The weather outside is frightful, or at least it is if you’re in an area where it snows. Nevertheless, it’s that most wonderful time of the year, for decking the halls and roasting chestnuts on an open fire, so we asked the writers here on The Zombie Chimp what their favourite holiday games are. Whether it’s got snow or just gives them the warm feelings that only this time of year can bring, we’re sharing our thoughts and favourites.
Saints Row IV DLC – How the Saints Save Christmas
Picked by Darrell
I revisit this added content for Saints Row IV every year, like one might rewatch that old stop motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer film or Gremlins. It’s almost like a holiday special; despite how ill fitting a Christmas DLC may seem for what was once a series filled with thugs and gang violence, it’s an oddly compelling short campaign to save Santa Claus, for the main character to finally believe in him and what the true meaning of Christmas is.
It’s absolutely drenched in some strange kind of love for the holiday season, and while the cast is the most unlikely you’d ever expect, these former two-bit gangsters and thugs still know what’s important about the holidays. From little references to other Christmas classics sprinkled throughout, to the genuine message of it all, and a sense of humor you won’t ever find in something like A Christmas Carol, How the Saints Save Christmas is my personal choice when I want to play something that gives me the warm and fuzzy feelings you can only get during the holidays.
Banjo-Kazooie – Freezeezy Peaks
Picked By Joel
For me, Freezeezy Peak in Banjo Kazooie is THE quintessential Christmas level in gaming. The game as a whole aged admirably well, despite its now antiquated camera system and gameplay style, and this is at least in part down to the great character of levels such as Freezeezy Peak.
Its bouncy and cheerful soundtrack absolutely screams Christmas cheer, as does the ginormous snowman that stands at the centre of the map. It would also be remiss of me not to mention Boggy, the charismatic Christmas polar bear who races the player around the map on a sled. His present for the winner, of course, is a Jiggy. Anyone who can’t work themselves up into a festive mood whilst running around Freezeezy Peak, I wager, has to be placed on a pedestal alongside Scrooge himself.
Persona 4 Golden
Picked by George
Persona 4 Golden’s Winter section perfectly encapsulates the season. It’s cold and stark and quiet, but a great time to be with friends. It also carries that burden of time progressing in a way that not many games really accomplish. You feel the days passing, not just toward the end of Winter, but also toward the game’s Spring deadline.
The cosy tone, the music, the dialogue, the quirky skiing trip—it’s all a perfect bookend to much of the game’s narrative, and an amazing off-period from the mystery.
Black Desert Online
Picked by Sjaak
Black desert online takes really gets me in the Christmas mood, when I first started playing the game it was around Christmas and I have so many fond memories of it. It was a great time just as you would expect from Christmas.
Just a couple of days ago the Christmas update also rolled out and it just made me so happy, and if I weren’t in the Christmas mood already I sure am now. All the cities are decorated beautifully and with special winter themed events there is no reason be bored at this time. there isn’t a single game that reminds me more of Christmas than Black desert online.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Picked by Catie
A lot of you may think that the reason I chose Skyrim as being “festive” is because of all the snow. And, you are at least somewhat right. But, Skyrim, for me, is about so much more than that. The music for one thing, and the overall atmosphere are what truly gives it that homely festive feel. Okay, if you forego the fact that dragons are roaming around, there are certain parts of the map that just feel very reminiscent of Christmas. Especially when you sit down inside a tavern after a long day of adventuring to sip on some ale, eat a sweet roll and listen to some relaxing music.
There are also a number of mods available which add to this atmosphere and to make it even more festive by adding more snow and Christmas trees and decorations around the towns. Truly, Skyrim would be the perfect place to have Christmas. You know, if it wasn’t for all the dragons.
Picked by Adam
On Christmas Day in 2003, I got a PS2; my very first game console. Along with it, my parents got me Kingdom Hearts, which had come out the year before. For the next 6-9 months, I didn’t buy any other game, as I was so engrossed in Kingdom Heart’s rich story and loveable characters. Aside from my personal experience, however, the game itself is positively drenched in holiday cheer.
The Traverse Town hub level is especially evocative of the holiday spirit. The vivid lights, the goofy characters, the jazzy soundtrack – even going back to write this brings back fond memories of the first time I traveled through it with Sora, Donald, and Goofy. It just has so much to offer! It feels as if you could have an entire holiday-themed game set solely in this one level.
No game has stuck with me through the years like Kingdom Hearts has, and it will continue to stick with me for years to come.
World of Warcraft – Feast of Winter Veil
Picked by Jim
To me, there is nothing that says Christmas gaming better than the World of Warcraft celebrations, or Feast of Winter Veil as they are called in game.
Everything you think of when you think of Christmas is in there. There’s Great Father Winter (basically Santa), there’s decorations, presents under the tree, Santa and elf costumes. Plus, for those who like a little more adventure in their Christmas there are quests to complete, like killing a reindeer-stealing, Grinch-like yeti or the slightly more domestic “bringing Great Father Winter cookies and milk”. Christmas just never seems the same without the Feast of Winter Veil.