The troubles of Twitter
Nintendo Twitter is a bizarre coagulation of hype, toxicity, and thirst. On rare occasion it’s rational, but during even rarer moments, it’s vulnerable. During these infrequent episodes, though, there is a genuine air of warmth that underscores the general discourse, spread typically through a retweet campaign. Retweet this post if Nintendo has ever changed your life or helped you through a tough time. The verbiage will change, but the sentiment stays constant. For a fleeting second on the bustling timelines of community members and figureheads alike, everyone pauses to acknowledge the incredible power that Nintendo’s games have, and their ability to define moments in our lives, to smooth over our rougher edges.
It’s somewhat of a recurring joke between myself and my girlfriend—first, she’ll ask me if I know what day of the week a certain upcoming date coincides with. Chances are, if I do know, it’ll be as a result of a particular Nintendo title launching on a Friday in the proximity of the date in question. We’ll both chuckle, she’ll call me a nerd, and we’ll move on with the day. The truth is, my sense of time; past, present, future, is largely segmented by the Nintendo games that I played at those moments. I didn’t break my wrist in September of 2014, I broke my wrist the week before Hyrule Warriors came out. I didn’t graduate middle school the first week of June, I graduated the week after Splatoon launched. I don’t remember my grandmother’s retirement party, but I do remember being allowed to stay up past my bedtime after the event to finish the Good Egg Galaxy and defeat Dino Piranha. I don’t remember these moments purely because of games’ quality, though, but instead because of how resonant these experiences are to me.
The elegance of escape
A large part of the allure of video games, when viewed through my personal lens, is the fact that they’re an escapist medium. The ability to lose yourself in the rich fabric of a game’s universe is incredibly valuable for two dichotomous reasons, both artistically, and as we’ll discuss, emotionally. Like in Luigi’s New Super Mario Bros. casino minigames, we all have to play with the hand we’re dealt. In cards, that can be tough. In life, that can take you to the depths of depravity. To tumble into that void is scary, but to be pulled up, even temporarily, by a great game can be indispensable. It can be Lakitu’s Hook during lap three on Rainbow Road or the Golden Hammer on the last stock, metaphorically speaking. In no unclear terms, Nintendo’s games, worlds, and characters have been the hook and the hammer in my life, pulling me from the depths when everything else around me felt empty.
I struggle with a laundry list of mental health troubles, and Nintendo has caught me every time I’ve stumbled. Nintendo creates such imaginative, evocative universes, the sort that wrap the player in a feeling of wonderment and engage their senses in the way that few other worlds can. Whether I’m skimming the waters as I approach Corneria in my Arwing or summiting one of Hyrule’s towering mountains with the Master Sword in hand, I can get away from the issues plaguing my day. Whether I’m nabbing a Power Moon from Cookateil’s stewpot or overtaking an opponent in Mute City, I can be someone else, do something fantastic. Yes, these are video games. These are digitally constructed experiences powered by repeating strands of ones and zeroes. But, they’re something else, something more, and they’re always there when you need them most.
The importance of discussion
The truth is, I’ve retweeted posts along these lines often, but not every time they’ve surged past in the never-ending deluge of discussion online. The blame for that lies squarely at my feet. It may not seem like much of an issue, but every time we don’t hit retweet, as a community, we miss a moment to celebrate an aspect of gaming that is often overlooked. We can review and critique games from an artistic merit, and I partake in that often. It is an integral part of becoming a more nimble, informed community. But video games are much more than that, and as such, they deserve to be roundly and comprehensively discussed. Plus, it reminds us all, if just for one moment, that we’re all people on the other side of the screen. We’re all vulnerable and complex, we all bring our own perspectives and histories to the community and medium at large.
And this, my friends, is the central charge of Nintendad Coffeehouse. This is an editorial series that seeks to, above all else, discuss and debate the world of Nintendo with respect to all of its facets and all its disparate pieces as intellectually curious members of the community. Styled after European, Enlightenment-era coffeehouses, Nintendad Coffeehouse is meant to be a forum for people to come together and discuss games critically and honestly. Every topic is on the table, and everyone is free to contribute thoughtfully and honestly to each discussion. For now, though, this inaugural installment is done. Your charge, as members of the Nintendad community, is a single task with a twofold purpose. Leave a comment. Let us know how Nintendo has helped you in your life and let us know what topic we should unpack next. This column will be ever-changing, and the input of the community is integral to that evolution. Together, we can foster a community of curious, intelligent players with one common goal; thoughtful discussion about the wild world of Nintendo.