Shack Chat: What game are you most thankful for?

The Shack Staff gathers around the table to discuss which games they're grateful to have in their lives.

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Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature where each Friday where we’ll ask the Shacknews staff to give their opinion on a particular topic, then open the floor to our dedicated Chatty community to provide a diverse mixture of thoughts on the subject. It’s a great way for us to get to know one another better while inspiring healthy debates with all of you passionate gamers out there. 

This week's question was inspired by the holiday, as Thanksgiving just concluded and the end-of-year festivities are about to go into full swing. With that in mind, we had to know which games the staff were the most grateful for out of the entirety of their gaming careers. 

Question: What game are you most thankful for?


Super Mario Maker - Asif Khan, Nephew Thinks He Works At Nintendo

I always thought a level editor would be cool when I was a dumb kid playing side-scrolling Mario games on NES. In September of 2015, I finally got my wish. Super Mario Maker was a deep rabbit hole for Mario fanatics to fall down and I am eternally grateful for all the fun times I have had creating and playing levels.

The game features autoplay levels, music levels, and some of the most difficult platforming ever. For instance, no one on the Shack Staff has ever even come close to beating Shacknews.com Briefcase Level 5. The “Super Expert” level is so brutal that there have only been ten clears in 2663 attempts.

I had to take a break from the game after creating that monstrosity, but it remains one of my favorite games of all-time. I am thankful that Nintendo was finally able to release the game, and it truly felt like the Nintendo Wii U Gamepad was created with Super Mario Maker in mind. We can only hope that Nintendo will release another Super Mario Maker for Switch.


Fallout 4 - Bill Lavoy, Brotherhood of Steel Member

A lot of people are crapping on Fallout these days, but that’s what’s pushed me to be thankful for Fallout 4. I’ve completed three full runs through Fallout 4, one on PS4 and two on PC where I had the benefit of mods. It’s one of the games (The Witcher 3 being the other) that pushed me to stop fast traveling in open-world titles, but it’s something else that I’m thankful for.

I seek gaming experiences where I want to discover and explore instead of the game telling me to. Fallout 4 does this as well as anything else I've played. Every location is packed with lore and environmental storytelling that makes it a treat just to be in the world, and Fallout 4’s use of space is on another level. I’m never more than a minute from something interesting, yet I don’t ever feel overwhelmed. It’s a game I could load up right now, more than three years after its release, and lose 12 hours in, and I’m thankful for that.


Double Dragon Neon - Blake Morse, Radical Reviews Editor

Double Dragon was probably the first video game I ever played. At least it’s the earliest interaction I can recall having with a video game. My local pizza parlor, Pinkie’s had a machine and I probably spent as much time watching people play as I did playing myself. But really it’s the 2012 Double Dragon Neon that I’m most thankful for.

The reason being is that I actually got to do some marketing work for the game when it came out on PC and it landed me one of the best jobs of my life, second only to working at Shacknews. You see, I was given the opportunity to create a commercial to promote the game’s port to Steam. That video was such a success that it lead to me being hired as the community manager for up-and-coming indie publisher, Midnight City.

While Midnight City came and went due to no fault of my own, it was a dream to work with the creative and amazing industry veterans that made up our team. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish in our short time together and I learned a lot about the publishing side of the games world. I will always and forever be thankful that Double Dragon exists because I probably wouldn’t love gaming or be where I’m at in the industry now without its influence. Plus, the movie they made for it back in the 90s was a pretty glorious trainwreck of B-movie schlock cinema that’s just as fun as it is painful to watch.


Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - Kevin S. Tucker, Enthusiast

I will forever sing the praises of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Not only is it my favorite video game of all time, it’s one of the main influences behind the Metroidvania genre, by far my favorite genre. Oftentimes when I’m playing platformers or dungeon crawlers or roguelikes, I can’t help but think back to the glory days of the original PlayStation and all the fond memories I have of exploring Dracula’s castle in search of secrets and abilities.

I’m not invoking Symphony of the Night here just to say that it’s a magnificent video game. It is, by the way. No, I’m here to express thanks for everything it’s given to future releases. Though the industry is still in love with hyper-realistic 3D graphics and twitch-based shooting gameplay, part of me wants to return to a time when movement was only in cardinal directions, when jumping over gaps was a legitimate peril, and when exploration wasn’t just part of the game, it was sort of the point.

Thanks to the Metroidvania genre, I still can. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s legacy lives on in games that would grow to become modern classics: Hollow Knight, Rogue Legacy, Ori and the Blind Forest, even VVVVVV, if you catch my groove. Metroidvania DNA can be found just about anywhere given a close enough inspection, even in games that aren’t overtly two-dimensional platformers. If you ask me, that’s something worth appreciating.


Um Jammer Lammy - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

There are far too many games I'm thankful for. I don't think I could ever choose just one. But there are several "comfort food" games I'll always go back to, and enjoy every single moment of. Because I've probably exhausted everyone talking about Day of the Tentacle at every turn before, I'll talk about Lammy.

While I’ve got tattoos of both Purple Tentacle and Lammy on my inner forearms, Lammy remains the game I go back to over and over, even though I could play it in my sleep. PaRappa the Rapper was the beginning of my descent into a deep and passionate love for music and rhythm gaming, and though it was the game I exhausted thanks to Pizza Hut’s demo disc before I played the full adventure, it was Um Jammer Lammy I ended up mastering.

Rodney Alan Greenblat’s quirky artwork, the strangely-written English rock tunes, and the colorful characters made me fall in love. Teriyaki Yoko’s stage frightened me, and the forgetful airplane pilot made me giggle as I banged my head. Rocking out was as simple as a few button presses. Something about it stuck with me after my grandmother bought it for me that fateful Christmas, and I was in love.

I flew through the stages, and even went back to complete them as Rammy. When I figured out there were special PaRappa stages everyone’s favorite rapping dog starred in with different lyrics and tunes I was sold. I dedicated most of my free time in my childhood to getting better and better until I could complete each stage with little effort. And when the time came that I decided I wanted to immortalize Lammy on my body, I reached out to Rodney himself for character art so I could have a clear image of her head for my tattoo. It’s not perfect, and it’s a niche game above all, but it’s infinitely important to me.


Super Mario Odyssey - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

Having rediscovered it a few weeks ago for its one-year anniversary, I can't help but be thankful for Super Mario Odyssey. It goes beyond the majestic worlds, the silky smooth mechanics, and the New Donk City celebration. It's the sheer challenge involved in getting those leftover Power Moons. It's the journey in finding exactly which ones were forgotten and in figuring out how to get them. And when it comes to the tougher ones, like the Koopa Races, it's the satisfaction in actually conquering them.

Super Mario Odyssey is still magic, still gives me things to discover that I haven't discovered before, and is a game I can see myself returning to years down the road. I'm pretty sure I can still pick up a few more Moons if I pick it up and play right now.

Except for the Darker Side moons. Those can go jump off a cliff.


Final Fantasy 7 - Charles Singletary, AVALANCHE Prospect

Final Fantasy 7 has been topped by Tactics, 9, and X as far as being my favorite Final Fantasy games, but 7 is by far the most important. Therefore, it is the game I am most thankful for.

I loved games well before Final Fantasy 7’s launch in 1997, but this game introduced me to JRPGs and significantly more mature content. I played it when I was probably 12 or 13, well before I should have been playing it, and actually got the copy because a relative recognized it was too much for his even younger son. The mature elements probably hit me subconsciously, but I didn’t really start to analyze that aspect of the game until I was much older.

What did hit me at that time was how absolutely massive the world was. I did no research before playing the game and had no idea what the whole “multiple disc” thing was about. The first jaw dropping moment came when I finished a tough boss battle after the motorcycle chase and stepped out into the game’s world map. What is this? Where am I supposed to go? HOW BIG IS THIS GAME? There are more people that can join my party?

Common JRPG building blocks were blowing my mind with every step, right down to the turn-based conflicts, and its been an exciting ride ever since. That game inspired my investigation into game development, pushed me to experience a lot more outside of my typical comfort zone, and ultimately got me into game journalism by inspiring me to read more about the game. I’m cautiously excited for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake and there’s no way it could ever hit me as hard as the original, but I hope it does for someone else what the original did for me.


Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! - Chris JarrardMinor Circuit Champion

If there is any one title that is responsible for my love of video games, it would be Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, the best game released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I had played various Atari 2600 cartridges and gawked at arcade cabinets prior to the 1987 release of Nintendo’s arcade boxing port, but none of those games grabbed my attention and refused to let go. The combination of character art, animations, and the outstanding mid-match music had me hooked from the first minute. In hindsight, the cast of characters is barely more than a collection of mildly (and not so mildly) racist ethnic stereotypes and probably wouldn’t go over well today, but I love all of them.

While internet losers and fun nazis will simply portray the game as a memory test of patterns and noises, they couldn’t be more wrong. Taking the controller in your hands made you feel like Little Mac. Working through the various circuits while learning the tricks to defeating the murderer’s row of iconic video game pugilists was pure joy. The mystique of the game’s later opponents kept repeated playthroughs of the early bouts from becoming stale. Passing the controller around a group of friends, each with the supreme confidence that they could beat down Mr. Sandman (or whatever opponent was stopping our progress), remains one of my favorite gaming memories.


Final Fantasy VII - Greg Burke, Who Everyone Thinks Hates Everything, But That Isn't True

Back in the '90s I really struggled with reading. Then I had been shown a game from my cousin on the PlayStation: Final Fantasy VII. The game helped teach me how to read well and improve my reading level overall. It also brought my little brother and I closer together, since I would read the text out loud so he could understand what was happening. It's definitely one of those few games that I'm very thankful for and has had a huge positive impact on my life.


Dark Souls - Sam Chandler, Guides Editor

There are a lot of games to be thankful for, though the one I keep coming back to, time and time again, is Dark Souls. The first entry into the critically acclaimed series taught me that open-world games didn’t have to be full of empty areas with nothing to do, that the placement of items meant more than I could have imagined, and that to find the best story, you have to look a little deeper.

Before Dark Souls, I hadn’t experienced a game so beautifully interconnected, with such rich lore and such mystery about it. Dark Souls fundamentally changed how I view games and how I experience them. For all it taught and showed to me, I am thankful for Dark Souls.


Demon's Souls - David Craddock, Long Reads Editor

Demon’s Souls. Odd as this may sound, that game is nirvana for me. Anytime I’m feeling excited, anytime I’m feeling down, anytime I’m feeling anything, I can take a trip back to Boletaria and just zone out. Someone has to pull Prince Ostrava’s fat from the fire. Over and over again.


Halo 2 - Donovan Erskine, Intern

I owe a lot of thanks to Halo 2. Along with some of the earlier Pokemon titles, Bungie’s sci-fi shooter is what made me fall in love with video games. Some of my fondest memories are when my brothers and I would invite over friends, order pizza and just pull all-nighters going at it on Halo 2. Looking back at it, I was never really good (to put it nicely) at Halo, but damn, I couldn’t get enough of it. In much the same way that Halo 2 changed the landscape of first-person shooters, it introduced me to a brand new world, for which I’m thankful.


What do you think about our picks? Are you tired of seeing Sam and David choose Dark Souls/Demon's Souls/Bloodborne/Souls-likes for what feels like every single Shack Chat (not every one, but it sure feels that way)? Let us know in the Chatty comments below! 

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 23, 2018 12:15 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What game are you most thankful for?

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      November 23, 2018 12:22 PM

      Good question.

      Otogi: Myth of Demons for the most beauty and synesthesia any game has ever given me (even though Rez is a close second). All I want is an HD remaster and a remastered soundtrack. Every level is a haiku.

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        November 23, 2018 12:26 PM

        Special mention to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for the first time a game made the artistic effort to speak directly to the player’s emotional issues and bring them on a healing journey, while also be completely entertaining too. It’s an interactive milestone with a higher purpose than 99% of anything else out there.

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      November 23, 2018 12:34 PM

      Duke3d.exe

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      November 23, 2018 12:34 PM

      Splatoon 2

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      November 23, 2018 12:54 PM

      metal gear solid 5 perfect thanksgiving game

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      November 23, 2018 1:43 PM

      QUAKE.

      Quake is always the answer.

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      November 23, 2018 1:55 PM

      Ocarina of Time. That game made me get invested in a story and character, taught me to work through difficult puzzles, and it's general gameplay was valuable for years to come, especially with 3D games. Very formative for my future gaming.

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      November 23, 2018 2:02 PM

      X-COM It gave us so many cool sequels and inspired so many other awesome games.

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      November 23, 2018 2:03 PM

      Quake !

    • rms
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      November 23, 2018 2:17 PM

      Descent

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      November 23, 2018 2:25 PM

      I started a new Dark Souls 3 character last week. I am not thankful; it is a COMPULSION.

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      November 23, 2018 2:27 PM

      OG DooM

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      November 23, 2018 2:29 PM

      X-Wing, I think. That game absolutely blew my mind.

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      November 23, 2018 2:36 PM

      Legend of Zelda Link to the Past

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      November 23, 2018 2:41 PM

      Warcraft II

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      November 23, 2018 2:51 PM

      The gamebryo engine, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

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      November 23, 2018 2:52 PM

      OoT and Mario64

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      November 23, 2018 2:54 PM

      Freespace 2!!

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      November 23, 2018 2:56 PM

      Dark Souls. Aside from games I played in my teens nothing else has had a big of an impact on the types of games I play.

      Bloodborne best game ever

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      November 23, 2018 2:57 PM

      Rocket League.

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      November 23, 2018 2:58 PM

      Turtles in Time

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      November 23, 2018 3:04 PM

      Will It Fit.

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      November 23, 2018 3:06 PM

      Doom

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      November 23, 2018 3:09 PM

      Half-life!

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      November 23, 2018 3:12 PM

      Old Doom

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      November 23, 2018 8:25 PM

      high FPS and adjustable FOV. :D

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      November 23, 2018 10:41 PM

      More recently, I'm thankful of Gran Turismo Sport for proving that online racing sim games can be tons of fun. The game was heavily criticized for its online-focus before and shortly after getting released, but soon afterwards people started realizing that racing against other humans is much more interesting and exciting than driving against AI.

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      November 23, 2018 10:50 PM

      RockBand, because
      - it taught me how to play drums
      - I learned about new bands and songs I didn't know before
      - we celebrated really good parties around it at home and it's the main attraction of our company christmas party for the fourth time now

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      November 23, 2018 10:57 PM

      Ghostbusters: The Video Game. It's not perfect but it's the closest thing to a Ghostbusters 3 that we'll ever get with the entire original cast.

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      November 23, 2018 10:59 PM

      Halo. All the Bungie Halo games really but OG Halo got me truly interested in games as a hobby. Thanks so much Bungie peeps.

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      November 23, 2018 11:54 PM

      Thief 2. The fan community has created more hours of entertainment there than I can count.

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      November 24, 2018 12:48 AM

      Mass Effect

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      November 24, 2018 2:51 AM

      Dark Souls it changed how I look at challenges/obstacles, and it's just an amazing game

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      November 24, 2018 3:10 AM

      Chrono Trigger since X-COM was already mentioned

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      November 24, 2018 5:58 AM

      Ocarina of Time, it forced me to learn to read!

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      November 24, 2018 6:06 AM

      Obviously Quake, but outside of the box it would be Forza. It was my first real introduction to shackbattles. Honorable mention to Burnout 3 because FUN.

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      November 24, 2018 6:40 PM

      Rogue Spear for the best small squad close-quarter combat of any multiplayer game ever.