Crystal: Five Video Games I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is here, and there is a lot that to be thankful for. Most notably, games! There are a ton of great games that came out this year, but I am going back in the archives for some of these, as these are the five games I’m thankful for of all time.

It’s tough to make a list with just five games on it. I mean, really tough. I struggled with it until I decided to make myself only post the games that inspired me in different ways.

5. Soul Blazer

I happened to play Soul Blazer well before I played Zelda. Really! I had secondhand games from my dad’s co-workers, as my parents couldn’t afford them otherwise. Thus, I got my hands on Soul Blazer. I fell in love. That sweet sound of “swish swish swish” and even the “ungh” when the hero took damage.

The surreal style of some of those levels was fantastic too, most notably Dr. Leo’s Painting. At one point, you are standing on a bunch of classical-looking columns, and below you are swiftly-moving clouds. And that music. Most notably, the music! I still listen to the soundtrack to this day. This is the song that plays while you are in that crazy painting:

4. BioShock

I had BioShock in my queue for a while. I have no idea why I didn’t get around to it, but one week, I got really sick and had to stay home from work, so I popped it in. WHAT ON EARTH was I waiting for?! Why didn’t anyone force me to play it sooner?!

A city built under the sea, Andrew Ryan, the little sisters, rescue or harvest, those splicers, the creepiness, the art direction, awesomely fun plasmids, “Would you kindly?”

It was just really above and beyond in so many ways that I can’t help but put BioShock on this list.

3. Mass Effect Trilogy

Anyone who knows me well may be shocked that the Mass Effect trilogy isn’t at the top of the list. Yes, I am extremely obsessed with Mass Effect, and it’s pretty much my favorite series ever. BUT I am trying to keep things interesting.

Why am I so obsessed? The narrative. The characters that you interact with have so much depth to them, those that stick with you or come across your path feel like old friends not just to Shepard, but to you as a player, by the time you get to the second or third game. I love sci-fi, so I’m sure that contributes to my obsession as well.

Of course, there is also the element that FemShep is, save for very few small moments, is treated no differently than her male counterpart. That goes for how other characters treat her AND for who she is and how she acts. She’s the kind of female character that is still pretty rare in games today.

And, at the core, what I took away from it was that this universe is worth saving because of love. Not just romantic love, but the love that come from your friendships. It goes deeper than that, but I know there are still some people out there that have not finished the last game so I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Long story short: I am thankful for Mass Effect and all the imagination and inspiration that it brought me.

2. Resident Evil 2

I mentioned before that my parents did not have a lot of money to get me games. I managed to save up money of my own to buy a PlayStation and a few games. My purchases included PaRappa The Rapper, Tekken 3, and Resident Evil 2 (and I was totally broke after that, of course).

So maybe that plays a bit into why I am so thankful for Resident Evil 2, but it doesn’t end there. Not long before playing, my dad exposed me to Night of the Living Dead. I was a zombie convert. Then I played Resident Evil 2, and my brain exploded. “It’s like a MOVIEEEEE!” I squealed. I was scared out of my wits and I loved it. I loved playing as Claire. I loved the double discs. I loved being freaked out like crazy after seeing a flash of a Licker go across the window when you first arrive at the police station. I also love that my family watched me and my cousin take turns playing the game and THAT was our family bonding event.

Thank you, Resident Evil 2.

1. American McGee’s Alice

I burned my VHS copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland out as a kid. I was obsessed. So much so that my response when asked what I wanted to watch on TV was always “Alice in Wonderland!” much to my parents’ dismay. I later lost myself in the novel.

So imagine my absolute delight once I played American McGee’s Alice. A twisted, dark sequel set in a world that I grew up obsessed over. To me, it was perfection. I was excited every time I reached a new level and met a twisted version of a familiar character. Between the character and level design interpretations, I was really awestruck and inspired. It’s easy to say that American McGee’s Alice is number one on of my list of games I’m thankful for.

Which games are you thankful for?

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