Dec 24, 2007
Christmas is tomorrow, and that means those of you who celebrate the holiday are just hours away from opening the free stuff you've been looking forward to all year. In the spirit of the season, we extend our warmest wishes that you find at least one of the games we've recommended under the tree, and that you don't get stuck with any well-intentioned but misguided crap. And to keep you occupied for a few minutes while you wait for the hours to tick away, we've gone through years of yuletide memories to pick out the seven in-game moments that scream "Christmas!" the loudest. Some are time-locked bonuses, others are appearances by Santa Claus himself, but all of them have warmed our hearts or scarred our minds in their own special way.
7. Christmas NiGHTs (Sega Saturn, 1996)
This doesn't really qualify as a "moment" per se, but if you were much of a hardcore gamer 11 years ago, then Christmas NiGHTs is likely the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Christmas in games. Rented at Blockbuster Video and given away with certain Saturn games and magazines, this two-level NiGHTs into Dreams expansion was just a normal demo for most of the year, but it held cool secrets if played on certain days. Particularly if you played it during December, when it suddenly became more Christmassy than a horde of mall Santas.
NiGHTs himself (itself?) slipped into a snazzy red outfit with white fur trim, the rings he flew through became giant wreaths, the music changed to a "Jingle Bells" remix and the whole Spring Valley level got an appropriately festive, snow-covered makeover. There've been other Christmas conversions over the years (most notably in Lemmings and LocoRoco), but none were quite as cool or ambitious as this.