Nintendo Switch: First Impressions

Nintendo Switch: First Impressions

Hands-on with Nintendo Switch and "Breath of the Wild"
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I was the first in line at my local GameStop for the release of Nintendo’s latest console. What started out as a duo quickly turned into a handful and then into a decently sized crowd. By the time the doors opened and we were ushered into the store, people passing by had begun to stop and question the assembled queue. I led the procession of excited gamers and bewildered parents, purchased my Nintendo Switch, a copy of "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," a protective carrying case then quickly left the store and headed home.

After several hours spent setting the new console up, playing games, and just fiddling with the system and its peripherals, I found myself extremely impressed. As much flak as Nintendo tends to get for their less-than-mainstream ideas, the Switch succeeds as the first console/handheld hybrid. From the outset, everything just works. Each Joy-Con controller snaps into place on the unit itself or onto the controller grip with a satisfying click, and they just as easily slide off for further rearrangement. I have repeatedly jumped between various control figurations and playstyles and not a single one has been uncomfortable or unwieldy. The true power of the Switch is its unprecedented versatility and ease.

The Switch’s flagship title, "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," is a wonder to behold, whether in handheld mode or on the television. The breadth of the world in this game can feel truly magical with its grandiose ruined kingdom and beautifully populated natural vistas. It is a deceptively hard game, forcing you to do everything you can to survive in the monster-infested landscapes of its world. It is triple-A gaming as only Nintendo can make it, exuding personality even in its most intense moments. "Breath of the Wild" is at once nostalgic and exceptionally new, acting as the perfect launch title in an admittedly minuscule lineup of mostly decent to sub-par games. "Zelda" is the perfect counter to this problem and is more than enough to occupy early adopters of the Nintendo Switch for quite some time.

In the Nintendo Switch it is easy to see Nintendo’s knack for experimentation and their tendency to work outside the norm to try and give players fun, unique experiences. It is also not hard to find the past elements of their work and design philosophy in each and every aspect of the Switch. The Joy-Cons evoke the Wii Remote and its Nunchaku peripheral, yet when turned sideways each one becomes its own pseudo-SNES controller. The main console’s tablet design and touch controls come from both the Wii U and the DS handhelds, using their qualities to inform the construction and versatility of their latest oddball invention. Nintendo has certainly solidified itself as the mad scientist of the video gaming industry, concocting strange, wonderful ideas in the name of fun and technological curiosity. While the Switch may not be the graphical powerhouse of PS4 and Xbone rivalry that some players had hoped for, that misses the point entirely. What this machine accomplishes is versatility, the idea of allowing gamers to play how they want to, where they want to, when they want to.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor J. Beck

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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New Technology Has Forever Changed The Way We Live Life And It's Mostly A Good Thing

The convenience and knowledge that our technology provides literally at our fingertips is unparalleled in history.

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It's no question that social media has impacted our culture tremendously and shifted the way we live our lives. We are living through one of the greatest technological revolutions in history and communication hasn't been changed this drastically since the invention of the printing press. We spend every day connected through texting, email, Facetime, social media and the internet. Technology provides enough convenience that we could hypothetically never leave our homes. Entertainment is available for streaming, food can be ordered to our doors using simple apps and everything from clothing to furniture can be shipped to our houses in under a week.

Is this constant tuning in and continuous connection good, is it bad, or is it simply a massive shift we need to adjust to? I'm not sure that there is one answer.

In our culture, smartphones are almost a necessity in order to optimize success. Jobs require constant emailing, classes are shifting to online, social media is one of the most major marketing tools you can employ and people expect you to always respond ASAP.

Before smartphones relationships were conducted in person, through letters, and over an occasional phone call. Now, with the invention of the text message the expectations of relationships have changed. People expect their significant other to always be there, ready to text back at almost any hour of the day. Friends who don't reply to text messages are labeled as self-absorbed and rude. Not receiving something as simple as a like on Instagram has major connotations for the way someone feels about you.

A lot of this connectedness is good. Positive social interaction leads to a happier life and feeling closely connected to your friends, family, and partners can be a really good thing. You don't really have to ever be alone and if you need something, someone is always there. The internet is an incredible database that anyone with wifi or cellular connection can access.

Educational materials can be found online and the information is not only kept in books that may be inaccessible to some people due to the sophistication of language or lack of copies. YouTube has millions of videos breaking down the most complex topics in the simplest ways. Technology allows us to listen to music all the time and have the ability to watch more movies than ever before. Our apps keep us updated on news, as long as we have the sense to fact check and avoid believing click bate.

As with everything, technology also has its pitfalls. The ability to be anonymous online makes users of technology bold, enabling them to say things they would never say to someone face. Constantly communicating over a screen can hinder our abilities to communicate in person. Being a bully online is easy, and suicide rates have gone up thirty-three percent since 1999, a time block that aligns suspiciously with the rise of new technology. People's perfectly curated social media pages inaccurately represent the complexity of their lives and seem picture perfect to struggling viewers.

Negative thoughts about one's own life can be worsened when constantly exposed to visuals that seem to suggest everyone else has it all figured out. The internet can feel deceptively safe, like a void where you can say anything with no consequences and still feel like people are listening to you. People my age tend to use their fake Instagrams, "finstas" as diaries. They spill their feelings to their followers and post photos and videos that could have negative effects on their future.

It's also questionable whether it's good to always be connected, to never have time alone, unplugged, away from the cyber world. Some people even want to call our obsession with smartphones an addiction. While I see and acknowledge the negative effects of our revolutionary technological world, I also can't dismiss the benefits. The convenience and knowledge that our technology provides literally at our fingertips is unparalleled in history.

It is changing, but change isn't always bad.

I think that we haven't had the chance to adjust to how fast we've created so many new things. In order to minimize the negatives aspects of technology, our society is going to have to undergo a massive change that reframes the way we view life, what we teach students, how we act from day to day and how we interact with one another.

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