This holiday, the GameRevolution Staff gathered around the warm fire, full of tryptophan and stuffing, and decided to talk about the video games we were most thankful for… because celebrating a holiday based on those traitorous pilgrim bastards is too stupid to comprehend. Why would you celebrate them? Why?!
Celebrate video games instead! Here are the games we'll be thinking of when that one relative insists we say prayers just when we've shoveled the first perfect Thanksgiving bite halfway to our lips.
I hold a special gratitude towards ICO. I once had a long-distance friend of the opposite sex for whom I'd developed special feelings. Being a gamer and naturally being totally awkward about telling someone how I felt, I turned to games to send the message for me. Enter ICO, a perfect example of a game being art and a great way to send a message. Cooler kids would have made a mix tape, as was the style at the time, but no, I aimed higher, nerdier, expensive… er. To find out if my scheme worked, you'll have to ask my wife.
I would like to give my thanks to the original Resident Evil. Before that game I was stuck in my comfortable bubble of inconsequential multiplayer games I enjoyed in the company of my friends and family. I played Resident Evil when I was but a wee ten-year-old sprite and became enchanted by the ability to solve elaborate puzzles and kick zombie ass. I used to mute the television so I didn't have to hear the creepy thud of the gigantic spiders as they crawled toward me, and I even resorted to pausing the game for my uncle to come kill the ape like Hunters because they terrified me.
Slowly, I noticed something begin to change. I no longer went running for the hills when anything more than a run-of-the-mill zombie rushed at me suddenly from an unexplored hallway. It was the first game I finished that had an in depth story and engaging action. It showed that games can be more than something you pop in for a couple hours of multiplayer fun with friends and family. It was a complete emotional experience and helped shape me into the gamer I am today.
I could sit here and go on about how perfect Chrono Trigger is, why it's still on top of many people's "best of all time" lists, and why everyone should play it no matter what age they are. But that wouldn't be very personal, would it?
No, the reason I'm thankful for Chrono Trigger is that it may very well be the reason I'm here now, doing what I do. When I was just a kid playing through the game over and over again, it got my overzealous young imagination going and I thought up more stories set in that universe that I eventually want to tell (I've since changed the universe, but I still want to tell 'em).
That dream pushed me to first study programming, and even though I've since abandoned that route (physics was the Magus to my Frog), I now write about games because I still want to be a part of the industry. And maybe someday, you'll all get a chance to see those stories I imagined all those years ago.
I'm thankful for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, because it continues to serve as a wonderfully detailed fighting game I can enjoy with friends and family whenever it's picked up. The multitude of options, modes, control schemes, and varied characters, matched with its simplistic concept and button layouts ensure that even those who hardly play games can pick it up and we can all have a blast. And of course, myself and my game-oriented friends can dig deeper and enjoy the surprisingly rich and unique fighting game system it has to offer. Years after it's been released, it still stands as the best game for me to sit down and play with friends and relatives during the holiday season.
This Thanksgiving, I'll be in a dress, leggings, and heels walking around a crowded extravagant home with a champagne glass in my left hand. I'll be talking about world news, politics, and the weather… when all I will really be thinking about is prestiging, my G26C, and how I am going to customize it, and which Strike Package will go best with my stealth class.
I'm thankful for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 because when I'm not acting proper and mingling, I am yelling about the quickscoping sniper who killed me, shouting about capturing the flag, and squealing with glee over earning a multi-kill with a predator missile. On Thanksgiving, I'll be away from home, but by the weekend, I'll be in my PJs with my hair tied up in a bun while I sip on hazelnut hot chocolate, all the while enjoying the fast-paced action I only get from playing MW3.
The game I'm most thankful for this year is Final Fantasy III (at least that's what it was called when I played it back on the SNES). Before Final Fantasy III, I wouldn't have considered myself a fan of RPGs. They didn't hold the short attention span I had as a kid. I need action, or any other type of instant gratification. However, Final Fantasy III had enough to pull me in from the beginning, and as a result was one of my first "mature" gaming experiences where I formed a bond with the characters. And there were so many of them! After Final Fantasy III, I started to seek out the Squaresoft logo on any and all games, which led me to find other gems like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. Final Fantasy III is the game that solidified me as an RPG gamer, and a life-long Final Fantasy fan. If only I still had the time for long hours need to complete RPGs, and if only Final Fantasy was still as I remember it.
I love portable games. Anything playable on the go, or epic in the palm of your hand, I want to see and play it. That's why I'm disappointed it took me so long to actually play through The World Ends with You, and I'm incredibly thankful I did get around to it. When I picked it back up, I didn't bother with my previous save; I started over from scratch. Thank the universe I did. The controls weren't perfect every time, but the visual style was amazing and the soundtrack is the only gaming soundtrack in every playlist I make. The story is engrossing and reliable and set in a real place. Between the ambience and the ease of play, it's everything I want in a game… and it's in the palm of my hand!
In my freshman year, my buddies and I would throw down the challenge at will. $20 on this game of Madden or $25 of a match of NBA Live. Despite all of that money, I made plenty of time for one title: Hitman: Blood Money. I couldn't get enough. Everything about it was, and still is, fantastic. Agent 47 is like a mix of James Bond, Batman, and Johnny Cash. I love the free range maps, varied objectives and stealth gameplay. Taking on disguises and creeping through casinos, parties, hospitals, and mansions… it's pure genius.
I'm going to play the resident prick this year (no Thanksgiving table is good without one) and say that I'm grateful for something called "new ideas". This year is rife with sequels, extraordinary ones, the kinds that make Game of the Year nominations and GameStop giddy with pre-orders, but in this recession, there's hardly a single new IP in sight. It's been a season of thress, and I'm already bracing myself for the season of fours and fives in the next few years. So thank you, Atlus, for Catherine and its sexually charged block puzzles. I'm always up for new things in bed (while I game).
Thanksgiving is a time for family and I've gotta say that one game I'm truly thankful for is NBA Hangtime for the Nintendo 64. My brother and I used to fight… and fight… and fight. With four years between us, there was enough of an age difference to put us on different planes. With no younger sibling to cooperatively terrorize, we ended up terrorizing each other. That translated to hilarity on the Hangtime hard wood.
During a brief five-day rental period we pushed each other to the floor, stole the ball, broke glass, and caught fire mid-slamdunk… all while goal tending every single shot. We laughed our asses off through every 3-minute quarter. That's when my dad came down the hall and told us to quiet down in his usual perturbed growl. Finally! Matthew and I stopped terrorizing each other and turned our goofy ways against the people we could truly rally against in cooperation…. our parents!