A Christmas Tale


So it’s Christmas, and like every year, I got some games. I challenged my sisters to come up with a game that they would like to watch me play (very rarely do they want to play co-op games; they much prefer having me play through the story mode while they take in the ride passively). I gave them no criteria whatsoever and they came back with Alan Wake, of all things, which I was secretly very proud of them for buying. Of course, they love psychological thrillers, but I have no doubt that this game is going to scare me shitless because I’m a huge pussy when it comes to anything even remotely connected with horror. We’ll be playing this one at two in the afternoon with all the lights on.

The first time I got any games for Christmas was back in 2000. I had received my first console, a Nintendo 64, earlier that summer, and I was more than happy to keep playing Pokemon Snap ad infinitum. I didn’t even ask for any games, so I have no idea how my parents picked these out, but I ended up with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that Christmas. I got to beating those games a lot over the next year (and playing a lot of the Kirby minigames with my sisters), and I can honestly say that The Crystal Shards remains my favourite Kirby game to this day, while Majora’s Mask is arguably my favourite game of all time. I beat the latter again only a few months back, and it holds up even better than I remembered. Smart, understated dialogue that does as much within the confines of an imperfect, late ’90s translation as humanly possible, a story that is beyond fucked up, a tried-and-true combat system, an emphasis on sidequests over story missions…it was a weird game, and that’s what made it special. Of course, I didn’t fully appreciate it when I first played it on Christmas 2000, and I certainly wouldn’t have even understood as much as I did without the fancy Player’s Guide my parents also got me. Regardless, I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better first gaming present than Majora’s Mask.

I’m not sure when I’ll stop asking for games for Christmas. Probably when they stop making good ones, which is like never. Anyway, time to pop in Alan Wake and scream loudly because I’m a huge wuss and possibly still afraid of the dark. I still can’t even watch The Shining, for Chrissakes.

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