As I think about all the games I have played in my lifetime I begin to realize that although there are many games I have enjoyed playing through them by myself or with friends, there are only a few games that have influenced the way I think and play. These are the games I am thankful to have played given that they have helped me mature as a person and have expanded my horizons to other game types. Coming up with this list really wasn't hard since there weren't many games that influenced me in such a way.
So where to start?
I became a gamer originally by playing ATARI games and the most influential game I played during that time was Julius “Dr. J” Irving VS Larry Bird. Not only could you play this game in multiplayer, it motivated me to go outside and shoot some hoops. This was the first game that truly tied an activity I loved doing outside with an interactive medium I could play inside. I could play basketball outside all day, and be horrible at it and then I could come back inside and just psych myself for the next day by playing this game. This game also showed my parents that I could be influenced by this passive activity which showed them they had to be more selective of what I played.
The next game I have to be thankful for playing is Virtua Fighter on the Sega Saturn. I have so many good memories out of the blocky mess this game was, but I loved playing it with my family. We all would take turns playing this game and it taught me how to share the controller given that the majority of the games I played up to this point were single player experiences. I cherish all the times I played with my mom, she would disconnect my controller and I would get all frustrated because I didn’t know why my character wasn’t responding.
I’m thankful for having played Shemnue, this game taught me how to properly enjoy a story driven action adventure game. Before Shemnue my idea of an action adventure game was Tomb Raider, but after Shemnue I learned how to play a game for the story and not just the gameplay. I never skipped any cutscenes and most of the times you couldn’t since they had quick time events. This game taught me to explore and talk to the different NPC’s and see what the extent of my freedom in the game was. It taught me patience and the meaning of money since you had to work to be able to buy things in the game. I loved every aspect of the game and I felt I grew a little after I was done playing. After I beat this game I was the curious of all the other games I had beaten but skipped the story. I then went on a journey to replay a lot of PS1 games so I could appreciate the story.
I’m thankful for playing Final Fantasy VII, I sunk way to many hours into this game. This game made me appreciate turn based RPG’s and made me think out strategies to be able to complete different sections of the game. It also taught me the meaning of grinding, and oh my god did I grind in this game. I always remember I lost weight playing this game because I would do sit-ups, walk on the treadmill, and do pushups after I casted the knights of the round summoning spell. I enjoyed grinding so much that I really don’t mind doing it in games I play now. This was the case for demon souls and dark souls where I reached level 170 in both games… in the first play through.
I’m thankful for playing Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi, this game was my dream come true. As a kid I was a big fan of dragon ball and every time a game came out in the US I was eager to try it out only to be disappointed. I was still playing Tomb Raider and I thought, if they could make a third person dragon ball fighting game where the camera is behind the character and you could fly around and fight in a fast paced combat like the TV show that would be just awesome. I would write down the game mechanics, how the controls would be with a Dual Shock 1 controller, how the combo system would work, etc. I would dream about this game constantly and I asked myself why someone hadn’t made anything like it yet. Then years went by and I got me a PS2, suddenly Tenkaichi came out and I saw the trailer for it and I was blown away. I immediately bought the game after it came out, and when I put it in and played it I thought,
“it’s as if they read my mind”
The game played exactly how I had dreamed of it, even the controls were very similar to what I had mapped out. This was a dream come true, I immediately became a fan of this series, I owned all three and played these games for a time longer that I would care to admit. To me this game was the ultimate dragon ball gaming experience and to this day I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to play it.
This is a little embarrassing to admit but for the last game I’m thankful for playing I chose deathtrap dungeon. I beat this game, and I was so proud of it because it was so damn hard. I think back and I ask why did I even play through this game? The controls were bad, the camera was awful, the saving sucked and the game was just plain tough and unfair. Here is where I realized how hardheaded I was and no matter what, I was determined to beat this game. I bought this game so by god I was going to finish it. This game taught me to be humble, to calm down… after breaking one controller and my parents teaching me the errors of my ways I learned to meditate my way out of frustrating situations of the game. This game taught me what frustration is, so when I play games like Demon Souls and Dark Souls death would not phase me. Those games are easy in my mind because there was some progress being made by just playing through it but not in deathtrap dungeon. Every single time you died it was back to square one.
These are the games who shaped how I play, there are others that I’ve played now that make me think on he story and add meaning to my life by providing me a rich gaming experience, but without these I wouldn’t be who I am today and I probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy games like the Last of Us or Gone Home.
So what games are you thankful for playing? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.