Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks for all of the good things in our lives, and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for! Video games have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, so they are definitely one of the things that I’m glad that I have to enjoy. Below, I’ve listed five out of the many over the years that have made me the most thankful!
5. Mass Effect 2
Out of all the games on my list, this is the only recent generation game that made it, and for good reason. I’d never had the chance to play the original Mass Effect as a Playstation 3 owner, and was excited to get the chance to finally take control of Commander Shepard and drop into the world myself. I wasn’t sure what to think when I started Mass Effect 2, but by the time the game was over, I was blown away. The level of customization for your character, the storyline with the different layers of choice decisions as you play, and the beauty of the world around you are all things that drew me in to this franchise. The game play was also fun, since you could choose which type of player you wanted to be and your specific skill sets based upon that choice. Besides all of that, getting to cultivate and choose to have a relationship with one of your characters (Go Thane!) was really interesting to me.
4. Pokémon Yellow
I had Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Red, and Pokémon Silver, since the Gameboy Color is the only handheld I’ve ever really played. The reason I chose Pokémon Yellow in particular, though, is because that’s the game where you actually had Pikachu following you around and got to see his reactions during different parts of the game. I love the Gameboy Pokémon games because I was a huge fan of the show, and these games were an extension of it. Getting to catch and raise your very own Pokémon felt good, and I was definitely caught up in the hype of “gotta catch ’em all.” Thankfully, between my friends and the cord that allowed you to trade Pokémon, I was able to fill my Pokédex. Let me tell you, it was quite a feeling when I knew the game was really complete!
3. Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. is literally the game that started my love affair with gaming. I distinctly remember going to my cousin’s house for family functions and setting up in the basement for a fun-filled day of gaming. We knew all the hacks of how to get around to the different levels the quickest, and had a lot of fun trying to see who could get the highest score and which of us, if any, could actually beat the game without hacks. I’m still not entirely sure if I ever actually beat the game (I’m fairly certain I never did), but I’ll always remember Super Mario Bros. as the game that started me wanting to game on a regular basis and made me want to ask my parents for a console of my own. It may have been a simple premise of run around the level and (eventually) save the princess, but it was done in such a fun way that I couldn’t pass up putting this game on my list!
2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was my first game for the Nintendo 64. Up to this point, I’d had limited access to my cousin’s Super Nintendo and had only owned the Sega Genesis myself, and had just reached the age where I was really understanding what a strong game looked like. This game is still amazing to me every time I play it! It looks amazing, has an awesome soundtrack, and the storyline is truly compelling. I loved getting to play as a character who had two different skill sets and weapons depending on whether he was an adult or a child. The world around him changed completely as he took and replaced the Master Sword from its place near Hyrule Castle. Along with all of that, Ganon may be my most hated villain ever, as I can’t remember spending as much time fighting different forms and phases of any character as I did him. Not to mention the fact that the jerk had the nerve to take the princess away from her castle and make Link come to save her in a scary-looking castle over a pit of fire!
1. Final Fantasy VIII
Out of all the games I’ve ever played, none of them have had the impact on me that Final Fantasy VIII had. Between the amazing musical score from famed composer Nobuo Uematsu, the compelling story of a group of teens trying to save the world from certain destruction, the wickedly fun and addicting gameplay (including the Triple Triad card game!), and the beautiful CGI cutscenes, this game hooked me from the amazing opening sequence. I love this game so much, in fact, that I actually have a tattoo on my foot devoted to it! Squall is my favorite character out of any I’ve ever encountered, and one of my first cosplay characters because of this game was Rinoa. I’m not entirely sure that I could pinpoint why exactly this game means so much to me, but I do know that it’s the game that solidified my love for gaming, and nothing else has compared to it since. I know the quest to crown the best Final Fantasy game is a long-running and much-debated topic, but Final Fantasy VIII will always take the cake for me!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!