At some point over this past summer, my oldest son Z got it in his head that he wanted a Nintendo Switch.

I was hesitant because while I see a few benefits of video games

  • Problem Solving
  • Reaching goals
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • A fun hobby

I also see a lot of downsides and destructive behavior that can sometimes result from gaming

  • Anger
  • Addiction
  • Isolation
  • Lack of exercise
  • Vision issues
  • Increased stress
  • High financial costs

Notice my list of cons is longer. HOWEVER, these negative effects have been shown with the overuse of video games. When screen time is within healthy limits you don’t have to worry as much about that. I may not be a gamer (at all, I am actually the worst at video games), but I do have a small place in my heart for game consoles.

It started when I was a little girl and my parents brought home the first edition Nintendo Entertainment System in the early 80s.

This whole idea of video games was pretty revolutionary at the time. We all watched as my dad put in the Mario Bros. cartridge. It was brand new so he didn’t even have to blow into the console or bang on it three times.

It worked like magic.

Mine and my brothers’ giant eyes were glued to the square screen while our mouths hung open. The simplistic bouncy techno music and the pixelated world were mind blowing! I will never forget the feeling of joy that was shared amongst the four of us kids in the room that night.

About 25 years later I found our old Bubble Bobble game at my parent’s house and plugged it into the flat-screen TV. At this point I was married and had kids, but the feeling of nostalgia was not lost on me. I was back in the 80s baby!

Jeremy and I played late into the night after the kids were all asleep. Our eyes got squinty and our thumbs were sore but there we were, 30 something years old and we refused to give up until the final villain was defeated! Eventually, we did it.  There is nothing like the feeling of sweet sweet victory; I don’t care how old you are.

When all this Nintendo switch business came up, Z didn’t even ask us for one (probably because I had turned down the x box requests for so many years). Instead he decided to save up the money himself. This seemed like an insurmountable task since he doesn’t have a job and this game system costs hundreds of dollars just for the basics. I was impressed by his drive and enthusiasm though, especially when he started including his siblings. Every dime they found, every dollar they got from the tooth fairy or little jobs, and the big bucks that came in on birthdays were all pooled together for the family Nintendo Switch Fund. We even got a pastor appreciate gift from the worship team with some money designated to the family Nintendo Switch, which was so sweet of them.

I feel like all I have heard about for the past 5 months is the Nintendo Switch. Evening and mealtime prayer included Nintendo Switch Requests. At the pumpkin patch Z painted a Nintendo switch on his pumpkin.

For the Christmas list they made a Venn diagram of what everyone wanted and where the circles intersected “Nintendo Switch” was in the middle.

It looked like the final pay off would be years away and this mission would never be complete, but Z continued to price compare and do spreadsheets and calculations. He was not detoured.

Then one Wednesday night at church a young man from the youth group heard the incessant jabber about all things Switch and related and he offered to sell his at an extremely generous price. I texted him to finalize the deal and make sure that it all ran properly. I also wanted to double check and make sure he was really okay with letting it go for that amount. He said he wanted to do it for our family because we have so many kids and he knows they will love it.

When the day finally came to make the exchange this guy handed back $50 to Z and said “Merry Christmas”. So it was an even BETTER offer than the initial agreement.

Jeremy and I threw in a couple added accessories as an early Christmas present and thanks to the games included in this awesome package deal the kids were able to play on their Nintendo Switch this weekend.

The music, graphics, and game features are a million times better than what the Nintendo was back in my day. Still, the faces of the kids as our family of six gathered around to watch the beloved Italian plumber light up the screen was just as good as it was 30 years ago.