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My Top 8 Nintendo Switch Games
to play in 2021...
Not many people know this, but “back in the day” I was a gamer. Not a huge gamer, but I owned just about every Nintendo System there was from the OG Nintendo (1983) to now the Nintendo Switch (2017) and all the consoles and handhelds in-between. I can probably count on one hand which consoles and handhelds I didn’t get and the time period and reason would be the same: college. Yep, I was “college broke” which meant I had to spend money on silly things like food and textbooks! Can you imagine!
What really got me hooked on Nintendo as my gaming system of choice was two series (maybe three): Zelda and Pokemon. The first time I played these games of single-player adventure I was hooked. And the catchiest of catch phrases for Pokemon, “Gotta Catch’em All” was all I needed to go all in. Suffice it to say I have played just about every single game in these series with the exception of any that came out during my really poor years. I say all this as a lead-in to my list so you’re not surprised by what I include.
Also, taking into account that while I’m no longer “college broke” I am now in the phase of my life where I’m “adult broke” with a mortgage and more than just myself as the hungry mouth to feed. My options for games on any console is limited to the franchises I love most. Heck, at $60 a pop for these games it’s no wonder!
This is also why I am doing a top 8 instead of a top 10. But to caveat that, the reason is for my lack of having acquired certain games I know I would love once I do and therefore I’ve taken the liberty of adding 6 “honorable mentions” that I hope will end up duking it out in 2022 to make it onto my top 10 next year!
Till then, here are my top 8, in order from what I’m not currently playing but what I can’t live without all the way to what has permanent residence in my Nintendo Switch these days:
8. Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (1/11/2019)
I love 2-D Mario! I grew up playing Mario in 2-D so it’s what I love and what I know! Unfortunately, the latest 3-D is not my favorite and that is probably when it was introduced along with the GameCube, that was one console I did not purchase with a whole bunch of games I just never had any interest in playing. But if you are ever nostalgic for classic Mario (but with color) then this game is the bees knees.
7. Mario Kart 8 (4/28/2017)
I can’t believe this is still the “newest” Mario Kart game and it’s been out for four years now! Thank god I have other games I love besides this one or I’d be hella pissed! But the “kart” series have been notorious for taking their time to release new games. In many ways, I wish they would treat Mario Kart the way they do Super Smash Bros or Animal Crossing. Release one game (without a number attached) and just include cool new characters every now and again from their vast Nintendo library. They already (sort of) do this. So, why not stop making us think there will be a Mario Kart 9 some day and just let it be a game that simply upgrades over time? Just a suggestion to the Nintendo gods.
6. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (3/3/2017)
Like Mario Kart, this game is old, however, unlike Mario Kart, this game has so much content it can give someone hundreds of hours of playtime without ever getting bored. An open world game will do that for you and much more. However, it’s a concept that is new to me, and I can find it a bit boring at times as the tasks aren’t linear the way they are set up in Pokemon. I guess over the years I’ve been trained that tasks must be completed in a certain order before the next thing can be done and obstacles will be put in the way to prevent the player from advancing in the game. This Zelda is not like that. You can, quite literally, go straight for the big boss if you want. You’ll lose, of course, but there is very little standing in your way of necessity (besides experience and skill sets learned over time) to face off against the big bad Calamity Gannon. All this to say I do love the concept and the quietness of the game and I’m getting used to the idea of just having a world I can explore and defeat at my own pace. Everyone’s journey can be different and that is what makes it that much more engaging and exciting.
5. Zelda’s Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (11/20/2020)
Full disclosure, I purchased this game only a few months after I bought Breath of the Wild. That’s right. Breath of the Wild was a game I didn’t actually get until several years after it was out. Mostly because I didn’t get the Switch until last year. From 2016 - 2019 I was playing XBox almost exclusively and my handheld of choice was actually my Nintendo DS Lite (if you can believe it!). Anyway, it’s because I got both Zelda games within months of each other that I found myself playing Breath of the Wild more than Age of Calamity. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love it just as much, especially the fact that I could be more than one player at a time and handle large armies of bad guys in different places at once. Pretty wild and in depth and one of the first games where I felt it was better suited for playing on a large television screen as opposed to handheld mode.
4. Zelda’s Skyward Sword (7/16/2021)
The newest Zelda game and this one is in the sky! Gotta say I’m not a fan of heights and playing this game has been a bit trippy for me with all the flying and jumping down from great heights using the hand-glider. Because of this I’m not playing as often as I’m sure I should be. Then again, blame Pokemon for the sole reason why just about every Zelda and Mario game has gone on the backburner for me.
3. Link’s Awakening (9/20/2019)
Okay, this is by far my favorite of any Zelda game I’ve played or mentioned. Why? Cause it’s freaking awesome that’s why. I’ve played it through from beginning to end three times now and I’m totally game for doing it a dozen more times! No new DLCs added or anything like that. What makes me love playing it is just like the Super Mario game, for nostalgic reasons. I love the look and feel and whimsy of Link’s Awakening and I really hope that they do another game just like it soon. Nothing against the open world games they’ve been releasing for Zelda, but that’s more for “adults” and sometimes I just want to go back to my childhood!
2. Pokemon Shield (11/6/2020)
Oh how I have waited patiently for another adventure Pokemon game like this. The last one I played and, I’m not kidding you it is literally in my DS Lite right now, is Pokemon Diamond! But it’s been over 15 years since then and many games out in between. Why didn’t I play those? Well, adulthood kicked in after college and I had to pay rent and bills and such. Priorities, people! I just couldn’t afford video game luxuries. In any event, when I got my Nintendo Switch it was because I heard, at the time, that Sword and Shield were coming and I wanted back in! Like an old friend I found it both nostalgic and a refreshing update. So much for me to explore and get used to and figure out. Just hours and hours of great gameplay. And with the builtin gotta catch’em all as a part of the purpose of the game, just defeating the best and becoming the champion pokemon trainer isn’t enough. I’ve logged nearly a hundred hours and if not for this latest game I would be logging more.
1. Pokemon Shiny Pearl (11/19/2021)
I intentionally picked Pearl this time around because I played Diamond in the OG version and because pearl is my birthstone. Thus far I love it even despite the early glitches everyone (including myself) are noticing. All games have glitches. What excites me most are the addition of two things: the underground and the national pokedex. Both introduce countless hours of gameplay and for the first time the ability to have at least all the Pokemon up to generation 5 in one game! That’s the ability to catch close to 500 Pokemon!? My young heart can hardly take it!
And now it’s time for the…
These are games I currently do not own but I intend on acquiring some time next year (unless a newer version of the game is rumored for release instead). Here they are, in no particular order:
Super Mario Odyssey
Let’s Go! Eevee
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Super Smash Bro.’s Ultimate
Stardew Valley (maybe)
What is your console of choice? Are you a true gamer or someone who plays every now and then?
I fall somewhere in-between. I play hardcore when there is a game out that I must play right away. Otherwise, I find it’s not something I will just pick up whenever I have time to kill. I hope to change that and play more often in the future.
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