By now, we’re all familiar with (and likely quite tired of) the Skyrim port joke: Oh, Skyrim is on <platform name>? It’s on everything, ha ha ha. When’s it coming to <other platform name>? Skyrim coming to Stadia, Skyrim coming to Playdate, etc. etc. etc. Repeat ad infinitum.
Recently (a few months ago, actually) my best friend bought me a copy of Skyrim for Nintendo Switch (she’s cool like that). Being a huge Elder Scrolls fan (Morrowind, in particular, is very important to me), I’d already had Skyrim at launch on Xbox 360. That was in 2011! That’s hard to believe; Skyrim has indeed been ported and rereleased enough to feel like it’s just always been.
In fact, Skyrim is only available, right now, on exactly six platforms, which isn’t all that much when you think about it. But anyway.
I played an awful lot of Skyrim back at launch, and I loved it. I really did, as much as I loved Morrowind way back when and probably a shade more than Oblivion. But something was different about it. Or rather, something was different about me.
Skyrim came out during a…probably not exactly bleak, but let’s say hollow time of my life. The things I liked didn’t bring me any real joy—or at least, they didn’t bring the level of joy they should have. Like, here I am playing a new Elder Scrolls game! I should be excited! And yet.
And yet I was essentially like “sure this is fine I guess.” I loved the game, yet couldn’t emotionally connect with it. I mean, Oblivion was my life for a couple hundred hours. Morrowind practically saved me! And Skyrim was an improved Oblivion with dragons; I should’ve been over the moon with it.
Yet because of my mental state at the time, I never got the memories of that game I should have. Certainly I have good stories about playing it…but it just never felt like I think it should have. I felt like I was going through the motions with the game, and never really clicking with it, you know? It wasn’t that I wasn’t impressed with the game and what it did. I most certainly was. But it just wouldn’t land for me. Eventually I hit a wall and put it down, occasionally revisiting my save and fumbling with it for a bit. Then I just fell off entirely.
I also played the Special Edition on PC, but never stuck with it more than a couple hours (I transferred my 360 save to it, which is neat!). I was busy with other games at the time, so that release flew under my radar.
Cut to 2019, where I’m holding my new copy of Skyrim for Nintendo Switch my best friend bought me because she wanted me to have it (again, she’s cool like that). I cracked it open, started it up…and played for hours. I mean, this time I was able to forge an emotional link with this game, more than I ever had. I’m still playing it now! For once, it doesn’t feel like I’m playing Skyrim solely because I have it, or because I should be, but because I genuinely want to.
I mentioned the seemingly endless ports of Skyrim at the beginning of this piece (of which, again, there aren’t really that many). It’s an easy thing to joke about, and even get irritated by, but I feel like we don’t appreciate enough how great it is to be able to play such a wonderful game on as many platforms as possible. Skyrim’s a popular and fantastic game, and making it available on a variety of platforms just makes sense, doesn’t it?
Too often, we lament the announcement of another re-release of Skyrim, or some other game, as if it comes at the expense of something else. There was a point when I was like that too. But I came to see these re-releases as a good thing; an opportunity to revisit past games and form new opinions on them (something I like to do here and there), and an opportunity to gain new connections with them—some you may have never had, and some you may have really wanted, like me with Skyrim. Because of the Switch port, and more importantly, because of my best friend who loves Skyrim (thank you!), I didn’t have to miss Skyrim the way I feel I did. Perhaps I’m a bit late in my appreciation of Skyrim, but I’m here now, and that makes me happy.
I sometimes still get a little tired of seeing the same ports over and over too, (half my PS4 library seems to be games I already own on past platforms) but I’m glad Skyrim released on Switch. It gave me a second chance at this amazing game; it gave me the opportunity to finally, after years, really appreciate and love it, the way I wanted to. To me, it’s not like I have Skyrim again. It’s more like I have it back.
Also the Switch version has Zelda gear which automatically makes it the best thing in the world, so there’s that.