I Need a (Switch) Hero


At 30 years old, they are still with us. Mario. Link. Pikachu. They are more successful than ever – Breath of the Wild comes to mind. It's a great feeling, growing older with your friends. But, if I remember my childhood well enough, my parents' friends weren't usually topping my cool chart (minus definite exceptions). It seems odd, as the "video game generation," to know something of a cultural touchstone must come after us and move along with the next generation (our kids). But, we should be seeing it now...

There seems to be no ready replacement for our gaming stalwarts. Where is the hero that we or our kids will be able to turn back to for the 30 years to come? The 80's and 90's are an age of excessively accessible nostalgia. It is evident in the speed run communities: even a run-through of Aladdin is captivating. Waves of nostalgia do crash over one when watching. I can bet that those SNES Star Wars platformers aren't earth-shattering, but they sure do hold my attention.

Yes I miss old games, but I am also trying to point out that there seems to be nothing truly new. If the grip of nostalgia was my motivating factor, I would be trying to convince you that Pokemon Snap is worth some time. Actually, it might be. BUT, it does not feel right to assume that the same characters and rote gaming experiences are going to carry through until our children start to hit their nostalgic 30's. Modern media seems to think I am wrong, of course. Everywhere that can possibly grasp for our attention - Netflix, TV, Politicians, News - all of it is trading on millennial nostalgia. It does make some sense cling to the attentions of those who are accessible, given the enigma of what can steadily entertain the Snapchat generation.

We certainly live in an era of great games; ones that we will talk about for years: Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc. These games certainly deserve multiple sittings. However, no one is going to be playing Ghost Recon in 15 years. I'm not going to think back fondly on Fire Emblem Heroes or Pokemon Go - games practically screaming, pleading, and begging to be like based on the merits of nostalgia alone. Counter-strike is a run-away success and so is Hearthstone, but once people set those games down for good they won't come back. Truly evaluating the modern gaming sphere, even just through the games I've just mentioned, you can see the service industry that gaming has become. Massive production values and multitudinous delivery platforms have led to the fracturing of a community – a community once held together by the glue of a common console, touting familiar and repeating characters.

Maybe the Switch can, in it's own way, break the modern mould. It sure appears like it might. The idea behind the Switch will make it preeminently visible. And, Nintendo seems to be injecting ideas from all over the fractious gaming community, hopefully giving it youth-driven staying power. It is timed just right for a new generation of kids to have this be their console like the NES/SNES/and 64 were ours. But, they're going to also need those breakthrough games for their generation - not just a another generation of Pokemon. 

Thanks for going through the first "real" blog. As we have said on the podcast, there are plenty of issues and thoughts that we want to get out there and there's never enough time. On a personal note, this is a reintroduction into a writing hobby I have ignored for quite awhile (mental cardio in a way). More importantly, blogging is awesome because you learn about insane things like the N64 DD (trust me, click the link, it's fascinating).

See ya weekly! (Mondays, minus technical difficulties)

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