Monday, 24 December 2012

Simply having a pixely Christmas Time

Season's greetings one and all!

With the festive period very much in full swing and the Big Day almost upon us, I thought I would take a little look at how Christmas plays a part in some of my favourite video games...tis the season, after all.

Shenmue - Dreamcast

Ryo nearly manages a smile at Christmas!
For me, there are very few sights in the gaming world that compare with that of the wonderful city of Yokosuka covered in snow and lit up at Christmas time. And as you would expect from such a magnificent game, Shenmue makes you feel as if you are really there, trudging through the crisp snow, downing cans of Jet Cola and spending all your pocket money on addictive capsule toys! And what's more, you can do all this (and so much more) to the accompaniment of some wonderful background music.

The very first time I played Shenmue was in the lead up to Christmas of 2001, and for this reason alone it will forever remain a special Christmas game to there aren't many better ways of hibernating the winter away!

Secret of Mana - Super Nintendo/Super Famicom

Christmas is saved, thanks to Salamando!
I'm not sure I've ever played another game where you have to beat the living daylights out of Father Christmas in order to help save the world...but here we have it with Square's masterful Secret of Mana! Upon arriving in the Ice Country, you find out that the jolly fat man has been kidnapped and as it turns out, possessed by the spirit of Frost Gigas. In order to stop him wreaking havoc you need to take him down fast...a few well place swings of a Flame Sabre and a couple of Fireballs help knock the sense back into Claus and save the day.

Secret of Mana will always be one of my all time favourite video games. It offers up a very rare experience, and the chance to save Christmas within it's joyous world makes that experience even sweeter.  

Christmas NiGHTS - Saturn

Nightopia, the ultimate Christmas destination...
The original NiGHTS was always a rather magical experience for me, but once you get the Christmas edition and (if need be) change the Saturn's internal clock to December...the fun starts to get really festive! Elliot and Claris journey once more to Nightopia and team up with the whimsical jester known as NiGHTS, this time to rescue the Christmas Star from the evil Gillwing. Flying around around Spring Valley while it's covered in a deep blanket of snow and with a gorgeous instrumental version of Jingle Bells as your musical accompaniment is genuinely out of this world!  

Christmas NiGHTS is not the longest or most complex game you're likely to play this year (only 2 levels long), but it another piece of unbridled joy from Sega and one which would put a smile on the face of all but the biggest of grinches.

Batman Returns - Super Nintendo/Super Famicom

Festive cheer...Gotham Style!
Not content with making one of the most accomplished beat-em-ups of the 16bit generation, Konami also saw fit to smother Batman Returns in a wonderful Christmas inspired glaze! The Penguin and Catwoman are intent on bringing chaos to Gotham during the holiday season...cue the Dark Knight and his dazzling array of moves and gadgets. In order to save the day, you must knock seven bells out of the baddies...which strangely enough, could be compared to shopping on Christmas Eve.

Although it's by far the darkest use of Christmas within this list, there is a definite allure to prowling the lawless streets of Gotham and dispensing some seasonal vigilante justice.

So there we have it. I sincerely hope this little list of games adds to your festive cheer!

To everyone who reads my written meanderings; I'd like to extend a massive thank you for your support and encouragement throughout the year. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.


  1. Great idea for a post!! Just reminded me that Santa was in Mana!!

  2. Out of the four games listed three of them are easily some of my favourites.

    Christmas NiGHTS is the only one that I've never played but hope to some day.

  3. Nice post sir, and a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too! :)

  4. Ah that's a great list! Secret of Mana was very popular with one of our writers too, reviewed it not too long ago. Got to get back to Shenmue now that I've got my DC setup again! :D

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  6. Great to see someone so passionate about retro games you should keep your blog going nice posts!