Handhelding

13 January 02017 (7 months ago)4 minutes of your time

I didn’t quite squeeze into the eighteen second window between when the Nintendo Switch online pre-sale started … and then ended this morning, but I reconciled to that fact by reminding myself I tend to be a late adopter of gaming systems anyways, and even moreso these days.

In fact, a short six years after the system debuted, we finally upgraded my classic GameBoy from 1998 and bought a 3DS last week. (Well, actually it was a 2DS, but that’s virtually the same thing but without the 3D part.)

Claire considers the purchase a power move by an awesome dad. Other household opinions have varied.

The system came with Mario Kart 7 bundled, which is a fun time-waster and has got some retro-familiar fun in the form of classic tracks and nostalgia dripping from the experience in more ways than I can inventory here.

But I picked up a couple of used titles (the benefit to late adoption is of course second-hand content on the cheap!) in the form of a couple more more-in-depth games.

For Claire, I channeled my years of observing her interest in sandbox, toybox, world-building games and scored a game just for her that is probably just a little too on the nose and in her wheelhouse. Tomodachi Life is summed up the product page with this blurb: “What happens when friends, family, and celebrities become Mii™ characters and live together on an island? Tomodachi Life happens! Start by creating Mii characters and customizing everything about them. Have fun recreating your best friend, your favorite actor, mom and dad, co-workers…whoever! Then watch as they rap, rock, eat donuts, fall in love, break up, go shopping, play games, and live their crazy Mii lives.”

Needless to say, she is obsessed, and I’ve already lost track of the number of G-rated but slightly-WTF? things that she’s blurted aloud in response to what she’s seeing on the screen. Either way, it’s so much better than her just watching Fuller House on never-ending loop.

For myself, and with a wide range of titles to select from, I found myself oddly intrigued by a game that is probably a little bit too far down the cutie-pie scale for a 40-year-old guy to be playing, but (a) I was trying to find something Claire might eventually play too, (b) the game beneath the cartoon skin is actually pretty in-depth and (c) I’m too old to care what you think about what kind of cutie-pie games I play. I picked up a used copy of Fantasy Life (yes, I realize both game titles end with the word “Life”… weird) and have been enjoying it exactly as much as I expected from the various bits of research I did prior to my purchase.

The game is a blend of RPG, life-sim, & resource management game. One reviewer put it as: it’s a mashup of the Elder Scrolls and Harvest Moon/Stardew Valley, all as if painted by Studio Ghibli. That’s not a completely accurate explanation, but close enough. And mindless enough to make me lose a few hours of cold winter seclusion in a tiny little handheld screen. Maybe I’ll do a fuller review later, but so far I think I’ve got my twenty-bucks worth out of the game.

As unlikely as it is that I’ll actually find a more modern console for our living room in the coming months — the PS4 hits the wrong demographic for our house, the Wii U is out of production, and the Switch will be damn near impossible to find for the next year — for now the 2DS will need to satisfy the gaming itch.


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