17 reasons to be thankful in games


Gather round, descendants of unwelcome occupiers. It is time to celebrate turkeys again. Now, I don’t have any comically large birds to slaughter, but I do recognise the emotional benefit of reflection, which is what this questionable holiday is all about. Being thankful. There are many small things we videosgamers take for granted, the stuff you don’t even think about. But tiny “quality of life” things still deserve a grateful thumbs-up. Here are 17 things to be thankful for in games.

Being able to pause during a cutscene

The war has begun. You breathe, shallow and fearful, sweating. You are desperate to pee. Your finger trembles over the escape key. The bearded killer in the cinematic is saying something about spaceworms. Oh god, your bladder cannot hold, you will have to risk it. Do it. Press the button.

Sweet ambrosial pause screen! It hasn’t skipped. Beardman stands frozen in time as he reloads his neo-AK and says something about the king of space. But you are already gone, happy and relieved. Thank you, videogame, for understanding humans are essentially giant bagpipes full of piss.

Phenomenal sprinting speed

Thank you, also, for allowing me to outpace animals of the savannah. The average running speed of a human is not as fast as you think. But if every game had realistic thighs players would be spackled at the mouth with sluggish fury. So the entire industry has quietly agreed that even lumbering warriors in dragonbone shin guards can be superhuman jogging fanatics. Thanks again, videogames. Yours sincerely, the gazelle man.

Auto-sort

What a mess, oh wait, tippity tap, ha ha, cracking stuff, thanks.

“There is no turning back”

“Hey, Cindy Bullet-teeth, you made it! We’re going to get on this boat now. It’s called the Cautious Threshold. See the river we need to cross? That’s the Rubicon 2. I’m looking forward to being on this rickety steampunk trash barge with you, during which nothing will go wrong. You haven’t left anything undone in this region by any chance? No reason, just asking. Oh, we’ve not been introduced. My name is Yushud Save.”

Multiple loadouts

Aha, the swish ability to swap quickly between your bazooka man with hockey player shoulder pads and your snipey jackal with the skull mask. Big thumbs up. Imagine rearranging all your equipment by hand every time you needed to do a special murder. Falling into your Mary Poppins loot handbag and spending the next three days drunk on stats. Cheers, loadouts, for saving us from ourselves.

Buy-back

Oh no, I sold a pair of level 13 bloodboots to the shoe wizard, but I meant to sell the level 9 fungusboots. Oh thank god, they’re still here, and it doesn’t cost me more to get them back. Thank you, merciful shoemancer. Thank you.

Endless save slots

Three different autosave slots in a row seems excessive, until you trap yourself in the gelatinous brickwork of spiderfreak alley with no mana blorps, and the royal sewer before that is equally bleak, and the toxic windmill before that… You really didn’t come to this set-piece prepared. But aha! Thank you, save staggering, I’ll head back to the blorp merchant please. Autosave a la carte has realised what the creators of the “undo” button figured out years ago: the more steps back I can take, the safer I’ll feel stepping forward.

The option to change quicktime mashing to “hold button”

Yes I know this is a PlayStation image, leave me alone.

On behalf of all carpal tunnel twerps, thank you, accessibility options. Thank you from the bottom of my ulnar nerve.

Quicksave

It is quick and it saves. Ta.

Having “quit to desktop” on the pause menu

Oh heavens, thank you. Thank you for not burying the “quit to desktop” option under layers of sub-menus, like a dead pet in a flower bed. Or in some far-flung list of miscellaneous settings. Thanks most of all for not making me “quit to main menu” instead, and hitting me with a 100-word loading screen tip I must read in two seconds, before finally being able to click on “quit the game”. Thank you a million times, “quit to desktop”. Thank you.

Alt + F4

Thanks, guys.

Fast travel

I’m only putting this here out of obligation. I hate fast travel and want it to die. If this is not “off the list” next week, you will be hearing from my lawyers.

“Already at full health”

When you try to wrap yourself in band-aids and the game snorts at you with gentle laughter. “You are already at full health”. Oh, ha ha, silly me. Thank you for not letting me glug an entire cannister of red voodoo juice until I vomit. You’re a good friend, videogame. A wise companion. I’ve always said that about you.

Skippable credits

Thank you, Dutch localisation team. But, uh, I have to pee again.

Difficulty you can change at any time

Dying 23 times to the Lord of Nettles was fun and all, but maybe it is time to accept defeat. Not defeat by ancient nettle deity, but defeat by your own hubris. You accepted this difficulty mode at the start of the game thinking “hell yes, I love a challenge” but now you must heroically resign yourself to the realisation that it was the wrong choice. In these moments, give thanks to the game that is magnanimous, the compassionate game that lets cavalier adventurers like yourself rethink your choices. Pause, hit the options, and bust that difficulty down. From ‘Easy’ to ‘Very Easy’.

The “thank you” button in Apex Legends

Thank you.

The “you’re welcome” button in Apex Legends

Okay stop.

One Off The List from… the most needless minigames

Last week we supplied you with a list of the 7 most needless minigames. Some of you argued that not all hacking minigames were bad. Others said Blitzball was okay, or that coffee revels did not deserve such disrespect, despite neither of these items being on the actual list. So the stay of execution this week goes to… the Forklift Racing of Shenmue.

That is thanks to commenter “Aerothorn” who gives a passioned defence of boredom. “You need to experience tedium to truly know the joys of adventure,” they said. “It’s a core part of the meditative pseudo-realism of Shenmue, and it wouldn’t be the same game without it.”



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