Sometime in the next couple to few weeks, I am set to board a couple of planes for a week of work on customer premises in Dallas. It will be my first work travel trip since acquiring a Nintendo Switch, and you best believe that I intend to bring it along for the journey.
What I do for my job defies easy description, unless the acronyms “SIP” or “IMS” mean anything to you. The best way I’ve been able to put it without being misleading has been to call it a computer science desk job. Even then, however, I’m not permanently stationed at an office. Depending on the project, I occasionally get sent out to various parts of the USA for those things that cannot be done from the home base.
During my first year at this job, two years ago, I traveled quite frequently. For someone who had never thought he would ever go any more west than Pennsylvania in his life, it was an incredibly rewarding opportunity. I consider myself unequivocally lucky to be able to say that I have been to Chicago, to Seattle, to Dallas and Houston, to southern California.
Fun fact: When I first saw HAIM’s video for their song “Want You Back”, I swore that I must have seen the street they were strutting down before. Turns out, that was no delusion! It was Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, the same street on which I worked during one of those trips.
Something pretty major happened between the last of that year’s travel trips in October 2015 up until now, however. My girlfriend and I got a place of our own and began living together. From that instant onward, the concept of traveling—separation for, at minimum, a week at a time—lost around 80 percent of its former appeal, on top of another 10 percent out the window with the eventual realization that I sometimes do not want to endure how fucking exhausting business travel is.
In that context, the entirety of last year was a godsend, for I did not have to travel for work even once! Unfortunately, given this year thus far, it would appear that I can’t expect to stay even remotely that lucky.
I’ve traveled for work three times already so far, with five more trips to look forward to this year, one of them coming up soon. The upcoming trip will actually be my second time in the Dallas area this year, and my THIRD TIME in Texas overall. That’s enough Texas for me, thank you very much!
Not to mention how on top of all that, my various projects are practically chomping at the bit to try and send me out for even more of these things—often with less than a week’s notice—at least once a month, and then there are the trips that are definitely happening but keep getting rescheduled. For example!!! I was supposed to start my Dallas trip tomorrow, but that got thrown out the window yesterday when our lovely customer got themselves on enough dumbfuckery where everything now has to be re-planned.
It then falls onto the people for these projects like me to suffer the brunt of everyone else’s whims. All of this would be hilarious if the constant threats and uncertainty of travel obligations were not torturous.
That said, even with all of the frustration involved, there is no sense in being all doom and gloom. I’ve got to look on the brighter side! For example, at least the trip that is most definitely happening sometime soon-ish is for the project that I am by far least annoyed with and have the most experience, right?
More importantly, there is still plenty that I can do to make the most of the situation; no reason that I cannot enjoy the area if I’m already going to be there, after all. In fact, since this is somewhere that I’ve actually been to previously, I already know at least a few of the things I am going to do. Yes, most of it has to do with food DON’T JUDGE ME.
I’ll be hitting up an In N Out Burger at least once. There’s this absurdly delicious taco spot, Velvet Taco, that I am definitely going to get reacquainted with. I’ll also be making a stop at one of the Hard Eight BBQ locations; my girlfriend even tasked me with bringing home another bottle of their spice mix. My hotel this time (assuming I can re-book it when this thing is rescheduled, that is, grrr) is apparently right near the Dallas World Aquarium, too, so I hope to pay it another visit, given there’s free time to do so.
And this time also presents me with the chance to put my Nintendo Switch through a very significant trial run!
My Switch has ventured around quite a bit already. However, that’s only stretched as far west as Pennsylvania and as far south as Maryland. Even more importantly, however, I have not yet tested its mettle against one of the scenarios that I have pondered the most: A far-reaching, long-term travel trip, especially in the name of a job.
The chance to actually take something I’ve wondered and make it a reality is exciting. Part of it, admittedly, is out of an obligation to put my money where my mouth is and see if what I’ve written out previously holds any water. However, there are also tangible benefits at stake. For all of my past trips, I brought along my personal laptop as a companion, and I am interested in whether the lighter and more compact Switch could substantively take its place.
Let me make a prediction well in advance, something to hold me to once the week is over. I think that it will. What has me salivating in particular is the potential for something like this (emphasis mine):
However, the perks of the Switch as a convention gaming system may not even be restricted to being off-dock in tablet mode, at least for traveling convention goers bunking up in hotels. From what I’ve observed, the ability to separate the Switch into tablet and dock may very well also make the Switch one of the easiest console gaming systems to travel with. It will definitely have the edge over the bulkier Playstation 4 or XBox One.
It might even be more portable than the Wii U, whose smaller console size versus its competitors is somewhat wasted on a mandatory gamepad nearly half its size. In comparison, the Switch is practically the equivalent of a Wii U gamepad with an (optional) dock which it slots into, meaning that the dock won’t take up much extra space. It ought to take up just a fraction of backpack space when all packed together. Additionally, it’s even possible to buy an extra dock separately, which could be useful for, let’s say, leaving the first dock for home use, while keeping a second dock in reserve specifically for travel purposes.
That said, why even bring the dock in the first place? Simple: Hotels with modern HDTVs that include HDMI ports are now commonplace. Thus, as long as the Switch owner packs an extra HDMI cable along with the rest of the usual controllers and power cables, setting up the console in the hotel room for big-screen gaming ought to be a breeze. That would conceivably give attendees a fully-fledged game console to unwind to when their days are done.
Time will tell whether the hypothetical will adequately translate to working well in practice. To that end, I intend to write about my experiences with the Nintendo Switch during my time in Dallas. We shall see how things stack up then.
Wish me luck!