So I bought a Nintendo Switch. I think I said that already. With the help of the Giant Bomb community, I made a small list of games that I'd one day try to find an affordable copy of, though I'll admit it's a mission that's a lot harder than I thought. Nintendo things are an eternal constant. There are about a dozen titles I'm keeping an eye out for, like Selener.
While I'm waiting for the fateful day, but also because buying a Switch made me eat sleep for dinner a few times, I looked up a few free games to play. This being the current dystopian future we all wanted, I can't just play free games on a Switch. That would be too simple. Online activation requires a paid subscription and while Nintendo has a fairly priced plan, it is still paying for a service that should be free. I'm not quite going to do that yet; maybe after they beef up the selection of emulated games. Put Terranigma on there and we'll talk.
There are, luckily, a few exceptions to online taxation. A select amount of titles are so big that their critical mass escapes the Nintendo paywall. You can't be the one platform without the current tastemaker. That's like reverse money making or something; I don't know, I didn't read Freakonomics. So, thanks to TikTok making me a thought zombie, I downloaded Fall Guys, since the platform game is having a crazy resurgence. If anything, I just wanted to know what all the in-jokes on my feed were about. My verdict is: That game is okay. I both understand why it's easily playable and why people would have lost interest so quickly the first time. Again, I think the Switch control design is awful, so that doesn't help me in my games. I briefly flirted with buying some cosmetics, because Fall Guys is an exception that makes its microtransactions actually micro. Then I started grinding dailies and since those missions include team modes, I hit the Pokémon Unite wall, where solo players are always grouped with children. I don't want to go through that again, so I stopped playing. Here's a free game design tip: How about you use all that data that I know you're mining off me to make a checkbox that lets me pair with adults only? Just a thought.
On a whim, I downloaded Fortnite; that other big game. As you know, I'm a huge PUBG fan and I had been long overdue to try some battle royale action again. I cleared all of the tiny internal storage on a Switch to do so, since I also don't have an SD card yet. An hour or so later, I was dropping on what felt like a brand new game. I played Fortnite in Season 1, and yes they're doing seasons now, but this Goliath has since morphed into a whole new beast. Honestly, the game feels extremely overwhelming at first. I find the constant objective stimulation to be a bit of a dark pattern, but I managed to quickly tune it out. There are a metric ton of things to do in Fortnite; some you'll do organically and some you won't. I advise to just play normally at first and once the pinball sounds stop happening, only then hop into the quests tab, to see what else you could do.
I'm playing the game mode without building. Shooters on a controller are already bad enough to wield; I don't want to also do rotating building sequences that will give me carpal tunnel. Fortnite is so much more fun without building and I used to build all the time. Without that hassle, you free a lot of mind space to think about learning the myriad of mini game systems instead. There's Spider-Man swinging, fishing, riding sharks, weird roller coasters, vehicle modding; there are too many things to mention. I don't think I've ever learned so much about a game that I technically played before.
My favorite thing to do in this game is to just drive around. Fortnite is a vessel that lifts from other games, ever since they fucked over their business partners in PUBG. It's what made Epic billionaires. For their cars, specifically, they ate GTA's lunch surprisingly well, by adding real-time radio. Especially since I'm a solo warrior, I drop at the edge of the map and need to somehow make my way into the circle every time. To do so, I'll just hop into a vehicle, turn on a station that's full of TikTok sounds and start cruising around the map, hitting opponents with my car. It's never not fun to hit someone and watch them fly off into space. On top of that, you can attach a cow catcher to your ride and ram any structure in your path. Is your enemy running into a building, thinking they outsmarted you? Simply knock down the building with them in it! It catches people off guard almost every time. I'm telling you, this mechanism is hilarious and it's the closest I'll come to reliving the days of when vehicular combat was alive and well. That's why H1Z1's Auto Royale car mode is the second best battle royale ever made, after Radical Heights.
Ever since I started playing, I almost instantly fell into the deep end. In six days, I managed to get to level 96 on the battle pass, just endlessly looking forward to the next objective to complete. My Twitter has become a nightmare, where I just tweet about Fortnite every day. I'm bleeding followers, because of all of the Fortnite. If I win a game, I almost compulsively take a screenshot, so no one can doubt whether I actually won. I even managed to surpass several of my lifetime battle royale goals, like winning two games in a row or getting double digit kills. Granted, the Switch pool only has a few players that are impossibly good, but I'm also impossibly bad at controlling the joy-cons, so I think it balances out a bit. Hell, I'll periodically play bad enough that the game will literally make bots fall from the sky, so you can feel good about killing someone. Bots aren't quite as bad as in PUBG, but they do have big tells. All of them try to break walls if their pathing fails and they have magic aim, turning on you from hundreds of meters away, if you get in their vision range. Bots are great target practice, which I desperately need, so I'm okay with their presence.
By some coincidence, Giant Bomb also got back into Fortnite. Considering this particular timing, I hopped in the Playdate stream and had a blast watching the crew and duders learn what I just learned: Fortnite is a fun time. I hope they do more of those streams. Several people in chat mentioned installing the game as well and I can only hope their journey is as enjoyable as mine has been. There's more than enough video game around the edges that you don't immediately feel like you're just getting beaten into the ground. That trial by fire that happens in most other games gets softened here with all the wacky side antics you can focus on instead. You will still need to be able to shoot a gun, but I've watched a fair share of end games where the last person is just crouching in a bush to win it. It will likely happen for you as well. You will get a Victory Royale that will enable you to sing that song about Tomato Town.
I'm so close to completing the battle pass that I'll probably keep going until I do. Even if I find V-bucks reprehensible, I'll buy the pass once to cap off the good times I've had. There are a few skins that don't feel like highway robbery as well, on top of some pretty well designed ones. If I had unlimited money, I'd get the Street Fighter crew that's currently in the store. Blanka in a suit goes pretty hard. Who knows, maybe I'll play enough Fortnite that I won't mind giving them more money to make Apple memes. Time will tell. I guess that means that I won't be playing a main Switch game for a while after all.