Marc Douglas – 5 Games to Spend the Winter With

Not to reference my gaming bucket list too many times, but when trying to decide on a specific  number of titles to spend the winter with, it’s difficult to attribute the decision to story and nostalgic value, or the fact that I’ve failed to beat them and spending this winter crushing a few classics sounds incredible. The latter is most likely going to be the determinate mold when choosing what to do with my winter, now all that’s left is to settle on only five and how they’ll be hierarchically arranged – Poop, this is going to be tough.

When considering games to spend the winter with, the main qualities I ascribe to list-worthy games is that they must be lengthy, and rich in content – luckily all of mine are RPG’s! Well, kind of.


#5Final Fantasy VII – PS1


For fans of: Turn based RPG’s, open-world exploration, character leveling or grinding.

First and foremost, Final Fantasy VII belongs on the list because I’ve not only spent a great deal of my winter with it already, but its content-rich gameplay coupled with the fact that it encourages players to indulge any penchant for character leveling results in an innumerable amount of hours spent immersed within its world – even though it’s one of the ugliest games I’ve ever played.


#4Final Fantasy IX – PS1


For fans of: Turn based RPG’s, open-world exploration, character leveling or grinding.

What a difference three years makes! Final Fantasy IX represents a return to Square’s classic style of storytelling while relying less on the newly established visual style of FFVII and VIII, and instead reverting to a quirky and reimagined style that is not only gorgeous, but feels like it belongs with earlier Final Fantasy titles.


#3The Legend of Zelda – Wind Waker – Gamecube


For fans of: Adventure games, puzzle, action.

I continually go back and forth on this, only because Ocarina of Time, as well as Majora’s Mask occupy my gaming bucket list, as does Wind Waker – having to choose one of the three, I’d choose Wind Waker. To recapitulate the overall sentiment for Ocarina: it’s an incredible title, and probably one of the best games ever made, but Wind Waker is the standout for me. Wind Waker completely reimagined the Zelda franchise for a brief moment in time and provided fans with a cel-shaded aesthetic that completely blew my mind at the time; it felt unbalanced and inherently foreign for the first five minutes, but it soon gave way to an engaging story rife with extras along with painfully insipid sailing moments that I still miss, ironically enough. Wind Waker is the main reason I’ve pieced together a Gamecube setup from thrifting, but I’ve still yet to find the original title used for under $50.00.


#2Resident Evil 2 – Dual Shock Version – PS1


For fans of: Classic zombie mechanics, engaging horror games, puzzles.

Ohhh man, I’m not sure where this fast-paced zombie nonsense came from, and why it eschewed the shambling greats like Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, but I miss them terribly! Resident Evil 2 in particular was and is one of my favorite zombie games of all time, mainly because it’s reliant on a sense of foreboding and refrains from chasing you around with a rocket launcher or trying to decapitate you with a chainsaw, and thankfully hadn’t implemented quick-time button events just yet. Some of my fondest memories of the series involve exploring the Raccoon City Police Station and pooping a little when trying to kill that giant alligator; interestingly enough, I’m still kind of beguiled that I’ve managed to hold on to the original Playstation copy for this long. Capcom also revitalized the series with Code Veronica and countless remakes for the Gamecube, but the series seems to have aimlessly evolved into an action-packed mess. Oorah!


#1Shenmue – Dreamcast


For fans of: Action and adventure games, puzzles.

Woof. Being able to spend my winter in with this game would absolutely make my life; Shenmue was easily my favorite title for the Dreamcast, and is up there among some of the best games I’ve ever played. Shenmue was the first game that taught me how to kill time within a video game and I honestly can’t cite a moment when I felt disillusioned by the title. Everything is absolutely engrossing about Shenmue, all the way down to removing your shoes when entering Ryo’s house to the Sega Saturn hidden in his entertainment center – despite the fact that the game takes place in 1986 and the Sega Saturn wasn’t released until 1994. I understand that aforementioned titles like FFVII an IX have additional material and content worth exploring, but Shenmue essentially taught me how to enjoy my time immersed within a video game. Regardless of the fact that Shenmue is an action title, it helped to placate my proclivity to explore and absorb, and absolutely marvel at everything I could do – forklift races, anyone? Many rumors surrounding the third installment as well as an HD revamp have made their rounds on the interwebs, but it appears that Sega has ignored the rumors and assumedly dispatched the series before allowing it to finish. Womp womp. Either way, I fully intend to buy a Dreamcast just to play this and Grandia 2 – and maybe Seaman.

Marc Douglas

Marc Douglas

I'm currently a full-time student that spends far too much time playing video games and very little on homework; I'm elated to share my thoughts and rants with such an eclectic group of authors and welcome any and all questions!

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