Christmas is always a fun time of the year. You get time off school, see some family members you want to see, and exchange gifts with friends and family. When I was a kid, this time of year meant I would get video games as presents.
Some of those games stand out to me. I remember playing them for years and enjoying them with my friends. I still go back to some of the games and have the same feeling I did when I first played them.
This is a short list of the games that I remember the most. These games stick out in my mind as I think back to Christmas. There are others, but I don’t have the same memories about them.
This was a unique game back in the day. It also is the one that feels like Christmas to me! The game takes place around the holiday, which is an excellent setting for any game.
I got this game shortly after I bought my PS1. This was the same Christmas that I received Xenogears and Final Fantasy VIII. I could be wrong on this, but I think it is right. This was the first game I played of the three I received that year.
It was something different for me. I hadn’t seen a game like it then, and it was a joy to play. I remember going back to it several times over the years. Most of the RPGs I played were fantasy games with a lot of influence from J.R. Tolkien. This stood out with a modern environment and combat system.
Parasite Eve is a great game! It was fun to play in the late 90s and is still fun today.
This is one of the few GameCube games that I remember playing. I didn’t have the system for long, as I sold all my video games in 2002. However, I remember getting this game for Christmas and spending quite a bit of time trying to beat this game.
It was incredibly frustrating to play this game at first. I remember it took some time to explore this world and find the ship’s parts. In some ways, this reminded me of Toe Jam and Earl. You play as an alien, and you’re trying to put your spaceship back together.
I remember trying to figure out the puzzles and using the right Pikman for the job. It was a lot of fun trying to get all of these things done in the given time.
This was a fantastic Christmas gift! It was also one that I wasn’t expecting to get. Doom was one of the few PC games that we owned at the time. It was on a list with Tie Fighter, Dune 2, and X-COM. I don’t remember asking for Doom II, but I was happy to get it!
Doom II was excellent for the time! Going through the game was wonderful back when I was a kid. The visuals were something that I hadn’t seen at the time, and it seemed to have more gore than the first game. Years later, after playing through the other episodes of the first game, I don’t think it is all that different from the second game.
I remember passing this game around in elementary school. It was like trading something that we weren’t supposed to have. Nowadays, it is relatively tame. However, at the time, there wasn’t much like this. It was like playing a horror movie that a ten-year-old me wasn’t allowed to see.
Tecmo Super Bowl
When we got this game, we didn’t have many games for the NES. I think this might have been the last NES game bought for us back then. After the NES, my family got a PC, which we used to play games.
Tecmo made some of the best arcade football games. For me, this was the best one. This game had the NFL and the Player’s licenses. Both of these allowed the developers to use the teams and most of the players. In the first game, it was interesting to see some players replaced with stock players.
One thing I remember the most is the embarrassing photo of my brother and me opening the present. I’m sure everyone has one or more of those photos.
Super Mario Bros. 3
This was an amazing game to play when it came out and is still a great game to play today. My brother and I played this game for hours. I remember where we played this more than we did in the game.
We had this old CRT TV set up in our laundry room. It was in there because you couldn’t see the screen if the lights were on. My brother and I spent many Saturdays in the laundry room playing NES games.
I would typically play as Luigi because I was the younger brother, so I had to be Luigi. This gave me some downtime while my brother was playing. I spent most of it staring off into the darkness of the laundry room, where my imagination would scare the hell out of me! Those memories are all linked to Super Mario 3.
The game is wonderful! The music and graphics are great for the NES, and the gameplay is solid. The game is packed with secrets and hidden items. I feel like I am learning something new whenever I play this game.
These are the games that I remember getting and playing during Christmas. There were other games, though. One of the games had to do with my older brother. He never seemed to know what to get me for Christmas and often refused to get me what I wanted. That is a different story, and it is funny to think about.
One Christmas gave my family a running joke. One year my brother bought a video game. It was one of the Star Wars flight simulators; I have no idea which one. He played it for a few weeks, repackaged the game, and then gave it as a Christmas present to My dad, himself, and me. The card read, “To Dad, Paul, and Steve, from Steve.”
Writing it out like this might sound weird. It was funny that he bought a game and played it for several weeks before wrapping it up as a Christmas present.
Christmas was always a fun time for me. Over the years, it didn’t mean as much. It was all about family and being together when I was a kid. As I got older, I couldn’t come home for Christmas, and I lived far away from my family and friends.
Those memories of opening presents on Christmas morning and finding something I wanted was always there. Video games eventually played a big part in those memories, especially when I was younger and couldn’t go out to buy the games I wanted.
Every Christmas brings new memories. I’m looking forward to seeing what memories will come from this year.