Good day, friends. This cold November evening, I would like to treat you to a warm and touching retrospective on the many reasons I am thankful to be a gamer. Make yourself a nice cup of hot cider, grab a cookie, and let’s celebrate our most joyous moments.
I am thankful for Nintendo. They have given me the best games, the most lovable characters, and some of the best times of my entire life. Their attention to detail and ability to create fun video games without the need to make them violent or gross is unsurpassed. The premises of their games would sound silly on paper (let’s make a game where you control an Italian plumber who stomps on turtles and walking mushrooms), but they add the necessary magic to make them unforgettable. Nintendo, I’m thankful for you.
I’m thankful for Mario. I just started New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and I must say that it is an impressive feat. The game itself is fantastic. It looks great, it plays great, it is great. But that’s not even the most impressive thing. Nintendo has taken a 25-year-old franchise, kept the same basic gameplay elements, added some new powers and new characters, and thrown in a few retro themes for good measure. The result is a game that’s just as magical for new players as the original was for us on Christmas Day of 1987. Mario is the sincere definition of excellent gaming. Mario, I’m thankful for you.
I’m thankful for the internet. And not in the reasons you might be thinking. You see, when I was young, my siblings and I would spend long hours during the holidays playing games for as long as our parents would allow (and then some). These days, it is much more difficult to get together, much less have time to play games. The internet has provided a conduit whereby we can still play games during the holidays, even if we’re not in the same geographic location. This year, we may not even be in the same state, but we will still be playing the same track on Mariokart. Internet, I’m thankful for you.
I’m thankful for the DS. It has provided me with consistently fun games since day one. Nowhere else can you help Professor Layton solve intricate puzzles, or break down witnesses with Phoenix Wright, or save the day with the Elite Beat Agents. Its portability makes it playable at any moment, and its connectability makes it easy to play with friends. Wherever I am, (school, work, home, in the car, on the can), it is there with me. DS, I am thankful for you.
I’m thankful for the Wii. My love for the Wii grows with each new game. I played Wii Sports until my arms hurt. I played Smash Bros. until my thumbs bled. Tonight, I will play New Super Mario Bros. Wii until I’m too tired to stay awake. Its codename, Revolution, was an understatement. The Wii has quite literally changed the face of video gaming forever. Motion control is the wave of the future. Who would have thought 10 years ago that games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports would be some of the most popular games of all time? Wii, I am thankful for you.
I’m thankful for past systems. My love of Nintendo is far-reaching. I have adored every console they have ever made, including the severely underrated Virtual Boy. Kirby Air Ride for GameCube has been the bane of my college homework. Metroid Zero Mission for GBA is still my favorite Metroid game of all time. The original Smash Bros. for N64 consumed nearly the entirety of my free time in high school. Mario Golf for Game Boy Color was with me on every school bus ride for years. Super Mariokart and Looney Tunes B-Ball for SNES are still some of the best multiplayer games that have ever been made. Wario Land for Virtual Boy is a fantastic 3-D adventure. Mario Land 2 for Game Boy is, even today, a near-perfect platformer by any standard. And of course, Super Mario Bros. for NES, a game which took me months to beat the first time, and about 10 minutes nowadays, is still one of my favorite games to revisit now and again. Past systems, I’m thankful for you.
I’m thankful for friends who played with me. I am fortunate to be married to someone who loves to play almost as much as I do, and supports my gaming habits. Before marriage, I was (usually) blessed with roommates who were willing to play, too, even if they got beat a lot of the time. My siblings have always been happy to Smash it up or play a few rounds of Perfect Dark. My best friends have always been happy to take a few swings in Mario Golf. Friends, you see, make gaming that much better. With the few exceptions of fantastic single-player adventures, playing with friends is almost always a lot more fun. Friends, I am thankful for you.
And most importantly…
I’m thankful I’m not a Sony gamer. There are few things I am more thankful of than this. Honestly, why would you even own a system that does not have Mario, Zelda, Kirby, F-Zero, or Metroid games? You can’t play Mariokart on a Playstation. You can’t play Ocarina of Time on a PSP. And I’m thoroughly convinced you can’t be happy with a system whose creators believe you will buy even if it doesn’t have any good games. And trust me: it doesn’t. This is a free country, and I’m thankful for that. People can buy whatever they want. But if I ever bought a PS3, I think I’d kill myself.
Currently Playing: New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Scribblenauts, TMNT Smash-Up!