Are you familiar with those cheap game boxes that contain a collection with differences games (100 in 1!)? These games are often found at bargain stores and usually contain a thin and frayed double-sided checkerboard/chess board, some hollow chess pieces, flimsy plastic tokens, 5 misprinted dice and a limp pack of ugly playing cards. With dice and a deck of cards, you can technically play more than 100 games, but the box still feels like you a rip-off. The title of 51 Worldwide Games might make you suspect that this is a similar disappointment only digital, but nothing could be further from the truth. 51 Worldwide Games is a collection of several classic board and card games, nostalgic toys and other even modern mini-games, but with typical Nintendo workmanship, quality and charm.
Normally, I’m not a big fan of board games that you play on a screen. In fact, the enjoyment of board games for me largely derives from the social aspect and the tactile and therefore intuitive gameplay. Board games consist of various game components that, together with the framework formed by the rules, make up the game. That tangible feeling disappears in the transition to video games, which have very different advantages over board games. 51 Worldwide Games, however, offers a generous collection of entertainment in a fun format.
This game for the Nintendo Switch is basically a collection of games, but offers players other – sometimes even multiple – ways to play certain classics. Also, this Nintendo game – like board games – is primarily developed with the social aspect in the foreground. Only 1 cartridge is needed to play on different Switch systems, and players can even combine different Switch systems for a different kind of gaming experience.
The game, as you can expect from Nintendo, is designed uniquely and full of charm. To draw a comparison: in 51 Worldwide Games, players go into their parents’ or grandparents’ attic and discover a large (toy) chest full of games and toys for them to play with. As a result, all the games are beautifully and fittingly realistically designed, and even the sound effects are full of little details: cards sound the way cards should sound, the clatter of Mancala stones in the wooden trays is correct, and so on. Many digital versions of tabletop games try to disguise as much as possible that the original was in fact a tabletop game, but Nintendo embraces the aesthetic and tactile feel.
Aside from a lot of traditional card games and board games, there are also a lot of Wii Sports-like minigames and games included in the collection. Players can even go bowling with motion controls. 51 Worldwide Games is a nice collection of games in an affordable package and the best way to play 51 games in bed. No you, not those kind of games… 51 Worldwide Games is also a way to become better acquainted with various traditional and historical games from around the world. For example, get acquainted with the Japanese card game Hanafuda. The collection of these games gives a nice package, but obviously does not suddenly turn bad games into good games: after all, some games like Sorry and Uno remain terrible games.