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Christmas Memories on Game and Player

Christmas Memories

The Editors  //  December 25, 2008

Here's to the day.


hat would Christmas be without gaming; and these days, what would gaming be without Christmas? Most of us know the most wonderful time of the year as one for carols, cookies, family, and gifts — gifts which let us share memories with others today. As Ed writes, here's to Christmas: the holiday which introduced many of us to a hobby that's lasted a lifetime.


I have two stories to share. The first was on Christmas 1999. I remember getting a number of PlayStation games that year. Among them, I received Resident Evil 3, NFL Blitz 2000 and Thrasher : Skate and Destroy. Resident Evil 3 was my first big trip into the series and it was fun every step of the way. I think if I wanted, I could still beat it in three hours (my best time, if I remember correctly is three hours and 14 minutes. Thrasher was big for me because I had played the demo off an official PlayStation magazine disc for months and was in love with it. Thrasher was also the catalyst for my very real interest in skateboarding and was one of the factors that led to me picking a board up.

Another Christmas I vividly remember was a long while back. I had finished opening presents (or so I had thought) and like something out of a Hollywood movie, I had overlooked a present, the mother lode of my elementary youth was waiting for me in the final present marked to me: Pokemon Red Version and a sleek red Gameboy pocket to go with it. My jaw dropped in absolute amazement, the only way a kid could. I was extremely happy and played that game for years. I still have my copy, but it doesn't work!

Phil Harris

I remember way back when my parent bought a Colico Vision system. It was the first time I ever played a video game and was very young. The game they got for it originally was Donkey Kong. I remember having a lot of fun with it as I finally saved the princess and moved onto the next screen.

Other great memories would be another Christmas where my parent got me my first Atari 2600. I remember a time where my mother was actually better at Ms. Pacman than I was.

Though one of my more memorable Christmases would have to be the year I got a Nintendo. Sitting around and playing Duck Hunt and Clay Shooting all day long. Laughing and trying to shoot the dog when we missed the ducks. My father was amazed that I finished Super Mario Bros. on the first day. I had a friend that had showed it to me, including the secrets (though I could never get the bonus lives thing to work for me like he could). We spent a good portion of the day taking turns playing (since the weather was fairly bad out that Christmas).


I remember how awesome it was to get NES games for Christmas, but my all-time favorite memory is very recent.

Chris and I spent our first Christmas together at my mother's house back in 2006. We decided to bring our old Xbox, and now that I think of it I don't really remember why. After seeing it my oldest sister went home to get hers.

After eating dinner we set up the Xboxes so all four of the kids could play . . . and eventually the rest of us. At some point in the evening everyone was playing except my mother. Now . . . she is in her early sixties and she has only played one or two NES games, but this was back in, like, 1986. So when we asked her to play Halo 2 with us, we were all a bit surprised that she said yes.

It was funny to watch her play. She had never traversed a virtual environment with a controller, so she spent most of the match just trying to walk around. We would be running around killing each other until you saw this particular marine walking at a snail's pace. If you shot her Chris would hunt you down and, well, that never ends well.

It was our favorite Christmas to date. There is nothing like bonding with your parents, sisters, nieces and nephews via Deathmatch. We hope to make it happen again this year. This time we will have six Xbox 360s, each with their own screen!

Ed Kirchgessner

While I'm pretty certain my three older sisters have forgotten about the Christmas when we received our Atari 2600, I most certainly have not — I was three years old, the box was hiding under the couch and Combat was my game of choice. My dad probably hated that Christmas considering the hours he was forced to spend wiring the cursed thing to the back of our aging 19-inch television, but we all loved him for it. To this day, he refuses to let on that he threw all those game of tank pong we played together. Anyway, here's to Christmas: the holiday which I'm sure introduced many of us to a hobby that's lasted a lifetime.

Ryan O'Connell

My favorite memory is getting the Sega Genesis and pouring more hours than are available in a day to Sonic the Hedgehog.

Jeremy Steeves

Few things in my childhood hold such a vivid place in my memory as unwrapping a Sega Genesis. Looking back, I don't know how someone can play Sonic the Hedgehog or Mortal Kombat THAT much, but I did — and I loved it. The downside to unwrapping a Sega Genesis on Christmas? I don't think I was as appreciative of the post-console socks as I should have been. What?! I was young.

Matthew Theroux

Christmas and gaming. Growing up I received many games as gifts; I can only remember bits and pieces about some of them. I can remember getting the first Final Fantasy many years ago, and getting frustrated with it because I was trying to play it like an action game. There was the year that I got my Gameboy, the only game I got with it was Balloon Kid, which quickly got boring. It took a few years to get a healthy library going for it, which included WarioLand, another Christmas gift. The last game that I got as a gift was Castlevania: Curse of Darkness a few years ago. I remember being impressed with the forging and tiny devil systems as I started the game. However, these are only fragments of memories. I have some that are much more well-ingrained.

When it comes to Christmas, games always had a higher priority on Christmas Eve than on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve it's tradition to go over to my Grandma's on my dad's side. There my cousin would bring along a console for everyone to play. I got exposed to a lot of classic games that way. Things like Toejam and Earl and Chrono Trigger. I still remember mine and my cousins' parents yelling at us to pack things up so we could go home the year he brought Chrono Trigger. Over the years the consoles kept up with the current trends. So when the 64 was out, that's what we played. When the 360 first came out he brought that over. Growing up these Christmases were always a great way to see what was out there for games, and now that I'm much older it's my turn to lead the way with unique and entertaining games to show off.

Michael Ubaldi

My sister and I did not expect Christmas 1986 to bring any less delight than the holidays past — but how it would, we could never have guessed. Jumping from the stairs at our parents' call, the two of us rushed to the tree and got on all fours, inspecting the pile of wrapped packages. Minutes passed before my father asked us to look on the far side of the tree — Over there, guys; No there; No, no, right here, see? Monitor, keyboard and casing: a beige Tandy 1000 EX sat on a chair. Dad flipped a switch. A fan spun, a screen lit, and the auto-executable file my father wrote greeted us:




Four gifts were unwrapped — four boxes with software inside them. My family marveled, boggled and played with that Tandy, all morning, all afternoon, past the evening and long afterward.


I remember when it all began for me, when I was first introduced to the world of gaming that would eventually consume my paychecks later on in life. I was young, the air was filled with the sweet aroma of fresh baked cookies, and the joyful melodies of Christmas music and laughter. I was decked out in my Ninja Turtle pajamas unwrapping a substantially sized present as my sisters, parents and close relatvees watched. I peeled back the decorative wrapping in a flurry and the gift was revealed to me: a Nintendo Entertainment System. I was ecstatic. I ran around screaming with joy as my family laughed and smiled at my enthusiastic reaction.

I remember my dad hooking the NES up to our TV and my sisters joining me in what would become an addiction of mine. We played Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt for the rest of the day. My sisters and I would switch turns and we had a blast. That is one of my most memorable Christmas mornings and I am proud to say that I still have that same NES today.

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