Shack Chat: What game are you stoked to play over Thanksgiving break?

Our staff ponders what to play during the upcoming Turkey Day holiday period.


Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature 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.

Question: What game are you stoked to play over Thanksgiving break?

Death Stranding, Switch, and PC games - Asif Khan, Shackmas Claus

Last night, I basically streamed a bunch of games on my Switch. Started with SoccerDie, played some Smash, that new Nintendo game Stretchers, and even some F-Zero on the Super Nintendo app. I will probably be doing the same thing over break, but I will also be including PC games. I still need to beat Death Stranding too. I looked at my Switch profile the other day, and it says I have played Super Mario Maker 2 for over 115 hours this year. I guess I should probably play that over the break. It will truly be a cornucopia of Thanksgiving video game goodness for me and Lola as we chill at home on the couch.

Take Your Pick - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

This might shock readers, but there are a lot of great games out there right now, a handful of which came out in the last month. So while I've been busy helping out with preview coverage and gaming news, I've only had a few precious hours to split between some of the best recent releases. So I'll be getting more time in with Pokemon Shield, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and The Outer Worlds, all of which are just begging to be finished.

Next week also means it's Black Friday, so I'll be picking up some of the games that I've missed over 2019. Borderlands 3 is at the top of my list and I'll look to start that up at some point, just to make sure I'm ready for December's campaign DLC.

But all of the buzz from the gaming world, including from Chatty and from Sam Chandler's glowing review, seems to be surrounding a game called Disco Elysium. So yes, I'm going to jump into Disco Elysium out of intense curiosity and as part of our upcoming GOTY discussion. I've heard nothing but good things and I'm hoping for the best.

Borderlands 3 - Blake Morse, Vault Hunter 

It’s been a crazy couple of months for me and I still have yet to sit down with the latest installment of one of my favorite franchises and just let my brain shut off for a bit. Rest assured that will all change next week as I dive headlong into my first playthrough of Borderlands 3. I still haven’t decided who my main is going to be, but I know I’m definitely going to be doing more than one playthrough, so it may not matter that much. All I know is I’m eagerly awaiting some downtime to play a game solely for fun.

I’ll be sneaking some Death Stranding in there too in solidarity with the many brave delivery folks who will have to ship a brutal amount of parcels this coming holiday season. 

Dark Souls w/ mods - David L. Craddock, Longreads Editor

Who has time to play new games when the Dark Souls modding community insists on spoiling me with clever ways to reimagine my favorite game? My current obsession is Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (the original PC release from 2012) with two mods: an item randomizer that scrambles what items are found in each location, and a fog gate randomizer that pairs each fog gate with another. Start in the Undead Asylum, as usual, then step through the first fog gate to… well, who knows? That’s the point.

The fog gate randomizer mod is impressive. It scales areas depending on where you find them, so you can stumble through your first fog gate into a traditionally late-game zone such as Oolacile Township, but be able to handle it thanks to the mod’s scaling. The mod has also given me fun opportunities to see the game from new perspectives--literally. I found myself in Sen’s Fortress long before ringing the two bells required to open the front gate and was surprised to realize that the giant responsible for loading boulders in the contraption that fires the damn things along the path you’re walking just kinda stood around. The bells hadn’t rung, and the front gate hadn’t opened; as far as he was concerned, his shift hadn’t started yet.

Remnant: From the Ashes - Bill Lavoy, Managing Editor

My mind is currently on Game of the Year considerations, so whatever I play during the American Thanksgiving is likely to be something I want to experience before we start that process. I played a lot in 2019, but I’ve got a lot to play if I want to be an active part of the conversations. You’ve got Borderlands 3, Metro Exodus, Control, Disco Elysium, Remnant: From the Ashes, and a bunch more I’m leaving out.

If I had no obligations to play anything, I’d likely end up back in Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, my happy place in video games right now. From the list above, though, I’m going to say that I’m most excited to try Remnant: From the Ashes. I’ve wanted to dive into that game for quite some time now, although the others on the list aren’t far behind in terms of my interest level. Truthfully, it’s rather overwhelming to look at that list and know that’s not all of it, and I want to give each and every game fair consideration.

Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC - Chris Jarrard, Ray-traced horse junk

I plan to work through turkey time by playing the recently-released Red Dead Redemption 2 PC port with my posse of buddies. We will rob coaches, catch fish, get haircuts, chew cocaine gum, and lasso bears non-stop through the holiday.

If I find some extra free time, I also plan to dive into Untitled Goose Game and NBA 2K20.

Half-Life 2 - Sam Chandler, Guides Editor

After the reveal of Half-Life: Alyx, I can’t very well ignore my desire to play Half-Life again. While I should likely start at the beginning, I only recently finished playing the original Half-Life, and it’s been so long since I’ve completed a full playthrough of the incredible sequel.

Everyone knows how great Half-Life 2 is. There’s really not a lot I can do to further sell the experience. But I do wonder if it will still feel as magical playing through it again after all these years. 

This certainly isn’t going to help me convince myself I don’t need to buy a VR kit for a single game.

Pokémon Sword/Shield - Donovan Erskine, Intern

I recently wrapped up the main storyline of Sword and Shield for my review. However, I look forward to taking some time to slow down and appreciate some of the finer things the game has to offer. From the battle tree to shiny hunting, to raids, I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving break in Galar.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - Josh Hawkins, Wait... we get a break?

When it comes to games, my guilty pleasure right now has been Red Dead Online. On top of playing it with friends, I’ve had a blast just moving through the world and enjoying the hunting, fishing, and other mundane tasks in this beautiful world that Rockstar created for us.

Despite spending all that time in online, though, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the campaign, having only played up to the start of Chapter 3 back when I was playing through the game on PlayStation 4. This holiday, I plan to take a little time and enjoy the story in Red Dead Redemption 2 a bit more. I want to see how Arthur Morgan’s story ends, and I’ve got a long way to go, so we’ll just have to see how that goes.

Of course, there are still a ton of other great games I want to check out—like more Pokemon Sword—so who knows where I’ll really end up.

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle 2.0 - TJ Denzer, News Editor

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle has taken up a better part of my entire gaming years in 2018 and 2019. It filled a much-needed gap where quality Vs. Capcom titles used to be and I’ve had a great time taking characters from some of my favorite fighting games and putting them together in solid teams. The newest major update, BBTAG 2.0 just launched, bringing a bunch of great new characters to the game and revamping the movelists of the entire roster, so I’ve got a lot of training to do. Thanksgiving Break is a great time to get into the lab and up my combo game.

During 2019, I enjoyed taking part in the BBTAG community. I competed at Texas Showdown and EVO and met some really cool people. I even got to interview EVO 2019 and Arc REVO America champ Shinku. With the newest version of the game out, I can’t wait to see what people put together, but I also want to push myself to new heights. That means practice, practice, practice.

So yeah, I’ll be sweating out those fresh combinations, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and checking out the new characters to see what I need to watch out for and if they’ll fit into my current BBTAG squad. Also, I’ll probably be seeing if I can get some online matches in and recording some fun video clips whenever I discover something great or have a good match.

Disagree with our picks? Should we just stick to turkey and football? Be sure to let us know in the comments below! We can't wait to hear what you think. 

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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