Making a list of Halloween-themed games is pretty simple - just name the first five zombie games you can think of and Bob's your uncle. A list of Thanksgiving-themed games, though? A little trickier, especially if you don't know any turkey-hunting games off-hand.


Too Human
What does it have in common with Thanksgiving?: Yelling at the television
Explanation: As you may know, the Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving Day. Having a soft spot for the underdog, I always end up rooting for them. Almost without fail, they get destroyed and I end up swearing profusely at whatever future insurance salesman the Lions currently employ as a quarterback. Playing Too Human is perhaps the only other experience that makes me yell at the television this much. There were a lot of things that aggravated me about the game such as the kamikaze enemies or the crappy camera but the boss fights were the worst. The boss encounters went something like this: first, you stab his shins and chip off some of his health. Then he stomps your poorly-rendered ass and you're treated to a lengthy cut scene of some cybernetic angel picking up your corpse and flying away. After that, you respawn and repeat the process for the next half hour until he's dead. Good times.

Streets of Rage 2
What does it have in common with Thanksgiving?: Turkey
Explanation: No game treats turkey with quite as much respect as the 1992 Sega Genesis beat 'em up Streets of Rage 2. Picking up a turkey boosted your health to full, while picking up some wussy health food like an apple only healed you for half as much. Ah, the simple days when you didn't have to rely on regenerating shields or stimpacks to keep your video game character alive - you just had to kick over the nearest trash can and eat whatever food popped out. While it may seem a little disgusting to eat a turkey you found on the street, the turkeys in SoR2 were always found on white plates, which automatically means they're clean.

Freelancer
What does it have in common with Thanksgiving?: Repetitive conversations
Explanation: Even though you'll only see certain relatives once a year and you'd think that you or they would think up a new topic of conversation in the past twelve months, you'll often have the same discussions over and over. When I was in college, it was:

Relative: So, how's college?
Me: Busy, but fun.
Relative: Enjoy it while it lasts!


Since I've graduated, the conversations go something like this:


Relative: How's working in Manhattan?
Me: Meh.
Relative: Not as fun as college, huh?
Me: I loathe you.


Anyway, this is sort of how the conversations with NPC's go in the space sim Freelancer. You're allowed to travel the galaxy performing odd jobs for people but the game is afflicted with the copy-paste syndrome that many other open-world games have where there's a lot of places to explore but they're all basically the same. Almost every person in this game's galaxy says the same thing when you approach: they state what faction they belong to and then add, "We don't run this base, but we have an arrangement with the people who do." It makes the game extremely monotonous and creepy at the same time.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
What does it have in common with Thanksgiving?: Annihilation of indigenous species
Explanation: Yes, I'm one of those insufferable East Coast "libruls" who can't make it through Thanksgiving without mentioning the slaughter of the Native Americans by early colonists. Get over it. The best parallel to this I can think of in gaming was a quest in The Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft. Your character is tasked with "discreetly gathering" idols from a village in Zangarmarsh. The quest-giver specifically tells you to "avoid angering [the inhabitants of the village] as it may hurt our chances of making contact with them." Of course, the villagers are aggressive and there's no penalty for killing them so players who do this quest just rampage through the village, murdering everything that takes exception to them grabbing the villagers' sacred artifacts. Teacher calls that "cultural diffusion!"

Myth II
What does it have in common with Thanksgiving?: Saying thanks
Explanation: No matter how crappy your year was, there's always something you can be grateful for. This year, I'm thankful that I was never attacked by cobras. When playing Myth II, whether or not you enjoyed the game, you had to be grateful for the fact that it didn't completely destroy your computer. You see, the original version of the game wiped your entire hard drive in some cases when it was uninstalled. Luckily, developer Bungie found out about this before the game hit stores (an employee discovered it the hard way) and was able to recall the defective copies. Anyone who bought a fixed copy of Myth II or bought any game that didn't contain a computer-breaking bug like this ought to be thanking their lucky stars. You spoiled bastards don't know how good you've got it.

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