Five Games Yule Want To Play This Christmas…
Or Rather Five Games You Should…
Time flies so quick don’t you think? Barely any time seems to have passed since the last Christmas (when I didn’t give you my heart on this occasion, cheers George), there I was sat in my old room at the parents engaging in some good ol’ gaming in the time that Christmas affords. I remember many Christmas periods that have been framed (nay punctuated) by my experiences shared with friends and now as we get older many of these experiences I find myself going back to when I find it hard to get into the Christmas spirit.
So here are five festive themed games I recommend that you delve into and try out for yourself, for tis the season to be jolly (Fo-la-la-la-laa)…
Probably one of the two games any gamer would immediately think of when they think of Christmas themed video-games, SEGA’s Festive freebie the excellent Christmas NiGHTS is a wonderful Christmas themed spectacular. Utilising the inbuilt clock + calendar (long before Nintendo did with Animal Crossing), it still looks rather lovely today… through very nostalgic lenses (read: Copious amounts of Mulled Wine).
But what it may lack in visuals it doesn’t lack anything in character, a wonderfully honed experience and well… the spirit of Christmas, which is obviously its tone. If you have never played this game and cannot locate it easily (it can be hard to find a decently priced 3D controller to aid the gameplay), you can always find it fairly cheap on PS2, which whilst lacking the gameplay polish of its predecessor is much easier on the eye.
2. Shenmue – Sega Dreamcast
A game that spawned its own genre (F.R.E.E – Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment) also had the classical SEGA festive signature all over it. Utilising the Dreamcasts in-built clock & calendar, SEGA had a special theme for the game that would only come alive when played at Christmas. I think SEGA really need to get into the whole festive spirit and announced an HD Remake of this game to brighten the Christmases of many more gamers.
*Apologies for the terrible Christmas video, I currently am not able to capture the game and show you this myself, so had to delve onto the deepest recesses of YouTube.
3. Animal Crossing – Nintendo Gamecube (Now on Nintendo DS & Nintendo Wii)
If you so happen to be playing this game on Christmas Eve, Jingle the Reindeer comes to town bearing a special Christmas gift for you. You can be rather cheeky and get more gifts by going to change your outfits to gain more gifts, but you wouldn’t do that really… it just wouldn’t be in the spirit of Christmas.
4. Gran Turismo 5 – Playstation 3
The folks over at Polyphony Digital have never been ones to rest on their laurels, continuously improving, enhancing and evolving the series over the last fifteen years. So when you come across such Christmas bonuses as shown in the video below, it really does get you into a festive mood. Which is a brilliant combination of awesomeness, the best driving game out there and Christmas all in one.
Another cool bonus the PD folks previously came up with for GT5: Prologue was the inclusion of Santa Claus driving away in what was not a reindeer pulled sleigh.
5. Angry Birds Seasons – iOS and Android
I couldn’t help but add in the particularly Christmas themed Angry Birds series of games. Hate the little feathery critters all you like, but you cannot knock the efforts of Rovio to encompass the spirit of every season in their bite-sized, user-friendly, easy-on-the-wallet efforts. Quick, fun, insanely addictive and damn annoying. But totally wrapped up in a festive bundle… what is not to like at the end of the day? Unless you are Scrooge, even he came around to the way of festive thinking.
So what are you waiting for?
Get out there and spread the joy of Christmas and do it with videogames. Whether it is reliving Festive memories with friends and close-ones, or sharing experiences with people new to such entertainment, spread the message and spread it well.
If there are any other games you may feel I ought to have turned the spotlight on, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below, there are many games I missed and many I have yet to play so by sharing your knowledge you can help inform me and also the other folks who read this blog.
Other Festive Mentions
Sonic Adventure – Sega Dreamcast (PC, Xbox 360 & Nintendo Gamecube)
SEGA the maestro’s of the Christmas spirit in games also had a specifically Christmas theme in the Dreamcast launch title Sonic Adventure. A game which is still pretty fun (in parts) today. Pick it up cheap, or dust off an older copy and give it a go.
Cave Story – Steam (PC/Mac/Wii/DSi)
Following on from the Halloween Easter Egg, Cave Story gives the player a Christmas themed outfit to wear in the game.
LittleBigPlanet – Playstation 3
You can download a FREE Santa Clause outfit replete with cute beard for your Sackboy, infact there was an ‘actual’ Christmas LBP Goodies pack released for this game to get you into the holiday mood.
Hint: You may want to lower your speaker volume when clicking the link.
Final Fantasy XI – PC/Xbox/Playstation 2
Square-Enix has for the past six years thrown various christmas-themed festive celebrations throughout the game world in Final Fantasy XI, maybe one day Final Fantasy XIV will be held in such ardour.
Deathsmiles II – Xbox 360
Changing from a 2D to a 3D plane, Deathsmiles II had an entire christmas theme dedicated to the season as you can see from the level below.