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Slotland Casino - no deposit bonus, free spins, promo codes

Slotland Casino - no deposit bonus, free spins, promo codes

Slotland Casino Review & Free Chip Bonuses
Get $38 FREE BONUS (no deposit required) when you register your account with Slotland Casino! This casino is available for players from the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. Enjoy Provably Fair Gaming with cryptocurrencies!
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About Slotland Casino [REVIEW]

Slotland is a highly experienced and enjoyable online casino that specializes in slots and video poker games. They have been in business since 1998 which is extremely impressive and it is clear that they are offering a superior product at this point in time. This popular online casino is owned by Slotland Entertainment S.A. which is a well-known gaming company that also owns their sister site WinADay.
Not only does Slotland make their own games, but you will never find these unique titles on any other gambling site. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key ingredients that Slotland is made of and try to figure out why it is that they have been successful for so many years.

Reputation of Slotland

Players Not Accepted: BY, CN, CZ, FR, ID, IN, KZ, LT, LV, MY, PT, RU, SK, TR, TW, UA and VN
Even though they have been in operation since 1998, it appears as if Slotland has made its way onto a couple of blacklists across the internet. When we investigated the casino further, we found that this was simply because their progressive jackpot video poker games play like slot games, and their old roulette games were apparently broken in a way that was unfair to players.
With that being said, there are a ton of gamblers who still enjoy their experience with Slotland and they don’t even offer any roulette games anymore. They are licensed and registered by the Government of Anjouan, which we have to admit we have never heard of before today. This might be because the only online casinos that they have licensed are Slotland and their sister casino WinADay.
After more research we found that this small island off of the southeastern corner of Africa has apparently licensed more than 300 offshore banks as well, so we feel that they are a relatively trustworthy entity. In addition to this, they also are responsible for issuing brokerage licenses, finance licenses, and insurance licenses. The only red flag that we can find is that there is zero information available on the internet about complaint and dispute resolutions from their operations.
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Software and Client at Slotland

There is no downloadable software to worry about on Slotland since every game is accessible via web browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Once you make an account and make your way to the game library on Slotland you simply need to click on the yellow “Instant Play” button that is underneath each game to give them a whirl. Unfortunately, there is no option to practice these games for free like most other casinos offer.
Before you begin to play these games you will be prompted to decide whether you wish to allow Adobe Flash Player to open the game. If you do not wish to use Adobe Flash Player, some games will allow you to play the HTML version of the game. Playing on the HTML version will not change the games in any way except that the graphics will be much less impressive. We are shocked at how colorful and clear all of the games are when played in Adobe Flash player since it might be some of the best graphics we have ever come across.
It seems as if the best way that Slotland could improve their software is to add in some more games since there are currently only 61 games in total. This is far below the industry standard, but they more than make up for this deficiency with eye-popping graphics and the fact that you can only find these games on Slotland.

Slot Games at Slotland

Slot Providers: Slotland Entertainment (Proprietary) Slot Betting Limits: $0.01 to $8.50
There are a total of 50 slot games available on Slotland.eu, which is far less than we expected from a casino that has “Slot” in their name. However, the quality of these games and their graphics is extremely high so we will give them a pass for valuing quality over quantity.
The number of reels that you will find in these slot games ranges from 3-reels to 9-reels. The number of paylines that you will find ranges from 8 paylines to 40 paylines.
Many of these slot games share a progressive jackpot which is also shared with the video poker progressive games. Even the games that are not participating in the progressive jackpot appear to come with a ton of bonus features which keeps the games fun and your potential earnings high. A great example of this would be the Zodiac game which does not have a progressive jackpot but still comes with FOUR bonus features.
We are extremely impressed by the innovative nature of some of these games since some of them do not appear to be your usual average slot game. For example, Slotris incorporates the game of Tetris into their slot and your spins determine the shape of the piece that drops next. Another example is the Slot 21 game which incorporates a blackjack mini-game into the slot game.
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Table Games at Slotland

It is clear that Slotland does not feel that table games are an important part of an online casino since they left them out entirely. Whether they are correct about that or not is undetermined, but they do offer one slot game which has a blackjack mini-game built into it.

Baccarat at Slotland

Sorry, Baccarat fans. You will not find any sort of Baccarat games on Slotland Casino.

Blackjack at Slotland

Types of Blackjack Offered: Slot 21 You will not find any traditional blackjack games at Slotland Casino since they do not appear to be very fond of table games in general. However, one of the slot games named Slot 21 comes with a bonus blackjack game for those who are really itching to test their luck at this popular two-card table game.

Roulette at Slotland

If you are looking for roulette games, you will have to take a spin at another casino since Slotland does not currently offer any.

Video Poker Games at Slotland

Video Poker Games Offered: Jacks or Better, Double Bonus Poker, Aces & Eights, Deuces & Joker Wild, All American, Tens or Better, Joker Wild, Jacks or Better Progressive, Wild Heart, Striking 7’s Video Poker Betting Limits: $0.10 to $25 per hand
Video poker games are clearly the second most popular game that you can find on Slotland and nothing else really comes close. While you will find classic video poker games such as Jacks or Better and Double Bonus Poker, you will also find unique games that are tough to find on other casinos such as Wild Heart or Striking 7’s.
One of the most exciting parts of this collection of video poker games is that some of them come with a progressive jackpot attached to them. For example, Striking 7’s and Jacks or Better Progressive currently share a progressive jackpot of over a quarter of a million dollars which can only be won by hitting a natural royal flush while simultaneously betting the maximum amount of $10 per hand.
However, you should be warned that the odds of winning the jackpot are not the same as the odds of hitting a natural royal flush. Considering the fact that you need a natural royal flush to win the jackpot, this means that the game designers altered the odds to make these video poker jackpot games more like slot games, which is why some review sites have chosen to blacklist Slotland.

Specialty Games at Slotland

Keno 101 is the only game you will find on Slotland which is neither a slot game nor a video poker game. This popular lottery-style game simply requires you to pick what numbers you think will be the winners and also comes with a Quick Pick option which will select random numbers for you. You can bet anywhere from $0.50 to $10 per round.

Live Dealer Games at Slotland

Sorry folks, you won’t find any Live Dealer games in the game library of Slotland. If you can’t live without having a human dealer while you play, you can check out our list of highly recommended brick-and-mortar casinos here.
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Mobile Games at Slotland

There is no mobile app available on Slotland, but you can access the casino through your mobile web browser. All you need to do is download Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to your phone, visit www.slotland.eu and then log into your account to begin playing.
The devices that you can use to access their website include iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and Wii consoles. We have never seen a Wii console as an option for an online casino so we give them props for being so innovative in this area.
As is the standard for mobile versions of online casinos, you will not be able to access every game that you normally would from a computer. In fact, the only type of games that you can play on your mobile device will be slot games. However, you will still be able to redeem any bonuses from your mobile device without any issues.

Welcome Bonus at Slotland

The welcome bonus promotion at Slotland gives new players a chance to claim up to $1,075 in bonus funds over the course of their first TEN deposits. This might seem like a lot of deposits, but the level of investment that is required is relatively low compared to other casinos.
On your first deposit, you will be greeted with a 100% match bonus up to $100, since $100 is the maximum deposit for your first three deposits. On the second and third deposits, you will be granted a 50% match bonus for up to $50 in bonus funds each time. For the seven deposits that follow those, you will be rewarded with a 50% match bonus on a maximum deposit of $250 each time. When all is said and done, you will need to deposit a total of $2,050 to receive a total of $1,075 in bonus funds.
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Other Promotions at Slotland

Once you have already taken advantage of the Welcome Bonus, you might be wondering what else Slotland has in store for you. The rest of their promotions program involves a tiered VIP, a ton of deposit bonuses, a weekly raffle drawing, and a unique newsletter which provides bonuses to its readers.
This is a fairly well-rounded list of bonus promotions, and if you combine that with the low playthrough requirements on every single bonus it is clear that this program is superior to that of most online casinos. We are extremely impressed with the effort that they have put into giving back to their regular players and highly recommend getting involved with as many of these promotions as possible.

VIP Program

The VIP Program on Slotland provides frequent gamblers with a way to win extra match bonuses, a subscription to the VIP newsletter, higher chances in the weekly draws, and special VIP customer service. The three VIP levels that currently exist are Bronze Level, Silver Level, and Gold Level.
Unlike other casino VIP programs, you will not belong to any VIP level when you first sign-up on Slotland. Once you have deposited at least $3,000 they will consider adding you to the Bronze Level, although this is not guaranteed to get you in since they use other unspecified criteria to decide who qualifies. The final level, otherwise known as the Gold Level, will provide you with 15% cash back, a $200 welcome bonus, a 200% match bonus in addition to all the other perks that Bronze Level players receive.
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Newsletter Bonuses

Slotland is smart to realize that most people do not read newsletters that come from online casinos, so they decided to add some incentives to get people to do so. By checking out the monthly newsletter that is posted right on their website, you will be able to find out what the game of the month is and exactly what perks come from playing this game.
Usually, the prizes for this promotion include a match bonus that you can claim twice per day using the code “GOTM” as well as a random cash drawing. For every 100 rounds you play on the game of the month, you will receive a ticket into the random cash drawing where $600 is up for grabs among the four players whose tickets are chosen. Every month these prizes will change and so will the game that you must play to clear the playthrough requirements, so be sure to keep an eye out for any new newsletters that pop up on their site.

Monthly Mystery Bonus

The monthly mystery bonus is another promotion that utilizes the monthly newsletter since the only way to earn this bonus is to play in the mini-slot game that can be found there. The only catch is that you must redeem this bonus during the first seven days of the month in question.
The results of your spins on the mini-slot game will decide which reload bonus will be waiting for you during the following month. The reload bonus that you are given will range anywhere from 30% to 100% for players with a low VIP status while the more experienced VIP players will be rewarded with a bonus that is anywhere from 45% to 150% of their deposit.
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Weekday Bonuses

No matter what weekday it is, there is guaranteed to be a deposit bonus that you can claim as long as you currently do not have any other active bonuses. Each bonus comes with its own wagering requirements and is only valid for specific types of games.
On Mondays, you will receive a 50% match bonus using the bonus code “50MOBILE” and you are only allowed to play slot games on your mobile phone. On Tuesdays, you will receive a 60% match bonus using the bonus code “KENO60” and you must clear this bonus using the game Keno 101. On Wednesdays, the match bonus is set at 75% and you have to clear the bonus using oldies slot games such as Booster, Golden 8, Lucky Ducts, and Lucky Stars. For Thursdays, the match bonus will be 40% if you use the bonus code “VPOKER” which can only be cleared using video poker games. Lastly, Fridays will reward you will a 50% match bonus that can be cleared using any slot game of Keno game.

Weekly Free Draw

For every dollar you deposit during any given week, you will be rewarded with one raffle ticket into the weekly free draw. Each Wednesday, a total of 20 players will be chosen to receive prizes and you will have to check your email to see if you won. The first place prize is an impressive $500 while 2nd through 10th place will receive $100 and 11th through 20th place will receive $10. If you are a winner, you will be required to wager your prize 1x before you can withdraw any of the money.
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Bonus Terms and Conditions at Slotland

Each bonus promotion on Slotland comes with a different playthrough requirement which is specified on the webpage that is dedicated to that specific promotion. These playthrough requirements appear to range anywhere from 1X to 18X, which is EXTREMELY easy compared to other casinos. In fact, this might be the easiest playthrough requirements that we have ever seen since most casinos set their requirements between 30x and 60x. There also appears to be a very lenient timeframe in which you have to complete these requirements since 90 days is more time than most casinos will give you.
However, just like on most other online casinos, not every game will contribute equally towards clearing the playthrough requirements for each bonus. In fact, the only type of game which will count 100% of your wagers are slot games. Keno will contribute 50% of your bets towards the wagering requirements, video poker games will contribute 20%, and roulette games will contribute 1%.
One strange clause in these terms and conditions that we have not seen before is that any players from the countries of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Tanzania or the United Kingdom will have playthrough requirements that are 5x as hard as normal. For example, if the playthrough requirement for a specific bonus is originally 10x, players from these countries will need to wager 50x their bonus amount before they withdraw funds.

Customer Support at Slotland

Customer Support Options: Email, Live Chat
There are two ways to contact the customer support team at Slotland and the only key ingredient they seem to be missing is a telephone contact method. However, the Live Chat feature works INSTANTLY whenever the Live Chat button is yellow and says “Live Support Online”. Despite the fact that they advertise 24/7 customer service, this button is sometimes grey and says “Live Support Offline”, so you will need to use email in those instances.
Speaking of email, there are numerous email addresses that you can use to contact them and you will normally receive a response in under an hour which is relatively fast for this method. The email address that you choose to contact will be decided by the issue that you need to speak to them about. For general inquiries, you can contact them at [email protected]. For billing inquiries, you can contact them at [email protected]. Finally, any VIP players will be permitted to contact them at [email protected] which has a quicker response time guaranteed.

Deposit and Withdrawals at Slotland

Minimum Deposit: $25 Maximum Deposit: $100 ($250 after your first three deposits) Deposit Methods: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller Withdrawal Methods: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Check, Wire Transfer, Skrill, Neteller
If you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast, then you will truly appreciate the fact that Slotland accepts three different forms of this digital currency. While it is normal to see Bitcoin on the list of deposit options for an online casino these days it is equally abnormal to find sites that accept Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash.
All deposit methods will be completed instantly and free of charge. They also have the exact same minimum and maximum limits. The only real difference between the cryptocurrency methods, e-wallet methods, and the bank card methods is that your bank might charge an international transaction fee of up to 10% if necessary since all transactions are processed in U.S. dollars.
If you plan on taking advantage of any of the deposit bonuses that we listed in the promotions section above, you will need to enter your bonus code BEFORE making a deposit. You can do this by clicking on the “Bonus Code” option on the side menu once you access your account cashier.
Once you are ready to withdraw the funds that are in your Slotland account there is a total of seven methods that you can choose from. Each of the methods that are available to players from the U.S. comes with a minimum withdrawal limit of $100, which is a little high considering the fact that the minimum deposit is $25. Players from other countries will be able to withdraw a minimum of $25 by using Neteller or Skrill.
When you choose Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash as your withdrawal option, your transaction will be processed the very next business day. This is much faster than the check or wire transfer withdrawal methods which will take 5-10 days to process and receive. Therefore, we recommend using one of Slotland’s supported cryptocurrencies so that you can take advantage of the high level of efficiency that these three coins offer. On the other hand, players from other countries will be able to take advantage of the 24 to 48-hour processing times of Skrill and Neteller.
In the event that you have a lucky day and win more than $5,000, you will need to make special arrangements to withdraw your money in increments. The best way to do this is to email them at [email protected] and they will work with you to figure out a payment plan.
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Kami Heart Nintendo Switch

Hello there,
I just wanted to share my experience with the Nintendo Switch to those who are interested and I thought that perhaps starting a reddit post could be a starting point. First of all, just to clarify that 'Kami' means 'We' or 'Us' in my language (Bahasa Indonesia) and I used because my experience with the Nintendo Switch have been uniquely communal. This is an unnecessarily long post (much apologies) but I just hope that can write everything down before I lost the moment for writing. Thank you for your time. ^_^

Kami Heart The Hybrid System
Impact to Choice
I was fortunate that I received the Nintendo Switch as a Birthday present from my wife on March 8, 2017 - the first week the Switch was released. And like everyone else who got their Switch ealy on, I was hooked on Breath of the Wild. Yes, Hyrule was undoubtedly a supreme experience on its own, but it was the Hybrid nature of the Switch that caught me off-guard about the overall experience of playing the newest adventures of Link.
Through my adult years; with marriage, family and work - I have learnt to plan my days by making time for things that are important and things that are urgent. Through this matrix, I slowly and crushingly admit to myself that playing video games is almost never important nor urgent, no matter the argument. I had seriously thought that the joy I got from video games would just be a fond memory of my past. When I first learned about the Switch and its portability, I was intrigued and cautiously excited by its potential. The excitement stemmed from the hope that the hybrid system could facilitate more choice for me, and that it would have more flexibility to fit into my daily schedules of things that are important and things that are urgent.
So it was a pleasant surprise to me, when I noticed the painless planning that I have to do to have time to play my Nintendo Switch. The difference with the Switch is that it allows me to comfortably find time rather than struggle to make time. If I have 30 minutes after work, I can play while having a cup of coffee at a café. If I have an hour before going to bed, I can play while my wife can still watch the TV (This is a BIG deal). If I am flying for work, I can play on the plane instead of hoping that the 1 hour flight will just fly by (sorry for the pun). It turns out, there are numerous times in a day where I can fit my games in, simply because I am no longer tethered to my TV or a computer to play. With the Switch, it did not feel selfish for me to play video games nor do I feel that I am compromising my priorities. To be clear, video games did not suddenly become more important or more urgent, it's just that the hybrid Switch makes it so it does not have to be either to be a viable choice. This impact to choice is literally changing my lifestyle. I don't have to juggle multiple time schedules to make 2 hours free, just so I can play my game. This is the promise of mobile / handheld gaming without compromising the kind of gameplay that I like. To me, the hybrid nature of the Nintendo Switch is not a gimmick, it’s a magic trick. I can play the same Breath of the Wild on my TV or at a Coffee Shop, and I don't think I'll ever get over how wonderful this seamless transition feels. The impact of the hybrid system was beyond my expectations, but to some extent, it was expected nonetheless. There is another, unexpected feature of the Switch, that could break the seamless experience of the hybrid system without it - the sleep mode.
For me, before the Switch and its sleep button, 30 minutes is meaningless to a gaming session. With the sprawling AAA games that I liked to play, I could barely progress in 30 minutes. But the sleep mode changes that. A 30 minutes play time on the Nintendo Switch is often a part of the 1- 2 hours total time I spent on the game that day. Moreover, the sleep button removes the frustration of having to stop playing. Coming back to the important/urgent matrix, the urgent part often comes when I am playing video games on my TV and consequently, I have to stop playing. The frustration of scrambling to save or to just turn it off completely was frankly, the worst part of this hobby before I had the Switch. I could not just simply ‘pick up where I left off’. Whenever I have to stop playing, I would not know when I could make those 2 hours again. It could be a couple of days, a week or even months, before I could resume the game... Just between you and me, this is why I never get to finish The Witcher 3. It was devastating to open up my save file for The Witcher 3 and every time I had to try to remember where I was or what it was that I was doing, the momentum was lost. After several times of losing momentum, the impetus to play was just lost completely... The sleep button is not exclusive to the Switch, but the hybrid nature is what makes the sleep mode integral. That 30 minutes in the Cafe? I can press the sleep button when I am heading out. That 1 hour session before bed? I can press the sleep button when my wife wants to talk (again, BIG deal). That play session on the plane? I can press the sleep button when it's time to land. The sleep function is crucial to the seamless experience, because 30 minutes of play is now substantial. And I know that it will be easy to find another 30 minutes to continue my game and finish that shrine I was in or climb that tower I was heading towards. Unlike my experience with the Witcher 3, the momentum of my adventure in Hyrule was never lost and I got to complete it.
With the newfound time for playing video games, the Switch did not only change when and how I play games, but also how I spend the time with the games I played. Those first few weeks of exploring Hyrule, battling Bokoblins, completing Shrines, finding Koroks and defeating Ganon, would have been a completely different experience if it weren’t done through a hybrid system. With the Switch, I get to play Breath of the Wild for 1-2 hours everyday; instead of 2-3 hours a couple of times a week. As it was so much easier to find time to play Breath of the Wild, I consequently did not feel like I was wasting time whenever I followed my curiosity rather than the supposed ‘story’ of the game. It was the first time in a long time, since I felt the urge to simply play a game rather than the rush to complete it. After the credits rolled on Breath of the Wild, I surprised myself by immediately starting a new game just because I wanted to play again. In my second playthrough, after gliding down the Great Plateau, I knew that this dear hobby of mine is now possible to be in my future and not just a memory of my past. The Nintendo Switch has significantly influenced how I want to play video games.
Is it on the Switch?
Since the launch of the Switch, I hear and/or see the following remark, "Is it on the Switch?", so many times that it could almost become a catchphrase for the console. It is a question that I also find myself asking quite frequently when I see a new game (or an old game). But why is that? Why did I become so interested in other games coming to the Switch? I’ve come to the thought that the lack of gimmick on the Switch is why I am eager for more games on the device. …. (Please let me explain). Earlier in the blog, I have mentioned that the hybrid nature does not feel like a gimmick and more like a magic trick - even 3 years later, that feeling of wonder still rings true. However, the occasions in which that hybrid magic trick has a chance to dazzle me, gradually declined. There are less and less instances where I use my Switch on the TV as I found myself using the Switch more often in handheld mode. During the first year of owning the Switch, I began to settle on a 1:5 ratio of TV vs Handheld mode. The dock becomes more of a charging dock rather than a dock to connect to the TV. Because most of my time with the Switch is as a Handheld experience, the Hybrid benefit becomes much less apparent for me. But because of that, I began to notice just how good it is to have traditionally-console games in the palm of my hands.
I think it was Kotaku (I could be wrong, as I could not precisely recall where I found this quote) which said that Nintendo Switch is more of a portable console that can also be played on the TV - which was contrary to Nintendo's messaging of Nintendo Switch being a “Home console that you can take with you”. My initial thought of the Nintendo Switch generally agrees with Kotaku, but my experience with the console helped me understand Nintendo’s messaging. The Switch is a great handheld device because it is not relegated to what I used to consider as “Handheld-Games”. Before the Switch, I always have this perception that console games and handheld games are inherently different. One is not better than the other, but the processing power and size of games are so different that I could not expect the same gaming experience. As a handheld device, the Switch did not have that issue of perception. Playing Breath of the Wild in the palm of my hands proved to me that the future is here, there is no longer a chasm between console games and handheld devices because it has been blurred by the Nintendo Switch. But more importantly, playing on the Nintendo Switch felt familiar. There is only a single screen. There are no styluses. Touch Screen controls are additional / optional. I don’t have to learn motion controls (mostly). There is no significant difference between how I used to play on the TV versus how I play my games on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. I only focused on the single screen and the buttons layout are practically identical to most other consoles I have used. The muscle-memory I have built through the years did not have to be re-learnt. Which is basically saying, that the Switch is actually … pretty plain. Without its Hybrid capability, the Switch feels more like a next-gen handheld and not the wild and zany experiments Nintendo is known for. And at least to me, that is a good thing.
The familiarity of playing the Switch in handheld mode made it so much easier for me to hope that more games, that I do want to play, can come to the Switch. The experience I had with Breath of the Wild makes me think, “Well, why not?”, if I can play Breath of the Wild on the plane or in the cafe then why not other console-games as well. The first real test for me was Skyrim. I have played hundreds of hours of Skyrim on the Playstation, thus I was certain that if playing Skyrim in handheld mode feels off in any way, I would notice it. When Skyrim was released on the Switch, I think I may be one of the earliest people who downloaded it to my Switch. The added DLCs made it even sweeter as I never had the chance to really sunk my teeth on the DLCs. I can recall that I was nervous about it because I really wanted it to play well on the Switch. After the character creation was done and I was out and about in Whiterun - I felt relieved. The Switch basically fades into the background and I am left with Skyrim in the palm of my hands. I spent dozens and dozens of hours in Skyrim again and it was more enjoyable because it was easier to find the time to play on a handheld device.
Between Breath of the Wild and Skyrim, there were other games as well that shaped my instinct to ask “Is it on the Switch?”. I was introduced to the world of Indie games in the first year of owning the Nintendo Switch. The world of Indie games was not something that I put a lot of attention to in the past, but fortunately (perhaps ‘unfortunately’ to a lot of other people) there were not a lot of games available on the Switch for me to play. I became interested in just trying to see what is available for me to play and Indie games became the answer. There were 2 particular experiences that I want to point out which was important to my subsequent behavior towards video game purchases - Shovel Knight and Stardew Valley. I was pleasantly surprised at just how good and modern Shovel Knight feels to play but, more importantly, it felt worth the time I put into it. Indie games became viable for my play-time on the Switch. Then came Stardew Valley. I was blown away by just how engrossing the game is to play. It was so good that even my non-gamer wife was drawn to it. Stardew Valley was important for 2 things; it solidified the awesomeness of Indie Games and showed that other types of games also felt great to play on the handheld Switch.
After Skyrim, Shovel Knight and Stardew Valley, I began asking “Is it on the Switch?” for more games to play in my Handheld Switch. Over the years, Nintendo Switch kept pushing the bar on what is actually playable on the system. The announcements of games like Doom, The Witcher 3, Divinity: Original Sin 2, The Outer Worlds (sadly not so good) or Wolfenstein have not ceased to amaze me of just how much the Switch is capable to run. To me though, the announcement of Civilization 6 on the Switch was the one-time I actually squealed at a Nintendo Direct. I LOVE strategy games, and Civ is way up there in my favorites list. I have never ever imagined that I could be playing a game like Civ6 on a handheld device. I did not think twice of buying Civ6 when it launched on the Switch system. The experience of playing Civ6 on the Switch vastly broadens what I want to play on the device. Civ6 also made me realize that most of the types of games that I like to play on console and PC are now available for me to play on a handheld device. Whilst there are compromises on the graphics front and the framerate on a lot of these games, to me they do not feel compromised to play. It felt like this is the game the developers wanted me to play and not some watered-down version. That feeling of familiarity is absolutely crucial in making the handheld experience indispensable to my lifestyle. Now I can choose to play massive games like Civ 6 or delightful Indie games like Shovel Knight without thinking about which device I should play them in.
Instead of asking “Is it on the Switch?” I gradually become more proactive and ask “What is on the Switch?” (better discoverability on the eShop would really help). I actively searched for “Best RPG on Switch”, “Hidden Gems on Switch”, “Best Strategy on Switch”, “Best Ports on Switch” and so on, which is a behavior that I don’t really do in my previous gaming devices.. I can honestly say that in the past I bought a gaming device because I want to play games, but now, I buy games because I want to play on the Switch. My whole mindset towards video games have changed and the role of the gaming device has become the goal rather than the means. Consequently, for the first time, I am experiencing a ‘backlog’ problem that I never had before. Handheld gaming has proved to be so impactful to my lifestyle in general, that I hope that Nintendo will continue this route of making handheld systems a priority for its future.
Discovering The “Switch”
With the lifestyle-changing impact of the Handheld Switch experience, it came as a significant surprise to me that the announcement of the Nintendo Switch Lite did not excite me. I should have wanted the handheld-only system more than the original Switch. Initially, I attribute the ‘Waste of Money’ reason for my lack of excitement. But instead, I began to recognize and ‘re-discover’ what “Switch” actually means to me.
The Switch is a hybrid console that can be played on the TV or in handheld; that perception of choice between TV and handheld was important in communicating what the Switch is, but it could not fully illustrate what the feature actually does for my gaming experience. I debated whether I actually needed the “Switch” and would benefit more from having a handheld-only-system because around 80% of the time I played on my Switch is in handheld mode anyway. To some extent, I think the portability aspect of the Switch grabbed too much of my attention, and consequently too much of my appreciation, early on with the Switch. Eventually though, the other 20% of my time with the Switch, becomes essential to my experience. Through several key games, the “Switch” feature becomes much more than just a choice between Handheld and TV.
Let me further illustrate this by briefly describing my experience with the Wii. My family and friends were quite fond of the Wii experience back in its heyday. Games like Mario Party, Wario Smooth Moves and, of course, Wii Fit were fond memories for us. But given the way the Wii is, it felt that I should only be playing games that utilized its motion controls - any other control scheme, felt like it should be played elsewhere. I was fortunate enough that I was able to have my Playstation + Laptop at the same time. So for games that I want to play (e.g. Skyrim, Dragon Age: Origins, Infamous, Uncharted, Fallout, Red Dead Redemption, Last of Us, Civilization, SimCity, etc.) I get to play separately on my own devices. Consequently, I grew up with the notion that Nintendo games are objectively different; Nintendo games are fun and quirky to be played with many people while the games that are on other consoles are more action and/or story heavy and games on PC are more suited for strategy / simulation games. With such perception of Nintendo games and the wacky usage of the motion control, it rendered the ‘Wii experience’ to be singularly specific and situational. Thus my time was divided around 80% with my games and 20% with Wii games. Looking through this perspective, this 80-20 dynamic has not really changed with my time with the Switch. That 20% are mostly the kinds of games that I remember playing with the Wii. In other words, that other 20% is when I 'Switch' to that Nintendo experience that has always been enjoyed by my families, friends and myself. Well, to be precise, I think that my 20% is somewhat divided into 4 types of experiences - Local Multiplayer, Motion Control, Gyro/Online Multiplayer, and Joy-Con.
One of the main reasons why the Nintendo Switch was compelling for me was the near-certainty that Nintendo will deliver good local Multiplayer experiences. My wish is that the Switch will not end-up like my Playstation, which was only played by me. The first local Multiplayer game that I got was SnipperClips and it was a superb novel experience that my wife and I shared together. The experience was so good in fact that I wanted to have more games to play in local multiplayer immediately. I know my wife loves puzzle games, so I got Puyo Puyo Tetris for us to play. Those initial multiplayer experiences were simple and delightful, as well as cementing the notion that the Switch is the right choice for local gameplay sessions with others. Then... Mario Kart 8 deluxe was released. The last time I played Mario Kart was on the Nintendo 64 and much has changed since then. It is no surprise to me that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the highest selling games on the Switch, the game is excellent. Sure enough, the game became the best way to fully utilize the unique capability of the Nintendo Switch - it is so easy to pass on a Joy-Con and start racing immediately. I have played local multiplayer Mario Kart in so many places and with so many different people that I somehow became the Nintendo Uncle or the Nintendo Guy. A dedicated handheld device would not allow for such experiences and interactions. Sure, I don’t play local multiplayer games all the time but those moments were enabled solely because I have the Switch and not another device. After Mario Kart 8, I now keep a lookout on more games that would be great to play in local multiplayer. Games like Overcooked, Mario Party and Just Dance are some of the games that have also enabled those joyous experiences together.
Of that 20% of my time on the Switch, local multiplayer is probably the experience I spent the most time on. Very close second, is the time I spent with the clever ways in which the motion controls are used. Arms was the game that became the catalyst for the experience. Compared to the days of the Wii, the motion controls in Arms, and thus the Switch, feels far more measured and deliberate. I can’t just waggle aimlessly, there has to be intent on my movements, and I learn to appreciate the thought and care that was put into designing a game experience based on 2-motion controls. Additionally, it wasn’t until much later that I realized the ease to the set up (or lack-off set up?) to start playing Arms. One of the more annoying aspects of the Wii was the calibration and I experienced none of that pain during my time with Arms on the Switch. After Arms, I thought that it was a nice and quirky experience to dabble but not exactly something that I thought I would put much investment into. I thought wrong. The ease of the set-up and the weightiness of the motion controls was seeded in my mind and I became more open to experiences of the same type. When Fitness Boxing was announced I would never have given it a second thought if it were not for my experience with Arms. And for some reason, I got more out of Fitness Boxing compared to what I remember from Wii Fit. My wife and I got kinda into it and we also bought Zumba to spice up the experience. And it's not just at home, whenever I have to travel for work, I have used Fitness Boxing to get a quick workout in my hotel room. Then came Ring Fit Adventure, which immediately became a day-one purchase for me after the great work-out that I got from Fitness Boxing and Zumba. To me, Ring Fit Adventure is a fantastic evolution of motion controls and the possibilities that it could bring to users.
Gyro-controls was always something that I thought was unnecessary but at the same time, I was curious at how good it actually is to use as a control mechanic. Luckily, I caught wind of the hype around Splatoon2 and was genuinely curious on what seemed to be a good implementation of the gyro-controls. That was honestly the reason why I bought Splatoon 2, I was curious about its gyro-controls. Splatoon 2 was the kind of game that I thought I would never enjoy, but it turned into something that I value my time for. The gyro controls in Splatoon 2 were very easy to adapt and, more importantly, crucial to the experience. Splatoon 2 was also the first game where I participated in online multiplayer. I never thought I would enjoy playing such a game because video games used to be entertainment reserved for me and people I know, but not with strangers. After understanding the rush of playing multiplayer online and getting the hang of gyro controls, I became interested in finding out more games that offer similar experience or controls. The other game that I used Gyro controls in, was Fortnite. Fortnite was all the rage early on with my time with Switch and since it was free, I thought I’ll try it out. I played for a season and I could really appreciate how video games have truly evolved over the years; let me tell you, playing Fortnite in a cafe, with my shoddy mobile hotspot and perhaps close to 99 other players online, have taught me about the vast potential of the technology that we have and the kinds of experiences it can deliver. The gyro controls in Fortnite makes the experience more frantic, especially the build battles - I wasn’t at all good at playing Fortnite but the manic experience I had was truly memorable. Gyro gameplay makes me interested not only in games with gyro-controls but also led me to Online Multiplayer or Battle Royale games - Warframe and Spellbreak are some of the games I’m looking forward to trying out as well.
Then comes the surreal experience of what I like to call the ‘Joy-Con games’. Of all the types of experiences I have had with the Switch, the Joy-Con games are probably the least-time spent, but it makes up for it through its crazy inventiveness. There were only 2 games where I have had substantial playtime with Joy-con games; 1-2 Switch and Labo. I was not looking to buy 1-2 Switch but it happened to be bundled with my initial purchase of the Switch. Now, I’m not saying that 1-2 Switch is a great game, but it was like a fascinating demo on what could be achieved through the Joy-Cons. There were 2 minigames that stood out to me the most - the ‘marbles inside a box’ and the ‘lock-picking’ games. These 2 mini-games really showed what HD Rumble can provide to the gamer; I could really feel that there are distinct marbles from the Joy-Cons and I could really feel the ‘click’ in the lockpicking mini-game. I genuinely look forward to games in the future that could utilize these experiences in their gameplay. Which then leads to the second experience I had with these ‘Joy-Con Games’ - Nintendo Labo. The announcement of Nintendo Labo was distinctly memorable for me as it showed to me the kind of mindset that exists in Nintendo. The most fascinating contraption that they showed in the Nintendo Labo reveal was the RC Car toy-thingy. The fact that the ‘console’ becomes the controller and the joy-con becomes the interactive toy, was delightfully weird and felt very Nintendo-like. The role reversal of the controller and the console revealed to me that Nintendo has no real bounds on what they will experiment on with the technology that they have. I personally tried to get into the Labo experience but only able to get the VR Labo which unfortunately does not agree with me as I got quite nauseous from too much VR. Nonetheless, I got a glimpse at what Nintendo is willing to invest their development time and money to explore new opportunities for their gamers. It is refreshing to see a company in a consumer-tech-hardware industry to focus their efforts in exploring what is possible right now, rather than the continuous obsession on the ‘next-big-thing’.
These Local Multiplayer sessions, Motion Control games, Gyro-based/Online Multiplayer experiences and Joy-Con novelties are the kinds of enriching playtimes that makes-up around 20% of my time with the Switch. Even though these experiences are not the main way I play games, they are still essential to the whole Switch experience. They have become indispensable to why I’ve come to adore the system and spotlights what that age-old saying, ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, really means.. This is how I discover that the ‘Switch’ is far more than just TV vs Handheld. It is more about how those different play-modes can facilitate distinct and nuanced experiences. These additional ‘modes’ are certainly not the main reason why I would recommend the original Switch, but it is 100% the reason why I am very reluctant to get any handheld-only / TV-only system in the future - it's a new benchmark of what I hope to get in my gaming experience. The Switch and its Joy-Con, with all of its glaring and infuriating flaws, enables something delightful and unique.
Kami are Gamers at Heart
With all of the time I have spent on the Nintendo Switch, I still ask the question “Am I a Gamer?”. It is surprisingly difficult for me to answer that question. I can not really relate to the Gamer Identity as it does not reflect who I am in general. Instead of the Gamer Identity, I have discovered something else which I could relate to - the Gamer Passion. Having the Nintendo Switch made me more proactive in Google searches relating to video games and thanks to the algorithms of the Internet, I am gradually exposed to the wider scope of the video game culture. I used to have a broad-yet-shallow interest in popular culture and would explore the world of Movies, Music, TV, Comics and Video Games in equal amounts of time. But now, most of my exploration has pivoted to the world of Video Games - and what a deep world it is. I have subscribed to a myriad of YouTube Channels covering different aspects of Video Games. I made a Twitter account and Discord account, both for the very first time, because I want to get more connected to the gaming world. I searched for documentaries regarding Video Games and tried to learn the history of Video Games. I wanted to know how Video Games are actually made. And what I have found is an immense sense of passion by so many people towards this medium. I was swept up by the sheer amount of personalities, legendary figures, consequential scandals, innovations, contentious discussions, hilarious anecdotes, controversies, wholesome moments, speculative theories, fandoms, epic milestones, toxic comments, business woes, triumphs, tragedies, nostalgia, and heartfelt stories throughout the history of video games. There is a tangible sense of active community within this world of video games that is quite different from other popular-culture communities. From my perspective, and I can be very wrong about this, the sense of passion that I got from the video game world is well-shared across its participants. In most cases, I do not sense that Game Developers are distant to its Players, compared to the distance that I sensed from other types of creators and their fans. The ‘closeness’ of developers and players have manifested in some genuinely hype moments or genuinely distressing moments. But I believe that it all stems from the passion of being ‘Gamers at Heart’, we in the video game world truly love this medium. And in that sense, rather than saying that “I am a Gamer”, I can sincerely say that I am now a proud and active participant of the Gaming Community.
Speaking of gamers at heart, I would like to wrap things up with a small dedication to the late Satoru Iwata. Unfortunately, I came to understand the life and impact of Satoru Iwata only after his passing as I was not too engrossed in video gaming culture in the past. With my experience of having the Nintendo Switch and having a better understanding of the intent that Iwata had with his Blue Ocean strategy, I have to say that I am grateful for his work and vision. I thought that it was just a cool quote when he said that he is a gamer at heart, but experiencing his influence firsthand through the Switch, the quota takes on a whole new meaning to me. It is my understanding that Iwata saw a massive gap between so-called ‘casual gamers’ and ‘hardcore gamers’ and wanting to create something to fill that gap. I think it is fair to say that the Wii did not bridge the gap, but instead created a new wave of casual gamers. The Wii U was, in my opinion, the Beta-Switch, it tried to convert the newly casual gamers into something a bit more involved but not necessarily asking the commitment usually reserved for the hardcore gamers. But unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) the Wii U failed to do so. And this is the point where I have come to immensely respect Satoru Iwata. He did not abandon his vision nor did he double-down on that vision, instead he adjusted and in fact took an even greater risk by starting the development on the Nintendo Switch. If we take all the hardware and software reported sales during the Satoru Iwata era prior to the Switch, then we are looking at 330+ Million consoles and 2+ Billion games sold. He was risking all of those potential sales by focusing solely on a single console with an unproven experimental concept. That took some major cojones. It would take a special kind of person to convince an entire company to that kind of risky vision. And it would take a special kind of leader to have his vision realized by the company he left behind. It would seem to me that Satoru Iwata was that special person and was that special leader because the Switch did launch and again shook the market. I was in that Blue Ocean. I was in between the casual gamers and hardcore gamers, and I have found my home in Nintendo Switch.
submitted by Ilolio388 to NintendoSwitch