By Jonathan Falu / November 28th, 2016
Video games are a huge part of my life, though I find it hard to share with my family as they just want to watch Jersey Shore or horror stuff. I’m grateful that the staff of Operation Rainfall is giving me this chance to make this list. This is more than just about fun or anything like that. In a way, these games have changed me and my outlook on life, and deserve to be celebrated for that. Without further ado, here are the five games I am thankful for!
5. Tekken 4
Back when I was a child, all the way until high school, I hated fighting games. I was the kind of person who would plug in a controller, and then beat myself. It wasn’t until I played Tekken 3 that I split off from that, unlocking almost every single character barring four of them. My favorite character at the time was King due to his powerful grappling moves, which helped ensure victory against the final bosses. Sadly, that game, along with many more, were stolen from me. Long story short: my dad’s friend betrayed us and stole a ton of stuff. That’s life for ya.
Ever since then, I never bothered with fighting games besides the Dragon Ball Z Budokai series. It wasn’t until I got bored one day and tried out a game my dad’s girlfriend bought: Tekken 4. Then I also noticed the story too, something I felt lacking in the third installment. I found it interesting with how the characters relate to one another with these fights. Through playing this game, I learned fighting games can indeed have some good stories, or at least good characters even if a story is insane. And let’s face it, Tekken has gone off the rails several times, if Blood Vengeance was any indication. Tekken 4 ultimately helped me become much more open to fighting games, getting me into Soul Calibur, BlazBlue, and Guilty Gear. And not only that, but I am far more eager to try them out to see what kind of story a character has. Just don’t expect me to turn up at a tournament.
4. Senran Kagura Burst
I enjoy this game mostly for the Hebijo route. Honestly, I found the Hanzo route was too cliche, and while it wasn’t really awful, it never captured my attention too much. Homura’s team in the Hebijo route felt vastly different from the one-note villains I saw before, each one having interesting stories and interactions with the cast. Even their rivalries changed, like with Ikaruga and Yomi actually understanding one another. Adding to this was great conflicts within, such as Haruka and Homura fighting over their own ideologies, which helped contribute to their development even more.
I’m grateful for this game, and the Versus series that spun off from this, for making me invested into it even with all the fanservice. It showed that even with a game so blatantly advertised for one audience might have more to it. Despite some gameplay problems I have with the series, I look forward to each game that comes out. I even made three videos of the series: a review of Shinovi Versus to dive into the story, a character analysis/summary of Homura, and even my own personal top 10 video! The series definitely helped my motivation with making videos, and I will be eternally thankful for that!
3. Chrono Cross
I wasn’t into RPGs that much back in the day. In fact, because I was such a coward and afraid of losing, I avoided RPGs. The cause of this was mostly seeing a friend of mine play Final Fantasy VIII and always seeing Rinoa die due to a certain battle he couldn’t win yet. Then Chrono Cross came into my life, as I was interested after seeing a commercial on the WWE; no seriously, that happened once. I sadly didn’t explore Chrono Trigger until I was in high school, so odds are if I play Chrono Cross now, I doubt it may hold up too well. Even so, I still have nothing but good memories of this game, amplified by the incredible music. No game’s soundtrack has attached me to a scene based on music alone. The game also got me into writing fanfiction and writing in general. Sure, I feel embarrassed of what I wrote before, but without developing a passion for writing, I may never have gotten into writing reviews, let alone focusing on stories of games too. Chrono Cross was a gateway to a ton of things in my life, and I am very thankful for that. Now, if only this series wasn’t neglected…
2. Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne
Be warned: THIS SECTION CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS! I can’t really talk about Nocturne and what it means to me without those spoilers. So skip on ahead until you see another picture if you want to avoid spoilers. And if you haven’t played Nocturne, please do so!
This is probably one of my favorite games of all time, barring some…bullcrap moments, like the instant death spells killing an entire run just before hitting a save point. I loved this one primarily for the story since, at the time, I was used to less complicated plots, mostly focusing on basic good and evil stuff. And at first glance, it seemed that way, as you control a young boy who is transformed into the Demi-Fiend, survives the apocalypse, and must first learn how to change the world back to normal, all while finding his friends. The story, however, shows the friends you want to save have been corrupted by this world, going insane and becoming villains. It’s a battle of ideologies, with not all of them quite evil in a technical sense. Well except Chiaki who is more “survival of the fittest” and begins to slaughter innocent demons.
The Demi-Fiend is losing everything in this world, and it honestly feels like the worst possible situation anyone can be in. But it’s why I love the Neutral ending, as it shows Naoki holding onto what makes him human. It’s also why I reject the true demon ending. I didn’t endure all that heartbreak and pain of this world just to work with the devil. I played and fought for what I wanted, which was the return of the normal world and the friends. It was a sign of submission, a sign of giving up hope. It’s the easy way out. By going against such dark temptations, it makes the Demi-Fiend a character I could look up to, as I wish I had that kind of patience for people, to still see good in a world filled with blood and darkness.
1. Valkyria Chronicles 3 (fan translation)
We never got this game in English, barring a fan translation, and an official artbook. I managed to get my hands on it last year, though didn’t do much at first. However, 2015 was a hard time for me. My aunt who was practically like my mother died, then so did my grandfather, and then finally my dog, Rex. With the last death, I fell into a deep depression, falling behind in my schoolwork so much that I had to withdraw from two classes. Every time I thought about my dog, all I could do was cry. So I devoted myself to constant work. At least until I started to play more of Valkyria Chronicles 3.
I was surprised at how invested I was in the story. The game follows Kurt Irving, a recent graduate of the Lanseal Military Academia in Gallia who is put into a penal squad, the Nameless, for treason. He did nothing to warrant it, however, much like a lot of people in the squad. From then on, he has to prove his innocence by undergoing near suicidal missions, while earning the respect of his comrades. What follows was a gripping story, each character likable and interesting, even gaining side-stories to expand more on them. The villains, a group called Calamity Raven, was also interesting with how their leader wasn’t some random douchebag out for power. He did have legitimately good goals with great teammates, carrying a charisma to him, but how that all falls apart is both sad and intriguing. It was leagues above the original Valkyria Chronicles story, least in my opinion, and made me sadder we never got it. Though on the other hand, I found it at the right time I needed to. Nocturne may have taught me to think more, but Valkyria Chronicles 3 taught me to keep pushing myself and live again despite all the death happening. It’s why I am playing it again for a review due to certain recent events. (hint, it rhymes with dump.)
And those are all the games I am thankful for, at least five of them. I’m sure I can think of more, but I got a limit and other work to take care of. Be sure to tell me what game you are most thankful for! Who knows, might motivate me to review it on my own channel! Have a great Thanksgiving!
AtlusBandai Namco EntertainmentChrono CrossMarvelous EntertainmentSegaSenran Kagura (series)Shin Megami TenseiSquare EnixTamsoftTekkenValkyria Chronicles 3