Switch hitters and fish to fry

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Switch hitters and fish to fry

Gabby Fischberg

Gabby Fischberg

Gabby Fischberg

John Mauro, Staff Writer

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As Facebook’s Big Fish catches on and Nintendo Switch smashes its way to popularity, students have become attached to the lure of trending videogames.

“You can take the Switch anywhere and go. It’s very portable,” Andre Dang (12) said. “On Fridays during G period many people who have switches meet up and play together in the library. Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros Ultimate are great to play with your friends during free time.”

Besides the library, the student lounge has also become a hotspot for Switch activity.

“We originally would all play Super Smash Bros around a small Wii console, but there were too many people around the small screen, so a few people and I connected a Switch to a monitor so we could play better,” Mitchell Yu (10) said. “We’re pretty open to everyone; there’s people from all grades playing. If you don’t have anything to do, many people will gather here and play games together.”

In a recent poll of 206 students, 12% responded that they own a Nintendo Switch, and another 14% responded that they use their friends’ Swtiches.

“In a high stress environment like Horace Mann, it’s a good idea to have an outlet where people can relax,” Lowell Finster (10) said.

The student lounge, which is open to every high schooler, often has more male students playing videogames there rather than girls. In the same poll, while 75% of male respondents answered “yes” to the question “Do you typically play video games?”, only 31% of female respondents answered that they played.

“Although we’re inclusive to all genders, I feel like there are more boys than girls playing Nintendo switch games since that’s the audience that Nintendo is catering to when they create their games,” Ryan Peng (10) said. “I suppose the action style and characters of Super Smash Bros are more enticing and familiar to guys.”

Girls might be less likely to play the Nintendo Switch with other male students because “they may feel uncomfortable with not fitting in,” Celine Owens (10) said.

Students at the school have also quickly hooked on the latest Facebook craze: Big Fish, which has quickly spread throughout the school. Nearly 40% of polled students responded that they play the new game.

The game involves buying and combining smaller fish to acquire larger ones and placing them on a track to earn more money and continue buying fish.

“I first opened the game because a friend sent it to me a while back, but I didn’t really see the point as I hadn’t been it playing correctly,” Emily Shi (10), one of the first people to play it at school said. “Around two weeks ago, another friend sent it to me, and once I played, I shared it with a few people from our school. After that, it just blew up.”

“Sharing the game with your friends with rewards has definitely driven all of the obsession with it at our school,” Natalie Sweet (10) said. “Essentially, you can tap to share the game with your friends, and everyone receives rewards.”

Sharing links with friends is a faster way to advance one’s position in the game, as the player can buy fish immediately without having to wait for their money to increase over time.

“Big Fish is a game that brings people together through teamwork,” William Golub (12), who has been particularly vocal  in Facebook groups and in real life about the game. “One cannot succeed in the game without working with others.”

Although Big Fish has gained popularity among many students, there is some opposition to this new trend.

“I play and enjoy the game, but while doing homework I would be distracted sending messages to people,” Euwan Kim (11) said. “So, if I knew I had a test, I would still study as hard; it doesn’t take enough of my time to affect my overall semester grades.”

Often, many students would open their phones to see dozens of links to Big Fish.   

“I receive a lot of links from people with enticing messages telling me that I’ll also get rewards if I’ll help them,” Lorenzo Hess (12) said. “From what I understand of the game, it doesn’t require any strategy, nor do you gain any skill from playing it, compared to a game where you would have to manage resources. It’s really just the most banal and useless game people can devote their time to.”

Instead of ignoring the trend, however, Hess decided to add humor to the situation through original memes on a Facebook page.

“I think he’s really creative in using his memes,” Vincent Li (9) said. “He conveys his meaning through humor.”

Hess uses his memes not only to poke fun at the game, but as “a more passive reminder to people, through humor, that what they’re doing is useless,” he said.