Everyone’s Favourite Christmas Game…

Everyone’s Favourite Christmas Game is… uhm… without a doubt… urh… you’re going to have to help me out here! It’s not exactly a genre bursting with games, is it?

Outside of the gaming sphere, Christmas is represented with tonnes of films, songs and TV specials. We all have those favourite yuletide traditions of slumping down on your sofa with a glass of milk and a tray of cookies (those were meant for me… right?) and watching our choice Crimbo movie classics. Be it Nightmare Before Christmas, Arnie’s Jingle All the Way, A Christmas Story or the version of A Christmas Carol with The Muppets, Scrooge McDuck, Barbie, Mr. Magoo, Bugs Bunny, Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Jetsons, The Real Ghostbusters, Blackadder, The Flintstones, Beavis and Butthead, 101 Dalmatians, Oscar the Grouch, Looney Tunes or Dora the Explorer – all very real, I assure you.

Even considering “The Muppet DaVinci Code” and “The Muppet Bible”, this is still their best adaptation

But there’s no A Super Mario Christmas Carol, where worlds 1, 2 and 3 represent the past, present and future, or a kart racing game where Scrooge and Jacob Marley fire novelty power ups at each other. Despite the Charles Dickens’ tale – with Scrooge and Marley and the little boy with the broken leg or something and Kermit the Frog having Scrooge McDuck over for Christmas – being more recognisable than the Bible and the Keyboard Cat meme stuck together, there’s never been a (good) video game adaptation.

Obviously, releasing a game that’s only suitable for sale in one month of the year is financial suicide, but luckily for us, Indie developers on platforms like Xbox Live Arcade and the iPhone App Store cannot only pump out a game for a tiny fee, but can in fact benefit from the yuletide spirit and the opportunistic nature of a timely seasonal release. In fact, at a quick glance and with the help of my handy calculator, there are already a whopping 1200 Christmas related apps in Apple’s store, and plenty of Santa and Xmas based games on the Xbox Indies program.

Looking back, retro consoles have had their fair share of Christmas based games with Snowmen, Elves and Santa as chief protagonists and wintery wonderlands and Santa’s workshop as stags. I was going to go back with The Ghost of Christmas Past to see what little kids used to play on Christmas Eve, but he’s too busy playing Santa’s Xmas Caper on the Commodore 64. He did yell something about “Christmas NiGHTS on the Saturn” and “that terrible Elf Bowling flash game” between lives, though.

Oh, and when games had those old fashioned, archaic constructs called “levels”, before open worlds and sandboxes and phones with YouTube on them, Christmas did turn up every now and again – download Banjo Kazooie on Xbox Live Arcade if you want a big steaming dollop of festive fun, delivered digitally to your console.

COME GET SOME. And by “some” I mean “thoughtfully chosen gifts”

I’m not exactly sure I really want a Christmas based video game these days – most Yuletide media is trashy, garish and, when digested any other time of the year, decidedly awful. Plus, with the action heavy focus of most games I’m not really sure how it would work anyway. Perhaps Aperture Science could invent Santa a present throwing gun, and you have to shoot gift wrapped lumps into the faces of children. Perhaps Sony could re-skin God of War as Santa having to discipline naughty children (i.e. eviscerate their organs and remove their head from their neck hole), but don’t accidentally disembowel a nice child or you’ll lose points!

I’m pretty much the biggest kid when it comes to Christmas, and often turn on my TV to whatever new catchy name they have for the music channel this week for some festive tunes, watch terrible Christmas movies (and a few good ones, too) and wait anxiously for the Christmas specials of my favourite TV shows. But in the land of video games, I’m more likely to be in Hyrule or The Capital Wasteland or Rapture, than Santa’s grotto.







5 responses to “Everyone’s Favourite Christmas Game…”

  1. Markatansky avatar

    I remember playing a demo for a Christmas game ages ago – I can’t remember, but I think it was Commodore 64. It was a game called ‘Galactic Xmas’ or something like that. You played as Santa and he shot playing cards at enemies who dropped christmas presents which needed to be collected. Does that rings any bells for anyone else? Google yields nothing.

  2. Markatansky avatar

    Or was it an Amiga? Or is that the same? :S

  3. Rhyle avatar

    I remember back when I was a wee lad and game programmers (as we called them back in those days) did all their work from the comfort of their dimly lit bedrooms that we lucky few to consider ourselves ‘computer gamers’ and bought magazines like Crash or Your Sinclair were always treated to special Christmas editions of the Marios of the day – games like Moley Christmas featuring a young chap by the name of Monty Mole having all sorts of hilarious / crazy festive fun and do I vaguely recall (either in the twilight of the Spectrums days or those bright, optimistic early days of the Amiga) Christmas Dizzy?

    Those memories make me smile as I sit in my rocking chair eating my Werthers Originals regaling my children with stories of Geoff Capes Strongman and Joe Blade – more innocent times

  4. Darach avatar

    Nice mention of Banjo there. I always loved the way Freezeezy Peak could make me feel a bit Christmassy even in the middle of Summer.

    But my fave piece of gaming Christmas?
    Mugging Santa for some pressies as a Funkadelic alien in ToeJam & Earl! Gimme those pressies Santa! 😀

  5. MrCuddleswick avatar

    Darach beat me to the Toejam and Earl

    I think Bully had a Christmas section, like the Halloween one. I could be mistaken.

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