I’ve had my Switch for over a year now and I’ve really enjoyed it. The strange thing I recently noticed though, is that I only have four games for it. That’s not a lot. Especially for having it for a while. Altogether I have the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, and Stardew Valley.
And that’s the order I got them in. And two of those were actually Christmas presents. You see, for a long time my brother has lived on the opposite side of the country from the rest of the family. So last year, when he got a chance to, he came to visit in October. Since was a cook in a major hotel, Christmas break isn’t really a thing because of all the winter tourists on their Christmas breaks. So October is when he had the chance to come and visit. We decided to have a family Christmas while he was down: do the gift exchange and everything since there wasn’t going to be another chance that year. I literally carved a pumpkin the day before he arrived and the day after he arrived we were all unwrapping Christmas presents. That’s when I got my second two Switch games.
I got Breath of the Wild when I bought my Switch that…August. Give me a second, I’m actually going to check my Youtube channel because I did an unboxing of it. Yep. Middle of August. Because work was driving me mad. I think I’ve gotten a little distracted…
So from August to October I played Zelda exclusively because 1. Only game I have. And 2. Massive game that I absolutely loved.
Then we hit middle/end of October and this family Christmas. On the gift day I unwrap Mario Kart 8 from my parents. Aka, my mother took me to the game section of the local Wal-Mart, I pointed out a couple of games that I wouldn’t mind having, and she picked on. This is actually a relatively consistent thing when it comes to me having a game system I’m actually playing. I’ve done this a couple of times with my Wii, and 3DS, so the Switch was just normal.
As much as I enjoyed the races in Mario Kart, and the battle mode, its hard to play it for a long time when you are the only player. It really is designed more to be a multi-player thing that you do with friends. And at that point I didn’t really have any.
Actually, now that I think about it I could pick up some extra joycons and through a Mario Kart party since I have people I might actually be able to talk into playing with me. Suddenly I have a new plan. Especially since the new Mario Party released back in October. I could just throw an actual Mario Party. (Okay, off topic I know but this is one of the reasons I’m literally writing this blog. I figure out so much more when I’m writing it down and the things I’ve figured out about myself and my relationships has actually been fascinating and helpful).
Needless to say, and don’t tell my parents this, but I played Mario Kart for all of a week as I tried all the races and battle modes. Then the game got shelved. It kinda just reminded me how lonely I felt.
Skyrim though. Skyrim was different. I didn’t unwrap Skyrim on that family Christmas day. The Switch version wasn’t out yet. I opened a Christmas bag to find a pair of socks from my brother’s work place (Side note: BEST SOCKS EVER. THEY ARE SO FUZZY I LOVE THEM!) and a receipt. He had preordered the game for me. It came out that November. I was so excited.
And I sucked at it.
It turns out I’m pretty bad at video games.
I kept dying.
I had to cheese things just to get anywhere.
I never even found the actual main storyline (the civil war one, yeah, that’s how bad at this I was).
Exploring scared me. I didn’t want to do it because I just kept dying.
I gave it a try and then went back to replay Breath of the Wild. I never told my brother how badly I failed at a game I wanted so badly.
The thing is, I don’t know why I reacted so negatively to Skyrim. I had the exact same problems with Breath of the Wild and the weapons constantly broke in that one.
Looking back on it, I think I was more prepared for Breath of the Wild’s difficulty. I had heard about it from a lot of reviewers and so I just told myself that I was going to go in, die a lot, and have fun anyway. Skyrim was different. It’s an older game: a lot of people were mad that they rereleased it on Switch rather than making a new Elder Scrolls game entirely. Since I had never had the systems for Elder Scrolls Skyrim was just this cool sounding fantasy game that I had heard cool but vague things about. I thought it was more about role-play which I couldn’t do well if I just constantly kept dying.
I’ve recently given Skyrim a second chance: nearly a year after I first got my hands on it. Why? Well it’s a combination of things. First and foremost was my friend Rachael playing it with her boyfriend. She would tell me about some of the funny inside jokes they made because they did crazy things like walking on water and turning a guard into a sweet roll right after he said the line “Let me guess, someone stole your sweet roll.” Skyrim sounded like the game I actually wanted to play in those stories. I started to figure out that I had been playing it with the wrong mindset. The other reason? Well, that would be game number four: Stardew Valley.
You might be wondering, what does the passion project of a farming simulator that is Stardew Valley have to do with my willingness to try again with Skyrim. Well, I played it. I’ve always loved farming simulators in the vein of the original Harvest Moon games so I finally figured out how to connect my Switch to the Nintendo E-Shop and snatched up Stardew right when work was pushing me to the edge again. (August. It’s always August). And I really enjoyed it. It was nice to get back to the simple side of things, growing crops, taking care of farm animals, mining, and the like. And the new twists of combat, artisan products, and more and more people, well I couldn’t stop playing. I binged it right through and completed the Community Centre.
Then things slowed down. Don’t get me wrong, I use Stardew Valley to unwind but suddenly started craving a game where I could control that speed of action myself. Where I could decide to participate in action packed sections of the main quest at one point then go off side-questing to slow down and get little things done instead. It was a feeling a lot of the Legend of Zelda games used to give me, but I had already played through most of those multiple times. I wanted something different. I wanted to retry Skyrim and have fun this time.
And I am. I care less about dying now. I’ve got a different build going and its working better this time. I’m exploring more and talking to more people. I’m trying new things and killing more dragons. I still accidentally cheese some things (like a troll that got stuck behind an invisible wall so that it couldn’t hit me, but I could totally hit it and come on guys let me have this one). I’m listening to the random dialogue and looking in the out of the way places. I’m trying to climb mountains and oh god sudden dragon—!
I gave a game a second chance because I wasn’t in the right mindset when I originally played it. I’m ready for more of a challenge and to have fun with that challenge. Maybe I’ll get the Switch Dark Souls next. Or maybe I’ll stick with the Mario Party idea first and have some fun with some friends. There’s also Mario Odyssey I haven’t played, Captain Toad, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and tons of indie games. There’s plenty of life in my Switch yet, even if it takes me some time to get to it.