I just sunk 70 hours into Stardew Valley on the Switch, now I want Persona 5

by Ron Duwell | December 3, 2017

The Nintendo Switch has salvaged the remains of my shattered gaming life. No longer do I feel content to sit in front of a television and plug away at video games. Between jobs, travel, family, friends, and a shrieking baby boy, I want options for how I play, when I play, and most importantly, where I play. The Switch has opened my eyes to how limited a television and a PC can be, and there is no turning back for me.

I want to play my games on the go. Not only that, I think I have to at this point.

Case in point, Stardew Valley, which I recently worked up the willpower to put aside. Sad to say, but a chubby Italian plumber pulled me away from my digital countryside paradise. I sunk an unfathomable 70 hours into this game over the preceding weeks, clearing the first two in-game years and scoring a perfect rating from the ghost of my grandfather. Mission success! I beat a game! Happens all the time.

However, what is mindblowing to me is that I can’t even remember the last time I sunk 70 hours into a video game on a single playthrough. Not only that, I can’t remember the last time I sunk 70 hours into a game, and it never once felt like a full 70 hours. Usually, by that point, I’m deadened to new discoveries and just want the whole experience to wrap up so I can rinse, repeat, and do it all over again with another game. Not this time though. I had just finished setting up my brewery, was already making Iridium Pale Ales at an alarming rate, and was all set to advance into Starfruit Wine.

Like I said, it took the awesome powers of my favorite gaming icon to drag me away from yet another prosperous year on the farm.

I loved Stardew Valley through and through, and it might just be my favorite indie game of all time. This wasn’t my first time trying to play the game either, having bought it when it first came to Steam last year. However, tied to a PC and unable to play with the freedom that the Nintendo Switch allows, I barely made it out of the first Summer. I loved it, but I was unable to put aside the time.

This is the true power of Nintendo’s latest console, making games that otherwise would not have been accessible to me as an adult gamer all the easier to approach.

Without the Switch, Stardew Valley would still be a green pipe dream.

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Although I said I can’t remember the last time I sank 70 hours into a game and had it feel so natural, this isn’t actually the case. I remember it pretty clearly, having done so a few years ago with Persona 4: Golden on the PlayStation Vita. Much like my experience with Stardew Valley, playing this fantastic and timeless video game would never have been possible had I been forced to play it on the PlayStation 2. Now that I know I can easily scrounge up 70 hours thanks to Stardew Valley, this game is in my targets next!

Japanese trains and portable video games go together like rama lama ding dong.

Atlus’ popular Persona RPG series is known for its long play times and pristine balance between speedy gameplay and brilliant RPG mechanics, which I’m both happy and sorry to say make it perfect for the Nintendo Switch. Happy because this realization wants me to enjoy it all the more urgently, and sad because SEGA and Atlus have made no indication this perfect pairing will ever happen.

As it stands, Persona 5 is one of the few games of 2017 that can hold a candle to the success found by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. It lines up alongside them as a Game of the Year nominee at The Game Awards, in a rare year where Japanese games outnumber the Western games no less, and its reception has been universally positive. Like the previously mentioned games, it carries on the legacy of its widely popular series with flying colors.

Persona 3 was blue, Persona 4 was yellow, and Persona 5’s flying color is red.

While I can’t fathom why Nintendo isn’t pursing to get all three of these games on the same console, SEGA has been quite adamant that it will never happen. In fact, those in charge have been quite abrasive about the exclusivity to Sony’s platforms.

And the frustration from these workers is understandable. For years, the console wars and its fanboy foot soldiers have petitioned for their favorite games to be made available on their console of choice for little reason beyond them not wanting to cross enemy lines and *gasp* buy an opposing console. This line of thought still holds true today for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which are praticaly indistinguishable from one another at this point…

…but Switch owners now have a legitimate reason to ask for games to come to their platform: they simply want to be able to enjoy them when they otherwise wouldn’t. This is not a matter of personal preference, I just simply will not find the time to sink 60, 70, 80 hours into a JRPG if I am forced to play on a television screen. It’s not a Nintendo loyalty thing either. If Persona 5 were to somehow come to the PS Vita tomorrow, I’d buy that in a heartbeat and my argument comes to an end.

In fact, I already own Persona 5! I bought the physical version because I wanted to own the game so much, but it’s been staring at me from my shelf for the past few months, sadly resigned to its fate that it will likely never be played.

I’m not sure about the specs needed to run the game either, but since it plays admirably on the PlayStation 3, I’m willing to bet the Nintendo Switch could handle it. The Switch’s financial situation also shows there is lots of success to be found in third-party software. What’s the holdup?

All I can assume is that Sony has some secret exclusivity deal. If that’s the case, since Sony doesn’t support the Vita anymore, those of us who game on handheld platforms are forever doomed to be on the outside looking in. This is a shame because we are clearly dealing with a game that can not only be played on handheld platforms, but it is likely to shine even brighter than on its home console counterparts.

Not all hope is lost. SEGA and Atlus have confirmed that Shin Megami Tensei 5, the next game in Persona’s mainline parent series, will be coming to the Switch, and this will likely fill in some of the gap left behind by Persona 5.

And who knows?! If that game enjoys the success it deserves, much like Shin Megami Tensei IV did on the Nintendo 3DS, SEGA and Atlus might finally acquiesce Persona 5 to the Nintendo faithful.

Until then, I want to sink 70 hours into the marvelous game, which is currently nominated for Game of the Year across the board, but sadly, I’ll never be able to because of the limitations of its platforms. This accessibility shouldn’t be a problem in 2017.

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Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...