Today is Christmas; and as the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The family, the gifts, the bonding, there is so much to love about Christmas. For me, a lot of my favorite video game memories happened during the holiday. I’ll never forget receiving some of my favorite games from my family. I screamed in 2002 when I unwrapped Metroid Prime. Last year, my parents introduced me to Danganrompa because they thought it looked like an “Andrew” game. Video games and Christmas became synonymous with each other, but family bonding is what Christmas means to us.
While many people get together with family members on Christmas Day, my parents and I spend most of the day together. The typical schedule includes a movie at the theater, dinner, and then hanging out around the TV. The last few years have seen a new tradition arise. Lately, we’ve been playing video games with each other. My parents primarily stick with Nintendo consoles, but I’ve found a few games on Xbox that they enjoy. The Xbox 360 Scene It games are favorites within my family. The Jackbox Party Pack games and It’s Quiz Time are usually in the rotation. More social experiences bring the family together.
Trying something new while not forgetting the past.
Throughout the years, I’ve tried getting my family to branch out into different types of games. This year, I got them Tricky Towers, Overcooked 2, and a handful of Namco classics. While not an Xbox game, I got them to sit down and try Tetris Effect in Virtual Reality. As people who only play specific games, seeing them attempt something unique was a sight to behold. There’s something about the holiday that brings out the best in people.
When coming up with gift ideas, I try and think about what the people I’m shopping for enjoy. My parents used to go to arcades and sink hours into Pac-Man and Galaga. They loved the experience of going to an arcade and taking in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, arcades don’t exist in many places anymore, and those days are long gone. Luckily, for gamers who want a blast from the past, publishers are starting to accommodate. On almost a weekly basis, NeoGeo games are released on the Xbox Games Store. Titles like Metal Slug and the newly released Puzzle Bobble are nostalgia trips for my parents. This morning, I bought it for their Switch, and we spent some time laughing and being competitive with each other.
It helps my family get to know me better
Being 29, life is pretty busy. I go to work every day, come home, write, play video games, go to sleep, and repeat. Outside of a few instances, there isn’t much time to sit down with my family until the weekend. Video games are a way for them to get to know me better. After all, these games are my interests, one of my jobs, and they are a look into what makes me, well, me.
The past few weekends have been me sitting in the living room playing God of War with my mom watching on the couch next to me. She’s fascinated by the cinematic nature of the game, and often is amazed at how games have evolved over the generations. I have a confession to make. I bought them Overcooked 2 for Christmas as a way for us to bond together. I already have a copy on Xbox One, but it’s so fun, that I imagine we’ll spend hours laughing (and occasionally arguing) over who’s getting the recipes wrong.
Looking forward to the future
I remember a time when my family was very strict about the games I played. If I wanted to play Mortal Kombat, my mom made me disable the blood setting. M-rated games with language needed to be muted or the dialogue volume turned down. Now, my parents don’t care about those things. In fact, games like Halo are welcomed by my family. The big reason is that it’s a way for us to sit down, talk, and enjoy each other’s company. I love playing fighting games with my dad, and casual games with my mom. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
It’s not because of the gifts (they are nice though), but because for one day, it gets my family closer than any time of the year. What better way to bond than with video games? As someone who plays daily and loves to write about them, sharing my love for the medium with my family is better than any gift, I could ever receive.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89