Sunday, February 24, 2013

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is arguably one of the greatest holidays of the entire year.  Certainly Halloween and Christmas give it a run for its money, and Christmas in particular triggers my deeply-rooted love of tradition – but Thanksgiving has so much going for it to make it sit at the top of my list.  There’s the time spent with family and friends, sharing and laughing and just enjoying ourselves.  The time-honored tradition of watching the Lions lose in front of a national audience.  Finally, there’s no way to ignore the most beloved and sited attribute of Thanksgiving – the meal.  It’s always a near-endless bounty of home cooked delights the likes of which I will not see again for an entire year, as if it were a beloved comet that only enters Earth’s path once every fourth Thursday in November, and it is also crafted entirely out of real mashed potatoes, juicy cuts of turkey breast, and cornbread stuffing.  I love you, delicious Thanksgiving comet.

It’s also these times that make me a little sentimental, and I start to think and act more like I’ve just stepped out of one of those Christmas specials from the late 70’s, when having the Osmonds around was considered a big deal, and people could somehow ignore the eerie sexual energy sparking between Donny and Marie.  Because, after all, it is the time for us to give thanks for the good things we’ve had this year - and to perhaps even be thankful that the bad stuff wasn’t as bad as it could have been, all things considered...  I figured what better way to celebrate the holiday on 1up than to look back over the year and share my own views on a select few games that I’m thankful for.  Is it cheesy?  Oh, you bet it is.  Nevertheless, it serves as a rather timely and thematically-accurate premise.  If I were hosting a morning drive radio show right now, this topic would go over very well with listeners in the all-important 27 to 48 demographic.



I give thanks to Batman, who crouches atop gargoyles all over the world, like a black-leather-clad Santa Clause looking to give the gifts of roundhouse kicks and justice to those looking to ruin the Christmas morning we innocent civilians call life.  I give thanks to the Batman who finally received a video game truly worthy of his name, and proceeded to kick all sorts of ass while scaring the crap out of some unsuspecting henchmen – while crouching on gargoyles oddly positioned inside of buildings.  I give thanks to hear Mark Hamil as the Joker again, because 1) it lets me know he's still alive and 2) no one does the character better, and that says a lot when you're just a guy's voice.



I give thanks to Johnny Klebitz, for somehow managing to be cooler than Niko, which is incredibly hard to do considering how alluring Niko’s accent is.  I also thank Johnny for making the motorcycle a viable mode of transportation in GTA IV – a feat that I largely thought to be impossible.  I also give thanks to Johnny for participating in one of the greatest examples of how DLC can be used to better a game this whole year, delivering a bang that was so worth the buck I felt like I had stolen it, which is ironic when you think about it.  I give thanks that they included new songs in the Lost and the Damned soundtrack, finally allowing me to race around and shoot people to “Run to the Hills”, “Wild Side”, and “Wanted Dead or Alive”.  Science has proven that a rockin' track from the likes of Motley Crew and/or Bon Jovi increases the effective nature of your criminal activities by 60%.  I haven’t played The Ballad of Gay Tony just yet, but I hear good things and they used Roxette's "She's Got The Look" for the trailer – and for that alone, I also give thanks.



I give thanks to dinosaurs, who haven’t received a good shake since the comets struck and killed them all off – except for raptors who went on to become pigeons and chickens.  It’s been nothing but lousy claymation, even worse computer animation, and steadily declining Turok games ever since.  So what is the latest assault on our cold-blooded friends?  A budget-title retread of Turok with the advertising budget of Mainway Toys  Don’t worry, dinosaurs, one day we will bring you back to life through our own need to play God – and in that dark hour of our worst mistake, you will rise up and return to prominence, devouring those who beg for your non-existent mercy…  So there’s that to look forward to.



I give thanks to Bethesda, who saw fit to give me not three but five pieces of DLC that would extend my adventures in the DC Wasteland far beyond the already ridiculous boundaries first issued to me.  I give thanks to Bethesda even though almost all their DLC was riddled with bugs, not unlike an old piece of wood rotting in the Mississippi Delta or like the spaces between the teeth of Beetlejuice or the Grinch.  There’s nothing like downloading a new adventure only to have it conflict and crash with another one or delete saves or make things disappear or just crash the console all together.  I thank them for The Pitt, which allowed me to steal a baby and then leave the resistance leader’s lady-friend overwhelmed with the task of caring for that baby.  I give thanks that because I made the child an orphan and it won’t stop crying unless it has a surplus of teddy bears, the overwhelmed lady is willing to pay me top dollar for the stupid things just to shut the kid up.  I thank them for letting me go onto a spaceship, blow the heads off of hapless aliens, and end up armed to the teeth with weapons that largely vaporize anyone who stands in my way.  I give thanks to Bethesda for the new avatar t-shirts, because while paying money for fake clothes is a little silly, a fake shirt with Vault Boy on it is totally worth it.  I would give more thanks for some Brotherhood of Steel power armor - which is woefully missing as an option.


Finally, I give thanks to all my 1up friends – both those on my list and those who just stop by from time to time.  I tried this last paragraph a few times, trying to figure out how best to thank each and every one, but it got a little out of control, and we all know how you kids feel about that pesky wall of text...  So, it suffices to say that I thank all of you guys for being rather cool people.  I don’t have the biggest list of friends on the site, but I like to think that almost all of you stop by here because we all like and respect each other – at least somewhat – and I try to return that as much as possible.  I hope that during the extended Thanksgiving weekend I get a chance to get in some games with any of you guys.  I still feel like Left 4 Dead 2 has been woefully under recognized in my circle of friends, so it’s a priority to fix that.  Even if I don’t get a chance to see everyone online at some point, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving – or for folks like Fumes, a great Thursday.  With that, I’m off to prepare for the day’s ritual fasting.  I have found that largely avoiding food the Wednesday before the big meal makes me ready to devour much more on Thanksgiving, and there’s really no such thing as “too much turkey with gravy and fresh-made rolls with a small dab of butter”.  It’s true, look it up.

*- From the Late

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