In an unexpected turn, here I am back where I started. I thought I was done writing about video games. I vaguely recall back in February writing about how I cancelled my Nintendo Switch preorder and that it was some kind of signal from the world that I was done with game writing.
Clearly I was wrong. I missed the hell out of this place.
It was indeed a flimsy argument that because I love portable gaming, cancelling my preorder for the next handheld console was some cosmic sign. But it felt like I needed a dramatic gesture that was supposed to flag that I was a grown-up at the most, or that talking about video games wasn’t a high priority for me. And like most spectacular gestures, it back-fired spectacularly; I find myself desperately wanting to talk about the wonderful feeling that is holding the ever-brilliant Doom in the palm of my hands.
Doom on Switch was something of a boyhood dream fully realised – and there I was sitting there with my tail between my legs, having to enjoy this otherwise monumental moment solo. Sure, it wasn’t the first time – I had the original Doom and its slightly better sequel on the Game Boy Advance to tinker with 16 years ago, and in a mostly complete form I might add. But it always felt like a compromise beyond the concessions made to accomodate the hardware. It was Doom, but I always felt like I was doing the classic an injustice by booting it up instead of the countless other ports I have strewn about the house.
The Switch version of the new Doom on the other hand just felt right in spite of its concessions. The most paradoxically beautiful first person shooter – a reboot of sorts of a classic that I spent quite literally days playing hunched over an old 486 PC – on a handheld console. It still feels impossible. But it’s not, and it’s wonderful.
So here I am, hand on heart admitting that I was wrong about the Switch, and I was wrong about wanting to hang up my video-game-writing boots. To think that all it took was a bit of rip and tear to make me realise it.