Christmas Memories – pt 1

mario gift

A couple of weeks back I was thinking of writing up a little post to share some of my Christmas memories involving videogames. At the same time I thought it would be cool to hear other people’s Christmas videogame memories too, so I asked them to contribute. They were given no parameters except being asked to share a memory or what springs to mind when they think about Chistmas and videogames.

There’s a good mix of people from devs to journalists and even some other industry types too. I’ll be sharing these on the blog every day this week. In this first batch Nicoll Hunt and Becca Roberts share their fave Christmas game. While James Spafford shares a few Christmas gaming memories, starting with a ZX Spectrum from Santa back in 1986.

Nicoll Hunt – indie developer and bear fighter

My favourite Christmas game has to be Cannon Soccer, the Sensible Software game bundled with the 1993 Christmas issue of Amiga Format. It’s a mash up of Cannon Fodder and Sensible Soccer where you guide a troop of 4 soldiers across a snowy football field destroying everything and everyone in your way. It’s glorious. It really felt like a Christmas gift from the Sensible guys, and I remember feeling genuine gratitude towards them. It’s kind of like the equivalent of “Santa DLC” that’s so prevalent in games nowadays, but there’s nothing cynical about it. It’s just fun for the sake of fun.Cannon_Soccer_(Amiga)_20

Becca Roberts – PR Associate for Riot Games

My favorite game to play at Christmas is the original Rayman on the Playstation. I have so many fond memories of sitting down with my family and playing through the whole game. It’s such a beautiful, deceptively difficult game that’s so entertaining to watch as well as play. We all sit down and take it in turns to play, though we still haven’t quite figured out the fairest way to do it yet. Usually we adopt the ‘lose a life pass it on’ rule, we’ve also tried egg timers and whole levels but it always ends in fighting.

I have such fond memories of playing through the levels in Band Land, the musical world in Rayman. You have to navigate your way through each stage by sliding along metallic lines that look like musical staves and stay away from the creepy ass quavers that will poke you and kill you if you touch them. I really like this level because of the music, but mostly because when Rayman slides really fast and jumps, his body curls up into a weird little ball that just looks hilarious. Also, pretty much everything has cheeky little eyes that follow you around and sometimes even shoot lightning out at you, it’s awesome.

 I think one of the main reasons we all love to play Rayman is because the whole family can get involved. And for me, that’s the nicest thing about playing games at Christmas. Multiplayer games are a great laugh for short periods of time, but sitting down and playing through a game where we all have to take turns is great. Especially when we are all tring to jeopardize that player’s go so they will die and have to pass the controller (things get really bad!).

James Spafford – Community Manager at Media Molecule

Christmas 1986, at the grand old age of six, Santa brought me a gift that would change my life: a ZX spectrum, a light-gun and six games.

spectrum pack

I can remember there being six games, but only what three of them actually were: Operation Wolf, Bullseye, and Robot Attack (Robot Attack!). These games, alongside things like Pong on my friend’s Atari, were amongst the first I had ever played. Looking back, they make for a pretty weird selection of games to shape a growing mind, but no matter, the pile of tape cassettes would soon build up and open my eyes to the world of Dizzy, Saboteur, Jet Set Willy and all those other classics. For Christmas 1986 though, these were my games, and they were the best games in the world.

Skip forward four years to Christmas 1990, to the year that I was given a Nintendo Game Boy, my first games console. It came with Tetris, and I spent pretty much all of Christmas day entranced by the falling blocks, lost to the shapes and music. On boxing day, I went to see my grandparents, but on the way I was allowed to go into Argos to spend my Christmas pressie money on Super Mario Land. Although I’d played a Mario before, I’d never owned one or played it through. It was the best thing I’d ever played, and I played it through over and over. That Game Boy served me well, and paved the way for future christmas console gifts… a Sega Mega Drive was in the not too distant future…

mario land

Now I’m all old and stuff, the extended time off work at Christmas makes for perfect gaming time. World of Warcraft kept me happy for several yuletide seasons a few years back, and games like that do a good job of making the world festive and christmassy, with stupid hats to wear, and special quests, etc. Also you get to hang out with your friends, kinda. Yup, Ive spent (too) many hours sitting in my cosy house, the cold winds blowing outside, cat on my lap, a bottle of whisky to hand, running around Azeroth pretending to be a fucking Blood Elf.

I’ve done the whole play Wii bowling with your folks thing at christmas, it was ok for a bit, but ultimately it seemed like a desperate attempt to somehow get non-gaming people to understand what it is I’m doing when I play games all those hours, and I don’t think it was remotely capable of leaving the right impression. It’s a nice thing to be able to play games with your gamily though, so I might try and get them to play JS Joust this year, or maybe Cards Against Humanity, I’m sure they’ll be able to handle the filth once they’ve had a glass of port or two.

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