Respite and repeat

The Nintendo Switch Neon

Every Friday when work’s done, I look forward to a weekend of rest and spending more time with my family. A respite from my somewhat strict daily routine that I stick to since I started working for my new company. On repeat for the past several months now, while I have yet to get used to wearing a face mask the whole day and the occasional face shield when going to public places. I’m not complaining though, I’m thankful that I have work and enjoy what I do. And whenever I’m home and my wife’s busy tending to her plants, that’s my cue to grab my Nintendo Switch and play for an hour or two of my favorite games.

Back when I was working the graveyard shift in a call center serving US customers, my weekend translates to being the only one awake while everyone’s sleeping, and so I spent sleepless nights playing my favorite PC games. I’m a casual gamer but when I got introduced to Will Wright’s SimCity, an open-ended city-building video game where you get to play as mayor (more like a god) with an empty land as your canvas for designing it to a sprawling city to your liking, I got hooked! This naturally got me playing the original The Sims, an all-time bestselling life simulation game, like a micro version of SimCity where you get to recreate a version of yourself and manage a household. I actually bought a bundled version with all the expansion packs but couldn’t play anymore due to compatibility issues. I tried playing the current version on my son’s PS4, I gave up as it took me an hour just to figure out the controls haha.

Installing then playing The Sims 4 on my son's PS4.

Both simulation series are essentially sandbox games, there are no goals or definite ending, so I found myself spending even more hours playing the original StarCraft and its Brood War expansion. Aside from getting curious about the stories, each campaign’s getting harder and harder to finish. I then tried the popular hack-and-slash Diablo game but couldn’t play much since I got busier with work. I bought my kids their first PlayStation (PS2) and later a Nintendo Wii, which brought us playing together, including my wife, every weekend or every chance we get. The PlayStation Portable (PSP) back then made it possible to bring your games with you. Now I got two that are no longer used and are probably no longer working. Sony has since discontinued producing the PSP for years now. Perhaps it couldn’t compete with the versatility being offered by the Nintendo Switch.

Last year when the global pandemic started and cities were quarantined or locked down, people were looking for stuff to do or gadgets to buy to get entertained. All of a sudden the Nintendo Switch became a must-have yet hard to find, has almost doubled in price when the new Animal Crossing model was released, and went out of stock for several weeks. The new PS5, which came out late last year, was even harder to score due to inventory issues at launch, and resellers were having a field day selling it at ridiculously high prices to gamers with the cash to spend.

I somehow knew that’s going to happen so I bought my Nintendo Switch when I chanced upon a neon version still at SRP on Facebook Marketplace. I guess it’s the 3-modes-in-1 that lured many like me to get it. You can bring it with you and play it handheld, on a tabletop and share with others, or full screen on a TV.

The Nintendo Switch on tabletop for watching and sharing.

Because The Sims is still my all-time favorite PC game, I of course played Animal Crossing: New Horizon, which had a record-breaking release during the pandemic, widely praised by critics and gamers, having won several awards and recognitions. It’s actually the main reason I bought the Nintendo Switch, thus I call it the pandemic game, for getting hooked by the Nook. When you’re swamped with work and you have a hectic schedule that’s on repeat, don’t you want to take a respite and hop into your very own island and have fun with funny-looking animal friends? You’ll have to play it to really appreciate the game. I also have my fair share of Mario time in between.

Now don’t be surprised if you find more grown-ups like me carrying a Nintendo Switch than kids. Take the time off from work especially when it’s getting too tough for you, we all deserve a respite from the repeat.


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