Altering situations to resemble something else is often a sign of obsession. Such is the case with me and video games. I may not have the most extensive current catalogue or intimate knowledge of retro obscurities but I love the principle of gaming and because of that, they affect me heavily. How is this relevant, you ask? Well, it’s Christmas and as with a great many things in life, I can’t help but see a large amount of similarities. Sure, it could just be a case of art imitating life but where’s the fun in that?
|You can actually buy this wreath, here!|
Throughout the day, you may notice that every time you try to carry on with the main objective (playing with.. oh, I dunno.. a new video game perhaps?) you are constantly bombarded by side quests that you don’t really want to participate in but you know it’ll probably benefit you in the long run. The first of such side-quests is spending time with your friends and family. This can be the trickiest element for an inexperienced player. Visiting relatives is akin to interacting with RPG characters, wherein you need to execute a perfect combination of phrases to get through the entire thing without sounding like you don’t recognise them or starting a fight.
|Remember, you can choose to ignore those irritating family members!|
Most families will also employ the use of party games or singing carols. This can strike you in one of two ways, as all mini-games do. Either you’ll jump straight in and even look forward to this section as much as the rest of the day (kinda like the card game in Final Fantasy VIII) or it’ll drive you up the wall crazy and have everyone shouting at each other that they shouldn’t have bothered with this waste of time (kinda like the card game in Final Fantasy VIII). The carolling on the other hand depends entirely on skill level. While you can master the art of tapping the green button on a plastic guitar while simultaneously strumming, this doesn’t automatically make you a qualified master axe shredder but you can still be very proficient at something like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. The same cannot be said for singing. No matter how good a gamer, you can either sing or you can’t and much like carol singing, everyone will soon realise which category you fall into.
|Crackers...gunpowder and cheap tat!|
Even cheap crackers are decorated nicely but my God they can contain some crap. Then there are some extremely high quality crackers with pocket knives, chess sets and other mad useful things. The element of surprise and immediate disappointment as you add your new tiny set of screwdrivers to an already large and equally useless collection of tiny screwdrivers from previous years, is indicative of that moment you watch that loading icon only to see that your reward for killing that surly bad guy is yet another item ideal for someone multiple levels below you or of an entirely different class.
|Merry Christmas Ma'am, I mean...Your Royal Highness.|
|I like to imagine I'm indulging in an epic Elder Scrolls feast.|
While there are a few esoteric traditions, most Christmas Days have a standard format and it’s this rigid formula of familiarity that reminds me most of replaying my favourite video games. There’s always something comforting about familiarity and even if it drives you mad, who could say they wouldn’t immediately fall back into the old habits and joys of nostalgia firing up an old favourite? So this year, whatever you’re doing, whoever you spend it with, hopefully all the positivity of reliving the greatest and most irritating of times will please you all.
Merry Tetris everyone!