Ten Games I am Thankful For

For those of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is upon us.  In an attempt to put a gaming spin on the holiday, I thought I would write about ten games that I am thankful for in some way.  These are not necessarily my favorite games, but they are games I have strong memories attached to or hold some significant meaning in my life.  These games helped mold who I am, as a gamer, critic, and person, and I wanted to thank them for this.

 Spyro the Dragon

Spyro the Dragon is not my first video game, as that honor likely goes to either Barbie Super Sports or Elmo’s Letter Adventure.  Instead, Spyro is the first game I played where I was old enough to play through levels on my own.  In other games I had played at this point in my toddler life, I could barely hold the controller and needed my mom to play me through most of the game.  When I got my hands controlling this purple dragon, however, something clicked in my brain and I finally figured out how to use the controller.  I was still terrible, as I never actually beat the game until the remakes came out twenty years later, but there was a sense of pride that came from being able to play Spyro without help that started me down the path of gaming.

 

Final Fantasy X

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Final Fantasy X was the first game that I fell in love with.  This game was love at first sight, as the story, characters, and combat system all gripped me from the start.  This isn’t the most difficult game in the world, which meant it was perfect for me to get the turn-based battle mechanics down so I could wander the land of Spira.  I even introduced the general plotline of this game to my friends so we could act out the game on the playground during recess.  Given this game is actually about the complexity of organized religion, I find it a bit troubling that I pretended the baseball diamond was really one of the temples in the game, but that’s just in hindsight.  To this day, Final Fantasy X remains a personal favorite of mine.

 

Katamari Damacy

Katamari Damacy is my rainy day game.  If I come home from a terrible day, or just generally feel upset about something, I pop this game in and play it from start to finish.  One playthrough is only the length of an afternoon, so it’s the perfect length to shut my brain off for a few hours and relax, allowing me to escape my real-life problems for a little bit.

 

Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2

I know this may seem like an odd choice, but Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 is the first game I ever bought with my own money.  I saved up my allowance for weeks so I could get this game because I wanted to play it with my little brother.  The music was amazing, the dance master mode campaign challenged me to get better, and playing with my brother was a great way to bond, as our gaming tastes don’t always overlap much.  In fact, when I was home over the summer, my brother and I got the old PS2 out so we could play the game again, even though both of us are well beyond our Dance Dance Revolution days.

 

SingStar

When my family got our PS3, my mom, brother, and I were all allowed to pick a video game to buy with the new console.  Since I was a music nerd at the time, my pick was SingStar, a karaoke party game.  I wanted this game mostly to play with my friends at sleepovers, but I actually got an unexpected gift out of this game:  My dad, who historically hates all video games, loved playing SingStar.  For the first time in my life, I could get my dad to play a video game without having to force the controller into his hands.  We spent an absurd amount of hours playing that game together, trying songs over and over again to get a better score.  We haven’t played in years because our microphones broke, but I still can’t listen to “The Final Countdown” or “More Than a Feeling” without thinking of this game.

 

Fallout:  New Vegas

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I wasn’t allowed to play M-rated games until I was a teenager because my mom didn’t want me playing violent games in front of my brother.  When I finally was able to play an M-rated game, Fallout:  New Vegas was the first one I really got into.  Not only did it introduce me to the universe of one of my favorite franchises, but it also got me into western RPGs for the first time, which led me to play a number of other games that I consider to be favorites of mine, such as the Elder Scrolls franchise and anything made by Bioware.

 

Team Fortress 2

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In my senior year of high school, I had a friend message me on Facebook and ask if I was interested in playing some game called Team Fortress 2, although he told me I would need to create an account for something called Steam before I would be able to play.  As I knew nothing about PC gaming at this time, and my family’s home computer was a veritable potato, I had no idea that this title was about to completely change the way I game.  Admittedly, while I really enjoyed this hero shooter, it is mostly on the list because it introduced me to PC gaming and I never looked back.  In fact, getting Steam made me a much more “hardcore” gamer, in that I went from beating a few games a year to being a constant consumer of every game I could get my hands on, so I actually have Team Fortress 2 to thank for a lot of games I played afterwards.  Indirectly, this is probably the game that had the largest effect on my life of anything I’ve ever played.

 

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy is not a game that I thought I would ever like, as I rarely enjoy 2D platformers, metroidvanias, or roguelike-style games, but the combination of the three intrigued me in this particular instance.  I absolutely adore this game and have poured dozens of hours into trying to beat every boss as efficiently as possible.  The reason I’m thankful for this game, however, is that it’s the first indie title I got into, and it introduced me to this whole world of smaller companies making inventive new titles that I would fall in love with.  Without Rogue Legacy, I never would have played games like TorchlightRoundabout, or Stories Untold, which are all indie titles that I hold in high regard.

 

Minecraft

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I’m not going to talk about Minecraft extensively, because I have written about why the game is influential on my life twice now.  All I’m going to state here is that I have this block-building title to thank for most of my current social circle, and my relationship with my husband survived multiple years of distance because we could meet up virtually and bond over mining and getting our structures blown up by creepers.  My life would be very different without it.

 

Fallout 76

Finally, this year, I am thankful for Fallout 76.  I know a lot of people don’t care for the game, and they’re completely justified, as it’s a very buggy mess that feels unfinished, but I have a special connection to it.  My mom is a huge gamer, and while I have tried to convince her to play online games with me over the years, she continues to maintain that she only wants to play single-player titles.  When she heard about Fallout 76, however, she had to have it and wanted to play it with me.  This is her first extensive foray into multiplayer gaming outside of the occasional Call of Duty zombies map, and I’m so thankful that she’s given it a try and I’m getting the opportunity to play this game with her.

What games are you thankful for in your lifetime?  Let me know in the comments below!

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15 thoughts on “Ten Games I am Thankful For

  1. 1) Battle Chess / Aladdin

    First games I ever played, passed a lot hours with them in DOS back when I was a toddler.

    2) Red Alert 1

    First RTS ever, was the game that made me ask in English language lessons (non-native speaker) what the word “Campaign” meant.

    3) Heroes of Might and Magic 3

    First turn-based strategy ever. Many, many, many hours alone or in hotseat mode with friends.

    4) Diablo 2

    Holy fucking shit. Still got nightmares from some of the cutscenes. But damn, I loved this game. Along with Red Alert and HoMM3 played it during 7-10 (and more of course).

    5) Pokemon Silver

    All the kids had a gameboy when we were little and played this new phenomenon called Pokemon. I had to wait an extra year to finally make my parents buy me a Game Boy Colour (first and only console of my school years), but they bought Donkey Kong Country which I didn’t like (yeah, I knew nothing as a kid). I pouted until my grandma gave me money to go buy Pokemon. 500+ hours of gameplay and 18 years after, I still love her for it (rest in peace grandma).

    6) Baldur’s Gate 2

    First ever DnD RPG I played. It was a real game changer, since it was the game that made me realise I was really into story-based RPGs plus the whole DnD world.

    7) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2

    First Star Wars game I played. Oh, man, even if my first ever experience was so bug ridden I loved it. And I was in an age when I didn’t even know it was buggy that after years when I replayed it patched I was like “hey, it wasn’t like that! what is happening!” Good times.

    8) Witcher 1

    The first ever non-party based RPG that not only I liked but actually managed to dethrone Baldur’s Gate 2 from its throne on my preferences. (ok, granted, played Morrowind way before, but it wasn’t so impactful on me).

    9) Crusader Kings 2

    What can I say about this game? Played it from day-1 back in 2012 and even today, even if I don’t play so much any more, I still bought some of the DLCs. Damn I love this game! Still, around 150 hours of gameplay in a world with so many games is still a considerable amount. Especially since I’m not the type of gamer who plays 1000+ hours of a single title.

    10) Darkest Dungeon

    Only ten, damn. I’ll say this because, as you mentioned Rogue Legacy, I want to mention an indie game, but can’t really say another due to the limitation, so the epitome of my experience with them. I love it so much that I decided that even if I have 40 hours on Steam (in a single save file, mind you) I’ll buy it again with all the DLC and restart it on the Switch and am again around 20+ hours in.

    Perhaps there are some other games out there that I am also thankful for other reasons but for a 10 game limitation, I think I did pretty good. Thanks for the chance!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wrote this for the opportunity to reflect upon what games influenced the way I game in some way, and I’m glad to read other people’s responses as well. You’ve also reminded me to download darkest dungeon, as I own it and have never played it before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really worth it. Even if it’s such an overused phrase nowadays, I consider it the “Dark Souls” of turn-based RPGs. You need to really think of a strategy, don’t be afraid to flee and be sure you’ll die a lot as it’s RNG could be punishing. However, it’s totally playable, even if others would tell you it’s unfair. I can’t play Dark Souls even if my life depended on it, but in this turn-based environment I shine. I know a friend who has finished all Dark Souls multiple times and sucks at this game. It’s an experience. And don’t even get me started on the art and sound design of this masterpiece. Damn, if it wasn’t so late in Greece now, I would consider a mission before sleep on the Switch!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tells a lot that games are not just a waste of time, as it can also become a positive influence in life.

    I don’t have a 10 list but I’ll thank Harvest Moon for letting me realize that managing stuff in real life is fun and rewarding.

    And maybe all those competitive games, CSGO, Dota, LoL, R6, etc. for teaching me and my group of friends solidarity, teamwork, and overall, our charisma and closeness with each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, I was surprised by how many of the games on my list are there because of memories related to my family and friends. I consider myself a mainly single-player gamer, but maybe I should be branching out a bit more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Multiplayer games are ridiculously fun with people you know. But it can be toxic if you’re solo queueing.

        There’s also the time management. You can’t pause MP games, so if something comes up you’re screwed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I will always remember Perfect World International as it was where I met my wife who is even more of a gamer than me. We have since played a number of multi-player games together. I won’t forget my first game – Guns or Butter – or the moment that I med Elrond in Lord of the Rings Online – a Tolkien fan’s dream. And most recently standing on the roof of the Parthenon in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – visiting places that were ruins when I visited is amazing. (I touched on many of my favourite games in April – https://rolandclarke.com/a-to-z-challenge-2018/)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooph. I don’t have the headspace to do a list of 10 … but I will call out the weird and wonderful world of MUSHes from waay back before history. So glad you’re enjoying Fallout 76.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so happy you put Dance Dance Revolution on there! That’s one of my all time favourite games but one that gets forgotten because it was mostly in Arcades! Aw thanks for the memories x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have an interesting list and we wouldn’t have many shared games but New Vegas and Minecraft are two … and I respect your inclusion of Fallout 76 … nice.

    For me: too many games! I could go on a long time but two games stand out: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and the Dark Souls series.

    Morrowind was the game that made me a gamer. I got it on the original Xbox and played for hundreds of hours. There wasn’t a quest I didn’t uncover, not a plotline I didn’t play-thru in all its variations, and not a class I didn’t max out. The magic spell for flying was OP, btw … but I loved that game. I recently repurchased it through the back-compat catalog and I’m stunned at how bare and empty the world is … not at all how I remember it!!

    The Dark Souls games taught me that, even if you’re a scrub like me, you can stick with it and complete a tough game. The original Dark Souls, for me, answers the question: can games be art? Yes, yes they can.

    Liked by 1 person

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