Switch it Back on!

by Patrick Crown-Milliss

After 3 years of rejection and neglect, I’ve recently clicked my controllers off my Switch again.

My return to the life of console gaming started at my friend's 21st. When what should have been a night of degeneracy became a wholesome video game fest. (Okay let’s be real, there was still a bit of degeneracy)

But it was probably the best night out (or in, really) I’ve had since we were released from the chains of COVID-19. Expecting a typical night of debauchery, I was thinking we’d play a bit of Mario Kart or Smash before going to the main course of the night. But, in union with everyone else, I couldn’t stop eating the entrée.

We ended up playing Smash Bros. far longer than medically recommended. The blend of competitiveness it created between everyone; the easy-to-learn controls for the newbies; and the colourful chaotic gameplay created great vibes for everyone. 

But things soon got heated. 

We were staying over and my friend had just 1 more bed. There were 4 of us left, meaning two were getting the hardwood floor. To decide who the two unfortunate souls would be, we had an all-out best-of-three tournament!

It was pure chaos. It was my girlfriend and I as the cute plushie Kirby and demon-king Ganandorf versus my best friend and his boyfriend as Pit the Angel, and Minecraft Steve. There were stars zooming, arrows flying, swords smashing, and minecarts rolling. 

A visual recreation of the silliness that is Smash Bros battles

The stakes were high. Which meant emotions were as high as we were originally meant to be at this point. In fits of passion I saw the resurgence of my latent gamer rage I knew all too well in my childhood. My girlfriend saw a different side of me that day. 

Luckily for my relationship, we won. 

What happened to our video game-obsessed inner-child?

The experience made me rethink how we’re all socialising now. The current conventions seem to be going out for drinks where each one puts you back the price of a footlong subway or going for dinners so exxy you always seem to need to transfer from your second account. Not to mention the 3 AM WAO sessions that leave you scoffing down late-night Maccas and suffering early-afternoon hangovers.

How much nicer - and cheaper - would it be to spend a night playing games with your friends? You still get your dopamine rush from all the crazy shit going on on the screen and you can still add alcohol to the mix if you want (although at bottle shop prices). Even if you don’t have a Switch yet, just skip out on the $45 WAO tix for one week and you’ll have enough to buy a group one. 

We’ve forgotten the simple joy of going to a friend's house and just playing a game together. A joy that’s especially great for someone like me who has kicked fewer soccer balls than he has keys on his keyboard. 

It’s sad that since leaving high school I basically never go to my friends' houses anymore. And the times I have mainly involved slurping down cups of alcohol and inaudible shouting about TikToks. It feels like a waste. There’s a special kind of intimacy that chilling at a friend's house without the need to get shitfaced can bring. 

So, instead of hanging out with friends with an agenda of drinking, maybe try a night of gaming. Maybe that will be the uni experience you’ll be reflecting back on, not the cruise party you had a record-breaking 15 drinks at (probably because of the alcohol-induced memory loss, but my point still stands). 

Personally, I’ve already bought Mario Party in anticipation of my next opportunity for a gaming house party.

Patrick Crown-Milliss is a UNSW student studying Law and PPE. He centres his whole personality around liking Taylor Swift and can be seen neglecting his studies in favour of his 1,000 overcommitments. He writes to get himself humbled.

Blitz Editor

Anandi Ganguly

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