A Pile of Christmas

This time last year, I shared some Christmas, video game memories. This year I thought I’d illustrate my nostalgia with the most festive of pictures, featuring the consoles and games of Christmas past. My wife was a little confused when she saw me arranging the above collection under the tree, but she was happy to let me get on with it once I’d explained that the Saturn was not her surprise Christmas gift.

The Master System 2 was my first console, pictured here with Sonic the Hedgehog and Alex Kidd in Miracle World built-in. It might have had the pause button on the power base, but it was still a wonderful little console and a great introduction to the world of video games. The Mega Drive followed a Christmas or two later, paired with Sonic 2 and Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition. Thus began my tortuous relationship with the beat-em-up genre.

Due to SEGA’s inability to properly manage a home console, I was forced to sell my original Saturn less than two years after receiving it one Christmas in the mid-90’s, to fund the purchase of a console that had not been discontinued. Pictured instead is one of my Japanese units, including versions of the games that came with my original, UK bundle: Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter 2, Alien Trilogy and Olympic Soccer. Virtua Cop 2 and gun followed the next Christmas, continuing my love affair with toy guns at an age where I should’ve been more interested in playing spin the bottle and drinking cheap booze.

I have fond memories of updating rosters on NBA Live 2000 on Christmas morning 1999, before starting a full season with my Phoenix Suns. Two or three years later, and I was going through a similar process with Smackdown Just Bring It, creating as many shitty wrestlers as possible before starting up the career mode. The Gameboy SP with Final Fantasy Tactics Advance arrived pre-Japan, at a time when my interest in video games had begun to wane. The Super Famicom represents my first video game Christmas away from home. Back in 2005, and having just arrived in Japan, my new housemates and I bought each other retro consoles in an effort to replace the items we’d left behind in our home countries.

The retro plastic has since been removed and the Christmas tree returned to normal, though the wife is still giving me slightly weird looks, and I’ll soon be settling down to a few drinks and a round of Christmas Nights. Once the presents and feasting is over, I’ll be posting my Best and Worst of 2012 sometime before the New Year. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the most memorable, forgettable and Binary Domain games of the year, spread across a variety of categories, and running at least 1000 words too long.

Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays


  1. I feel like over the years my Christmas's have faded from the bright red & green that once filled me with joy, but even now there is a ever burning candle in the soft space in my heart for Christmas. I remember waking up when I was only 6 years old, my brother stopped as he reached the living room, wide eyed he stared at a beautiful air hockey table waiting for us. We forgot there were other presents to be unwrapped, no matter the game or the form it comes in a game is always one of the greatest Christmas gifts you can get. I also remember one Christmas I saw a PS2 bundled with a game I wanted and I begged my mom to get it in front of me cause I knew she wouldn't find that bundle again, all the other bundles were with games I had zero interest in. I also happen to ask for Jak & Daxter as one two games on my list, she knew I wanted Jak so bad she returned the PS2 cause she found one bundled with Jak. I knew what the gift was waiting for me under the tree but I had no idea the surprise waiting inside, my heart must have skipped a beat, not because of the surprise but because I saw how much another person could care for another. Its something that gives hope to the dimming candle in the dark, and hope is a bright future.... atleast that's what I tell myself, haha
    I wish you and you're family a very merry Christmas!

    1. It's great that something as simple as a video game can bring back so many cherished memories and emotions. I guess that's why we hold onto and defend to the last our favourite childhood games, even if they'd probably be a bit shit if we played them now :)

      Hope you have a great Christmas.


  2. Great choice on doing your season with the Phoenix Suns. Hopefully you got to use Kevin Johnson!

    Unfortunately my memory tends to fail me when it comes to the exact gifts I received and the joy they brought as a child. But I do remember that my Mom and Dad both tried their hardest to make it special for us because they both grew up in families that could not afford many gifts. At my age now we have come to realize that what you receive is not the important part, its the time and people you spend that special time with. Right now I am excited to see my little brothers and sisters wake up and the huge smiles on their faces when they open up all the gifts they get. It always reminds me of that special feeling I used to get when I was a kid. I kind of get to relive my childhood through them. That's what makes it one of my favorite times of the year.

    Sorry I haven't been around to read your work and comment lately but I'm back. Always been a fan yours. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas to you and your family

    1. Kevin Johnson was my favourite player back in the 90s. Think he had made a mini comeback around 99-00, but can't remember if he was in the game or not. I'm sure I would've created him if not!

      Cheers for the kind words and for stopping by. Merry Christmas!


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