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Tomorrow, I climb onto a bus and head to Boston for PAX East. It’s a drive that could go totally painlessly or which could get so bogged down in traffic that it takes the entire day, so it’s always a good idea to bring distractions. I’ve already packed a couple of books and planned out which podcasts to save for the trip, but I’m having much harder time deciding what game I should spend time with, and I’m trying to work out why that is.
When I was a kid, I did lots of traveling to see family, and between various iterations of the Game Boy, I spent a lot of that time head down and absorbed in the surprisingly vast worlds of that portable system. Metal Gear: Ghost Babel wowed me, even though it only lasted the length of the car ride. Because it ended on a tease for a sequel (and because so much was left unresolved), wrapping up Golden Sun on the road was painful, but remains one of my clearest portable gaming memories. And then there were the tactics (and Tactics) games, and the various Castlevanias, and Pokémon, too.
Between the Switch, phones, tablets, laptops, and yes, even the Vita, there’s an even larger pool of games I could spend time with during trips these days. But while it felt like games were my only escape on those long childhood road trips, now games need to compete with other things. Then, trips felt like vacations from schoolwork, now I can’t help but feel that I should reading more. Then, the only other people to talk to in the car were my parents, now there’s social media’s hellgrip and the long list of podcasts I've been meaning to get to. Then, as now, there was always more work I could be doing, but now I have a harder time pushing it to the back of my mind.
Still, I’m committed to turning some of this bus trip into game time, and there's a lot for me to choose from. On Switch alone, I never revisited Skyrim or Darkest Dungeon with the focus I intended, and I fell off of SteamWorld Dig 2 earlier than I'd like to admit. I also didn't get around to Flinthook, Subsurface Circular, or or honestly dozens of other indie games that have ported to the system. I never even touched Celeste. I know. I know.
So what the hell should I play during this trip Waypoint readers? Let me know over in the forums! And if you’d like to, share your memories of gaming-on-the-go, too!