I’ve always found the holidays to be a fascinating time for games. We just play slightly different things, in a slightly different way…
For example. I always tend to save a game for the Christmas break. A game I’ve been looking forward to. I also play a lot of Wii/Wii U. Mainly because I’m married into a massive family that loves its video games.
Handheld games also tend to get a lot of play. Your main TV might be cannibalised by hungry media consumers watching Love Actually or (hopefully) Die Hard so having some sort of handheld game up your sleeve, I find, works wonders.
With that said, here are the games I mostly played over the holiday break.
Super Mario 3D World
In a lot of ways, Super Mario 3D World is the perfect Christmas game. It’s multiplayer, so it allows everyone to join in. It’s relatively simple, which lets just about anyone pick up and play.
But Super Mario 3D Land is also just a very, very good video game. For me it ticked a number of boxes. Personally, it was ‘Christmas break’ game. It was the game I was saving to play when I had a large enough chunk of spare time. I had my brother visiting from Scotland, so it doubled as a game we could play together. When everyone else came over for Christmas we had a fair number of people jumping in and out. I quickly learned just how well designed this game is: it works equally as well for single or multiplayer.
At first glance Tearaway was a game I appreciated, but I didn’t necessarily enjoy it. I put in one hour and it felt a little gimmicky and, worse, underdesigned.
I was wrong.
Goddamn, my second play of Tearaway just changed everything. I must have had a killer headache the first time I played because, second time round, everything just clicked. The delicate cut-out art, the quirks, the elegant use of the back touch pad. It was love at second sight. When everyone is watching a dreadful movie, or when the hordes of sprogs in my family insist on watching Monsters Inc for the 34th time, I just disconnect and play Tearaway.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I think it speaks volumes about 2013, and the kind of year it was, that my two favourite games were Nintendo games released on the 3DS. The first game was Luigi’s Mansion 2 and the second was The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
I’ve always had this weird connection between Zelda and Christmas holidays.
I got A Link to the Past for Christmas when I was younger, then Ocarina of Time as a gift during a later Christmas. Now that I think about it, I’m fairly sure I spent a Christmas inbetween playing Link’s Awakening. Point being: Zelda and Christmas has always seemed inextricably ‘linked’.
I had already playing roughly half of A Link Between Worlds heading into the Christmas break, but I played the tail end of the game over the last week or so and ‘ermahgerd’. It’s close to perfect. The dungeon design in particular is stellar, but it might be the feel of the game — the controls, the items, how it feels to swing a sword — that makes it the incredible experience it is. I named Luigi’s Mansion 2 as my game of the year in 2013, but I’m already wondering if that was the right decision. A Link Between Worlds might be my favourite Zelda game since Ocarina of Time.
What were your ‘holiday’ games? Let us know in the comments below.