With it being the jolly time of the year it got me thinking about games that try to embrace the whole Christmas thing…
Turns out there really aren’t many so I resorted to DLC & levels as well. Things like Cool Cool Mountain from Super Mario 64 didn’t make the cut in the end because they just didn’t feel Christmassy enough even if it’s set in winter.
So this top 10 covers any DLC, levels or games that either celebrated Crimbo or tried to embrace it in their own way.
10 – Costume Quest (Grubbins on Ice DLC)
Costume Quest was set on Halloween while this DLC was set during the festive season. The kids find a portal to the monster home-world; Repugia & Lucy is captured forcing the other kids into action again.
Taking place in the snowy-filled world & set at Christmas time this is the perfect DLC to make you feel festive for a short time.
9 – Overlord II (Opening section)
The start of Overlord II sees you starting as the child of the original Overlord who has had to grow up as an outcast in the local village of Nordberg. It’s now Christmas & time for the boy Overlord to become what he is destined to be…starting with wrecking Christmas for the townspeople.
It’s a beautiful setting that really sells Christmas in the Overlord world & it’s a lot of fun to be responsible for wrecking it.
8 – Mafia II – (Opening Section)
One of the most under-rated games to be released, Mafia 2 has an incredible opening scene after you get through the early war section in Italy. Returning home to the city having done your duty you find it is in the midst of the Christmas season & the city is covered in glorious looking snow. To top it off ‘Let it snow’ is playing on the car radio & it just feels incredibly authentic.
7 – Shenmue (Christmas Time)
As Winter closes in & December draws near the change in the Shenmue until that time you’re heading back home & you notice the first flakes of snow falling from the sky. The next morning the streets are blanketed in the white stuff, Christmas music is playing from shops, decorations are up & Santa roams the street.
Perhaps missing that Christmas feel because of the dark themes nevertheless Shenmue does a wonderful job of making it feel authentic mainly down to the wonderful weather system.
6 – Saints Row IV (How the Saints Saved Christmas DLC)
As Christmas themed as they come…This Saints Row IV DLC was high on humour & decent gameplay but light in length & satisfaction. It’s up to the Saints to rescue Santa who is stuck in a simulation…the only problem is your character doesn’t believe or care enough…it’s up to the other Saints to show him the true meaning of Christmas across 3 missions, Miracle on 3rd Street, The Fight Before Christmas & The Santa Clawz.
There is loads of Christmas references dotted throughout as well that include Die Hard, The Grinch & Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
5 – Bully (The Christmas Term)
Bully’s school-themed gameplay takes place across several of the seasons/terms & the best by far is the one that falls across Christmas with snow to boot, outfits & Christmas themed missions. A lot of people will cite this as their favourite game with Christmas themes because of how authentic it feels.
4 – Animal Crossing (The Christmas Season)
Any Animal Crossing game goes through a transformation once we hit the Christmas months…as well as the white stuff, trees are decorated with lights and decorations spring up throughout the town.
Christmas items are sold & you can take part in many themed Christmas events & parties. Only Animal Crossing manages to make it seem like Christmas is a natural part of the games yearly cycle as it only becomes playable once the real calendar gets to Christmas.
3 – Sam & Max: Beyond Time & Space (Ice Station Santa)
After almost being destroyed by a giant robot but managing to destroy it, Sam & Max discover the gift came from Santa himself. They race off to the North Pole to find the place effectively deserted but for 2 elves who are being shot out by a Santa Claus gone mad.
Discovering that he is possessed by a demon they set about trying to exorcize the demon but once the ritual is complete Santa runs off to fight the newly released demon. Sam & Max call upon the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present & Future who will only help if Sam & Max correct Christmases they have wrecked in each respective time period.
A thoroughly fun & completely themed Christmas themed episode of the funny & rewarding Sam & Max series.
2 – Christmas Nights
So full of Christmas that it even has it in the title. A free title that was given away with select games & with select magazines. In the UK it came free with a copy of the official Sega Saturn Magazine. The game was basically 2 levels of Nights but with a new Christmas skin & it was spectacular!
A basic story surrounding Christmas ran alongside a re-done Spring Valley & it is hard not to be blown away by the Christmas look of the whole thing. Everything was changed to have a Christmas feel as well as rendition of Jingle Bells & a re-done boss theme that adds more to the Christmas feel.
1 – Banjo Kazooie (Freazeezy Peak Level)
The number one level or part of a game that makes me think of Christmas, that feels like Christmas & doesn’t compromise the main gameplay. Freazeezy Peak is one of the best levels in the game. The first clue that there is something special about it is when you approach it in Grunty’s Lair & the music changes to reflect a more Wintery sound…it is spectacular.
Inside collecting some the Jiggies require you to do certain themed missions such as helping Twinklies (Christmas lights) reach the Christmas tree, finding presents for a dead-beat dad to give his kids & climbing up a giant snowman then riding a sled back down.
It is just an awesome ride of a level with special mention going to Click Clock Woods Winter season section that also manages to reflect that feeling of cold.