My daughter turned 11 today and since she loves it, but always has to share our existing unit with me and her brother, she just wanted a Nintendo Switch. So we got her one.
It was a plot of land Money for a birthday present, but my wife found – as always – ways to justify it to me, such as the fact that we already own all of the games, so we managed to get good deal on a teal Switch Lite (the color She wanted, she is 11, she is very picky), got her a nice suitcase and got ready to see a happy child.
This morning she burst into our bedroom, we gave her her present and she was delighted. She loved the Switch, loved the color, loved the case (an Animal Crossing the same color as the console). Be such a huge one Deer crossing Fan, she wanted to play this first, and after checking and confirming we could move her island to her own switch, we were ready to let her play as a special birthday present (usually my kids don’t) during a school week Be allowed to play games).
I turned the Switch on, we got it a new profile, linked it to my Nintendo eShop account so we could access the same games and … hm. Although I lived peacefully on my existing switch for five years without his information ever having to be logged in again, he now asked me for a Google Authenticator code. Strange, but whatever, I could do that.
So I opened my phone and then Google Authenticator and it was blank. Which was natural. I got a new phone in February 2021, and when I first set up Google Authenticator it would have been on an older phone, which I only found out this year – when I got banned from my Ubisoft account for the same reason – do not transfer codes to new hardware.
When the switch asked me if I would like to enter a backup code instead, I broke a sweat. Nobody except my mom, who writes passwords in a little paper book that she keeps under her monitor, actually keeps their backup codes, right? All I could remember now is that I always did this for important things like Nintendo hardware, I had tagged and archived it in my work email all those years ago when I first got it.
I entered “Nintendo Switch Backup Codes” in my email and … didn’t get anything. No results at all before 2017, what … oh. Oh shit. It’s correct. I worked in a place called Gawker which was great until it was destroyed by a wrestler and a vampire fascist, and in the midst of the turmoil of changing hands, we’ve all lost access to our old work-related Google Accounts.
I bought my switch and probably set up 2FA before 2017, so those codes were gone by now. Now i was Yes, really sweat but in desperation i thought it was ok i can just call nintendo and they will walk me through an account recovery. I’ve had to blog about people doing this for 15 years but now that it’s my turn it can’t possibly be that hard, right?
Just because Nintendo Australia – presumably due to the constant Covid bans in their hometown Melbourne – no longer has a phone number that you can call, just a website form. What can take up to seven days to be replied to.
I ruined her birthday. Well not the whole thing, the Switch is going to get through this week’s headache and they’re going to have a huge party and everything will be fine eventually, but for now, in those first hours of joy and joy where they should have indulged when I saw this amazing new one Thing got, it all went shit.
I know a lot of it is technically
But come on man, Google Authenticator sucks, and even after going through this with Ubisoft earlier this year, I had no idea what other old accounts were locked behind a dead installation. The whole concept of backup codes sucks too, Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan and the state of Florida suck, and what is the chances that Nintendo Australia doesn’t have a single phone number to call? And all at once?
So to my daughter, if you ever find and read this post, I’m so sorry we didn’t get it Deer crossing work on your birthday. Hopefully you read this years later and it all worked out perfectly and you are the world’s greatest resident services manager taking care of an island as brave and beautiful as you are.
And everyone else, spare me the advice. I know I could have handled some of this better, but come on, how am I supposed to explain all of this shit going wrong at the same time, on the same day? Sometimes you can prepare for what life throws at you, and sometimes all you have to do is shrug your shoulders and say, well, the irresistible powers of monopoly tech companies, a global pandemic and Nintendo’s online operations safe caught me this time.