As Christmas time approaches and families across the globe sit around a T.V and take sips of something warm (or cold), they may pop in one of many existing Christmas movies in order to watch and feel festive for the season. However, regarding our entertainment during this brief period of the year, today I’d like to pose a question: where are all the Christmas games?
Annual holidays have found their way into almost every medium, with almost every industry trying to capitalise on the themes of these dates. Film, in particular, seems built for this. In fact, I’m sure we’re all well aware of those terrible movies like Valentines Day or Mother’s Day, products that are as much bad as they are completely shameless. Sure with gaming you’ll see the odd horror game coming out on Halloween, but these games aren’t built for their holiday like these movies are—considering the quality of them, perhaps that’s a good thing. Still, it’s an interesting topic to think about.
However, it’s not like there aren’t any games set around the holidays. Arkham Origins is the first thing that comes to mind as a modern game narrative taking place on Christmas Eve, but you can’t really call that a ‘Christmas game’ the same way you’d call It’s A Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie.
The major reason why festive games aren’t really a thing, is because unlike other art forms, video games can’t just be shat out and released when the developers want them to be. Hell, studios and publishers have a hard enough time getting their games out, in general; the last thing they need is an even more definitive deadline.
But all of this doesn’t mean that the industry doesn’t have their own ways of celebrating these occasions. Steam sales are always a good thing to look forward to, often being themed around the holiday of the season, be it winter, summer, spring, or autumn. Furthermore, online games often have special gifts for players or updates that reflect the day it is. Grand Theft Auto Online brings snowfall to Los Santos every Christmas, and on New Years, World Of Warcraft players get to witness digital fireworks above in-game cities.
While gaming may not be the perfect conduit to celebrate real life holidays, there are certainly ways to. Plus, video games and game hardware, are still the best presents one can receive under their Christmas tree.