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Why Killer Instinct’s Release Means So Much to Me

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Everyone knows that I prefer Sony’s consoles over Microsoft’s. I find the exclusives to be far better, the company has a more pro-consumer attitude, PlayStation Plus is a bargain compared to Xbox Live- the list goes on and on. Of course, I bought a PlayStation 4 on launch day last Friday and I haven’t regretted it for a second. It’s fast, has convenient updates, an awesome Share functionality, and those graphics are to die for. However, if there is one glaring problem with the system, it’s the lack of must-have software. Even if DriveClub actually made the launch, I’d still say that Sony’s lineup of exclusives is lacking. Killzone: Shadow Fall is actually entertaining, but not “run to the store and get a copy” good. No, as far as software goes, I actually give the edge to Microsoft.

Now, I haven’t played the Xbox One yet, obviously. I have Forza Motorsport 5 on pre-order, and it looks like, based on reviews, it’ll be another top-tier entry in the series. I love Forza so much that it’s a must-have, more so than any exclusive Sony managed to launch alongside their console. However, the big seller for me is Killer Instinct. I have commented on KI in earlier blog posts, praising how awesome it looks, but also bemoaning its sales structure. When it really came down to it, though, I knew I wanted KI all along after waiting about 17 years for a sequel (KI Gold released on the Nintendo 64 on November 25, 1996). It’s not just the fact that I love the franchise that makes it a selling point, though. It’s actually the memories of the times playing the earlier entries, which are the reasons why someone who prefers Sony consoles is actually taking the plunge on a Microsoft console on launch day.

This was more than just a game. This was a slice of my childhood.

This was more than just a game. This was a slice of my childhood.

I love KI for its characters, unique fighting system, and the, for its time, cutting-edge visuals. The original games were more than that, though. Killer Instinct and KI Gold weren’t just about mashing buttons (I was horrible with fighting games as a child) with Fulgore and Spinal in an effort to take down Eyedol and Gargos, or taking on the dojo in KI Gold to learn each character’s moves. It was about my three brothers and I sitting around the TV in our dining room taking each other on in matches, with my oldest brother dishing out a majority of the pain with Fulgore. It was a game we all took interest in, leafing through old GamePro magazines and strategy guides looking at combos, movesets, and promo art. It was about me being able to play a bloody and violent game, despite the fact that pretty much every other bloody game made me squeamish as a child, a little-known fact. There was just something about the game, and its sequel, that made me overlook that facet of it, and actually helped me to eventually overcome that hurdle once I reached my teenage years. These weren’t just games to me: they were a part of my childhood and my camaraderie with my brothers. When it comes to video games, nothing means more than that, and I think many people who have fond memories of playing with friends and siblings can attest to that.

That’s why, when news of a new KI broke during Microsoft’s E3 press conference, I started cheering and pumping my fists into the air in my living room. That’s why I’m so unbelievably psyched about it, feverishly combing through the Double Helix Games forums and watching the streams on Thursdays for any new bit of info I can glean from them. That’s why I’m throwing down $500 for a console that is a successor to the 360, a system that sits and collects dust most of the time on my TV stand and that I can honestly say, at least for the original models, is one of the most shoddily-built pieces of trash ever manufactured. Even if it’s only launching with six characters and no story mode, Spinal, Fulgore, and that story mode aren’t far behind, and the content it has at launch is still plentiful, making it worth taking the plunge. This new Killer Instinct is a rebirth for a franchise that means more to me than just being a series of great games. The fact that it’s even coming out in less than 24 hours is still surreal to me. I never thought this day was going to come, but lo and behold, that day is almost here. Tomorrow, I’m going to download KI on my new Xbox One and recall those fond memories of my childhood as I set out to make new ones in a new generation for the franchise. This, folks, is why I’m buying the Xbox One on launch day, and I can’t think of a better reason than that.