Listmas 2019: Holiday-ing with Games

Christmas, Christmas time is here! And whether you’re still reveling in gifts or looking for a cozy spot to take a nap on this day after, it’s also as good a time as any to pick up a controller and dive into a game or seven. In my household, the season of Christmas and New Year’s is usually pretty busy, so extended amounts of time to game are far and few between. Which means that if I’m look to play a little something for just a little bit, I usually turn to older titles, easy-going and familiar ones, at that. However, that’s not always the case.  So what might I turn to this holiday season? Here’s what! 

Super Metroid and Super Mario 64

This is pretty much an honest tie. I have both games downloaded onto my Wii, and as long as I remember to hook the thing up before the holidays, I’m just as likely to open up a little more of Super Metroid’s map as I am to find a quick star on, say, Tiny Big Island. Both games allow the chance to make little bits of progress in big ways, so even if I don’t complete a full run of either game over the holidays, at least I feel like something’s been accomplished, other than overeating!

Image by Flickr user Michel Ngilen (CC BY 2.0)

Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect

Am I cheating a little with this list? Well, here’s the thing with these two games. I never actually play either of them over any holiday, as they are far too involved. But what I do like to is futzing around with the character creator in either. They both have their quirks, and we all know that ME’s is downright janky, but in the act of creating a new character in either game I find a little familiar comfort. I always delete my “new” wardens and Shepards after watching them play out in a few scenes, but the process makes me think about the type of character I want to craft when I to get around to playing these games again in earnest. It’s weird, I know.

Oh yeah, smug Alistair gets it. (Screenshot take by author on PC.)


Okay, maybe this is my list’s first “true” item, but I do love replaying Portal during the holidays, especially when I can rope someone else into playing it for…errr, with me. Oh, but seriously, I’ve found that this is a really fun title to play with people of any age who don’t like/think about/get video games. Its puzzles are engaging, the hilarious dialogue keeps people listening, and it’s short, so there’s no huge time commitment involved. It’s the perfect gaming appetizer, or chaser, depending on your preference.

Image by Flickr user Daniel Sempértegui (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Sam & Max Hit the Road

Ever since replaying this game for our channel several years ago, it’s somehow become a staple for me during Christmastime. Like with Portal, it’s short, funny, and charming, all of which soothes when my brain cells have had too much egg nog. And it’s got some roundly satisfying puzzling, which makes me think that at least I’m exercising something, even if I’m not actually moving anything except for a cursor.

Screenshot taken by author on PC.

Fable (or Fable Anniversary)

On occasion when my Christmas-y holiday hasn’t been brimming with this and that, the one game that I’ve most often turned to is the original Fable. It’s simple, silly, and absolutely perfect for light RPGing on a cold, winter’s night. Visiting Albion always feel a little bit like visiting home – it’s a familiar place; the people or (mostly) welcoming; I know where all the streets lead; and someday maybe I’ll actually find all the keys I need to open all of those darned secret chests!

Well, maybe that last isn’t like home. Or…maybe it is…? Hmm.

Screenshot take by author on PC.

 Lede image from Flickr user Digital Game Museum (CC By 2.0)


  1. I don’t really have any Xmas traditions when it comes to gaming, however I did play all the way through Ys Book 1 and 2 for TurboCD this holiday and enjoyed it as a “holiday” experience. Despite some rough spots I generally appreciated how antiquated and strange this game is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Nice! I’m only vaguely familiar with the Ys games – they’ve always seems more interesting from afar than up close. I did attempt to play the same that was re-released for the PSP (Ys I & II Chronicles), but I never got very far with it. Congrats on completing it, rough spots and all!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Returning with one last callback to Virtual Bastion’s Listmas celebration, is this one all about the games I like to play most around the holidays. If there’s a main theme to be had, it’s that with heavy celebrating comes light gaming, and that’s perfectly okay!


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