Games I am Thankful For

It's Thanksgiving in the U.S., and that means we take a look at our lives and consider the things we are thankful for. Family, food, and shelter immediately spring to mind when surrounded by them on this day, and then we think about friends and the time we spend together. And as gamers, nothing bring friends together better than a few good multiplayer video games.

I'd like to take a quick moment to talk about some of my favorite multiplayer games over the years and how they brought my friends together on a Friday night better than anything else.

Hope you're having a great holiday, be safe!

Paul has a similar article posted over at his site, Grinding Down. Check it out!

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers

Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers CoverThis was the first multiplayer game I ever played on a home console, and it was such an evil blast of a game. I wrote about it in length last year, so check out that post if you're looking for some in-depth reading on the game. I will say that as a kid, this game was pretty tough as a single player adventure, but add in a friend and Chip and Dale becomes impossible! You're constantly getting in each other's way, throwing crates at each other's head, and even tossing your partner off the top of a building! Friendly fire at its NES-era worse!

Final Fantasy VI

This might be unknown to people that even played Final Fantasy VI (III at the time in the U.S.), but the game featured a two player mode where you could select which character slots you wanted to control in battle. So player 1 might choose to handle the top two characters and player 2 the bottom two. I had a few friends that loved the game and we spent many a Saturday afternoon plugging away at the World of Balance and then World of Ruin. One of my friends was a huge Sabin fan and knew all his Blitz attacks by heart, so he always played as the brute. A few times throughout the game though, Final Fantasy VI would just sort of switch up which characters were in which slots and I found myself struggling to pull off a simple Aurabolt!

Goldeneye 007

When I first played Goldeneye 007 a few days after its release, I wasn't really impressed. Multiplayer seemed empty and luck based, but something about the game tugged at me and my friends and I returned to the game to give it another chance. I'm not sure if we were just playing the wrong levels (the basement, probably), but we fell in love with its truly fast action and wide range of modes available. My neighbor and I would play Stacks/RCP-90 for hours with Chumbawamba's Tubthumping on repeat in the background. Good times those were. Perfect Dark was highly anticipated for our band of spy-wannabes, and while we put a lot of time into it, Goldeneye still has a special place in my heart.

Super Mario Kart: Super Circuit

While I loved all the Mario Kart games, I'm not too ashamed to admit that my entire senior year of high school lunch hour was filled with playing four player Super Circuit. The game was classic Kart racing crammed into the portable GBA experience, and Nintendo really pulled it off. The entire lunch table was obsessed with this game. When we tried to play Advance Wars a few times, we all got quickly bored and returned to the greatest portable racer ever(?).

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros Melee CoverIf someone asked me what my game of the decade was, I would say Super Smash Bros. Melee. We put over 1000 hours into this multiplayer fighter on my memory card alone! The huge variety of characters that allowed for a near infinite number of play styles plus a great collection of stages had us returning to SSBM over and over again. I said that Super Mario Kart: Super Circuit took up our lunch hours senior year, well, Super Smash Bros. Melee took up our entire weekend, every weekend, senior year of high school. It was probably my favorite social gaming period of my life. I could talk about my experiences with it for hours, but either you already have all your own stories or you're just not interested, so let's move on.

Halo: Combat Evolved

My transition from high schooler to college student is marked somewhat interestingly by my transition from die-hard Nintendo fanboy to good-game fanboy as I discovered the glory of the Xbox and Halo. If Super Smash Bros. Melee was perfect for all night battles to the death with a few good friends, then Halo was perfect for all night battles to the death in the dorms with lots of good friends. We played many 16 player Blood Gulch sniper matches across four televisions in two adjoining dorm rooms, and it was awesome. I still think Halo: Combat Evolved is the best Halo game and the best multiplayer shooter ever. Flame me all you want, but my nostalgia will over rule you all.

Final Fantasy XI

Wait. No. This game sucked.

World of Warcraft

The next logical step from the dorm room shooter was the MMO, and World of Warcraft came along just in time to save me from my horrible memories of Final Fantasy XI. WoW brought in every single one of my friends with totally different gaming backgrounds and sucked us in for months on end. First we played Alliance, and then we played Horde, and I always had fun. I've been WoW free for over four years now and while I don't miss it, I don't regret playing it at all. I'm hoping we can all get back together again for some Old Republic.


Borderlands CoverI've been a bit too swamped since college to really enjoy a good multiplayer game on a consistent basis, but Borderlands has brought together a few writers from the First Hour on what is a truly great first person shooter. Its great story system that let's someone of a higher level jump in with a low level friend and blast through the game is a welcome addition for those late evenings where you want to play some DLC together. Writing this reminds me I really need to write a review on the game... or play some more with Steve.