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Christmas Cheer Entertainment Games

Special Christmas Features In Games? 62

An anonymous reader writes "Some online and offline videogames make special changes for the holiday season. There's the Planetside Christmas decorations, where Sony has embedded the holidays into their futuristic online war, and also a Christmas mutator for Unreal Tournament 2003. What other holiday changes are people seeing in their gaming today?" Phantasy Star Online has also instituted some neat changes for Xmas.
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Special Christmas Features In Games?

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  • You Don't Know Jack (Score:5, Informative)

    by Myself ( 57572 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @12:54PM (#7808371) Journal
    The YDKJ series includes special features for all sorts of holidays and anniversaries. It also checks the system clock, and will greet you with things like "weeeeelcome to the insomniac edition of you don't know jack!"
    • The YDKJ series are great!

      Sims Online added stuff like christmas trees and snowmen. They also gave everyone a turkey (same as they did for Thanksgiving).
    • Black and White has that sort of thing for time-based stuff - iirc, your advisers pop up and tell you if there's a full moon, ask you if you're tired if you're playing late, etc.

      Dungeon Keeper 2 has two that I remember - "Surely even Dungeon Keepers have a lair to retire to?" if you're playing late, and "It's the witching hour..." if you're playing at midnight.

      Oh, and I was playing UT on some server or other a couple of days ago, and they had applied a mod that made each flag a Christmas tree, and showed
  • by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @12:57PM (#7808380) Homepage
    Nights for the Sega Saturn had a special Xmas version that used the internal clock in the Saturn to release special items during Christmas. Sadly, it appears that GameFAQs doesn't have any information about it specifically, but you can read the FAQ by STowle on this page for Nights [] which has a description in an appendix.

    Finally, Heavy Gear II apparently has little red-and-white Santa hats on the Gears on Christmas day. I don't know for sure if this works in all versions, but I know it did in the Linux one.

  • Everquest (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Osmosis_Garett ( 712648 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @01:08PM (#7808415)

    Everquest used to give all players gnomish fireworks for Christmas, completely saturating the market there with these useless items. Of course, since they're useless, there really was no market for them in the first place. Christmas brought about the only time that Gnomes could really sell those items. I also remember a few oversized Trolls or Ogres handing out presents to newbies... to be honest, Everquest always seemed to have the most Christmas spirit in any of the MMO games I've played (and I've played most).

    At this point, I dont see any reason why a massively multiplayer world wouldn't give their user base a christmas gift, unless the dev team is made up of Grinches.

    I dont know if MMO games really qualify within this topic. I am sure that games like 'Animal Crossing' would have time sensitive items to unlock. I seem to remember Black and White having a Christmas 'easteregg', and possibly Warcraft2, but someone will have to verify those. Considering the small amount of code required to add features like these to games, the only thing that would keep the developers from adding them is the risk of 'feature creep'; IMHO it would be a better world if features like these were the norm.

    • Black and White (Score:2, Informative)

      by mkraft ( 200694 )
      Like you said, in Black and White the advisors say Christmasy things on Christmas. []
    • In FFXI they decorated all of the trees in the home cities in christmas fasion, and there is 1 moogle standing (flying? hovering?) in a main area in each of the 3 major cities handing out fireworks. There is speculation about some holiday themed quest, but as far as I know nothing has been uncovered.

      If you want to check out the decorations, check out the Vana'diel Live Cam [] at the game's site, and you should see some in the background.
    • Re:Everquest (Score:2, Insightful)

      by defjesta ( 620657 )

      "At this point, I dont see any reason why a massively multiplayer world wouldn't give their user base a christmas gift, unless the dev team is made up of Grinches."

      I couldnt beleive my eyes when I read this. Are you that close minded? or just stupidly insensitive? Not everyone celebrates your capitalist festival, and I for one, would never put any christmas features in a game.

      Open you mind a bit and maybe dont be so quick to judge.

      For the record, I am a christian and a westener.

      • ...and I for one, would never put any christmas features in a game.

        I think I read something recently about this attitude. Oh, yes, here it is:

        At this point, I dont see any reason why a massively multiplayer world wouldn't give their user base a christmas gift, unless the dev team is made up of Grinches. (The latter emphasis is mine.)

        Nothing like providing supporting evidence to the other side of the "insensitive" argument.

        (I had a problem with my blockquotes, too, until I used the preview button to ch

      • You're right in part, and I would put to you that there is no reason why they couldnt put in a form of celebration for every religion.
    • At this point, I dont see any reason why a massively multiplayer world wouldn't give their user base a christmas gift, unless the dev team is made up of Grinches.

      Grinches hehe.. a book that tries to demonstrate that Christmas isn't just about giving gifts but is about good will. The book is against the consumerization of XMas, which is amazing considering the marketting gone into it recently (Jim Carrey movie, toys etc). The moral of the story is NOT generosity.

      Scrooge would of been a lot better choic
  • by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @01:11PM (#7808423)
    Snow on the isles and Poinsettias, gave me adrink of rum when I saws them ....garrrr...
  • Puzzle Pirates covered all the islands in snow and holiday decorations. It's not very impressive looking, but it obviously took a lot of work. Yarrrr
  • blizzard (Score:4, Informative)

    by mraymer ( 516227 ) <mraymer.centurytel@net> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @01:16PM (#7808440) Homepage Journal
    Not exactly in game, but amusing none-the-less. Blizzard has a couple of MP3s with a Christmas theme. The 12 Days O Xmas [] features StarCraft units in a parody of the classic song. Nasty Diablo [] is a parody of Frosty the Snowman. Both are hilarious!
  • ADOM gives your character some bonus or the other. I think the game also started with "you follow a star to the valley..."
  • Dark Castle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heldlikesound ( 132717 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @01:26PM (#7808475) Homepage
    Dark Castle would display a Christmas tree in the corner of the room if the date was Dec. 25...
  • Star Wars Galaxies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by genrader ( 563784 )
    Galaxies gave away "Wookie Life Day Orbs" for Wookie Life Day in City Halls (I'm mayor of Apollyon, Lok on Corbantis server) to give to citizens. Aside from that, we get a 7 day "buddy key" to let friends try Galaxies, and also everyoen got one or two free Jedi Holocrons.
  • The game usually starts with Homer taking a nap in the living room, on 12.25, he changes his cloths to something like Santa's, and there is an xmas tree in the room.
    The gameplay is the same though, but I think it's a nice touch.
  • My favorite feature of Spaceword Ho! was on christmas all the planets turned into little santa heads..
  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @02:20PM (#7808701) Homepage Journal
    Set 12/25 and you will get a Christmas theme in Rise of the Triad [] game. There are other Easter eggs [] for other holidays too!
  • Er, Animal Crossing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n0wak ( 631202 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @02:35PM (#7808758) Homepage Journal
    Then again, seasonal events and holidays are the entire point of the game.

    Speaking of which, that reminds me: maybe I should visit my town to see what I got for Christmas. Though the downside will be the fact that the damned bitchy rooster will call me out for not visiting for almost a year. Man, my neighbours are going to be pissed.
    • You and me both, I haven't turned it on since my birthday of last year (Which is in October).

      I think what makes it even worse is that there will be a LOT of cleaning to do, ripping weeds up and what not.

      Maybe my in-game gift will be a lawnmower.
  • by denubis ( 105145 ) <(brian) (at) (> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @02:44PM (#7808798)
    The really old game The Incredible Machine (and the other expansion packs/versions) would give you holday themed objects.

    AFAIK, they had a christmas tree, a halloween jack-o-lantern, and a thanksgiving turkey.

    That was a great game.
  • Counter-Strike does not have any time sensitive features (far as I know), but there's a map called X-mas Dust floating around in the web (someone, please, give the credit where it's due, I don't know the origin of this map). It is the standard Dust map, but there are snowmen, xmas presents and santas scattered about in the map. Also, there are xmas lights that lit up when a character passes them.
  • But Natural Selection HL mod is supposed to go to version 3.0 sometime today!

    That means the christmas feature is that alien and marine individuals can now duke it out in deathmatch instead of on teams!
    • - Uniball ( is down over the holidays, how great of a gift is that for your players! Also-Health Clubs are closed -- HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO STAY AT 4% BODY FAT!!!!! ;)
  • FFXI (Score:2, Interesting)

    FFXI has had moogles giving out fireworks and trees decorated in towns ever since the patch on the 18th. They also have some performing NPCs breathing fire and juggling knives, but I'm not sure if that's holiday related.
    • They also have some performing NPCs breathing fire and juggling knives, but I'm not sure if that's holiday related.

      That's not holiday related. Whichever of the three nations is ahead in conquest points (through higher level missions and general killing the most monsters in the area) has that traveling band of performers in their town.
  • Sidekick (Score:3, Informative)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @04:19PM (#7809158)
    On the Danger Hiptop (T-Mobile Sidekick), there is an easter egg game called "snowbored". Inside this game is a meta easter egg - the trees turn into Christmas trees in the month of December.
  • Animal Crossing (Score:1, Redundant)

    by gearheadsmp ( 569823 )
    Animal Crossing has some sort of Christmas event. In fact it has an event for quite a few holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving? New years, etc.
  • Ultima Online... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jermyjerm ( 705338 ) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @08:24PM (#7810120) Homepage
    Aside from free gifts, UO had the best holiday bonus ever in the form of a Christmas PvP server. The entire game world in that server was covered in snow and all trees were decorated with "lights," etc, but the best part was that characters spawned looking like either Santa or an Elf. Everyone had max stats to even the playing field, and only basic weapons and bandages to use.

    It was basically a massive deathmatch... pure hilarious pandemonium.

    I also seem to remember killer reindeer running around, but I'm kinda groggy from holiday face-stuffing, so I could be wrong.

    Was anyone else a part of this insane experience?
  • Planetside players have been running around with santa hats in the days leading up to Christmas.
  • The game intro screen changes (homer as santa, tree in the corner)
  • I remember getting this for Christmas and seeing a Santa in the hangar waving like mad. Pretty cool. ;)

    Oh, and the new Simpsons Road Rage game supposedly changes the menu screen, or so I've heard.
  • In Ready 2 Rumble II (Dreamcast, PS2), if your console's date is set to 12/25, you will have additional characters/outfits to choose from, including Snowman and Elf.
  • ...had (have?) Christmas content. The one I remember the most was Christmas of '99, in Sonic Adventure, where the main town square was snow-covered, with a Christmas tree in the middle, IIRC. I'm not sure if they are still doing this, but I'd imagine the GC re-release of Sonic Adventure DX would have it, too.
  • There was an old, old startup program for the original Macs that gave a greeting based on the date and/or time ("Welcome to Macintosh, but you should be in bed"). It was fully customizable with a text file, and used MacInTalk (or whatever the text-to-speech software was). I still have an old MacPlus startup diskette with a cool startup screen, plays a bit of Money For Nothing, then runs the greeting program.

    There was also a game called "The Colony" which had a standard decoration throughout of old dried-

  • Screencap from Fuel Dump [] posted at Planetwolfenstein.

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