Game developers are as susceptible to holiday cheer as anyone else, and sometimes slip in a little holiday-themed content for us to enjoy. Most of the time these are 'Easter Eggs', hidden content that unlocks based on the date of your computer/console. Or it could be a special event in the MMO community, or even a festive-themed DLC released in time for the holidays.
So even in the busy holiday season, you might want to check on your favorite video games to share a bit of holiday cheer with them. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Ace Online's Crazy Snowmen
Ace Online is an MMO flight combat game in which two factions battle for control over the skies of an alien planet. Despite the extra-terrestrial setting, the warring alliances call a heartwarming armistice during the Christmas holi- just kidding, they still shoot the crap out of each other, but with added Christmas goodies.
Video Credit: Dragonet on YouTube
Log into Ace Online during Christmas and you'll see snow falling in the capital cities of each main faction. Festive-looking enemies called Crazy Snowmen spawn and if you destroy them they'll drop Gift Boxes, Pretty Bows, and Wrappers, which can be combined at a Factory to craft Presents.
2. Batman: Arkham City's Twisted Christmas Story
If jolliness isn't quite your thing, try visiting Calendar Man In Batman: Arkham City on Christmas Day. A serial killer obsessed with certain dates, Calendar Man becomes talkative enough on major holidays to share a story about a grisly murder that he committed on that day. Calendar Man has a story for both major holidays and minor dates (such as the day of St. Roch, patron saint of dogs, or even his own parents' birthdays), but his Christmas story in the video above is especially gruesome.
3. Drop Gifts, Not Bombs In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Despite the unremittingly grim nature of war, there's still a small sliver of innocence in #CoD Modern Warfare when it comes to Christmas. In 'Winter Crash', a snowy, Christmas-themed version of the 'Crash' level, you can see festive lights and occasionally catch a hearty 'Ho Ho Ho!' in the distance. If you're lucky, you might even be targeted by a very special airstrike. Mind you don't get hit by those presents though, because you're on the naughty list and they hurt like hell.
4. Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams Goes Full Christmas
Do you want total Christmas? Then you want this. Christmas NiGHTS was a demo version of the Sega classic that featured special items and skins for various holidays (April Fools, New Years, etc) that transformed the look of the game.
In December, it goes full winter wonderland, with elves and a jingle bells soundtrack, Christmas NiGHTS might just be Noddy Holder's favorite game.
5. Have A Not So Nuclear Winter in DEFCON
DEFCON is normally quite a sadistic game. You play a general in control of your faction's nuclear arsenal, aiming to exterminate the enemy's civilian populace by striking against their population centers while simultaneously crippling their ability to retaliate. But you can turn those frowns upside down and give peace a chance with a Christmas mod.
The view shifts to a polar perspective, reindeer fly instead of bombers, dropping a payload of presents instead of bombs to the cheery tune of Christmas songs. The 'x million dead' messages change to 'x million children made happy'. Awww.
6. Duke Nuke-clear Winter
Speaking of nukes, even crude macho shooter hero Duke Nukem gets into the Christmas spirit, though it's not exactly family-friendly (the strippers may be wearing festive outfits, but they're still working through the holidays).
Duke Nukem 3D features an expansion pack with a heartwarming holiday story — Santa Claus has been brainwashed by aliens, and Duke's got to blast his way through battle elves, snowmen and other Christmas-themed enemies to save him.
7. Save Christmas In Style in Saints Row IV
Saints Row IV: How the Saints Saved Christmas is DLC for the GTA-style crime sandbox that makes the previous entry look restrained and tasteful by comparison. But if you're a Saints Row fan, that's not what you're here for. Instead, enjoy this delightfully over the top parody of pop culture Christmas tropes as the Saints battle evil alien warlord Claws.
The hardened gangsters have to don ugly Christmas sweaters and tote BB-guns for their missions...or they might end up on Santa's naughty list, and trust me, you do not want to end up on the naughty list.
8. In RuneScape, Christmas Broke The Economy
RuneScape celebrates Christmas and other major holidays with special storylines, events and quests which reward the player with unique, untradeable items that are only available during their respective holiday seasons that year. Why untradeable?Well, holidays were originally celebrated with massive, one-day drops of tradeable special items which now sell for hugely disproportionate prices due to their rarity. Santa hats dropped in 2002 can sell for millions of coins, with a massive impact on the in-game economy. That's what obsessive completionism gets you.
9. Feel that Christmas Rush in Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Holidays and special occasions are very important in Animal Crossing, and in New Leaf, Christmas (in game Toy Day) is a pretty big deal. Such a big deal in fact that you might find getting through all that Christmas content in time just as stressful as managing the shopping and events for your real-life family and friends. Once snow starts drifting into town, you can make snowmen who award you with gifts.
Then Santa hats, trees and other festive paraphernalia appear for sale in stores. The pine trees are decked with lights and your neighbors start dropping hints about their preferred gifts. Finally, on Dec 24, the town celebrates Toy Day, and a reindeer gives you a quest to give presents to the villagers—give the right presents to the right villagers and you'll be rewarded with toys of your own.
Pressed for time over the holiday season? Why not see how fast you can play your favorite games:
What's your favorite video game Christmas content? Let us know in the comments!