Gaming and Christmas go together like Activision and scandals – they were simply meant for each other. Who doesn’t wake up first thing on December 25th eager to jump underneath the tree and see what gamer goodies Santa Claus has left for us. It’s a key part of the event, much like drinking too much alcohol and spending time with relatives you don’t really like.
It’s often a reason to share your hobby with friends and family too, with consoles moved into the living room so everyone can have a go even when you have a giant pile of bangers to be getting on with. This happened when I first got my PS3 back in 2008. Uncharted and Fallout 3 were both ready to go, but my bitch sister had bought me a copy of Singstar Volume 2 so into the front room it went, torn away from me for over a week so everyone could belt out shit renditions of Common People and Relight My Fire. Merry Christmas one and all.
However, when you finally find time to get away, there are probably a few games you don’t want to be caught enjoying in the midst of a family gathering. Whether you’re exploring a spooky town in search of your obviously dead wife or slicing the clothes off underaged anime girls, there’s a few things worth saving for Boxing Day. Or never. Yeah, let's go with that one.
Silent Hill 2
The town of Silent Hill is kinda festive when you stop to think about it. It’s foggy as hell and probably super cold, everyone has gone away for Christmas or isn’t coming out for the day, and you don’t fancy having a good time because someone just died. Take away all of the horrible monsters and you’ve got a primetime holiday destination. It’s basically Center Parcs.
But it isn’t the sort of game you’d play during the festive season unless you’re spending it all alone or fancy traumatising your family. Maybe your Mum already knows you’re into anime and video games even though she’d wish you’d go outside and play football with the other kids, but this is just a step too far. You can find your dead wife in the New Year I promise.
You need a certain audience of players to enjoy Jackbox, and this normally doesn’t include your immediate family. Explaining the rules is a nightmare, your nan’s phone isn’t charged and can’t connect to the Wi-Fi, and every other person has put some variation of cum as their answer in Quiplash, making your elaborate pop culture reference meaningless.
Explaining rules for the most basic of games is a lost cause once the drinks start pouring and everyone wants to have a good time. They would love it if listening wasn’t such a big deal, so I’d suggest locking this one away or waiting until you meet up with friends for New Years.
Duke Nukem Forever
I’ll admit that my mum is a bit of a gamer. She takes her Nintendo Switch to bed and has collected most of the Waddle Dees in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. She also borders on a domestic whenever playing Super Mario 3D World with my Dad, so totally means business.
She’s also a mother though, and thus still believes that all video games are evil and will never amount to anything. I lied and told her I met Keanu Reeves at the BAFTAs once though which helped convince her I was actually super cool. To mums, video games are all boobs, swearing, violence, and unfulfilled potential. Duke Nukem Forever has all of those things. It took 15 years to finally move out and still never amounted to anything, so the last thing we want is for them to rock up on Christmas morning and start raiding cupboards.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Chances are everyone will call them Digimon and get all the names wrong. And let’s be honest, even your oldest relatives can tell the framerate is total dogshit.
I never played Senran Kagura in front of my family – especially not at Christmas – but I did play some truly garbage PS3-era JRPGs back in the day, and I’d like to erase all of them from my memory. But please, whatever you do, don’t load up this lecherous piece of anime nonsense on the dawn of Yuletide. I don’t care how much you tell people it’s just the same as Dynasty Warriors and all the girls are definitely of age, it’s still really weird.
Sniper Elite 5
Be careful with this one. The second you no-scope a Nazi in the testicles your Grandad will emerge from the kitchen and begin unleashing 50+ years of pent-up racism. Just watch Die Hard or the Doctor Who Christmas Special instead, those always go down well.
Any first-party Sony exclusive from the past five years
You might as well stick a film on at this point.
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