I remember Christmas 2008 when the big ticket item under the tree was the brand new Nintendo Wii System. It came with two remotes, wrist straps, the little bar thing that you pointed at, and Wii Sports.
I was ecstatic, and of course, I spent the next few years planted in front of the screen perfecting my jabbing technique in Boxing, coordination in Just Dance, and dart-throwing ability in Wii Play. I had other games too, especially ones that were fads for us '90s babies. I had that wonderful Sing It that my parents probably regretted buying the moment I plugged in the microphone, the Epic Mickey game that I never really figured out, and the Wii Fit complete with a balancing pad that is collecting dust beneath the entertainment center even today.
My little sister just turned 13, and her birthday gift was the Nintendo Switch system. Our family friend already has one, so she's well-versed in the lingo, tools, and games even though the plastic-cling pieces are still newly peeled off of her own system. Her first game was Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and although it was also an option on the Switch's predecessor, I never played Mario Kart on my Wii. Needless to say, she beat me.
First of all, the remotes are so small it feels like even my little hands wrap around the buttons twice. We were on Baby Park (which is my current favorite due to the track's predictable circular shape), and she yelled: "Press the left button!" I didn't even know there were buttons on the right and left. I lost that time too.
I was never one to get into games like Call of Duty or 2K, so I don't have great hand-eye coordination or video game dexterity. Despite that, growing up with the Wii, I learned how to wave my remote to get the fireball to serve in Tennis. Not to brag, but I used to beat my sister ALL THE TIME. So I guess the advent of technology decided to see to my reckoning.
My mom used to get on my case when my best friend and I would play the Wii for hours and hours, trying to beat each other.
We often heard the phrase “Go outside!" Eventually, we did, and we'd climb trees and chase each other around and create imaginary worlds sitting on the sidewalks.
Contrarily, my little sister doesn't really do “outside." She and her friends mainly shut themselves in her room when they come over, and when I've come in to offer mac and cheese or snacks, they're all sitting two feet apart while on their phones.
Needless to say, I'm interested to see how her social relations change once this new game system becomes a daily activity. She's already frustrated with my fumbling rookie fingers and she'll ditch me in the middle of the 4-round races.
But I'm not worried. Just like the '90s babies sort of migrated from Facebook to Twitter when the older generations got a hold of it, I have a feeling Gen Z will tire of the Switch when mine and my parent's generation begin to ask how to use it.
Letting go of my Wii glory days has been hard, but in this whole experience, I've learned two things about myself. The first is that I'm still competitive even when I suck (I'm going to beat her one day). The second is that I'm going to have to figure out what to do with myself now that I'm entering the phase of “uncool." I'll probably continue with my daily practice of reading in the evenings and drinking tea.
I'm sure other '90s babies are cooler than me and have already conquered the Nintendo Switch. If so, send your suggestions my way. I'm still stuck on the fact that the A button switches when the remote turns. I guess I'm old-school.