Merry Christmas! Yesterday was the big day and hopefully everyone managed to make some cherished memories, or, at the very least, get a solid gaming sesh in! For this festive feature, we’ll be sharing the moments in our lives where those two things combined to form our fondest gaming-related Christmas crackers
For my most cherished yuletide gaming memory, I’m going with Christmas 2006, the year I received a Nintendo Wii and the fantastic The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. By this point in my life big Christmas gifts had become a thing of the past (thanks very much, gainful employment), so unwrapping Nintendo’s odd-looking console was a bit of a surprise.
As far as last hurrahs go, it was a good one. Twilight Princess was excellent, easily one of the best Zelda games to date, though, as a proud member of team southpaw, it was disconcerting to see Link forced to wield the legendary Master Sword in his right hand, when the Wiimote was in my left.
It also marked the first time a console had successfully brought the family together for some gaming-led fun since the glory days of Buzz! on PS2. Unsurprisingly, Wii Sports was an instant hit, providing plenty of amusement as non-gaming relatives ironed out old grievances in boxing matches and bowling tournaments.
I may have ended up shelving the Wii in favour of an Xbox 360 a few years later, but I still got plenty of mileage (and some light structural damage to a few walls) out of Nintendo’s unorthodox console, and a decent set of memories to boot.
Christmas morning, 1995. A bright-eyed nine year old, I’d been waiting patiently (or as patiently as one can) for this day for quite some time. The SNES and the Mega Drive had been my go-to consoles up to that point, but I’d asked for a Mega CD for Christmas, knowing nothing at all about it aside from that it used discs, rather than cartridges. Now THAT was fancy! Welcome to the future, young Chris.
My parents looked pretty happy with themselves so I knew they'd managed to get the one thing I'd asked for. I eagerly tore into the biggest present under the tree to find... something different.
I attempted to hide my disappointment over the bland box I’d been gifted. It would’ve been completely unremarkable, save for the fact that its profound unremarkable-ness was in itself remarkable.
Being a December baby, my early Christmas and birthday memories are often rolled into one, but, as far as gaming goes, it was new consoles which really stuck in my mind.
While the original PlayStation is up there (I got one of the first DualShock versions in the UK to boot), receiving a Sega Mega Drive 2 back in the early 90s is what’s burned into my mind most brightly.
I unwrapped the huge package, kneeling on the floor at the young age of six, revealing the glistening console bundled with the sublime Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Aside from speeding through Green Hill Zone, I also experienced the delights of Disney's Aladdin, which takes you through the film in classic platforming fashion. The third and final title I got to enjoy that year was Streets of Rage 2, which took the crown of being the first game I ever completed, in the process cementing a love of gaming that persists to this day.
I believe it was Christmas of 1998 that I first ventured onto the glorious slopes of a true Nintendo classic - 1080 Snowboarding! These were the days when new games would only turn up on birthdays and Christmas (I wish that was still the case for the current generation of kids, I really do), and having received the 64 itself in April of that year, Turok Dinosaur Hunter was starting to get Jurassic.
Right from the get-go, 1080 thrilled me in ways no sports game had before: a cool cast of characters (particularly Dion Blaster for his baritone delivery of "Yo"), beautiful mountains and that trademark Nintendo playability all made for a totally gnarly experience.
I was never too great at the trick attack modes (though apparently nobody was, as I only knew one person capable of executing the titular 1080), so spent most of my time with either the competitive racing or time attack modes.
It's here where I really fell in love. Whether it was slicing through the firs of Golden Forest (man, I wish it were a real place), flying over buildings in Mountain Village, or tackling the gargantuan ice-pipe of Deadly Fall, I was hooked. Everything else was just brandy sauce on the Xmas pud.
Please Nintendo, reboot 1080, it'd make this kid's Christmas 2019!
Once again, we'd like to wish you and yours Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
If you've got a favourite gaming-related Christmas memory, we'd love for you to share it with us in the comments below. If nothing comes to mind, did you get any gaming gifts this year?