Making the decision to purchase a console always comes with a set of uncertainties. Will there be a steady stream of high-quality games? Is the hardware dependable? Is the high price of entry a worthwhile investment? While these questions can be left unanswered for long stretches of time, sometimes there’s a single, solitary game, that makes throwing down your hard-earned cash worth it. These are the games that made us empty our wallets for entire consoles just to play them.
Back in the mid-2000s, the Jak series was one of my absolute favorite franchises. So when I got my hands on a friend’s PSP and played the first level of the portable console’s exclusive spinoff-game Daxter, I had to get it. To this day I’m not sure what the exact motivation was, but it probably had something to do with the wacky sense of humor and me being a tween with too much extra cash on hand. In a series where you regularly play as the brooding savior of the world, casting the franchise sidekick as a pest exterminator gave the game a lighthearted tone that was just so appealing. A few years later and my PSP had gotten dusty and mainly served as a device to watch the first two seasons of Family Guy. Yet even though Daxter isn’t one of my all time favorite games, I still find myself glad to have owned a PSP just to experience the zany critter’s portable antics.
I remember the week when many people around my college campus started talking about this new game called Skyrim. I looked it up online and fell in love almost right away. A game where you could create your own hero and fight large dragons in high definition? I couldn’t find anything like that on the Wii.
My friend invited me into her dorm room to check it out. I watched for hours as she scaled mountains, casting fire spells at large spiders, and besting larger-than-life dragons. I was so enthralled. Then she invited me to create a file. I was gone.
After a few weeks of obsessively getting in as many minutes of Skyrim on her Xbox as I could, she decided that my behavior wasn’t healthy. She cut me off for good. At that moment, I began saving my work-study money to buy my own Xbox 360 and a copy of Skyrim.
I actually don’t think I’ve ever bought a console just for one specific game. Metal Gear Solid V was the game that finally pushed me over the fence to get a PS4, but it was just one of several games and features I wanted that the Xbox 360 could no longer provide.
However… Super Smash Brothers Ultimate has me very interested. I’ve been impressed from afar by Nintendo’s success with the Switch, but have not felt a ton of pressure to grab one myself. It just doesn’t fill any need that my PS4 doesn’t already satisfy for me. But Smash Ultimate is looking like it might be something really special, and worth adding to my video game collection, along with the console needed to play it.
And if Nintendo ever announces a new Pokemon Snap, I will be the first in line.