It could be a special game you received as a memorable gift. Maybe it was something you bought for yourself. Or perhaps it's even something that you simply associate with playing over the holidays. But whatever it is, it's your favorite Christmas game. What is it? That's what we'd like you to tell us.
As always, while you ponder your answer, here's the USgamer team to reveal their favorite holiday games.
Nothing makes me think of the holidays like supernatural body horror!
Parasite Eve is the Die Hard of video games: A brutal, violent action tale that happens to be set at Christmas, creating a sort of thematic tension between the events of the story and the backdrop in which it's set. New York City at Christmas is a peaceful place, but here you are running around in a leather jacket and a gun custom-rigged to fire neurotoxins at hideously mutated wildlife. It's the antithesis of A Christmas Story: That dinky little Red Ryder ain't gonna cut it. Better requisition a rocket launcher.
The game even ends with a sort of nativity: The villainess expires, but not before giving birth to a nearly indestructible baby called the Ultimate Being. The idea of setting a gruesome, gory, gun-centric role-playing game at Christmas continues to be one of the strangest video game premises I've ever seen, but it really goes a long way toward making Parasite Eve truly memorable.
This holiday, why not gather the family ’round and share a little Christmas cheer as you watch dated full-motion videos of rats and dogs exploding out of their skin before gunning down a mutant woman whose incipient motherhood is symbolized by the hosts of breasts that have developed all over her body? ’Tis the season, after all.
I first saw Gran Turismo in November of 1997, when Sony brought it into the IGN offices where I was working. It absolutely blew me away: I could recognize the different cars that were racing because they were based on real ones, and the track looked so realistic that - at the time - it felt almost photographic. Well, it did if you squinted. It was clearly the best piece of software I'd seen on PlayStation, and as a racing fan, I immediately fell in lust with it.
I just had to get my hands on a copy, but it wasn't coming out in the US until May of the following year. That seemed like an eternity to wait, but then I found out that it was being released in Japan in December. I bought a Japanese PlayStation, and on the day after Christmas managed to get my hands on an import copy. I wasn't disappointed. With its 140 real cars, host of tracks, licenses to earn, and slew of varied and interesting races, Gran Turismo really was an astonishing game that I played obsessively for the rest of the Christmas holidays - and I loved, LOVED. every minute of it.
It helped turn what was otherwise a quite miserable Christmas - I'd just split up with my wife and moved to San Francisco where I didn't know anyone - into a great and memorable one. Funny how a game can do that for you.
I've technically answered this question before, so here it goes. One Christmas, my father brought me a Sega CD. I played it for two nights. (Sewer Shark, why?) Three days later, I returned it and used the money to buy a Super Nintendo. The first game I bought? Super Mario Kart.
Before Super Mario Kart, I was fine with my Sega Genesis. It was good enough and I never had any problem with it. Until Super Mario Kart. I went to Toys R Us every day to play Super Mario Kart. I got on my bike and rode the 15 minutes to get to the store nearly every day. If I had free time, I was at Toys R Us, playing Super Mario Kart. I became a regular fixture there, wandering around the store to let others play, but wandering back when they were gone.
Super Mario Kart was my go-to game. Other titles came and went - Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, Starfox, Mega Man X, A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger - but I could always go back to Super Mario Kart. Every cup, every course, every character; simply amazing. Super Mario Kart was utter perfection, outdone only by later Mario Kart titles. And for the rest of my holiday season, Mario Kart was what I played, day-in, day-out. So it's my favorite Christmas-ish game.
I rarely got games as presents when I was growing up. Every year I would beg for a new game or a new console, and most years I would be disappointed. But on occasion I would be pleasantly surprised.
In 1998, I asked for a copy of Pokémon Red with no real expectation that I would actually get it. But it was there waiting for me in my stocking on Christmas Day, and from that point on I was hooked. I don't think I put my Game Boy down for the rest of the trip.
Crazy as it sounds, that was kind of a turning point for me personally. Pokémon spurred my interest in anime, which in turn spurred my interest in Japan and prompted me to take Japanese in college, which was where I met my current partner. I might not be here writing this if my parents hadn't decided to randomly get me a game for Christmas.
For that reason, I will always associate Pokémon with Christmas. And I'll always be grateful.
My family didn't have a computer in the house until 1996, a time when the PC had recently transformed from a luxury item to something as common as the television. This meant I spent 14 whole years of my life drooling over the many games PC owners had access to that I couldn't touch—I even regularly read PC Gamer, because I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. Having played and loved Maniac Mansion and the few adventure-style games to hit home consoles, it felt absolutely unfair that PC gamers had such a bounty of point-and-click experiences at their fingertips. Whenever I visited the local Software Etc., I could only look wistfully at the oddly shaped box for Day of the Tentacle, and lament my computer-free status.
So by the time we finally had a computer, I had some serious catching up to do. And I did just that over two consecutive Christmases with some well-timed LucasArts' compilation packs, which collected just about all of their adventure games released before The Curse of Monkey Island. If I had to guess, my fondness for these games could stem from how I played them: back-to-back during an obligation-free week full of Christmas cheer. Sure, the games are great on their own, but experiencing the entire LucasArts catalog at this time of the year certainly helped me make up for lost times. And I haven't shut up about them to this very day!