I find myself very much the console gamer, with a deep love of Japan, Japanese Culture and Japanese Games. Like many of my clan, I’ve found, in adulthood, there is much less time to play. And so, I find myself awkwardly divided between PS4 and Switch. While both consoles have their allures, I often find myself clinging to the latter and I can’t help but think about how much times have changed. Fortunately, in my youth, I never had to worry about the device I would use to drown my time, ‘PlayStation at Home, Gameboy on the Go’, it was really very simple.
Suddenly, something extremely strange happened. My friends joined late-night queues patiently anticipating clawing at the packaging of their PS3. However, I waited with bated breath. Over the years I had grown bored of Sony’s flagships, yet somehow, my devotion to Nintendo remained unscathed and was duly growing. I looked upon the ‘OG’ PS3 with disgust, all the while, sneaking glances at Nintendo’s: slim, slender and slick Wii, filled with anticipation and excitement about the introduction of motion and this new way to play.
It was during that strange season, Winter 2006, that I discovered I had turned into a Nintendo Fanboy.
For over 100 million people, PlayStation 2, is a console that defined a generation (and with over 150 million units sold, it’s the best selling console of all time). I can easily recount many ground-breaking moments; cycling through the streets of San Andreas, clamouring up colossi and my epic journey to rid ‘Spira’ of ‘Sin’ with Tidus, Yuna and a ‘rag-tag’ band of guardians. Unfortunately, the success of the PS2 didn’t naturally pass-over to PS3. In the early days of the console, sales were lacklustre; Sony lost out, month after month, thrashed by both: Microsoft and Nintendo.
However, unfair it is to compare PS3, 360 and Wii; Nintendo didn’t just win that generation, they destroyed it. During the era of Wii and DS, Nintendo dominated the market space – I remember Beyonce promoting ‘Rhythm Paradise’ (UK) and Ian Wright advertising ‘Mario Strikers Charged’. Yes, I know celebrities advertising products isn’t some mind-altering phenomena; nevertheless, seeing cultural icons playing the types of games I enjoyed, resonated with me as a young man. Nintendo during the 7th Gen taught we a valuable lesson… you’re never too old to play!
Fortunately, the lifespan of the 7th generation lasted nearly a decade – so turning up late to the party wasn’t necessarily a problem. After spending a year flat-sharing with some of the most hardcore gamers in the British Isles, I purchased my very own PlayStation 3 (Christmas 2010). And I found myself once again, donning the phrase: ‘Nintendo in the Streets, PlayStation in the Sheets’. Unusually, the game that ultimately drew me to the console wasn’t some grand JRPG – although I couldn’t wait to quest with Lightning and company, instead, the FPSRPG ‘Borderlands’ was the game that sunk its talons in. Almost immediately, I realised the error I made: Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted 1 & 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, Red Dead Redemption and Enslaved, are all among some of the greatest gaming experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. To think at one point in time I would’ve argued that the Uncharted series was a joint second for my favourite game, but then PS4 introduced me to the Witcher (sorry! Naughty Dog, you’re a very close third).
So now as I glance over at my desk, peering at the two consoles I brought in the space of a few months of each other (late again of PS4 and day-one on Switch). I find myself in a strange predicament. October 27th was a good day to be a geek: Mario Odyssey, AC: Origins and Wolfenstein 2; many would argue the choice was easy… Of course Mario! And yet, on the day I almost faltered. I have no love for first-person shooters, however, I do adore the historical fiction of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. When push came to shove, Mario won out; mostly down to the glowing review from Edge magazine. Where I find myself now as a gamer, is somewhat problematic; with the monetary resources, I’m able me to indulge my favourite pastime. Yet, the share amount of games that peak my interest and the number of new adventures I can devote time too – are challenged by the realities of adulthood.
This year alone, I’ve dedicated hundreds if not thousands of hours to video games. Today marks my first anniversary with my PS4 and as I listen to music of Persona 5 play on a loop (currently paused while I finish off this mini-essay); I ponder over, Assassin’s Creed: Origins or Xenoblade Chronicles 2!
Yet again, two massive worlds begging to be explored and a limited amount of time until two more big releases: Ni No Kuni 2 (19/1/18) and Monster Hunter World (26/1/18)!