Top 5 Reasons To Be Thankful For Video Games This Holiday

By Steve Buja , Updated Nov 26, 2014 08:59 AM EST

2014 is winding down in terms of video game releases. The great glut of AAA titles that assaulted us over the last eight weeks has finally subsided. Now is the time to load up on turkey, shut off the phone and catch up on everything with all that holiday time.

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In reflecting on another banner year for video game sales, we should all stop and give thanks to many of the gaming tics, tricks, mechanics and conventions that made a name for themselves over the last 300 some odd days.

So gather round the table, children and join your hands together and let us give a big 'thank you' to the following...

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5. Free DLC - Is there a sweeter phrase in the entire English language than this? So, to you CD Projekt Red and Turtle Rock Studios, thank you for just giving away more of a game we already bought. DLC is the great hope of publishers, but players have a love/hate relationship with it, especially when we buy a game for full price (usually a $60 value) and then cannot complete it because 'the princess is in another castle. Please pay $10 to access this new content.'

4. Glitches - As Assassin's Creed Unity so wonderfully demonstrated recently, if you're going to screw up, screw up SPECTACULARLY. One glitch is a nuisance, but dozens and dozens of glitches? That's hilarious. The recent November implosion of nearly every AAA title requiring multiple patches and fixes should be a warning to publishers: keep the turkey in the oven a bit longer. Until then though, we will enjoy not 100% enjoying the game we bought because it was rushed. But we will certainly enjoy the humorous moments we're treated to.

3. No Online Connection Required - This can apply to any game on any console, but in particular to mobile titles. The world is not one giant Wi Fi hotspot, as much as it should be. There are times when my absolutely rock-solid, wouldn't go down in a million years AT&T LTE 4G invisible field of magic does, in fact, go down and with it goes half the games I might want to play. So please raise a toast to the games who are kicking it old school and let you play anytime, anywhere, day or night. Riders of public transportation, we salute you.

2. Console Exclusivity - I am, of course, referring to the Wii U, because with the exception of titles like Sunset Overdrive and Halo, you can get pretty much any other game on any platform. Visualists prefer the PS4, online gamers like the Xbox One. But really, at the end of the day, you're getting a pretty sweet system with a ton of games no matter what. So I ask that we all take a moment and appreciate the truly unique games of this world: the kind you can't find anywhere else. And after that moment of silence, how about four of us go and race some karts while all sitting in the same room? A novel idea, I know.

And the best thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

1. GamerGate - Now, do not one for second think we are sympathetic to their tactics. No, we should be thankful to GamerGate because they pulled the curtains back on a long unspoken problem that has always been in the games industry. Hell, not just the games industry, but society in general. I am not talking about ethics in games journalism. I mean the way we marginalize and disenfranchise women who take up this hobby. For too long, video gaming has been a boy's club. Now that women want to join the party and we're scared (and violently angry) because...why, exactly? GamerGate exposed this ugly secret for all the world to see. Only by acknowledging that there is something wrong can we then go about and fix it.

So thank you GamerGate. Thank you for exposing the dark undercurrent of misogyny that can (but does not always) run through video gaming. We raise a toast to you. May the future we create because of you be a better one.

These are some of the things we are thankful for this holiday season. So tell us, what are you thankful for this year?

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