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Games I Am Thankful For

Today is the day of giving thanks and appreciating what you have in life. I love my family and friends and while some things in life could be better, I am happy with where I'm at. I won't delve into everything or get all mushy but this is a small list of some games that have had a significant moment in my life. Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Sesame Street is part of my childhood as much as anybody else's. It's special to me because it's the earliest moments I can remember playing a video game. As part of a military family we had to move across the world and live in Turkey for a couple years. Leaving home is difficult but I was only three so I could not remember much. What I can recall is moving into our new home. While my parents were settling in and placing boxes in each room, I was on the living room floor playing with our Nintendo. I remember playing Sesame Street A-B-C & 1-2-3; matching shapes with Ernie, solving math with Grover and spelling with the Cookie Monster. Without this game I wouldn't be here writing for Hardcore Gamer. I can't remember everything from my younger years but I'm happy with this memory.

These few games are grouped together because I played them with my brother, the one person in my life who I could always have fun with. We grew up playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Battletoads. It wasn't always successful getting through each level. Of course since he's older, smarter and had better hand-eye coordination I would just slow him down. But that didn't stop us from winning seeing as we had Game Genie codes to help us out. Later on, we were both into Pokémon, Monster Rancher, The Legend of Zelda and other still kid-friendly titles. My brother was the only friend I could trade with or ask for help when I was stuck on a level. During middle school and high school he played SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs with friends online. I was interested and joined their clan though I would not play as often nor enjoy it as much. There are countless other games we've played together but I could spend all day recalling our gaming memories. Nowadays we're not as close and buddy-buddy as we were. While he's gone on to play NHL 14 and other sports games, another genre I have limited interest in, I still try to watch him play a little and just keep each other in the loop. I am thankful for the times we've spent together, at least video games haven't been our only way of bonding.

I mentioned Pokémon already and if you're an avid reader of the site you'll know how much I enjoy the franchise. But it wasn't until the last years' of Pokémon X and Y that I had a revelation– maybe I wouldn't love it so much if it weren't for my fianceé, Kim. We're high school sweethearts and immediately bonded over games like Animal Crossing, Super Smash. Bros Melee and of course Pokémon. When we met, the Ruby and Sapphire versions were already about a year old but that game was like magic when I was with her. During our first battle we found out we used two of the same Pokémon, how could that not be a sign of true love? Kim and I have spent so much time with Pokémon it's become a pinnacle of our relationship. So many drawings, battles, conversations and even a crazy Craigslist trip can be attributed to Pokémon. Spending the past seven years together gave us plenty of more gaming memories. We once played Animal Crossing together side by side on two separate televisions, I lost my Pokéwalker while sitting in the grass with her on the 4th of July and we visited Barcade together and played a bit of WWF WrestleFest. I recently told her, " I don't think I'd be into Pokémon as much as I am if I never met you." And that might be true, I feel like I would have gotten tired of the same old but fate had a different plan when Kim came into my life. She's the number one person I am thankful for because she brought me to a new level of gaming. Well, that's not the only reason why but for the sake of this article it is. She can also kick my butt in Super Smash Bros. Brawl…like all the time. Even though I can never defeat her, I'll always appreciate her. She's my greatest rival and my closest ally.

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