Christmas is a time like no other, when the oven warms the lounge with inviting aromas and families gather to reminisce and celebrate… and play Christmas games together.
Once upon a time, Christmas games probably meant some sort of ancient board game, or a spectacle involving Uncle Roy trying to fit as much pudding into his mouth as is humanly possible. That is not what I am going to write this article about.
As times change so do our traditions, and while it was once likely considered sacrilegious, countless families from across the world now congregate around their televisions for entertainment during the holiday season. And what finer time could there be to experience the joy and merriment of video games?
To get into the holiday spirit we have matched four different games with four different types of Christmases – because we all know no two families (or individuals for that matter) are exactly the same. Some are full of camaraderie and cheer, others a surprising desire to terrorise and dominate each other, while others would just prefer to be left to their own devices.
So, with our warmest regards and ugliest sweaters on display, here are the four perfect Christmas video games for four different types of Christmases.
Family Christmas – Mario Party (any version)
Mario Party is a real people pleaser. It’s fun to play for individuals of all ages, levels of ability and, most importantly, degrees of sobriety. No matter how much sugar little Timmy has ingested, or how tanked Grandma is on sherry, they should still be able to wildly swirl the joysticks of the Nintendo Switch with some competency.
The diverse range of minigames are also an important factor here, meaning your group will get to experience many Christmas games rather than just one. So if you are in the mood for a loving family holiday, plug into Mario Party and celebrate with the second most famous dude to wear a red hat.
Family Christmas (competitive edition) – Super Smash Bros.
As I hinted earlier, some families prefer to use their precious time together for less obvious displays of affection. Family fights, existential crises, and the unearthing of age old traumas are all equally valid endeavours to undertake during the Christmas period. And if this happens to be your family don’t worry, because Super Smash Bros. is the perfect Christmas game for you.
Boasting a huge cast of playable fighters from all walks of life, each family member should be able to find an avatar that speaks to them. Your good-for-nothing sister that is still daddy’s little angel? Jigglypuff. Grandpa after hitting a few too many shots of Fireball? Big boy Bowser should suit him down to a T.
Essentially, turn on Super Smash Bros. and do what your mother has being yelling for you to do for the last hour – take the family fight out of the house and into the world of a Christmas video game.
Isolationist Christmas – Dark Souls 3
Not everyone loves Christmas; some despise it for the vapid consumerism and two-faced toxicity it has brought to an otherwise perfectly good holiday season. Some of us wish that we could smother Christmas, to put it out of its misery like a flame that has outstayed its welcome.
Others simply don’t celebrate Christmas, for a number of reasons.
And to those people I would like to introduce a perfect Christmas game. Dark Souls 3 is an extremely challenging experience that tells the story of a world that has seemingly held onto a way of life for too long. It is up to you, a lonely corpse creature, to make the ultimate decision: restart the flame or extinguish it permanently.
So what do you say, shall we put an end to the Christmas flame once and for all?
Escapist Christmas – Mass Effect Trilogy
Perhaps you and your family just aren’t really into Christmas, for one reason or another. That’s totally cool, but you’ve still got the time off together to enjoy some longform entertainment, and that’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
So in your quest to avoid all the holiday pageantry I suggest journeying into the great unknown. While everyone else is staring back at human history and tradition, be brave and look to the future. Look to the stars of the Mass Effect trilogy.
The Mass Effect games are the ultimate Christmas game binge; they have a loveable cast of characters, an epic story of discovery and courage, and even a little bit of romance to keep things spicy.
Go on and escape Christmas – spend your holidays with Commander Shepherd and the inimitable crew of the SS Normandy.