Gaming Memory: The Big Present



Christmas has always been a big affair within my immediate family- it still is.

Although my parents didn’t really have much money majority of the time, they would always somehow splurge out on us kids and make Christmas day memorable for us! 

I found out many years later that the only way they were able to do this on their low incomes was a combination of saving for basically the whole year and getting out small loans. 

When we were kids, my parents would always aim to get us the same quantity of presents except one of us would ultimately get what they would call, ‘The Big Present’- this would usually be something expensive and of high value. 

It would cycle every year as to whose turn it would be. I.e one year it could be me, next year my sister, then my brother after that- but to be honest, it always felt like my brother got the bestest, biggest, most expensive gifts every year but I guess that’s the perks of being the youngest… and the only boy of the family. 

However,  there was one year in particular where I can confidently say that I did get ‘The Big Present’. 

To give you a bit of context, I’ve been playing video games since I was roughly 3-4 years old when I picked up my parent’s Mega Drive controller and sunk my teeth into Golden Axe 2! 

From then on video games have always been a big part of my life. 

I mean, it also didn’t help that my Aunt was an avid gamer too and whenever we would visit my grandparents, I would sit in her room for hours just to watch her play something. 

There was one evening in particular that stood out to me. 

Instead of playing her SEGA Mega Drive or even Master System, she was playing something new. A console I hadn’t even seen before- a Playstation one!

At the time she was playing Tomb Raider, showing me around Lara’s mansion and when I say I became obsessed- I became obsessed. 

That night, I decided I wanted to be Lara Croft and that I also wanted a PS1 for christmas. 

I must have been maybe 8 years old when that finally happened. 

Spyro Title Screen

The day that I got ‘The Big Present’, was also the day that I got my very own Playstation one in all its chunky grey glory. 

It would have been the perfect christmas gift if it was bundled with Tomb Raider like I wanted but instead my console came with a game I hadn’t even heard of at the time called ‘Spyro the Dragon’. I would like to add that my parents have a habit of liking some really awful games and trying to convince us that ‘they were good’- mainly because they were cheap and I genuinely thought that this was one of these times. 

I’ve always likened this moment to that Simpsons episode where Bart wanted this violent video game for christmas and instead he got an awful golf game. Bart pretends that he likes it and plays it for all of three seconds in the end credits. 


This was exactly like that. Of course I was happy that I got a Playstation one but who the hell was this purple dragon and why was he not that tall brunette in a green tank top?! 

I smiled. Pretended to like the game as I loaded the disc up and within the hour I was hooked. My thoughts on Spyro had changed and suddenly I couldn’t put down the controller as I was amazed at how colourful the graphics were and how much there was to explore- which at the time was very groundbreaking, especially coming off the back off 2D graphics. 

Spyro Ps1

I guess you could say that Spyro the Dragon became one of my first official ‘Christmas games’ and is a game I always try to revisit this time of year, just so I can hold on to that feeling I had when I was a kid. 

Roll on 2019. 

Many, many, many years later, I got gifted a new PS4 for Christmas by my fiance’ (as my old, second hand one was on its way out) and believe it or not, he had got me ‘Spyro: Reignited Trilogy’ to go with it. 


Now I hadn’t even told him this story prior. I certainly didn’t ask for a new console this time let alone alluded to wanting Spyro, but I’d like to think that perhaps fate was trying to get me to relive my childhood 20 years later. 


So that brings me onto my question of the day- what would you say was your unconventional go to game around the Christmas period?


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