Despite having been stuck at home during the past year with COVID-19 restrictions in place, my gaming backlog stayed on pause. Simply because my gaming PC and PS4 are 12000 km away from me, which makes them quite hard to use! But as time passed on, I needed something to occupy my free time and help me to keep a sane mind. Enter, the Nintendo Switch.

I’ve never really owned a Nintendo console. I was a SEGA Mega Drive fan and moved on to Sony’s PlayStation series of consoles after that. It’s not that I had any real dislike for Nintendo’s systems. I loved all the franchises and enjoyed them on the odd occasion I’d play any of the games. But, for some reason they just never seemed to grab me as much as I expected them too.

Fast-forward to 2020 and a little game came out called Animal Crossing New Horizons which just exploded in popularity. It came at the perfect time, with most people stuck indoors and looking for something to distract them from all the stress and worry caused by 2020. It was the perfect game at the perfect time.

So that meant of course that I was intrigued. After all, I couldn’t exactly play anything on my PC and PS4 halfway across the world. And as my hopes to return home to China slowly began to fade, there was a lot of anxiety and worry that I needed to somehow balance. So I grabbed a Switch console and Animal Crossing as soon as online stock was available, and a few days later I was unwrapping my shiny new console and downloading Animal Crossing New Horizons.

I’m not going to get too deep into the hardware itself, this isn’t a review after all, and the Switch has been out for several years now, but I do want to mention just how wonderful it is to use. The design of the menus and sounds are immaculate. Every interaction with the system sparks a smile or some enjoyment. It’s definitely a Nintendo product in that regard!

Being able to game with it as a portable system or in docked mode under my TV has been a lifesaver. With frequent loadshedding in South Africa, there were plenty of times I needed to make use of its battery in portable mode. The games on the system have been wonderful as well. I’ve picked up several Nintendo franchises as well as a mix of JRPGs and indie titles. It’s the perfect mix of the indie games I used to love on the PS Vita and bigger titles like Super Mario Odyssey and Dragon Quest XI.

I’ve become such a fan of the system that I’m constantly playing it for several hours until the late evening. The chief culprit in this has been Dragon Quest XI. I was really in the mood for a traditional style JRPG and DQ11 hit the spot perfectly. It’s the first game in absolute ages that’s gotten me to play for long sessions without realising just how much time has passed.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Another quick game I want to highlight is Hyper Light Drifter. It’s one of the most beautiful indie games I’ve seen and played. I know that pixel art games are a dime a dozen these days, but Hyper Light Drifter just seems to be above everything else. The scope of the game is astounding and the gameplay is razor sharp. It’s tough, but rewarding. And the story is presenting in an intriguing way. It’s a definite must-play.

So when all is said and done, Nintendo has helped me immensely in 2020 and so far in 2021. I’ve rediscovered the joy of gaming, and I’m looking forward to putting in plenty of more time with my ever expanding gaming backlog as soon as possible.


I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com.