The 12 (Mostly Terrible) Games of Christmas
As we all know, there are twelve days of Christmas, unless you're a goopy family channel, in which case Christmas starts after Thanksgiving and doesn't end until New Year's. But if you want to celebrate with something other than the same old movies, we might recommend playing video games to enjoy the season. After all, it's a beloved holiday celebrated the whole world 'round! There have got to be a few good video games involving it. Right?
12. Elf Bowling
Elf Bowling is one of those games that you understand how it was conceived, how it was made, how it was marketed, and how it hit shelves. You just can't understand how it left those shelves. At all.
The concept? You throw heavy objects at elves. That's it. That's really it. Oh, there are special balls and powers, but it's pretty much just a terrible bowling simulator with a Christmas theme. And somehow they're up to seven of them and counting.
But that's casual gaming! What about consoles?
11. Santa Claus Saves the Earth
Released for the Game Boy Advance, we can really just let this game's ad copy speak for itself:
"Meanwhile, very deep underground lives a wicked fairy, Nilam. She has a magic pot that allows her to see everywhere in the world. She looked into her pot and saw Santa and his helpers packing presents for all the children and became furious that so much joy existed in the world."
Right, the fairy with the magic pot cares about Santa and his toymaking. That's not generally our experience with magic substances.
As for gameplay, it's pretty much your standard platformer. Sadly, there are no magic herbs or leaves Santa needs to collect for his pipe, which we considered a missed opportunity.
Already this sounds pretty bad, but it can get worse. How much worse? Let's try some film tie-ins!
10. The Santa Clause 3
We know what you're thinking, and no, this is not the third game in some sort of wildly successful "Santa Clause" series of games helping Tim Allen pay the rent on whatever crappy apartment he's currently living in, wondering where it all went wrong.
No, it's just a game of the third one.
Once again on what you'll rapidly realize is a dumping ground for crap games (the Game Boy Advance), it is, unsurprisingly, yet another platformer. That you can still buy, actually, it's five bucks on Amazon, if you're buying something for twenty bucks and need a gag gift.
Hey, speaking of digital dumping grounds...
9. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We like the concept of the Wii, and we like it when it's used for real games, but one thing that has to stop is these collections of "mini-games" which barely qualify as games by cell phone standards.
Still, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" barely qualifies as a game; there are carol sing-alongs, a virtual Yule Log, and lots of other stuff that would have been insulting shareware gifts for your coworker on a PC in 1995. That's the great advance in gaming: shareware on a disc.
8. Christmas Clix WiiWare
This ranks this high on the list for one simple reason. It's an identifable game, and it's not bad. It's just basically "Columns" with Christmas presents instead of jewels, and as such is actually tolerable for five minutes.
Still, we find ourselves thinking of shareware again. Will the game stop halfway through and demand we mail-order a disc for the rest of the levels?
7. Chicken Invaders 3: Christmas Edition
Photo: Interaction Studios
Hey, finally, something we can actually identify as a video game! A kinda crappy video game, but a video game nonetheless!
"Chicken Invaders" is pretty much your standard top-down shooter, rife with chicken puns and somewhat wobbly gameplay, but what's attention getting is the fact that for some reason they created a Christmas version, which takes what just seems faintly kiddy and ridiculous and turns it into a digital bad acid trip. Seriously, this is a game that will open doors in your mind, and probably also make you vomit.