Christmas is a special time for a lot of us – it’s a period where we spend time with friends and family, and maybe indulge in a few things that we wouldn’t think of doing for the rest of the year. But this strange change in habits is not limited to bad jumpers and eating sprouts, but I find it also impacts the type of games I play greatly too. As I reflect on another Christmas gone by, and await the next 360-odd days until the next one, I thought I’d share my observations of a gaming Christmas – and it would be good to share yours too.
The More The Merrier
The most obvious change at Christmas time, with the arrival of a plethora of distant relatives, is the amount of people to play games. And as gaming becomes more and more widely embraced, this means the life of the local multiplayer receives a well-deserved lifeline. The beauty of the local multiplayer is in its variety. Party games, competitive multiplayer and even co-op play provide a wide range of different experiences that suit multiple people huddled around the same TV with a controller in their hand. Suffice to say that no matter how good online gaming is, a headset is a poor substitute for the look on your brother’s face when you beat him, and proceed to ceremoniously wind him up .
This Christmas games like Super Mario 3D World and Rayman Legends on my Wii U have been the new games of choice for some local multiplayer fun. In previous years it has ranged from co-op classics like Donkey Kong Country to competitive stalwarts like Street Fighter II back when they were released.
The Old Faithful
Whilst new games are fun, sometimes Christmas is the only time people will embrace gaming. Your gran isn’t an avid gamer when she goes back home, and it’s likely that it’s only the glass of sherry and the chorus of “Go on! Give it a try!” from the family mob that have convinced her to put this new-fangled controller in her hand again. So this calls for something simple, something familiar. This is when you will dig out the multiplayer classics – those games you’ve played before, and everyone loves, the old faithful.
This is the time for you to dust off Wii Sports, your favourite console version of Mario Kart, perhaps a Lego title, maybe even LittleBigPlanet. To be blunt, whatever your gran wants, she gets. But that’s fine, because a lot of these games are universal and you bought them for a reason right? They’re not without charm, despite the fact you’ve since moved on to newer, shinier games.
It’s an opportunity for you to breathe new life into old games, and have a good time with those you love whilst you’re doing it – can’t be bad right?
Go It Alone
Now it might sound counter-intuitive to the last two points, but actually Christmas always presents me with opportunities to really put some time into some single player titles too. Multiplayer is great, but it’s also pretty much guaranteed, that I’m still going to be wanting more gaming long after everyone else has had their fill, leaving me all alone with my console.
But before you feel sorry for me, this is not actually the negative that it sounds like. It’s not unusual for me to get one or two single player titles for Christmas, giving me plenty of new material to sink my teeth into. Both Matt and Jon will be pleased, that I’ve been playing a bit of catch up this year on some single player classics, and under the tree this Christmas was Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and Fire Emblem: Awakening – both stellar single player titles that are literally going to consume my life for the next few weeks.
So when the family fun has finished, and people are slumped on the sofa having a snooze, I still have something to occupy my time – that keeps me out of mischief until the next unnecessarily large meal is served.
Over To You
But the above is just the way I play games at Christmas. I spend it mainly with family, getting in a healthy dose of local multiplayer on both new games and old, and then spending any other spare time on my own ploughing through my latest adventure, whilst pondering my next move on the mince pie front.
But what about you guys?
Do your gaming habits tend to change at Christmas? Do you embrace the local multiplayer or do you stick to online multiplayer regardless? Or are you a lone gamer irrespective of what family come knocking?
And more importantly what games did Santa bring you this Christmas that you’ve been playing / can’t wait to play when the family have disappeared? Let us know in the comments box below!