A decade ago; near my last Christmas in America, a blizzard hit. We had family friends who owned a lovely Thai restaurant where I spent many week nights in the back with their two sons watching X-Files, Simpsons, or playing SNES. It was closing time, I remember wishing it would snow so we would sleep over their place. It came true, the closest thing to Christmas magic I've ever experienced. Ended up staying over, and we played games, of course.
It wasn't until the morning when I awoke to that low whistle in the opening bits of FF7's Bombing Mission theme. I stumbled out of the bed, and headed for the living room, and just sat down and watched them play. I had the demo for awhile, but for some reason, I couldn't get it to work. But, it was here, the first time I got to see FF7. It was a game that would help me cope with the huge turning point in my young life upon moving to Malaysia. But, I'll never forget my first random encounter with the game during the holiday season.
For this article, I reached out to a few other game devs who were kind enough to quickly share their favourite holiday video game memories under very short notice.
Devine Lu Linvega | Hundred Rabbits
A video game dev who lives on a boat with his companion, Rekka, travelling the seas and making games. He shares a blizzard-related memory.
Mmm a specific holiday video game-related memory...
We have one, I don’t recall if it was before or after the holiday, but it was in the dead of winter and video games were involved.
*Editor's Note: He submits the link below as further evidence
I remember having to leave our house and head over to an aunt’s, as ours had no more power and was frozen inside and out.
I remember being really excited about this, as I knew that my aunt had a N64 with Mario 64. I was forced to stay inside, and to play video games, for DAYS.
Best christmas gift, ever.
Daniel Mullins | Daniel Mullins Games
Vancouver indie dev who creates metatextual games like Pony Island. He shares an eBay Christmas transaction gone wrong.
When I was kid (and obsessed with Pokemon Blue) I wanted a Gameboy Printer for Christmas. In hindsight, it sounds like the stupidest thing; it's a printer that you plug into your Gameboy that can print a little slip with your Pokemon's information on it. My generous parents were going to oblige this request but it wasn't easy to find a Gameboy Printer in stores. My dad had to order one from eBay which, at the time, had a lot more fraud going on. Christmas was put into jeopardy when the seller that my dad bought the printer from accepted the payment but refused to ship the thing. What I didn't learn until I was older was that my dad's quest for vengeance involved figuring out the seller's address and reporting him to the local police. The police told him they had more pressing concerns than Gameboy Printer fraud...
Leanne Roed | Less Than Three Interactive
A Vancouver indie dev who heads up Alt Gamers Vancouver Meet-Up Group and recently created a game where you play cribbage with your grandpa. She gives us a quick peek at another Nintendo-related memory.
One of my earliest video game memories is of Christmas actually. I got Pokemon Red as a gift and I spent the entire day playing it. It’s honestly not much of a story but I remember that day vividly, wrapped up in blankets with my gameboy and cookies my mom made.
It’s such a lovely memory now that I’m thinking about it, thanks for asking!
Sean Han-Tani-Chen-Hogan | Analgesic Productions LLC
An atypical game dev who recently released Even the Ocean. He shares a non-Nintendo X'mas memory.
One Christmas my family got my dad a PS4 ... and we hadn't wrapped it yet but for some reason it was still in the living room the night before Christmas, so when he started coming downstairs I had to quickly push it behind some table to hide it until we could get it upstairs to be wrapped, which ended up being humorous.
Not that it was necessarily a huge secret what the gift was!
Lucy Blundell | Kinmoku
An indie dev in Germany who made a game that begins in media res after a one night stand. She shares a history of X'mas memories through the years.
For me, it’s not Christmas without Diddy Kong Racing! Me and my friends would always play that game when we were younger, and around Christmas time, we’d only select the Winter levels. This became a tradition, even into our teens, so every Christmas we’d get out the N64 and gather around to play Diddy Kong. I did it last year too, I can’t help myself!
Sadly, this year, I am away from home and do not have an N64 with me, but playing the Winter levels BGM whilst I work softens the blow!
I got my grape purple N64 at Christmas, a few years after it had released. It only came with one game: Goldeneye. This was fine, as I remember pouring hours into the campaign mode and even more into the multiplayer, despite shooters not really being my thing.
The week after, I took all my Christmas money to the shops, in the hopes of buying an affordable game, and stumbled across a player’s choice copy of Mario 64. Sold! I very quickly fell in love with it and soon forgot all about Goldeneye! At the time, I particularly enjoyed the snowy levels, and listen to that music now on the run up to Christmas.
The year after the Wii released, there was a mad rush to get hold of one for Christmas. I was at University at this point, and my local game shop just got some in stock. I reserved it over the phone, although they said they'd only hold it for a day, so I ran down to the store that morning to pick it up. I was so happy to unbox it! It came with Wii Sports, which I still think is a perfect little game. Playing that with everyone over the holidays was so much fun and brought everyone together.
The year after, I received a Nintendo DS as a surprise present. Needless to say, for me, Christmas = Nintendo!
So every year now, me and my boyfriend try to play a Nintendo game over the holidays. Recently, I’ve enjoyed Super Mario 3D World and Captain Toad over the Christmas holidays. I remember fondly, playing Captain Toad after me and my boyfriend collapsed back at home after visiting all of our families. It really helped us unwind, and took us both to our childhoods, of less stressful, more video games filled Christmases.