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Holiday-Themed Video Games

Dec 18, 2017

By: Max Cannon

We're swimming in games this time of year. The biggest releases tend to hit between October and November to perfectly fit in a stocking or under someone's Christmas tree but very few games seem to embrace their holiday season so here are our favorite holiday-themed video games.

1. Kingdom Hearts 2

Now, this first game is sort of a double dip because it also made the list for our "Best Use of Halloween in Games" article a few months back but it's without question one of the best celebrations of Christmas in all of gaming. While the first Kingdom Hearts took players to Halloween Town, the game didn't fully embrace the possibilities of a world based on The Nightmare Before Christmas. Luckily, Kingdom Hearts 2 devotes much of its world design, enemies, and story to Jack Skellington's adventures in Christmas Town and we even spend some time with Sandy Claws himself. 

Our heroes are all decked out for the holidays.Our heroes are all decked out for the holidays.

Similar to the previous game, Sora and his friends will occasionally suit up depending on which world they dive into. Kingdom Hearts 2 doubles down on these costume changes and puts a costume over another costume for Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy. And that aforementioned visit from Sandy Claws is an important part of the story as the game even concludes with the events of the film as Jack Skellington takes to the skies in his very own sled to fill the boots of Santa. Of course, you'll need to play through a handful of the game's other worlds to get to this point but once you arrive it'll be worth the long play time and numerous trips in your Gummi Ship.

2. Batman Returns (and more)

Some people may argue that this game doesn't fully fit the typical Christmas-vibe but fans of the classic film, which like the last game's inspiration was directed by Tim Burton, will easily remember how much of the story takes place during Christmas. If you're looking to play this classic game you'll need a rightfully classic console like the Super Nintendo. Similar to games like TMNT IV or The Simpsons Arcade GameBatman Returns is a Konami made beat-em-up genre and a great example of a licensed game. Using Batman's gadgets to take down enemies in the world's pretty 16-bit world feels as good now as it did then but if you're looking to play a Batman game on a more modern console to get in the Christmas spirit...

That classic box art of the Super Nintendo years.That classic box art of the Super Nintendo years.

Batman: Arkham Origins, the only Arkham game that isn't designed by Rocksteady, pairs Batman up against The Joker for the first time on a freezing Christmas night. While there's a bit of polish missing that was present on all of the Rocksteady games, and Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill don't reprise their roles, the game is still a competent entry that stands up with the other entries. If you're looking to spend your Christmas in Gotham City then you certainly couldn't go wrong with either of these games.

Batman: Arkham Origins Official Trailer

3. Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams

Probably the most Christmas-y game on this list is a nearly forgotten title from the era of the SEGA Saturn. Way back when, there was a little game called NiGHTS coming to the Saturn and to promote the upcoming title there were discs made of the game that contained a couple of the levels that had spun a sort of Christmas-y theme onto the main game. For those unaware of the NiGHTS series, you'll control the title character of NiGHTS through a 3D side scroller created by the team behind Sonic the Hedgehog.

Christmas Nights Into Dreams - Intro (Widescreen)

While the gameplay is pretty simplistic by today's standards, the atmosphere is undoubtedly deeply rooted in some serious Christmas cheer. The music and cheery intro, which you can watch above, emulate the Christmas spirit but that's not the only holiday referenced by this game. Playing on New Year's Eve or even April Fools Day will present some changes as well and the game's rarity makes it one of the ultimate Christmas titles.

The start screen for Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams.The start screen for Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams.
Have Your Say!

Which games get you to feel the holiday spirit? What'll you be playing over your winter break? Comment below!