options for control, and allow me with just two sets and a Pro controller to have a full configuration for my family. The connections are simple, the choice makes it accessible to anyone, and the concept just simply works.
When we first saw that concept trailer for the Switch, we as a community collectively rolled our eyes. We all knew that there was no way we would use this handheld in this way. After all, handhelds are typically a very personal thing, and though they have had multiplayer in the past, it is typically one person huddled over a screen. The Switch brings people together, it makes those experiences mobile, and against all odds I find myself using it in the way Nintendo had shown us in that original trailer all the time.
I love video games, and the Switch lets me take that love everywhere. More importantly, it lets me share that love easily with others. In just one year it has been responsible for some of the best gaming moments of my life, and has been there for me on some of the most trying days.
Thanks Nintendo, for helping me to level up my happiness.
What makes you happy this week? Pizza? Rollerskating? A new video game? Please share with me in the comments below. Let’s talk about the happy things, the things we love.
Have a great day!