It may be a weird thing, in this day and age, to say I’m thankful for something as trivial as video games. Wars are cropping up all the time, natural disasters loom over us, so surely there are more important things, right? Well, of course there are. However, things like this are precisely why I’m thankful to have this hobby, this medium to which I can turn in dark times. It relieves stress, it provides some form of escapism, and honestly, it just brings a lot of fun into my life. So yes, I’m quite thankful for gaming. Here are a few things in particular, both current and upcoming, of which I am appreciative.
JRPGs. Oh man, I remember a few years ago when the general consensus of the gaming community was that the JRPG was a product of a bygone era. People clamored for anything that was thrown at them and every semi-decent RPG was considered the “savior of the genre.” ‘Twas quite the dark time. Fast forward to today, where I haven’t been able to finish every JRPG I’ve picked up in 2015, and the list of games coming in 2016 is staggering. Persona 5, Genei Ibunroku ♯FE, Dragon Quest VII and VIII, Fire Emblem Fates, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, Star Ocean V, Shin Megami Tensei IV Final, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, and more are all confirmed for 2016 releases, not to mention heavyweight possible contenders like Kingdom Hearts 3, Final Fantasy XV, and the Final Fantasy VII remake. That’s a huge amount of RPG goodness right there. I can’t wait to get them all (and subsequently finish 2 of them.)
Cloud Strife. Not just his appearance in Smash Bros., not just his upcoming role in Dissidia, and not even the potential of the Final Fantasy VII remake. I’m not even a huge fan of Cloud, but here’s the deal: people love their Cloud Strife, and he gets them excited. People I know who have never cared for Smash are suddenly interested. People who formerly had no interest in entering the current gen of gaming are sitting up and saying, “Wait, Cloud is doing what now?” Cloud has an affect on people like few other characters in gaming, and he’s all over the place right now. People are pumped, and that makes the hobby all the more exciting to me.Persistent friends and their different interests.
My gaming friends, and my colleagues here at GP, are all very different when it comes to tastes. That said, they are pretty much universally into open-world sandbox games, such as Fallout 4. These games have never really appealed to me. I’ve never really been a fan of games that throw a thousand side quests between you and the plot. However, my friends and colleagues are also terrible people and basically forced me to give these games a try. I’m currently playing Fallout 3, Mass Effect, and am eagerly awaiting Xenoblade Chronicles X in the next week or so. I gave these games another shot to get everyone off my back, and lo and behold, I’m loving them.
It’s been really nice to expand my horizons beyond the Musou and JRPG stuff I typically stick with. 2016 presents many more opportunities for me now, plus there are quite a few games I’ve missed over the years that I can catch up with now.Handhelds. These puppies are still going strong despite the predictions that mobile gaming would shut them down. I can’t recall how many games I got in 2015 for both my 3DS and Vita (and my PSP, oddly enough.) I have always really enjoyed handheld gaming, and now that I have 3 kids, TV time is limited. The handhelds ensure I can always squeeze in a bit of something while the girls marathon My Little Pony for the 40th time.