Christmas is coming! To our streets, our homes… and our video games! In this article, I’ll tell you how to avoid the holiday season encroaching on your favorite games.
I admit that a few years ago, I kind of liked the idea of a Christmas theme in my favorite games- lemmings in costumes, a few snowmen sprinkled throughout a platform- but today the exception is the norm and it’s rare that your favorite MMOs, mobile games or apps aren’t plagued with nutcrackers, fir trees, and snowy landscapes!
I’ve been suffering from an overdose of Christmas, and it’s now spread to video games too! If you want to avoid Christmas in your video games, I’ll let you in on a few strategies to help you escape Santa Claus, at least in the virtual world!
Nowhere is safe
Beware the MMOs!
When it comes to saturating players in holiday spirit, online multiplayer games are without a doubt the best. World of Warcraft knows how to contaminate you with the Christmas spirit to the point of having a fixed annual event called the Feast of Winter Veil.
Despite this ambiguous name, it’s most certainly about Christmas, complete with gifts, reindeer and characters dressed in red clothes and ridiculous hats. Unfortunately, it’s not the only MMO where you have to deal with Santa Claus lookalikes. In fact, no self-respecting online game is without a Christmas event these days, although it’s always cunningly disguised with the words “winter” or “snow.”
Guild Wars 2 is a prime example with Wintersday, while there’s no doubt that games like Marvel Heroes will also have their own Christmas event. The question is, will the hero or the villain wear the Santa Claus hat?
Elves, dwarves, humans- in the Warcraft world everyone loves Christmas!
Be careful with updates!
Mobile games love to celebrate Christmas too, and they’ll try to convince you of how much fun it is with updates as the big day draws near. The best (or worst) for this is Angry Birds, with its Christmas-themed spin-off, Angry Birds: Seasons. This is in addition to their other vomit-inducing holiday specials, like their sickly sweet Valentine version.
Sworn enemies become friends at Christmas, at least in Angry Birds.
Others who can’t resist a good theme when the Christmas lights are switched on are social games. The Simpsons: Springfield is compelled to liberally dust the neighborhood with snow, reindeer and colorful decorations, while Clash of Clans is bound to be updated sooner or later with a large dose of Christmas “cheer”. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine barbarian tribes singing “Jingle Bells” while seated round the campfire, but you never know.
To sum up, avoid the Christmas update if you can, or your town/city/base will be generously seasoned with snowy landscapes and characters eating sugar canes.
Springfield residents are obviously fans of spruce trees and reindeer.
Log in to Facebook as little as possible
Using Facebook as little as possible is the best way to avoid Christmas. It’s not just your friends who are going to fill their walls with pictures of baubles or videos of elves singing “Silent Night”, but everything to do with gaming will suffer a transformation. Like the mobile games decked out in festive fancies, social network games also love to get their festive funk on, to the extent to which it’s rare to see one where you can’t buy typical holiday items.
Basically, any game where you can customize your character or your house will offer reindeer antlers, cozy red and green sweaters and the obligatory, annoying mistletoe. Of course, it goes without saying that all the action takes place on the typical snowy landscapes, with all kinds of food to decorate the tables and fifteen different kinds of lighting. If I look back at the The Sims Social, the extinct expert game which was so good at bombarding you with holiday events, Christmas was no exception.
The Sims Social tested our Christmas spirit (and patience) to the limit. May it rest in peace!
Playing games which are a bit more “neutral” doesn’t mean you’ll avoid catching the Christmas bug. Successes like Candy Crush Saga are the perfect breeding ground for this sort of holiday: the candy will become even more kitsch than usual and the characters will almost certainly be in winter attire.
If you’re not a fan of Facebook games but you are a fan of conventional games, you still have to be on the lookout. At Christmas, not even the toughest guy escapes from dishing out the festive cheer. Look at the picture below and tell me I’m wrong.
Even Agent 47’s elegance is not at odds with the Christmas spirit
If you play offline are you safe?
The danger of ending up knee-deep in Christmas spirit seems typical of online games or ones that get updated. However, you can also receive an unexpected Santa Claus attack offline, as some games make the mistake of being set in peak carol-singing season.
For this very reason, it’s best to avoid Batman: Arkham Origins at this time, as the last game of the Dark Knight series takes place on Christmas Eve. It’s not like Batman will be indulging in any caroling with Catwoman and the Joker, of course, but the setting is still unmistakably Christmas-like.
Luckily, there aren’t many other recent games set at Christmas. It looks like the retro fashion of creating games set at Christmas time has fallen out of favor; lucky, considering we’ve got enough on our (Christmas dinner) plates with online games!
The streets of Gotham are also decorated for Christmas
Be patient and…Merry Christmas!
It’s virtually impossible to avoid Christmas if you’re gamer or simply an internet user. My best recommendation is to be patient, console yourself with the fact that it won’t last forever, avoid going outside, and play games as far removed from the winter setting as possible, though don’t be surprised if you suddenly hear a “hohoho” when you least expect it.