As I’ve written about before, ARMS had its work cut out to win me over. But, by golly, did those two Nintendo Directs do it! It was with great anticipation that I waited to get into the action myself for the ARMS Testpunch.
And then life happened. I was away for rehearsals one time and in the actual performance the other. I was spending time with family another time and on a date for yet another. I even overslept for one! By the end of the weekend, I had played a measly (but still glorious) half-hour of ARMS. I wallowed in shame for the duration of the week.
But I then realized that I had a second chance for redemption. The ARMS Testpunch was going on for a second week, and I resolved that I would play as much ARMS as I could. Despite the adversity, I managed to play in EVERY. SINGLE. SESSION. Here’s how:
For the entire testpunch, I knew I was going to be out of the home visiting family. That was an easy solution. The Switch is portable, so I took my so-beloved portable console halfway across the country with me. I was looking forward to some sweet, sweet ARMS action when my parental unit informed me that we were all going to the dog park; no exceptions. But did I despair? NAY! I used my phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect the Switch to the internet, and set it up on a picnic table. My younger sister saw me playing and wanted to play as well, which worked just fine. I simply handed her a Joy-Con, and we played ARMS in tabletop mode together. The sun harshly fell upon the screen so that we had to squint to see it, there were bugs surrounding it, and a dog jumped up onto the table, almost tipping over the Switch twice, but it was no matter. We were playing ARMS, and, despite it all, we had a blast.
In the summer, I usually sleep in until around 8am or so. But the thought of ARMS roused me at 6:30am, which was enough time for me to take a shower and get ready for the day before jumping back into ARMS. This time I was by myself, so I got to use motion controls, my prefered setup. Pretty smooth sailing.
Following my morning ARMS session, we all took a two-hour trip to the Omaha zoo. I connected the Switch to the zoo Wi-Fi, which was pretty good actually, picked a spot under the shade, and kicked some butt with Twintelle. An employee for the zoo was walking past and took interest in what I was playing.
“Woah dude, what’s that?” he said.
“ARMS,” I said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
“Looks cool; when did it come out?”
“Oh, it’s not out yet. I’m using the zoo Wi-Fi to play a test session online.”
His head exploded.*
After a full day in Omaha, we headed back home. The drive back happened to be during the testpunch. My sister wanted to play again, so after connecting the Switch back to my phone’s Wi-Fi, I set it down in my lap, holding one Joy-Con myself while giving the other to her. ARMS was still the glorious game it was, especially considering how my younger sister was getting surprisingly good, but we ran into a lot of disconnect errors. I assumed the connection was spotty because, you know, we were on the highway, but I later heard of people with perfectly good Wi-Fi from their homes having the same problem during this particular session. So I might never know if my problems were bad because of my unusual circumstances or a more widespread issue. Or, who knows, maybe everyone who complained had the misfortune of playing with me and my crappy Wi-Fi!
I woke up; I played ARMS in handheld with motion controls. Pretty standard but still pretty awesome, and with much better Wi-Fi.
I started off using yesterday’s 7pm method with my younger sister again until we parked. At the time, my sister was in the middle of a match while I was just waiting, so we devised a shamelessly nerdy way to walk into the restaurant. I put the Joy-Con in my pocket and carried the Switch facing away from me and walked backwards while she continued playing her match.
There was a crash...
of the server. We took a break to wolf down our food and jumped back in with tabletop mode.
And that was the end of the ARMS testpunch saga. I imagine that when the actual game comes out, I won’t go to such desperate measures in order to play due to the ability to play whenever I want, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing ARMS in the way that I did. It led to other people being exposed to a great game on a great system, got to bond more with my sister by playing it, and got a fun story out of it.
*ok, his head didn’t actually explode. But he was still pretty impressed.