A reader looks back at some of his favourite Christmas Day memories, from getting a ZX Spectrum as a kid to a brand new PlayStation 5.
Having played games for most of my 40 years on this mortal coil I have had many, many great games at Christmas time that I remember fondly. So, with this feature I’ve picked out a few that stick out in my mind as some of the most memorable.
I remember quite vividly when my dad, who sadly passed away in April of this year, did his whole Roy Wood routine where he went upstairs to get the big present. Coming back down shouting ‘It’s Christmas’ in his best impression of the line from Wizard’s classic Christmas song, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.
This year it was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128K James Bond bundle with a lightgun, the first time I’d ever seen a lightgun, so it blew my tiny young mind as I was only four. My dad had been educating me on James Bond at the time, as he was an avid fan, watching all the films together, so I was elated when he revealed the 128K. I had a 48K, which was the first video games machine I had played, so that alone made my eyes light up, but with this new lightgun thing and James Bond… what a present!
The next Christmas I’ve chosen for this feature is 1992, when I got Sonic The Hedgehog 2 for my Sega Master System 2. Sonic 2 remains one of my favourite Sonic games ever. I do love Tails almost as much as Sonic, despite the fact that actually he’s a bit of a hindrance rather than a help when you’re playing, unless another person is controlling him. Always catching me when I don’t want him to, carrying me up high and usually resulting in me losing all my rings and cursing at the cute little fox. I can’t stay mad at him though and would never play without him. He is like that annoying younger brother that you can’t help but love.
1996 was when I was first introduced to a certain Lara Croft and what would become my favourite ever video game series to this day, and also my dad’s. On the original PlayStation, the jump to 3D was already mind-blowing. Tomb Raider was one of the first games I played on it, and it blew me away at the time with how vast the levels were. With its huge environmental puzzles, platforming and climbing, cinematics and voice acting it felt like games were moving towards feeling like you were playing a film.
2001 was when I got the original Xbox and Halo: Combat Evolved. What led me to getting the original Xbox is prior to that I had a PC ‘for college’. Well, my Mum didn’t know I didn’t need the latest Nvidia card to run Microsoft Office, now did she? Even if she did I paid for it with my student loan, which I’ve only just recently paid off. Anyhow, I’d got into a lot of games like western role-playing such as Elder Scrolls, Baldur’s Gate, and BioWare’s games, that weren’t available on consoles at the time, until the original Xbox came along that is.
So that was my main draw and having gotten fed up with needing to upgrade my PC I decided I wanted an Xbox. My sister got one first, actually, and my nephew showed me 007 Nightfire, which blew me away with how good the graphics were at the time. Then he showed me Halo: Combat Evolved and that was it, I had to get an Xbox. I also learnt that The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind was coming out, as well as other role-playing games. The Elder Scrolls has always been a favourite of mine, having played the first two to death at the time.
Thus begun my love of Xbox, that has lasted for the past 20 years. Here’s to another 20 or more. Halo too is also a favourite series of mine and I have played every game since.
This one actually wasn’t Christmas, it was April, as the job I had at the time gave me a bonus at the end of the financial year. So I bought an Xbox 360 bundled with The Elder Scolls 4: Oblivion and Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. I played Ghost Recon first, as I knew once I started Oblivion that’d be me for months on end. Ghost Recon blew me away with its graphics and I very much enjoyed it. I’ve always liked more tactical shooters like that, and they don’t really make them anymore, where you can command groups of soldiers and vehicles as well as your character. Oblivion is an amazing game and even bigger and more dense than Morrowind. Although I still remember Morrowind more fondly, Oblivion showed off what the 360 was capable of right from the start.
Having played the Xbox 360 for most of the generation I was inspired by The Last Of Us coming the next summer, which had blown me away with previews. There was also all the previously released games to catch up on, that were now available cheap, and Gran Turismo 6 coming out that year so I bought a PlayStation 3. I had an amazing time with it, playing as many exclusives as I could get my hands on. The Last Of Us was a standout, as was Gran Turismo 6, but I also enjoyed InFamous, Resistance, Killzone, God Of War, Ratchet & Clank and lots of other games so much that it was a year after the Xbox One launched before I decided to get Microsoft’s new console.
So this year I have just ordered a PlayStation 5. It won’t be delivered until 3rd of January but I’m very much looking forward to it. Despite losing my dad in April and, in January, losing my cat. On the gaming front I’ve been very fortunate as I was able to get an Xbox Series X earlier this year. So I am looking forward to catching up on the last two years of PlayStation 5 exclusives and looking ahead to next year with Spider-Man 2, Starfield, Redfall, and the rest.
Merry Christmas to one and all at GC Towers, and the readers, and I wish you all a happy new year in 2023!
By reader Big Angry Dad82 (gamertag)
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