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Our Best Christmas Gaming Memories

December 25, 2011 Written by Heath Hindman


December is the season of giving and receiving, and if you’re reading this website, you probably enjoy video games. Oh hey, so do we! In this feature, we at PlayStation LifeStyle share some of our favorite gaming-related Christmas memories.

Nick Michetti‘s memories were rekindled in recent years, thanks to a nostalgic re-release:

I remember my dad hooking up my Nintendo 64 to the television for the first time and letting the next-gen of Super Mario 64 sink in. To me, a gameplay experience like that was unbelievable. My last consoles before that were a SNES and a Genesis. Super Mario World had been my go-to game. The sheer moment of controlling Mario in a 3D space for the first time and throwing King Bob-Omb off of the top of the mountain in the first level was the stuff of future gaming legend. I would later reunite with Super Mario 64 in the form of the enhanced DS port, Super Mario 64 DS. Even though the d-pad replaced the analog stick, that game kept me coming back to my DS until I got to the final Bowser boss battle once again. I was playing the game on a different platform at a different time in my life (from being a little kid with an N64 to being in college with a DS), but all of the great memories came back once again.

Josh Fernandes is the king of Iron Fist Tournament. Or at least he was 15 years ago:

1996. I was 7 years old, and was at my cousins house who happened to be 12 at the time. My other cousins were there who happened to be 6, 9, and 11 years old. We all sat in the back room playing Tekken 2 in what I can only describe as the greatest Tekken tournament of all time…or at least it felt that way. We shouted every time time someone landed a hit and somehow it never got old. If someone managed to mash the right combination of buttons to pull off a special move, then the room practically exploded. I slept well that night.

Cameron Teague‘s parents unwittingly introduced him to the Ultima-te gateway drug:

There have been so many good Christmases over the year for me when it comes to video games, so it’s kind of hard to pick just one to tell. I will go with the tale of a young boy and his very first computer. I remember waking up to find a mammoth, ugly-yet beautiful, white Dell computer on my kitchen counter. Not only was it the full set up, but a disc for AOL internet (I KNOW!), and a little addiction known as Ultima Online. Not only that, but a little bit later, my brother and I picked up Warcraft and the rest is history. If only my parents knew then that Ultima Online would take up around 6 years of my life and start me on a downward spiral into gaminghood!

If Santa should fail, then thus shall be Anthony Severino‘s last and Final Fantasy:

Growing up, there were few things I enjoyed more than my SNES and the RPG gasoline that fueled my fondest childhood memories of video games. To tell my favorite Christmas story, I have to flash back to a time when Square Enix was Squaresoft, and that publisher name meant more to me than any franchise name could have at the time (except for maybe Mortal Kombat).

My younger brother and I had asked for Final Fantasy III for the SNES. Our parents played a cruel trick on us; they said they couldn’t find the game in stores, and they’d get it for us after Christmas. Later in the day while visiting family, our Aunt had given us a wrapped gift in the shape of a magazine. But this was no magazine, it was the strategy guide for Final Fantasy III. Instead of being happy about a gift my brother and I had wanted, it only poured salt in a fresh, Final Fantasy III-less wound. But then, like a well-timed Curaga spell, my parents gave us yet another gift they had “forgot” about earlier.

It was Final Fantasy III. And it was a very Merry Christmas that year.

But Severino isn’t the only one that can say Final Fantasy defined his Christmas, as Jonathan Leack reminisces from 1997:

Waiting anxiously to unwrap the PlayStation 1 has been one of the most challenging trials of my life. Little did I know just how much influence it would really have on me. So long were the days of blowing out dust from cartridges and not being able to experience epic cutscenes with lifelike characters bringing the story to life. Although I was most excited to play Twisted Metal and blow up my cousin with Sweet Tooth’s napalm cone, it wasn’t until I popped in Final Fantasy VII that I really understood what Christmas was all about: sitting in a room staring at a 20 year old TV as if it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Okay, so maybe Christmas is truly about family and showing others that we care, but the next couple months all I could think about was killing Sephiroth and running through the Gold Saucer playing every mini-game over and over again.

In 1994, Heath Hindman made a prediction that Nostradamus would be proud of:

The first Christmas memory that comes to mind when I’m asked to think of the most awesome, was Christmas morning 1994, when I got a Game Boy bundle with Tetris. Original, fat, 20-pound, gray-on-yellowish-graphic-havin’, Game Boy. I do believe I honestly thought to my 11-year-old self, “This is like having a Nintendo I can walk around with. This is the best thing that will ever exist. Nothing can ever be better than this.” In a way, I was right; technology and game design improved, but the feeling of that moment has never been duplicated for me. I often remind my family of this fact.

What are your best holiday memories as far as gaming goes? We told you ours, now start confessing!