Above: Dreams, Dreams (A Cappella) from Christmas Nights Into Dreams
Technically you could call it a demo (one of the Top 7 best even), but there’s so much included in the game outside the one level and boss offered, that you wouldn’t be too far off calling it a game all its own, albeit a short-ish one. But whatever it is, nothing in gaming history is filled with more Christmas spirit than the Sega Saturn’s Christmas Nights Into Dreams, not even Elf Bowling. And it’s supported by an amazing soundtrack of tunes from the first Nights reworked for the holidays, topped off by the theme song Dreams, Dreams done A Cappella.
Above: The boss theme for Gillwing gets Christma-fied
Above: As does the overwolrd theme
For a few Christmases starting in 1996, playing through Christmas Nights became a bit of a tradition in my home. After getting a copy of it FOR FREE with Ultra Game Players (anyone else remember and miss that mag?), my little brother and I would go through the game over and over, unlocking everything (including Sonic) and playing with the Saturn’s internal clock to see all we could. Make it one date and it’s a regular demo, make it November or January and it becomes Winter Nights, December was Christmas, and there was even something for April Fool’s.
Going through the first level over and over, seeing it and the boss stage for Gillwing reskinned in X-Mas wonder was great, as was hearing all the new music. And when we reached the somber credits with the voice-only rendition of the theme arranged by esteemed jazz musician Marlon Saunders and sung by Saunders, Gabriel Morris, and Issa Clemon, my heart was warmed as few other things during the holidays can. Though you could unlock the soundtrack in the extras, that warm feeling was always stronger when combined with the credits.
Above: Skip to 1:52 if you want to miss classically terrible Saturn voice acting
If seeing those credits didn’t make you feel just a little cheer on this day, then you’re officially a Grinch, sorry. To all the rest of you, Merry Christmas Or Whatever You Choose!
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