I’m primarily an Xbox player, but my gaming roots started with Nintendo. I’ll never forget the day my grandmother gave me an NES when I was two. The console came with Super Mario Bros., and the rest, as they say, was history. Nintendo has always been a vital part of my life. Despite diving into Xbox and PlayStation over the past few years, Nintendo plays an essential role in my family’s interaction. My grandmother (when she was alive) lost one of her legs. She spent a lot of time on a chair, unable to get around without assistance. One Christmas, we decided to get her a Wii, primarily for Bowling in Wii Sports. She unwrapped the console, we plugged it in, and we were surprised at how quickly she adjusted to the innovative console.
The Wii became a focal part of our family’s gatherings. My grandmother loved the Wii. We played it often until last year when she, unfortunately, passed away. She was the woman who introduced me to video games, so it felt great to do the same thing for her. Nintendo gets a lot of unwarranted hate. Sure, the Wii and Wii U were underpowered consoles compared to Microsoft’s and Sony’s machines, but they were innovative. The unique experience put Nintendo far above the competition. When the Switch launched, I purchased two consoles: one for myself and the other for my parents. They enjoyed Mario Kart 8 to the point where they took my Wii U to play it. I wanted to avoid the same situation, so I knew it was wise to get them their own Switch.
Who would’ve known that Nintendo’s hybrid console would be what brought us closer together since the Wii? I’d say it’s my fault that the family grew apart. After all, I took losing my grandmother the toughest. As someone who hates sharing feelings, I spent a lot of time with friends (including some Enthusiast writers) to take my mind off the loss. Interestingly enough, I just didn’t want to talk to my family about how I was feeling. I became reclusive at times, while other instances found me faking happiness to avoid conversation. All of that changed in March 2017, when Nintendo launched the Switch.
I purchased a handful of games (Breath of the Wild, Super Bomberman R, and Snipperclips) for myself and a few (1-2 Switch, Just Dance 2018) for my parents. The month after, I bought two copies of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the household and Puyo Puyo Tetris for my mom. They know how much I love video games, and while we used to play together, we stopped doing so. It was clear to me that they wanted to play more games, but didn’t know where to jump in. When Puyo Puyo Tetris launched, I taught them how to play, and watched as they had a blast. Every single day, my parents would sit down and play an hour or two of the hectic puzzler. I could hear them laugh, scream, and have fun from my room, and it made me happy.
One day, they asked if I wanted to join them in Puyo Puyo Tetris, and I said yes. Not to sound conceited, but I didn’t want to play at first because I knew I would win. I watched them play, and I saw that they didn’t utilize all the gameplay mechanics. My parents get frustrated at times when they lose, and I didn’t want to add to that anger. Regardless, I played with them, I won, and to my surprise, they wanted to keep playing. We played for hours, and despite winning every game, they had a blast. It was something we hadn’t done in years, but it felt great. I loved being able to spend time with my parents playing an awesome video game.
We play often. At least once a week, we play Puyo Puyo Tetris and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. We’re anticipating Super Mario Party in October. The Switch did something that Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both failed to do. The console got a family that needed to interact with each other to have a great time. We installed party games like The Jackbox Party Pack on my parents’ Switch to bring to family gatherings. Some of my extended family don’t have video game consoles, so bringing the Switch to events, popping out the kickstand, and having impromptu gaming sessions have become the norm during gatherings. I went from someone who dreaded family events because of awkward conversations and the occasional argument to someone who loves going to my aunt’s house because we’re going to laugh and have a memorable time with the Switch.
I asked my mom why she likes playing the Switch. She told me that she loves the ease of use and the accessibility. It’s not overwhelming like other consoles, and she likes that the controllers are more comfortable to use. The thing my mom likes the most is that it provides a way to unwind, have fun, and give my family quality time with each other. My views of the Switch vary. The games are stellar, the innovation is fantastic, and the portability makes it the best on-the-go console ever made. While I look towards my other consoles for their technical prowess, Switch has done so much more than those consoles will ever do.
I’m at the point in my gaming career where I’m contemplating what platforms I buy my games on. For example, I really want Overcooked 2. My friends have it on Xbox One, but I think it’ll be cool to introduce a different type of game to my parents. Overcooked 2 is the type of game that is easy to pick up, difficult to master, but fun for a group of people to play. I want my parents to experience games outside of their comfort zone. The Switch is the console that has the power to do that. Nintendo created a console that has given me hours of joy alone, but also one that has created countless memories. My gaming career started with Nintendo, and I’m happy that my love for the company is continuing 26 years later. Thank you, Nintendo, for the memories, the games, and ultimately, for bringing me closer to my family during a time when I needed it.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89