Well, Christmas day has passed and the 12 days of Christmas has begun. I really like this 12 days tradition because it feels like Christmas all the way till January. Today, as I write this throughout the day, I’m going to be taking advantage of After Christmas sales and buying more gifts to give and receive.
For Christmas, I did not receive much gifts but that’s ok. I actually bought more gifts for others, rather than an equal give and receive gift ratio. It feels pretty good to buy others presents, especially when they are the perfect, thoughtful gifts. My son got an onslaught of gifts, which I am happy about. I bought my wife a hardcover of Animal Farm and 1984 in one book. I also got her the Topple game, which she never played but always wanted to. I forgot how much fun this game is… and more complicated than I remember.
I also noticed that my wife and I spend more on Valentine’s day than Christmas these last few years. I don’t know how this tradition started, but it’s cool with me. I’m still receiving my Christmas gifts so I’m waiting to see what else I’m getting. So far, I got a Xbox 360 keyboard controller/headset, which I really wanted since Facebook and Twitter is now on Xbox live.
Christmas always reminds me of Christmases long ago. There were certain years where I received awesome gifts for the holiday; gifts that I’ve never forgotten because they were unforgettable. Since it is the Christmas season, I have decided to list my top five Christmases of all time. Starting the countdown from number five…
#5: A Tie: Metroid 2 for Gameboy and Aliens Vs. Predator for the Atari Jaguar.
I put it as a tie because I wanted both of these games in the list and a top six list would be too weird.
Metroid 2 was an awesome gift because I was such a huge Metroid fan in the 80’s. My father purchased the game a few months after the Christmas where I first received the NES. The first Metroid blew my mind. I never played a game that had so much complex area and puzzles. Is it any wonder that the second game was so anticipated?
By the time Metroid 2 was released, games have become more technically advanced. Programmers were pulling off greater feats because they have gotten better at game design. This made the sequel vastly superior, even if the game was mostly puke green colored.
Aliens Vs. Predator is a game that was released in 1994 for the Atari Jaguar. I was following information on the game for two years before the actual release date by reading video game magazines such as Electronic Gaming Monthly and Gamefan. The pictures that showed the game in development were amazing. The pics were photo realistic. I was also looking forward to this game because I am a huge fan of the Aliens and Predator movies, especially the Alien films.
#4: Super Mario Bros. 2
My fourth favorite Christmas ever was when I received Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment system. I think it is safe to say that my whole family was fans of the first SMB game. Most people were, and it showed when the second game was nearing its release date.
When it finally was made available for purchase, consumers snatched them up from the shelves. There was a mad dash for this game not unlike the Tickle Me Elmo craze. They were impossible to find and yet my father and uncle were able to get the last copies from the nearest Toys R Us. My classmates could not believe that I had it because none of them was able to obtain the game. Feeling the envy of all of them still puts a smile to my face.
#3: Atari Jaguar
My third coolest Christmas ever was when I received the Atari Jaguar under my tree. This unpopular game console was released in 1993. I was lucky to get one and it was an awesome system. I only had one game for Christmas (Cybermorph) but I quickly grew my library as the months went on.
The system had a raw, underground feeling to it, unlike any other console I had. The controller had a numerical section that many people criticized. Most games came with plastic overlays that defined the buttons. I thought it was cool and was mostly used to select items and such.
I had such fun with this system and games such as Dino Dudes and Tempest 2000. Anyone who talks shit about the Jaguar can kiss my ass!
My second coolest Christmas ever was when I got the freakin big-ass monstrosity Voltron. Nuff said…but I’ll continue. Back in the 80’s, everyone I knew would wake up early to watch the Voltron cartoon. There were two different Voltrons but I would watch the cartoon with the robot lions, so when the commercials started coming out with the toy lions, I knew what I wanted for Christmas.
There were two versions; a heavy Die cast Voltron, and a larger plastic one that had compartments for the little figures to sit it. Since I loved metal toys back then, I went with the Die cast one.
Both versions allowed the lions to come apart, which means that one big robot could become five smaller ones. I loved this toy. Of course, since I was an animal, I would eventually destroy it, which is why I don’t have it anymore.
#1: The NES and the SMS
The coolest Christmas I ever had was in 1986. In this year, I received both the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Mastersystem. How cool is that? It was pretty unexpected too. I only asked for the NES. I didn’t even know about the Sega console.
The NES system I got had a robot called Rob. Apparently, he helped control a game called Gyromite. He would help lift barriers that would block the character you control from reaching the goal area. You could switch control between Rob and the character on the screen. That was pretty cool.
The Sega Master System had its cool features as well. The system had a secret snail game that would have the player control a snail and help him get through a maze. The game only had one song, so that means it burned into my memory and cannot forget it ever.
Although the NES is better than the Master System, there were some games that was better on the SMS. For instance, I purchased Ghostbusters for the SMS and it blows away the NES version. Here’s a video that shows some of the differences.
Okay, so that’s about it. These were some wonderful Christmases for me. I tended to be more sincere and less smartass in this post because these past memories I will always remember. My family didn’t have much money, but they never dropped the ball for the holidays. I hope to carry the torch and do the right thing with my family and future kids.
Thanks for reading.