Everyone has that one game or franchise that stands above all others for them. You know the one, the one that’s been there for you on your darkest days, it’s brought you endless amounts of joy and you couldn’t wait to get your hands on the games sequel (or just the game itself, again). As it is Christmas we posed the question to some of your favorite staff here at Gaming Access Weekly: “What game would you like to be able to give to your younger self as a Christmas present?”

Allen Saunders
Editorials and Reviews Manager/ Drank all of Santa’s Eggnog

If I had the opportunity to screw with time in the attempt to give myself a video game for Christmas it would hands-down be the Gears of War franchise. I played the first game when I was around twelve years old and to say it became a huge part of my life is an understatement. Some of my best friendships came from running the campaigns repeatedly. Not only that but when my parents separated my mom was looking for a new hobby to occupy her time. I suggested we take a run through the game and we ended up playing the whole series together. A few years later that time we spent together was one of her first memories after she woke up in the hospital from aneurysms. She was actually worried she had missed a new game release. So I would absolutely give myself that at a younger age, maybe slip in a note that says “This saves you”.

Adam Siddiqui
Senior Staff Writer/Doesn’t Like Reindeer Games

Back in the day, my primary source of playing video games was through Blockbuster or the Video Store. You could rent a game for 1-5 days before having to return it. My brother’s friend was a huge RPG fan and after getting a PlayStation and Final Fantasy VII, I was hooked on the series. He would lend me one disc at a time, since the games came on 3-4 discs, and dreading when one disc would end before having to wait for him to bring the next. Since then the Final Fantasy franchise has been lacking the flare the previous PlayStation and Nintendo era had but Octopath Traveler recaptured the magic that I thought Square Enix lost. If I could give myself one game it would be that because I know I would’ve stopped playing till I beat and got everything.

Noah Dominguez
Jr. Staff Writer / Has Only Wrapped Two Presents

There are certain games out there that you don’t quite realize just how influential were on your tastes until you revisit them later on and everything suddenly starts to click into place.

For me, a perfect example of such games are those from the Tony Hawk franchise. I got my start with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, a game I put countless hours into. I picked up even more over the years, with some of my personal favorites being Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland and Tony Hawk’s Project 8 (a game I still play regularly to this very day.)

There was always something so incredibly satisfying as being able to skilfully travel across a map with buttery smooth controls. Moreover, if you put in the time to hone your skills, you could find countless ways to explore a map you’ve played on countless times in a whole new way. There’s something incredibly rewarding about earning enough skill points and practicing so much that you can finally reach that secret area you had only dreamed of reaching in the past.

What’s more, the Tony Hawk titles didn’t just inform my tastes when it came to games. They also played a big part in my music taste. I was jamming out to songs by bands like Bad Religion while playing those games years before I actually became a proper fan of them.

While my admiration for skateboarding isn’t what it once was, there’s no denying the mark the Tony Hawk games left on me, which is why they’re definitely my pick to gift to my younger self.

John Donadio
Chief Operating Officer/Streamer/Resident Scrooge

For those of you that know me, you know the unrelenting obsession I have with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. To me, it is one of the most perfect games ever made and it is the reason we have so many amazing games today that base their gameplay off of it.

By the time this game came out in ’97 I was already 15 years old (I know, I know, I look young for my age) and it had already seeped into the punk/goth stage I was going through. Vampires, monsters, and a giant gothic castle to explore, forget it, I was in heaven…well, OK not there.

If I had the chance to stand in front of my younger self and not beat him up for looking the way he did I would hand him a mostly nice wrapped gift and inside would be Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I would explain to him that this game was important and that it has gotten your though so much and defined your gaming habits for the next 20 years. “Granted you’ll play bigger and better-looking games too but this one will always be where you can go to feel like your 15-year-old self again, and trust me man, in 2018, that is so f**ing important. Merry Xmas young John”

Robert Rodriguez
News Editor/ The Grinch Who Leaked Super Smash Bros.

There’s a lot of games I wish I had discovered as a kid. Some classics, especially from the N64 and PS1 era, invoke warm fuzzies for my friends and a lot of people in the gaming community, but leave me a confused and Grinchy outsider since I never experienced them “back in the day”.

If I had to pick any game or series to gift my childhood self, it would have to be one of the GBA or Gamecube era Fire Emblem games. Maybe it looked too anime, maybe it looked too difficult or intimidating to get into. For some reason, I just never played these games as a kid. When I was in college, a friend enthusiastically recommended me to try the GBA games and I fell in love with the series. The high fantasy stories and the strategical action just hit home in all the right ways.

As a college student, there’s one key thing I missed out on; the trial-and-error experiences my friends went through. See, the Fire Emblem games have so many unwritten rules that are well-known by players. Don’t feed the overpowered starter character, distribute EXP well to grow your characters, keep an eye out for characters who have enormous stat potential. When I had played the games, I understood these rules quite well and my friends had given me recommendations about which characters are fantastic to raise and which ones to bench. But for my friends who played it as kids, they didn’t back then. It took hard work, many resets, and using retro video game guides to figure all this out. I would have loved to have experienced this for myself.

Would I have over-leveled bad characters? Would I have missed on unlockable characters, like Canas or Stefan? I dunno, but I would have loved to try it. Alongside a neatly ribboned copy of one of the games, I’d tell my childhood self, “Try your best, have fun, and challenge yourself to find all the secrets.” Also, if it’s a copy of Path of Radiance, I’d tell myself to make sure Ike is prepared and leveled up to kick the Black Knight’s ass in the endgame.

Christopher Taylor
Staff Writer / Resident Santa Clause Aficionado

If I could go back in the early 90’s and gift myself a game for Christmas, I would definitely give the gift of Metal Gear Solid. I wasn’t the most patient child and Metal Gear Solid helped solve my impatience. I played through Metal Gear Solid more than any other game before or since.

After completing the game, players are given a code name that reflects how they played. The top code name was ‘Big Boss’ and could only be achieved by playing the game on the extreme difficulty, completing it in less than 3 hours, no continues, one ration used, less than 25 kills and less than 4 enemy alerts. Though I was determined to get the legendary codename, ultimately, I failed. I was able to achieve the second highest codename ‘Fox’, which requires all the same settings, except on the hard setting.

I figure if I could give myself a few extra years in attempts, I might have been able to achieve the legendary codename of one of the greatest games ever made. Of course, another possibility is I would have driven myself insane as it is insanely difficult.

Well, everyone, that About does it for our unwrapping! What game would you send back in time to your child self? Tell us in the comments below. Everyone here on staff at Gaming Access Weekly wants to wish you all a Very, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! Be safe and have fun!

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel

  • Jbumi

    I’d go back to the late 80’s & give myself an NES & Dragon Quest. I didn’t get into gaming until the PS1 & FFVII (on the insistent nagging of my now ex). I (incorrectly) thought all games were either platformers or text adventures – I was never good at platforming & with life/work didn’t have the time/patience to invest in text games. Which is why FFVII was a revelation – a thinking person’s game with graphics!!! Once I started looking into my new hobby, I found out I’d been missing the boat for over a decade! Since we’re pretzeling time anyway, I’d probably also give myself a list of late 80’s/early 90’s RPGs to make sure to pick up!!!

    • Allen Saunders

      Those are good choices! I wish I still had my NES (my sister broke the cables to it when we were younger)