The holidays are a time for family, friends and good food. But they’re also a time to let your hair down and enjoy some video games! If you’re looking for something in the Christmas spirit to play these holidays, look no further than this handy list of cheerful titles. This is a difinitive list of games to play this holiday season (or at least pretty darn close to it).
Lemmings is a classic puzzle game series that is just crying out for a re-release. But until that particular moment, why not enjoy the little green-haired guys’ most festive of outings? Released as sort-of demos during the holiday season from 1991 to 1994, the game is basically unchanged from the standard Lemmings fare of building bridges, bashing through walls and generally doing all you can to save the poor little critters from themselves. The main change is the game’s graphics and music, which are given a Christmas-themed overhaul. Now the Lemming’s houses look like Christmas puddings, all the levels are covered in snow, and the Lemmings themselves are wearing Santa outfits as they merrily plod along to the sound of Christmas carols.
Based upon the film of the same name, Home Alone sees players take control of Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister as he attempts to dissuade the Wet Bandits from robbing his – and everyone else’s in his neighborhood’s – house. Featuring a semi-open world (this was the ’90s after all) players are able to set traps in any of several houses using all manner of household items such as glue, light bulbs, shovels and more. While setting traps and watching the bandits fall afoul of them can be fun, the real Christmas joy comes from the game’s setting — which, just like the film, takes place during the holidays.
Christmas Nights Into Dreams
While originally intended as a sampler of the classic Sega Saturn game Nights Into Dreams, Christmas Nights Into Dreams (often referred to as simply “Christmas Nights”) changed things up by having the game reflect a Christmas theme, such as the character’s costumes changing to Santa-like outfits and Jingle Bells playing in the background. The game is also notable for having many features that were not available in the retail version of Nights into Dreams, such as multiple variations of the game that would change depending on the time of year. These included a Limited Edition version, Winter Nights, New Year’s Nights and, of course, Christmas Nights. If you’ve never experienced Sega’s wonderful dram-based flying/ platform game, this is a great place to start.
Duke: Nuclear Winter
When Santa Claus is captured by aliens, who better to rescue him than the cigar-chomping, muscle-bound, smack talk loving Duke Nukem? Duke Nukem 3D is considered one of the best FPS titles inspired by the mighty Doom — and Nuclear Winter gives it a Christmas themed overhaul. With snow everywhere, evil snowmen, gun-trotting elves, and Pig Cops in Christmas uniforms, this is by far one of the more tongue-in-cheek Christmas-inspired games. While it may not be much more than a reskin of the original game, it’s still a lot of fun to play during the holiday season.
Daze Before Christmas
This bright and colourful platformer sees players take control of the Fat Man in the Red Suit himself as he hurries to rescue his elfish helpers who have all been captured by an evil snowman determined to ruin Christmas. Using his magic powers, Santa confronts his enemies with a smile, turning them into presents to gift to the children of the world. In an interesting twist, drinking any of the coffee that is littered around the game’s levels will turn Santa into Anti-Claus, Santa’s not-so-nice doppelganger. While in this state, Santa is invincible, grows horns, his suit turns blue, and he dispatches enemies by walloping them with his sack of toys.
Daze Before Christmas, released on the Sega Mega Drive and Super NES both exclusively in Australia, is a wonderful little game that more people need to experience. Apart from the solid platforming fare, the game also incorporates several side-scrolling-shooter-like levels that see Santa delivering the presents he’s collected throughout the game via chucking them down chimneys while flying through the air in his sleigh. If you’re for any reason lacking in Christmas joy this year, Daze Before Christmas is sure to put a smile on your face.