Winter Christmas is coming and recently the idea has been floating around the office that, in light of how popular our Scariest Games feature was just before Halloween, maybe seasonal gaming is some sort of new trend. Maybe you'd be interested in festive games, because it's Christmas?
No, it's not a very good idea. Yes, Joe did come up with it, as you can see by the email conversation we've been bouncing around the office, which is documented below.
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat - and I've been wondering if such a thing as a 'festive game' exists. That is, a game about or involving Christmas. We have games about music, films, religion, Halloween and a hundred other things, why not Christmas?
The closest I can come up with though is an old mod for the original Half-Life, called Snow War. I used to play it with my sisters, as it was a funny and non-violent multiplayer game. Basically it involved running around small playgrounds, throwing snowballs at each other and grabbing power-ups. It was actually really neat and streamlined, but I think the non-violent focus stopped it ever getting a foothold in the market and taking off. It's kind of like those rubbish Paintball FPS games you sometimes see in bargain bins; what's the point? Play real paintball!
Can you think of anything better than that, Paul?
Snow-War - A Half-Life Mod
You’re kidding right? Festive games? I don’t think I can think of anything less appealing - 'oooh, help Santa get his presents down all the chimneys!'
So, no, I don’t think festive games, outside of games made for five-year-olds, exist, though there are some games that I associate with Christmas - but only because I got them as presents. I remember getting Colin McRae Rally and a steering wheel years ago for my PlayStation and that was almost all I did then for the rest of the holiday. As a result I can’t help thinking of Christmas when I play rally games.
Have to say, I'm kind of glad that I can't think of any Christmas games. One of the worst things about Christmas is the way that it’s cynically pumped for all its commercial worth. The idea of games companies getting in on this and releasing a festive game in time for Christmas sounds nightmarish to me. I also don’t necessarily think it would work. The average age of gamers is getting older all the time and while you may be able to sell a festive game to kids, I don’t think the appetite would be there from people who’ve seen more than a dozen winters.
Possibly the closest you could get is a game that's released at Christmas every year so that it becomes synonymous with the festive season (in the same way as Colin McRae Rally did for me), but this would be a hard production schedule to keep up. Just look at Activision and the way it's had to split Modern Warfare development between two companies to hit its yearly release schedule.
How about you Clive? Do you think festive games exist?