The Games I’m Most Thankful For

Author: Nathan Doverspike

As Thanksgiving draws near, and we all make plans for how we want to spend this special time, whether it’s with friends, family, or a mixture of both, I can’t help but to think about the games that influenced me as a gamer. These games, some older, some newer, usually aren’t known for their outstanding graphics or mind-blowing plots, but they all have a special place in my gaming heart. Here are the games I am most thankful for (in no particular order).

tomb_raider_2_box

Lara in all her polygonal glory!

  1. Tomb Raider 2

Initial Release: October 31st, 1997

Developed by: Core Design

This was the first game I ever played on the Playstation One I got for Christmas as a young boy, and it left me in tears (mainly because I was so terrible at it and erased a save from before the main boss so I had to restart the whole game over again.). It taught me how banging my head against a puzzle in a game could be solved by jumping off your left foot while running instead of your right, and that sometimes you need to hop backwards twice to get a running jump-start across a gap. It also showed me how working together (with my dad) we were unstoppable in our quest to kill a giant golden dragon that was a total jerk and totally not fun to fight. It also solidified my enjoyment of third person shooters and puzzle games, while helping me spend quality time with my father. Tomb Raider 2 hasn’t aged as well as I would prefer, but I’ll always remember the great times I had playing it as a kid.

elder scrolls iv oblivion

Sometimes one screenshot is all you need to fall in love all over again.

2. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Initial Release: March 20th, 2006

Developed by: Bethesda

Oh boy. I could write a whole article about all of the wonderful things in this game: from the shrine of Sheogorath to the Shivering Isles, this game is near perfect. Sure, the framerate liked to tank every now and then, but the “took an arrow to the knee” guard more than made up for it. Plus the story in this game is arguably the best in an Elder Scrolls game to date, and I still prefer the leveling up system in this one to Skyrim (mainly because you could just grind it out in the arena and become way overpowered way too quickly). Did I mention Patrick Stewart is the voice of Uriel Septum VII, so that alone should be enough to go play this game! I first played it on a laptop that barely ran Windows XP, yet somehow I managed to beat the whole game on it, then beat it again when it released on Xbox 360, then again when the limited edition 5th anniversary steelbook came out. I couldn’t get enough of the MASSIVE open world, somewhat disturbing Dark Brotherhood quests, and overall freedom this game gives players. I love this game, and is one of my favorite RPG’s to this day.

neverwinter nights dragon

Did someone say, DRAGONS?

3. Neverwinter Nights

Initial Release: June 18th, 2002

Developed by: Bioware

Did someone say, RPG’s? That’s right, I played the OG Neverwinter Nights on PC when it came out. Not only that, I beat it AND all the expansions (except Kingsmaker because I didn’t care for that one at the time) and loved them. The Balder’s Gate style game play was fascinating to me, and I died plenty of times trying to disarm a trap only for it to go very badly and result with my character being poisoned right before a major battle. The ability to save anytime meant that I was free to experiment with my choices, and that no dice roll would set me back too far (except for when I delete my own save…because that’s always a good idea). While it might not have been AS influential as Oblivion or some of the others on this list, it definitely belongs on here. And if you like RPG’s like  Neverwinter Nights, I highly recommend Tyranny on PC. It’s like Neverwinter Nights, only you are the bad guy, and by bad guy I mean you can be a really bad guy, wink wink.

mass effect well bang ok

I mean…if you insist.

4. Mass Effect Trilogy

Initial Release: November 20th, 2007

Developed by: Bioware

You didn’t think I would leave my favorite Scifi video game series off this list, did you? Mass Effect 1 may have been rough around the edges at times, but its sequel improved on nearly everything and in my opinion is the best RPG I have every played. It had combat that made you feel powerful without feeling invincible, gave you some of the best characters and stories in an RPG ever, and choices that had a real impact. Unfortunately, it did have a sequel that was one of the worst RPGs I’ve ever played, which makes this series all the more important because of everything that it did right before it took a hard left turn into a pit filled with tears and turned into the largest dumpster fire known to man. Now all we need is a remake on current gen consoles and my life would be complete.

star-wars-knights-of-the-old-republic-concept-art.jpg.optimal

One of the best twists in a video to this day is in KOTOR.

5. Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR)

Initial Release: July 15th, 2003

Developed by: Bioware

You can’t have a list of things I am thankful for without having something related to Star Wars. Growing up watching the original trilogy re-released in theaters and on VHS (yes I am old, no I will not tell you my age) I adored the idea of an invisible living Force surrounding and living in everything and being able to be immersed in that universe. Then there’s laser swords, and who doesn’t think laser swords are cool? Bioware made that happen in 2005, with the release of critically acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic.  I played the hell out of this game on the original Xbox, as well as on PC after it released on Steam many years later. It’s also on iOS, if you want a portable version that I’ve heard runs surprisingly well. Anyway, all that feeds into what I love about KOTOR, and why it saddens me more and more that we will most likely never see a KOTOR 3 (thanks for that Electronic Farts…I mean Arts). Oh well, I still have my Steam version that runs at 60 fps and 1080p. That’s not so bad, right?

Honorable Mentions:

Sansretour Valley

Witcher 3 is a beauty to look at, even on a basic PS4.

6. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Initial Release:

Developed by: CD Projekt Red

If you want to know my full thoughts on this game, check out a previous article on why I think this is one of the best RPGs in the last decade. Let’s just say the combat, story, beautiful world, and fascinating side quests mixed together for a beautifully crafted potion in this masterpiece of a video game.

DeadSpace_2_-_Dementia

Don’t think about the needle, don’t think about the needle.

7. Dead Space 2

Initial Release: January 25th, 2011

Developed by: Visceral Games

The best horror game I’ve ever played is Dead Space 2. It didn’t have as much of an emotional or gaming impact on my life as the others on this list, but it was still a phenomenal experience nonetheless. From the main character Isaac Clarke hallucinating from the trauma he experiences, to the well thought-out crafting system, all the way down to the design of the levels, everything fits perfectly together. After how great the first game was, it would have been easy to create a somewhat disappointing sequel. Instead, the now defunct Visceral Games (thanks for that too EA) made a compelling argument for their game as the best horror title ever. For that, I am truly thankful.

There are so many others I could list, but that’ll do for now. What games are you thankful for? Are there some you have a personal connection with? Let me know in the comments!

 

Advertisements

Best Games to Play When The Real World is Too Real

Author: Nathan Doverspike          

With all the protests, debates, angry social media posts, and just general unease, I figured now would be a good time to make a list of games that I feel help me deal with the real world (when it becomes too real).  So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

de Blob 2

de-blob-2

de Blob 2

Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS

Released: Feb. 2011

While the first title, de Blob, was released exclusively for the Wii, the sequel graced the current generation of consoles in 2011.  The game follows a colorless blob as he brings color back to the world and defeats the evil INKT Corporation.  The art style is awesome, but the catchy music is just as good and will have you bobbing your head in no time at all.  With giant levels, the ability to mix colors, fun power-ups, and overall beautiful aesthetics, this game will get you into a joyful mood and groove instantly.

Yoshi’s Woolly World

yoshis-woolly-world

Yoshi’s Woolly World

Platforms: Wii U

Released: Oct. 2015

This game is wonderful!  Being able to play the whole game cooperatively on one tv is something few games feature anymore, and something on which Yoshi’s Woolly World thrives.  Everything in the game, from the enemies to Yoshi itself, is made of gorgeous yarn art.  I cannot stress enough how beautiful every character, background, enemy, and boss are in this masterpiece!  Numerous power-ups that change how you play the game (like being unable to die from falling into pits or magnetically attracting items to your character throughout a level) make completing the game enjoyable for kids and adults alike.  While some of the later levels do become challenging, the overall experience of finding all the secret areas and unlocking dozens of different Yoshi yarn characters is something I hope everyone with a Wii U is able to experience! (Note: the game is releasing in Feb. 2017 on 3DS as Poochi & Yoshi’s Woolly World with all the content of the previous game and new levels focused on the yarn dog Poochi).

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

kirbys-epic-yarn

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Platforms : Wii, Wii U on eShop

Released: Oct. 2010

Noticing a pattern here?  The Wii and Wii U have some amazing first party titles, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn is another great example of beautiful aesthetics combined with simple yet satisfying gameplay to warm any gamer’s heart.  Similar to Yoshi’s Woolly World, Kirby has been transformed into yarn and needs to save the day!  Instead of sucking up enemies, Kirby now uses a whip (like in Kirby’s Dream Land) to defeat his foes.  It’s cute (oh my goodness is it!), has precise controls, and is fully cooperative throughout the charming adventure.  Did I mention it’s adorable, ‘cause it rivals Yoshi’s Woolly World as one of the most stunningly beautiful games I have ever played.

 Little Big Planet 2

little-big-planet-2

Little Big Planet 2

Platforms: Playstation 3

Released Jan. 2011

Ok, so I don’t know what it is about yarn characters, but I think I have an unhealthy obsession with them in video games.  Released in 2011, Little Big Planet 2 is a creative platformer that expanded on everything offered in the original, while giving players new ways to play.  You are able to create levels (not just platforming levels) that are so cool that you have to check them out!  I won’t spoil some of surprises in store, but let’s just say you can face off versus zombies and also go back to the future!  Also fully cooperative on a single system, this game allows you to play community levels from creators around the world, as well as create your own masterpieces.  Even if you aren’t into creating levels, a lengthy campaign with cute dialogue and interesting level design will hold your interest for quite some time.

Now it’s time for you to tell me, have you played any of these titles?  Are there ones that you feel I missed?  Comment and email us to let us know!