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Five Games To Help You Get Through Thanksgiving

Surviving the holidays can be rough when you don't have time to squeeze in those big, triple-A blockbusters. Try these five games on Thanksgiving Day to help you get by.
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Ah yes, Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s that great American holiday that gives us permission to eat as much food as we want, watch ridiculous amounts of football, and spend quality time with family. But when are we supposed to fit in some epic Battlefield battles or endless hours of exploring in Assassin’s Creed?

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Unfortunately I don’t have an answer for you there, but I do think I can help get your gaming fix so you at least don’t go through withdrawals. Try the five games below on Thanksgiving. I selected them because they are (or at least can be) very short, yet provide an entertaining experience every time you play them. Even better, some of them are family friendly, so even those pesky nieces and nephews can have their turn playing with you if they get tired of annoying the grown-ups. This will help you get in gaming without needing to spend hours in the basement being anti-social playing your hardcore next-gen games.

So grab a slice of pumpkin pie, maybe a cousin or two, and get to work playing these five great games you’ll certainly have time for on Thanksgiving.

The Stanley Parable

Truth be told, this game could be over in a matter of seconds. That said, it could also last you years. Imagine one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from when you were a kid, apply it to a video game setting, and you’ve got The Stanley Parable.

The game unfolds through the direction of a narrator, but you are free to obey or ignore his thoughts as you wish. The more you play, the more you’ll discover. But considering that the game “ends” in an unfathomable amount of ways, and you can proceed in a different combination of ways each time you play it, one playthrough may not really be enough. Put this in your rotation liberally on Thanksgiving.

The Wolf Among Us

This one is not so kid-friendly, and it carries an M rating, so keep that in mind. But for the mature crowd, this one should go over really well. Since only one episode from Telltale’s newest interactive thriller has been released so far, Episode 1 of The Wolf Among Us seems like a perfect fit for squeezing in a short game before settling in for dinner.

Following the story of the sheriff of Fabletown, Bigby Wolf (the Big, Bad Wolf), The Wolf Among Us unfolds like a murder mystery, and it’s up to you to figure out what’s going on. It’s a simple point and click sort of game, and the writing is nothing to get excited about, but the acting and story itself make this an instant holiday classic (right?). Get lost in the first of what is sure to be many great episodes of this graphic adventure.

Super Mario Bros.

We’re going back in time a little bit with this one, but what’s better on a family holiday than a game the whole family can get into? And considering that the record for beating this game in one sitting comes in at just under five minutes, it won’t take much time away from watching football or fighting over turkey legs.

An all-time classic, Super Mario Bros. has just enough secret passage ways, glitches, and invincibility stars to make this game one of the quickest and fastest ways to get in your gaming this holiday season.


If you have a PlayStation 4 and you are not subscribing to PlayStation Plus, you’re doing it wrong, and it’s games like Resogun (which is currently free for PS Plus subscribers) that make paying the $49.99 annual fee worth it.

Resogun is a futuristic, side-scrolling sci-fi thrill ride. You control one of three ships, and you are tasked with “saving all humans.” It sounds like an easy enough task, and it is, provided you can fend off the endless stream of enemies, flying space objects, and massive bosses the game throws at you.

Assuming you manage to stay alive, the game itself is rather short (you might spend two to four hours working your way through it), and it’s well worth the ride. This one would make for a great way for kids and adults alike to cozy up to the warm glow of the LED while digesting a massive feast and take turns trying to beat each other’s high score. 

Gone Home

Probably my favorite game on this list, Gone Home is a game that gets your mind working and heightens your senses, constantly teasing you with what’s around each turn. I can’t say much without spoiling the ending, but trust me when I say the game unfolds in a way that will captivate you, challenge you, and leave you wanting more.

By the time I finished the game, I was truly attached to the characters and cared for each and every one of them, even if in different ways. Your initial playthrough will probably last you about two-and-a-half hours, but there is enough exploring (and item rearranging, for those of you that like that sort of thing, like me) to keep you hooked and coming back for more. It’s probably a great one to throw on at the end of the night, when the kids are in bed and the lights are down low. 

Well there you have it, five games you should make sure to squeeze in this Thanksgiving before the clock strikes midnight. Mostly family friendly, these games are sure to be a hit with even some of your family members who think an Xbox is some sort of Xerox machine. Whether you have the whole day to play as many games as you want, or you need to squeeze in some games around other family activities, this list will make sure you don’t have to go too long without getting your gaming fix.

Happy Gamesgiving everyone!

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Brian Armstrong
Proud gamer parent and freelance journalist (and fundraiser). I cover anything and everything that's interesting about the gaming industry, and even some stuff that isn't so interesting.