Being into games during the Christmas holidays can be a bit weird. If you’re anything like me, your family knows that games are a big part of your life. They may not understand exactly what the nature of your relationship to games is, but they understand that they’re important to you.
The conversation about games comes up at least once throughout the holidays. For me, it’s hard to explain to relatives what I do for work. Bemused aunts and uncles ask me every year “So … what do you do exactly?” And every year, I reiterate that I write about games and the people who make them. Somehow, this does not clear things up for them.
Perhaps a demonstration might help clear things up a little?
The Matrix Awakens
If you’re one of those lucky ducks to secure a PS5 over the last year, then the recently released The Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 demo is an ideal demonstration piece. Photorealistic graphics, cinematic action, and big-name actors within a franchise your family probably know. Its action sequences are also very much on rails and its controls are dead simple. Kind of an ideal showcase.
A demo like this will give your folks a clear, at-a-glance understanding of what games can look like in 2021. If they’re like my folks, they’ll still think games look like the stuff I played on my Mega Drive as a kid. Plug in the PS5 and blow them away.
I file games in the vein of Unpacking into the “Something Your Mum Could Play” category. You can explain it easily, it’s simple to play, and it runs on just about everything. That most of my family are Brisbanites and the game itself was made in Brisbane just sweetens the pot. Unpacking‘s blend of mechanical simplicity and narrative depth is a heady combo and will be an easy demo for curious family members. As previously stated, the game runs on practically anything, even your dad’s crusty, seven-year-old laptop.
The Nintendo Switch As A Concept
The Switch is a games mainstay over the holidays. The best part is that to your relatives, the Switch’s inherent versatility will be indistinguishable from a magic trick. Trust us, your boomer relos w Set it up in TV mode, take it off the dock and show them whatever you’re playing in Handheld mode. Put it into the Tabletop config. Then throw it back onto the dock so it reappears on the TV. Your older relatives won’t know what the hell you just did but they’ll be very impressed.
Your nieces, nephews, and younger cousins won’t be impressed in the slightest. Let them play Minecraft, it’s fine.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
If you want to really wow your folks with the visuals, the Xbox Series X version of Microsoft Flight Simulator will be a very easy way to do that. Not only is it a great way to weed out which people in your family are secret aviation nerds, but it’s also an extremely novel pitch. Fly your family around your nearest capital city, or even over their own home. They’ll love it. Open the real-time flight settings menu and play with the weather and time of day to blow them away. I’ve got the ORBX Brisbane landmarks package pre-installed, ready to take my family on a tour.
Add to this the fact that Flight Simulator is one of the visually beautiful games ever made, and you have another perfect holiday showpiece.
If you happen to have invested in a VR headset like the Oculus Quest 2, you have a whole world of options for wowing your relos over the holidays. If you’re the kind of person who likes watching grandma topple over, try Richie’s Plank Experience. If you’d prefer something more tactile, perhaps The Climb. Dancers will love Dance Central VR and Beat Saber. For the petrol heads, games like Project CARS have VR support. Even the PC version of Microsoft Flight Simulator supports VR if you want to surprise the would-be pilot in your life. Make sure you check in with your folks before you let them put on the headset — if they’re prone to motion sickness, any VR experience, no matter how sedate, could leave them feeling very ill indeed.