You might think that seasonal videogames are too niche of a market to exist, but you'd be wrong. The Jolly old fat man himself, Santa Claus, is no stranger to videogames. Little Saint Nick has appeared in quite a few adventures over the years, and Chris takes you on another flight of the KGB Nostalgia Dirigible!
Not long after launching in late 2010, Fable III owners were given a "Yule Hat" as a free piece of DLC. I guess they don't celebrate Christmas in Albion. Although the game itself was seen as underwhelming by some Fable fans, it's cool little treats like this that make it a little easier to forgive Mr. Molyneux and his mouth diarrehha.
Christmas Nights is a weird one. A two-level mini demo, this game was included in Sega Saturn bundles released in Japan for Holiday 1995. In the US, Christmas Nights was given away with select Saturn games, or included in gaming magazines, such as Game Players and Next Generation. Apparently, this game uses the Saturn internal clock to change some of the in-game scenery and music. I have no idea how Nights actually plays, but it looks like a fever dream. For more info than I could ever provide, check out the Wikipedia entry.
Mortal Kombat II (Mortal Kombat reboot)
You might not think of a hyper-violent gorefest like Mortal Kombat II when it comes to holiday cheer. But even Hell ninjas have a soft spot for Old Santa Claus. When fighting on The Pit II stage, keep a close eye on the full moon in the background. Several silhouettes pass by, and one of them is the unmistakable form of Santa and his reindeer. I guess someone was a good boy this year, my money's on Jax. He always seemed like a softie.
Not only is this a cool Easter Egg, but is also the key to fighting Reptile. If you see Santa pass by the moon, winning with a Double Flawless Victory will trigger an immediate bout with the green ninja himself. NetherRealm went so far as to include this scenario in the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot as well.
Secret of Mana
Let me first off apologize for the fucking video above. I despise "Let's Play" videos, but apparently that's all YouTube has this part of Secret of Mana. Is there really anyone out there who enjoys watching playthroughs of their favorite games while mouth breathing Troglodytes narrate everything? Goddamn. Anyway...
This one is straight off the old WTF file. WTFile. Whichever one is funnier. So Secret of Mana is a standard 16-bit RPG, very akin to the early Final Fantasy titles. At one point in your quest a certain red-nosed reindeer greets you at the Ice Palace, and tells you something terrible has happened to his owner. Once you beat down the Ice Giant, you realize that the horrible monster actually IS Santa. Seems he got in over his head with some Mana..seeds...of magic. Anyway, Rudolph thanks you, Santa gives you some loot, and you're off on your merry way.
See what I did there? Merry way...merry...Christmas...
Clayfighter 63 1/3
Clayfighter was one of the weirdest series to debut in the wake of the success of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The crux of the series was that it featured scanned-in clay models as the combatants, and the result was a game that looked cool in stills, but animated poorly. This series spanned a few generations before finally coming to an end. I guess there's some sort of a plot, with Sumo Santa and Frosty the Snowman battling for the North Pole. My question is: who the hell wanted a story in Clayfighter?
Joe Danger: Special Edition
Joe Danger has just been released on XBLA after being a PSN exclusive for almost a year. In addition to some new levels and modes, Hello Games has another surprise in store for Joe Danger fans. Newly released DLC adds Santa Claus to the game, complete with Santa's favorite mode of transportation: the ATV. This seems like a blast, and the addition of Santa tickles me right in the no-no zone.
Christopher Linendoll is ready to nog some eggs. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.