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The evolution of Santa Claus

Celebrated since the game’s debut in 2004, World of WarCraft’s Feast of Winter Veil provides an broad array of Christmassy activities for players, all of them ultimately headed up by the suspiciously cynical Greatfather Winter.

Sure, he’s just an old dwarf in a red coat that kind of looks vaguely like a medieval version of Santa. But what makes Greatfather Winter interesting is that there’s another version of him skulking around in Ogrimmar that looks nothing like any of the other Santas on this list:

OK, maybe he looks a LITTLE like them. There’s the red outfit and the beard to consider. But this is the first Santa (or Santa stand-in) we’ve ever seen that features tusks in its natural state. Let’s hope it’s not the last.


He may have a creepy stare, a shirt that’s falling off and an unnatural hunger for human flesh, but for our money, the zombie Santa from Infected is the best Santa ever:

Leave it to St. Nick to become the de facto mascot of one of the PSP’s best, most unfairly overlooked zombie shooters. In no other game is he quite this numerous, this menacing or this unforgettable. Secret of Mana’s mutant Santa has nothing on this monster, because left to his own devices, Santa’s zombie helpers will quickly turn into giant grotesques that are capable of much nastier things than just smacking you in the face with a bell.




 A return to friendlier Santas, the version of Kris Kringle from The Nightmare Before Christmas (and specifically the NmBC-themed area of Kingdom Hearts II) is one of St. Nick’s more stylized appearances. He’s impossibly fat and his beard is improbably long, but this isn’t a dimwitted, confused Moron Santa or a cynical deliverer of lethal presents – no, this Santa is sincere, with a competent gleam in his eye that only comes from the experience of being kidnapped by goofy monsters in a mix-up over who gets to administer which holiday.


Above: Plus, those black gloves make him look about as badass as a Santa can get

You could also argue that Jack Skellington there is a Santa as well, but while we’ve allowed a couple of impostors on the list already, one Santa (or at least one Santa type) per game is more than enough. Besides, Jack looks shabby and out of his element; it takes a real Santa to make that look work.

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34 comments

  • CaptainSalmon - December 25, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    Some of these look ho-ho-horrible. Thank you, I'm here all night.
  • ventanger - December 25, 2010 5:51 a.m.

    Oh crap I'm replying to year old posts. I'll be in a corner with my dunce cap on if you need me.
  • evilmonkeyturds - December 25, 2010 5:17 a.m.

    @jimsondanet, I read the giant block of text XP
  • ventanger - December 24, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    Ohhh snap uneccessarily veering off topic hold on tight whoooaaAAAAaaaa. Yes, CO2 is released from burning fossil fuels... so? Is the majority of CO2 created by humans? No. Will the increase in CO2 lead to global catastrophe? No. Will government-imposed strangling the means of production in order to reduce CO2 emissions based on this outright lie hinder advancement and by definition be REGRESSIVE, not progressive? DING DING DING! Yes. Read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg, the perfect cure for any deeply disturbed zeolite of the global warming religion. Merry Christmas!
  • tareq - December 24, 2010 10:44 p.m.

    Heh Nostalgia Trip
  • FanofSaiyan - December 26, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    As if Santa doesn't do enough for us, we want him to save the world! Give the guy a break. I loved the KH2 Santa, one of my favorite levels in the game. :)
  • Eo1spy - December 28, 2008 1:48 p.m.

    @ DeadGirls Please provide irrefutable proof that global warming is real, that average global temperatures have increased only since the Industrial Revolution and never when humans weren't releasing CO2. How come there were ice ages? The Earth cooled. How did these ice ages stop? The Earth warmed. How is now any different? P.S Sorry to be off-topic.
  • MP5-PRO333 - December 27, 2008 9:15 p.m.

    where is pain santa
  • DeadGirls - December 26, 2008 8:43 a.m.

    Nice article. I almost forgot about Toe Jam & Earl. It was one of the 1st "co-op" games that was really fun. @derringer83: Yeah, I was kinda expecting the drunk Santa from Blood Money also. @nadrewod99: Everyting MikelReparaz said + Global warming is not a myth or 'religion', its actually pretty simple. 1. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the warmer the atmosphere gets. This fact can be tested in any lab. 2. Fossil fuels such as coal and oil are full of carbon -- carbon that was completely removed from the carbon cycle until we pumped or dug it out of the ground. 3. The burning of fossil fuels releases oxidized carbon into the atmosphere. This is carbon dioxide. CO2.
  • Dinkymod - December 26, 2008 3:18 a.m.

    Should have added this in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swCWiULbGPY
  • derringer83 - December 26, 2008 1:35 a.m.

    Man I was pumped about this article. And it was pretty good, won't lie... but what about the drunk Santa from Hitman: Blood Money? That guy was awesome.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - December 25, 2008 7:37 a.m.

    @Montag & Mola13: Yes, yes, you're both right. Fixed and fixed. @nadrewod999: Games about Santa suck. It's no use trying to free-associate your way to a good Santa game, because there's no such thing as a good Santa game and there NEVER WILL BE. If they were any good in the first place, they wouldn't NEED to be about Santa.
  • oreomonkey - December 25, 2008 7:36 a.m.

    Funny how they chose all the gross killing savage disgusting violent Santas as the best and nice, cool, clean Santas as the worst, wow...
  • Ban - December 25, 2008 6:28 a.m.

    Now I need a PSP to play Infected
  • jimsondanet - December 25, 2008 2:20 a.m.

    no not at all like paople double posting comments, more like double tapping ctrl-v whilst copy pasting from word. and thank you for that massive block of text i will be genuinly surprised if someone actually read the entire thing
  • nadrewod999 - December 25, 2008 2:01 a.m.

    to Mola123: Yes, they double-pasted the paragraph just like some people double-post their comments to everyone: I totally agree with everything, although I think that the only good game Santa is... not here yet, but all they need to do is give a game featuring Santa (not as the main character or the main person in the game you deal with) better graphics than Fallout 3 and give us the ability to do whatever we want to him (example: instead of cutting the blue Santa in SoM down to size, either leave him alone or take control of him to use as your pet to help with the later bosses would be possible choices in a good Santa game), although I HATE side-scrollers that are movie-spinoffs and I HATE most Santa games anyway since the only people who really believe in Santa are most often too young to play any good games because their parents only give them educational games. Even so, I would really like a game featuring Santa if it showed how global warming was affecting him (and possibly have the game end by showing it was all fake) since global warming, while it might be a threat, shouldn't be taken so literally, especially when the preacher of the "Global Warming" religion doesn't even think about going anywhere by a very envirmentally-friendly way because he only goes places in his own private jet, plus I personally know a teacher at my neighborhood school who almost got fired when he, after teaching the REQUIRED course about global warming and Al Gore's movie, tried to teach the opposing side as well, so that he wouldn't be like most news stations (if you don't think "Global Warming" is a religion, compare the case of this teacher to the famous "monkey" trial back in around the mid-1920s).
  • georgeguy - December 24, 2008 10:22 p.m.

    nice artical GR happy holidays
  • Mola123 - December 24, 2008 10:09 p.m.

    um...is it just me or in the second santa claus example does it have the same paragaph twice?
  • SamaSume - December 24, 2008 9:52 p.m.

    my how santa's grown
  • evildevil2 - December 24, 2008 9:37 p.m.

    what about the lego santa costume from lego star wars 2?

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