The Vault: Christmas Gaming Memories
As this month’s edition of The Vault falls inside what is broadly defined as “The Christmas Period”, we thought that we’d change things up a little and enter our own favourite Christmas memories into The Vault. What you will encounter here may be saccharin, it may even be sentimental or overly-nostalgic, but these are the GodisaGeek team’s very own Christmas memories.
We would love to hear your best memories of gaming at Christmas, so please add them to the comments section at the very end of the post, or this thread in our forums.
This edition of The Vault is best enjoyed with a glass of Port, Sherry or Eggnog.
Lee Garbutt: My parents had an occasional cruel streak when it came to pranking us at Christmas. Previous holiday japes included my parents buying my siblings action figures, then packing them in giant boxes filled with shelled peanuts, or the time when they boxed up my older brother’s dirty laundry, wrapped it up and gave it as a present. Then there was the occasion where they hid my copy of Mortal Kombat 3 in a box of Roses.
But what topped all of these instances of borderline child-abuse, was the Christmas where I excitedly woke up on Christmas morn and quietly creeped up the stairs to see what my parents has got me (I was in High School at this time, too old to believe in a fat man climbing down a chimney I never had). Upon frantically tearing off the wrapping (much like how an obese child would tear off the face of someone refusing to give them cake), I was greeted with what my heart desired at the time – a brand new Nintendo 64 (Yes, I was one of those kids).
Much like many consoles of the time, the Nintendo 64 was not packed with any games and no other presents were left for me. Upon hintingly asking my parents what game they got me, I was told that they thought it came with a game and hadn’t bought anything else. As you can imagine, as a teenager this put me into the kind of sulk that only a teenager can have. After at least 30 minutes of Kevin & Perry-like levels of moodiness, my parents sheepishly walked in with another box, containing a lovely new copy of GoldenEye 007. My father and I spent that entire Christmas playing multiplayer, in what would become a wonderful memory of father-son Bonding (pun most definitely intended).
Best. Christmas. Ever.
Adam Cook: Christmas for me is always about family. Before becoming a father myself it was the same and nowadays it’s even more important. Throughout the year people are too busy for one another, but when Christmas comes around, most people get the chance to relax and be with the people they love and cherish.
It’s with that in mind that my fondest Christmas memory from my youth springs to mind; playing PGA Tour Golf with my father. Being a kid at school I’d often play games, but my dad was always working. But at Christmas we sat down together, with my SEGA Megadrive joystick (it was massive) and we played some PGA Tour Golf. Neither my dad nor I were particularly big fans of golf, but for some reason we both loved how those games played. The simple three button press of the club swing and the (for the time) excellent graphics and sound were enough to have us both spellbound; simple yet elegant.
More years have passed than I care to remember and sadly my father is no longer with us, but I’ll always remember sitting together with him that Christmas, playing virtual golf. For all the negative press that games are given by mainstream media, that year games brought my family together and we were inclusive, not exclusive. Nowadays, with the advent of Kinect, Move and the Nintendo Wii, everyone can get involved, which is fantastic.
Happy holidays everyone and in the words of Bill & Ted, be excellent to one another.
Martin Baker: I’ve been a video game player my entire life, ever since I got a hold of my Dad’s Atari 2600 and Specrum ZX back in about 1988 so there hasn’t been many Christmases that didn’t involve video games in some way, shape or form. Some of the most memorable moments though have happened in the last couple of years. When I was getting my Master System 2 in (1992) and PlayStation (in 1996) I more or less spent as much time as I could in my room playing my new catalogue of video games with my brother. They weren’t really a family thing. The one game that always was brought out during any family get together was Trivial Pursuit for the Master System 2. My Dad and I would spend about an hour during the afternoon, when my Mam and Nanna were making the Christmas dinner, trying to gather together all the cables that would be required to see the glorious 8-bit visuals on our TV screen.
The games have changed but the sentiment is still the same, we’ve moved on to Scene it! Movie Edition now as our family get-together video game of choice and, to me at least, it means more than ever. A couple of years ago I moved from my native land of Yorkshire to Surrey in order to find work and, as such, I don’t get to see my family much at all, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, so it’s more important than ever that we sit around as a family and find something to do; with me in the room, that’s video games. We laugh, joke, accuse each other of cheating and all the things that families do when they get together and, being 200 miles away from them for 95% of the year, I couldn’t ask for more.
Colm Ahern: It was the Christmas of 2004 and I had my first proper girlfriend (Awww…), we were childhood sweethearts some may say and wanted to celebrate our first Christmas with nice gifts. I was 16 at the time and big into video games and extreme sports…1+1 = Tony Hawk games. The latest in the franchise was Tony Hawk’s Underground 2. The story was Team Bam Vs Team Hawk in this “whirlwind adventure”. I wanted it so bad.
So my girlfriend and I had said we’d keep our gift ideas as a surprise…but I NEEDED that game. So, I told my friends to drop subtle hints like, “Get Colm the Tony Hawk game, he wants it” but she kept on replying with “I can’t get him a game, that’s stupid”. Upon hearing this, I decided to push the idea big time. So anyway, Christmas Eve rolled around and we exchanged our gifts, she opened her’s first and was delighted with the piece of jewellery that a 16 year old with no income could afford. I opened my present and…it was a biro. Now, it was a nice biro, in a special wooden case and a nice tribal design on it, but…IT WAS A BIRO. Bic don’t do Christmas gifts, but if they did, they’d probably be the best Christmas gifts in the world.
Sean Smith: My parents weren’t exactly loaded, but even when they were on the bones of their arse they would always come through with a kick-ass Christmas present for their only son. One year I woke up to find a full sized coin operated pub pool table in our garage, which my dad had decorated like a pool hall. That was a hell of a good Christmas. But my most cherished memory was the year Santa’s sack contained something a lot smaller, but one that would help mould me into the ranting games nerd I have become many years later.
In 1988, I had finished opening all of my other presents – some pretty cool Lego, probably a Beano annual, selection boxes, and a Casio keyboard. I was quite happy with this little lot and was ready to buss some rhythms out on the old ivories when my mum asked me to go and put a 50p coin in the electric meter, which was at the back of our dining room in the corner. When I turned the light in there, so I could see what I was doing, I clocked what was on the table and promptly flipped out. It was a god-damn Commodore 64, all hooked up to a telly and ready to rock and roll. It was second hand, but came with a ton of games. I spent the rest of the day playing stuff like California Games, Wizball, Great Giana Sisters, Leaderboard Golf and The Last Ninja, inbetween gorging on Christmas fayre and Curly Wurlys.
The following two Christmases were dominated by which C64 games I would receive. Technology has long since eclipsed that old beige dreadnought of a computer and it was replaced only a few years later by a super powered Japanese console.
It is a poignant time for me, the festive season. So much water under the bridge since those innocent times, so much has changed, everything has gotten older. But a mate, my oldest mate, pointed out to me the other day that it only seems like yesterday the pair of us were sat in my bedroom as nippers, playing some Christmas Golden Axe on the trusty Commodore. And it is true, those few games I received as a kid created memories that I don’t think will ever be erased and helped make me the man I am today.
Robin Parker: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The console that I have played more than any other in my life. The day is Christmas Day, the year 1992. My sister and I had a joint present – only one box between the two of us. This was unusual, but we decided it must be something pretty special to have to be split between us both. And boy were we right. Our very own SNES console, with Super Mario World and WWF Super Wrestlemania – but most importantly, two control pads.
Now we may have played Super Mario World like mad over the next year – making sure we discovered every secret, found every bonus level and it became the first game we ever finshed 100%, nothing left to experience. But on Christmas Day, with our parents, Grandfather and Auntie & Uncle there, the main attraction was the Wrestling action only found in WWF. Everyone got involved – no matter age or gaming prowess, we all faced one another in a series of matches over the course of the day – with running commentary from Grandad. No other time has a videogame brought together my extended family in such a way.
But the most vivid memory of the game was later in the evening, when things were winding down and my Aunt – previously beaten in every match – decided she wanted one last fight before they headed home. I took up her challenge, picking Road Warrior Animal for the epic encounter. But what had I let myself in for… she picked Earthquake – the biggest man in WWF history (at the time). One half of the tag team The Natural Disasters, his name spoke volumes. I was worried. But how did the match go? What was the result? Well, when I tell you that Earthquake spent the majority of the match running wildly between the ring ropes and flinging himself off the top turnbuckle in my direction – unsuccessfully – you can work out the rest for yourself. But everyone has fun – no matter if they really knew what they were doing or not, and you can’t ask for more Christmas Spirit than that.
The Vault is a monthly feature and will return on the second Friday of every month.