As another Christmas nears once again you may well be hoping/expecting to get yourself a hot new computer game or console as a present. A recently launched and in-demand blockbuster title from the biggest game publishers is a popular present choice these days, but what if you really focus your attentions to a game that can really capture that Christmas spirit?
While there are all sorts of different kinds of games that could appear in the stockings this year, are there any specifically Christmas-themed games to get you in the mood for the holiday season?
Well over the past few decades some games have cropped up with some distinctive Christmas theme, to an extent. They can fall under a wide number of different genres but within them you can find elements which many would associate with the theme like snow, Santa, snowmen and elves.
In terms of their authenticity to Christmas and the quality of the games themselves however, in both cases it’s definitely a mixed bag. Still they make for curious examining so here is a look at some Christmas-themed video games, which have all been released commercially for well known consoles or for the PC (no internet flash games in here, no siree!).
Santa Claus Saves The Earth
What better way to make Christmas and Santa Claus more awesome then to turn him into a platform action hero that saves the whole goddamn earth?!
Well this title from publisher Telegames and developers Ivolgamus only sort of fulfils that prospect.
The game involves some crazy plot where the night before Christmas day Santa Claus is getting ready to start sending presents to all the world’s children when a fairy gets angry at the prospect that so many children could be happy and decides to take severe action. Because she’s just a bitch I guess.
Anyway Santa gets transported to the fairy’s “magic lands” and has to fight his way out. By ‘fight his way out’ I mean climb up and down caverns and throw or swing unusual weapons at random enemies.
This game was first launched on the Game Boy Advance in December 2002, but a Playstation One version followed on Christmas Day 2004, over four years after the Playstation 2 was first released in Europe!
This is essentially a two-level expansion pack for the Sega Saturn game Nights into Dreams, a trippy 3D platformer set in dream world settings.
Christmas Nights was first released in December 1996; just a couple months after the original Saturn game came to Europe, however in the UK the disc for this expansion didn’t actually arrive in the official Sega Saturn Magazine until December 1997.
Interestingly the title and environment of the game actually depends on what date is registered on the Sega Saturn’s clock.
So if you play it anyway between January and November the title screen will refer to this game as “Winter Nights”, but if you play it with the Saturn’s calendar set to December then it will be referred to as “Christmas Nights” and will have all the Christmas elements which are otherwise removed during any other month of playing!
This charming puzzle game series had several short Christmas versions released during the early nineties. If you’re familiar with Lemmings then you’ll find the game plays essentially the same as regular Lemmings.
The difference of course is the Christmas theme maps, the music (which must get pretty jarring on long playthroughs) and the little Santa outfits for the Lemmings!
The game Lemmings 3D from 1995 did have an expansion called Winterland, but that wasn’t particularly Christmassy. Bah Humbug!
Elf Bowling 1 & 2
Perhaps the best way to get into that Christmas spirit is to see Santa Claus mow down his elves with a bowling ball. Wait what?!
Originally created by NStorm for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance, the general consensus on the Elf Bowling game is that it’s at best about as much fun as eating an undercooked roast turkey.
Somehow a movie got made out of this as well. Words fail me.
What? What’s the matter?! You may disagree all you like but since it was set during Christmas Eve, for me Die Hard sufficiently qualifies to be named the most awesome Christmas movie of all time.
In that case we can include a Die Hard game on this list as well, even if they lack a reference to Christmas.
Which Die Hard game to pick though however? After all the original movie has been recreated for several platforms including the Playstation One, the Nintendo Entertainment System and the PC. None of them have particularly aged well however so I’ll just leave a sample of a few below so you can pick your poison. Yippee-ki-yay etc.