Christmas is a magical time of year; an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, overindulging in food, laughing at awful jokes in crackers and finding out what wonderful game Santa’s brought you for all that good behaviour!
By Matt (@MyGamerXP)
Reflecting on years gone by I’ve been very fortunate and enjoyed many gaming classics. I thought I’d try to pick 5 that stand out most to me, with the hope of you sharing some of your wonderful memories in the comments section too.
5. Mortal Kombat 3
Starting off at number 5 I remember receiving Mortal Kombat 3 on the Mega Drive (aka Sega Genesis) one year and getting very excited. With an age 18 rating on the front cover I have no idea how this managed to slip by jolly old Saint Nick, as I must have only been around 11 at the time. I quickly became obsessed with learning all the special moves, fatalities, babalities and animalities for every character. It was insane and a very merry christmas indeed.
On one particular christmas I received Fable and an original Xbox (a transparent “crystal” edition) which blew me away. The graphics, story, humour, seemingly endless possibilities (good and evil), was simply amazing. It’s a shame Lionhead Studios no longer exists as I really enjoyed this franchise. It’s the reason I wanted an Xbox in the first place, Fable 2 was the reason I wanted an Xbox 360 (and, well, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion), and whilst it kind of went a bit downhill from there, it’s the reason I went with an Xbox One first in hope of it making a glorious return like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be and we were left with just a burnt husk on the ground. Such a shame. Anyway, moving on…!
3. Sonic 2
Okay so imagine you’re a kid who loved Sonic 1, it was one of the first games you ever played, completely opening your eyes to a new form of interactive media, you’re obsessed, then out of nowhere on a trip to town one day with your parents you see Sonic 2!!!
I had no idea. I was young, the Internet wasn’t a thing back then, and just… wow… simply… wow! I remember it like a video that plays in my mind; little me stood in Dixons, watching Sonic 2 on a 14 inch TV, being introduced to a new character (Tails). Simply put, by the time christmas came around, I was a very happy little boy!
So how do you top Sonic 2? Some would argue with Sonic 3 or Sonic and Knuckles which I did also receive on other christmas mornings, and whilst they were fantastic games, they didn’t quite capture the same level of speechless awe followed by uncontrollable excitement. The next game that springs to mind of achieving that effect is Shenmue on the Dreamcast.
The sheer ambition of this game is incredibly impressive for its time. I remember repeatedly starting the game over to watch the intro again and inviting as many friends over as I possibly could to show them how amazing this was. I spent countless hours in Shenmue, partly due to the arcade I frequented to sink more money into Space Harrier and collect those little Sega figures.
Shenmue was in a very unsuspecting box at the bottom of my christmas sack that year, to which I’m sure the neighbours heard my reaction to once opened. It was very hard to contain my excitement for that.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
When I think back of past christmas mornings, Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 is often at the forefront of my memory. That year it was the game to get. My parents knew how much this meant to me as it was the only thing I wanted. My mum told me later that she was so happy the store reserved one for her that she brought in a tray of cakes she made for all the staff as a thank you. How sweet.
With the exception of possibly Skyrim I don’t think I’ve ever been so completely immersed and absorbed in a game as much as this. For what felt like a year or possibly more I lived and breathed the world of Hyrule; completing every quest (including Biggoron's Sword), collecting every gold Skulltula token and heart piece, exploring every dungeon, fishing, even simply just visiting Kakariko Village and listening to the music or trying to create my own tunes on the Ocarina, I was completely invested in this game.
As I get older I still enjoy games and get excited about new worlds and new possibilities, but nothing seems to quite match some of those old memories of classic games from my childhood.
I’ve been very fortunate to receive and enjoy some amazing video games, but I would love to hear about your memories too. What games do you remember getting and have fond memories of over christmas?
Let me know in the comments below.