I have become a console gamer!

Like a lot of folks during the pandemic, my housemate Paul got heavily engrossed in playing Animal Crossing. He specifically ordered himself a Nintendo Switch so that he could play it. And from all the things he was sharing about the experience of playing it, a couple weeks ago I started thinking, gosh that sounds like fun, I’d like to play it too I think.

(Lots of details behind the fold!)

This is what I had to say about that on Twitter:

I was thinking at the time that I might add a Switch to my wishlist for December. Paul however saw this tweet, and I got up the next morning to discover he’d arranged a SURPRISE!

The Switch, along with the physical copy of Animal Crossing, showed up by the next day and I dived right in. Paul told me he was rather jealous just because not only did he order me a Switch, he also ordered me the special Animal Crossing edition of the thing. Which means I have the JoyCon controllers that come in pastel shades of blue and green, and the docking station in white with Tom Nook and Timmy and Tommy on it. It’s ridiculously adorable.

And as anticipated, I’m also enjoying the hell out of playing Animal Crossing. Those of you who have a history with me on Two Moons MUSH may be amused to know that I’ve named my character Wayfound, and my island Willowholt!

As of this writing I now have a total of six residents on my island: Agnes, Tank, Peanut, Skye, O’Hare, and Murphy. My house has two rooms in it, and I’m working on building a second zen bridge. Tom Nook’s got me in hock for that second room as well as the second bridge. The Resident Services building is open and we have Isabelle doing the announcements, and she and Tom are all “the island’s got a 1-star rating, we need to improve it to get more residents so we can get K.K. Slider to come play for us!”

(To which I am of course thinking, can this dude play fiddle, do podorythmie, and sing in French? No? Then why do I care OKAY OKAY FINE I’ll make the island prettier, sheesh. :D)

And naturally, I had to go visit Paul on his island!

However, this is only the beginning of this adventure. With my very own gaming console in hand, I decided I’d finally try to take a stab at playing some of the console games I’ve enjoyed watching Dara and Paul play: namely, Skyrim and BioShock. I enjoyed both of those immensely from the standpoint of worldbuilding and plot, and since they’ve been ported to the Switch, I snapped them up. I’ve also bought Hades (by strong recommendation from friend Jenny, but also because I’m a bit of Greek mythology nerd) and Untitled Goose Game.

Of these, so far I’ve played some Untitled Goose, as well as Skyrim. The goose game is also fun for when I’m feeling like being horrible and seeing how annoying I can be at the groundskeeper.

Skyrim has been a challenge. This is the very first time I’ve played a first person game, so I had to work on getting used to the controls (and not mixing up the muscle memory for what the various buttons do with what they do in Animal Crossing!). Dara and Paul have both been very helpful with advice and have advocated I play on the TV screen, though so far I’ve actually more enjoyed just playing on the Switch. This may be because when I’ve watched them play on the TV or on bigger monitors, I get a little motion sick? But also because I’m accustomed to playing games on my phone or iPad, and the Switch is pretty close in size to the iPad. And so far it’s handling playing Skyrim nicely.

As of this writing my Skyrim character is level 2. Behold, Alarrah the Wood-Elf:

I flailed a lot during the opening sequence where you set up your character and have to escape from Helgen during the dragon attack. And by “flailed”, I mean, I got lost multiple times and had to finally get Dara to clarify for me that I specifically had to follow somebody out of the burning keep to escape. Oops.

I pulled that off finally, but also didn’t realize that I was also supposed to let that guy lead me to Riverwood. So I wound up derping my way cross-country to Riverwood–which meant I also completely missed the Guardian Stones and had to swing back to visit those.

But I did start getting used to how to move around, how to interact with characters, how to start using things (like the forge, and most importantly, my weapons), and how to start killing things. First time I tried to go back to the Guardian Stones, I got my ass kicked by a wolf attack. But once I’d improved my armor and weapons at the forge, and once I’d followed Paul’s wise advice and made myself a shield, I survived the wolves the next time and was able to get to the Stones. I chose the Warrior path, since that seemed easiest for my novice self!

In the meantime, I triggered the Faendal/Sven side quest, only to discover that that was all about the two of them liking the same woman. Faendal tried to drop me a letter he’d forged to look like it came from Sven, and give it to Camilla for him. I was unamused by this, so when I went to Camilla I took the route of “hey, this dude wanted me to give you this letter and say it was from this other dude”. Camilla was not amused by this, justly so. Faendal was also not amused that I’d ratted him out, but he seems to still be willing to teach me archery if I pay him, so! This is what you get for involving me in your drama, pal.

Made it to Whiterun as well. On the way in, a soldier got cranky at me and demanded to know which of the factions there I supported. I was all dude I just got here how the hell do I know anything about your factions?! Again, DO NOT INVOLVE ME IN YOUR DRAMA!

Dara points out that Skyrim is in fact all about everybody involving you in their drama, this is what you get for being the player character. And the Dragonborn. Which is also why the Jarl of Whiterun goes from 0 to “thank you complete stranger for bringing me this word of dragons in Helgen, howsabout you go get this Dragonstone for my wizard, mmkay?” Even though I’m a level 2 nobody at this point. I’m still the player character so presumably he’s all HURRAY THE PLOT SHOWED UP, even though he also told his people to send a detachment to Riverwood to protect it. And my character’s going “wait, you’re sending a detachment to Riverwood, Bleak Falls Barrow is right there, why don’t you have some of your armed people get this thing for you instead of me? What part of level 2 nobody aren’t you getting?”

But okay FINE I’m the player character so I have to do it. ;D So I’ll need to see about getting some better weapons, maybe? Another soldier in Whiterun gave me shit about carrying an iron sword (“what are you going to kill with that? Butterflies?” Paul’s answer to that was “let me show you what I’m going to kill with this, C’MERE”).

Long story short: enjoying the hell out of this. Delighted by Animal Crossing, and also very pleased to finally get a chance to play Skyrim myself after seeing Dara and Paul do it several times each!

I also anticipate posting a lot more about my progress through Skyrim!

I already thanked him profusely for the shiny gift but I’ll also say here: all hail Paul for being awesome!