Patreon-exclusive: Nintendo Switch Sports finally got my kids playing games together again

by on April 28, 2022

It was 2006 and I’d queued up for a console launch for the first (and last time in my life). Tesco in Bournemouth with a mate, one I see far too little of these days. We got back to our respective homes gone midnight that night, and I played Wii Sports until about 2am, before I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any more. What an introduction to Nintendo and motion controls that was.

Fast forward to 2009 and I’ve got double the kids, half the time, and a motion plus controller. I’m making steps into the games industry, and my eldest is showing an interest. By 2014, Wii Sports Club is out on Wii U, I’m a firmly established “Games Twat”, and my kids are playing together, bowling, tennis-ing, disc golfing and… you get the point. I can’t remember them playing like that since then. They are very different people, and they have very different tastes.

Nintendo Switch Sports… made the unthinkable happen. As I write this, my teenage (nearly adult in one of their cases) kids are into hour five of playing the game. They’ve ribbed each other; we’ve all laughed at the little touches Nintendo has put in, like when bowling at the same time as one another, and if you’re waiting on the next frame and your opponent misses, your avatar smirks at his misfortune.

I have no idea what I’ll score this in terms of a review right now, but I cannot believe of all the games I’ve covered, this is the one that’s put them in the same room for the longest time, with neither of them actually be forced to do it because of a family engagement, or another reason.

Football seems to be the favourite, which shouldn’t be a shock. But it’s like Rocket League, but football. One v One is happening a lot, but the larger 4v4 team matches are also popular. They’ve even put the leg strap on and are competing in the shoot-out mode.

Bowling remains a close second, and they spent nearly an hour just doing the “special” mode that introduces sloped lanes and obstacles. It’s here when we noticed the smirking avatars and the underlying “cheeky” competitive aspects that are so quintessentially Nintendo, in how it’s the small things that make the whole more appealing.

On paper, I didn’t think the football mode would work, or at least, I didn’t think it’d be this entertaining. I can see online being addictive as anything, especially the full 4v4 matches. The diving header animation is magical, so funny, and I laugh every time at it. Throw in a jump button and you’re launching at the ball like a fucking dolphin through a hoop. It’s ridiculous, and nobody else would even make this.

This won’t be the final verdict on the game, not even close. But what I can’t believe is how it recaptures not only that original feeling, but creates new memories full of laughter, disbelief, rivalry, and magic. Nintendo Switch Sports got my teenage kids back in the same room, as friends and brothers, and in terms of cost, that’s about as priceless as it comes.