Somehow it’s the end of 2017 and Christmas is fast approaching. The weather is here, we can smell the impending Winter Steam Sales approaching, making our wallets quake. So lets take a look at some Christmas themed video games that have come out over the years, despite the fact that the demand was non existent.
1) Duke Nukem: Nuclear Winter
Duke Nukem 3D has many expansions and ports, with Nuclear Winter being one of the more memorable titles. It isn’t just a reskin version of the game, as they’ve loosely added a new story. Aliens have brainwashed Santa Claus, that’s about it. While die-hard fans (hohohohoho future segue), may have called out for a festive themed version of the high octane, action packed, foul mouthed anti-hero, it wasn’t really needed.
Duke must face new enemies known as the Feminist Elven Militia, which is a very peculiar name and some evil Snowmen. Weapons remained the same and some rehashes of existing enemies roamed the maps. Eventually Duke has to travel the North Pole to stop Santa, which means that Duke has ruined Christmas for everyone. We don’t care if Santa was evil, he might have still fulfilled his job duties.
2) Die Hard Trilogy
Die Hard is a Christmas film, this has been proven by scientists, just trust us. Therefore a game based of the films, would be categorized as a Christmas game, again put your trust and heart in Dingit’s research. But alas, the PS1 series of games have not gone down as treasured festive memories. Take for example Die Hard 1, a third person shooter which places you and your dirty vest in Nakatomi Plaza. The graphics have not aged well for this game, but neither has the game-play. That being said, the Playstation version is nowhere near as difficult as the SNES version that came out a few years ago. That game was primarily about you being hammered by diagonal spray bullets without any option for dodging them.
Die Hard 2 was an on-rails shooter, set at Dullus Airport and while it fared better, it was still extremely laggy and unforgettable. When Die Hard: Vendetta came out we had our first venture into First Person Shooter territory, but we’re grasping at straws here because there were no Christmas themes for that game, but there was this weird Santa looking dude in the background beside a guy trying to jive boogie away from Bruce Willis.
3) Home Alone
There’s nothing more Christmassy, than playing a video game where you’re a kid forced to turn your family home into a death trap, to prevent two men from kidnapping you and robbing the place. Home Alone games are not a rarity, but the retro titles on Nintendo and SEGA Genesis, stand out. The Genesis version of this game basically follows the film. Kevin must stop The Wet Bandits from stealing valuables. However, in this game Kevin has to protect all of the houses on his street, because he apparently wasn’t going to be traumatised just by looking after his own house.
One of the frustrating elements about this game apart from the usual tropes of controls, is that it’s time based. You must stop the Wet Bandits from robbing and flooding the homes on the street for 20 minutes of real time on normal difficulty, and 40 minutes on hard difficulty. The game has a pain meter, did we mention that? Very festive! How that meter is filled is even cheerier, with little Kevin having a BB Gun, then somehow a RPG, with which he can riddle the Wet Bandits with season greetings, of death and pain.
4) The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge
One of the most peculiar of all Christmas films, is one that screams (no pun intended, but maybe just a little) Halloween. That is of course The Nightmare Before Christmas. There have been a couple of titles in the series, but we’ll focus on the Playstation entry. The story of Oogies Revenge, takes place after the events of the original movie, where we see Jack departing Halloween Town in search of new ideas for Halloween (again this is a Christmas film and game folks). Upon returning, he finds the town under the control of the dastardly Oogie Boogie who has named himself the Seven-Holidays King (which is definitely a bit egotistical but whatever).
The game features the majority of known characters from the film but what stands out is how reviewers made comparisons with Devil May Cry in how the game played. Both were developed by Capcom, so it’s possible someone genuinely thought “Lets’ make a Christmas game that’s still all about monsters and Halloween, but have the gameplay be a lite version of a horror action button mashing series featuring a shirtless man in red leather“.
5) Elf Bowling
We’re glad Santa and the elves can have some down time, but we didn’t really need not one, but seven games showing them playing bowling. A now infamous collection, Elf Bowling was originally released for the PC in 1998. The story included was quite gripping, with the Santa Claus going up against some elves who have gone on strike. Truly ground breaking story telling. Naturally the way to resolve this strike is to play some bowling.
In an attempt to make the game more appealing, humour was added, that being the elves mooning Santa and rabbits defecating on the bowling lane. But wait there’s more, with the sequels to the including super powers for the elves, such as the ability to fart, thus completing the trifecta of ripe humour. We won’t even go into how Mrs. Claus’ bra is introduced as a bowling technique. Christmas is for the children.
While this series probably continued to be remade and released simply because it was cheap to do so and the developers may have been enjoying their notorious reviews, there’s no justification for the fact that a direct-to-DVD Elf Bowling movie in 2007. Someone somewhere is no doubt claiming that this is the most successful video game movie ever, but that someone deserves a lump of coal in their stocking.
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