While video games can be enjoyed all throughout the year, occasionally the developers will throw in some special holiday themed touches that are extra special around this time of year. Sometimes it can be as subtle as a simple sprite modification. Then there are times where the whole game world turns into a festive wonderland. Below are my Top 5 Holiday Themed Game Levels.
5 – Christmas NiGHTS
This “game” was originally released for the Sega Saturn, but you can get it on PS3 and Xbox 360 now. I say “game” because it is basically just a holiday themed promotional demo for the original NiGHTS Into Dreams. However, many fans of the series will claim this is somewhat of a stand-alone sequel. Regardless of how it is classified, Christmas NiGHTS delivers a unique experience based on the time of year you play it. If you load it up on Christmas, you will be flying around a snow covered land. Your character will be wearing a Santa outfit while “Jingle Bells” replaces the regular level music. And if you pay close attention, you might even see Santa Claus flying around.
4 – Danger – Icy Conditions Ahead
Super Mario World 2 Yoshi’s Island came out near the end of the SNES’s lifespan, allowing the developers to go the extra mile with the visuals. Near the end of World 5-3, it begins to snow and you will go into a hut and come back out wearing a pair of skis. While it is easy to get caught up in how nice the mountain looks as you ski down it in the snow, there is one other small transformation that happened in that hut. Baby Mario can be seen wearing a Santa Claus style hat. It is a nice little detail only happens during the skiing section. You can see Baby Santa Mario one more time in the game if you complete all of World 5 with 100% scores and unlock the extra level, Kamek’s Revenge.
3 – Winter Season
The Winter Season of Harvest Moon: Back To Nature is the perfect way to end each year of the game. During the other three seasons, you are busy taking care of the crops on your farm. But during the Winter Season, everything is blanketed in snow. The whole world seems to have slowed down from the cold. You still have to tend to your livestock, and some crops if you have a Hot House, but for the most part there is a lot less to do. It is a great time to relax and reflect on the past year, as well as prepare for the upcoming year. You can also enjoy the different holidays of the season. Girls that like you will bring you chocolate on Winter Thanksgiving. You can enjoy the stars from the mountaintop with one of at the Starry Night Festival. You might even get invited to a New Years Party at somebody’s home.
2 – GTA Online Snow
Ok here is where I use the term “level” loosely. GTA Online does not necessarily have “levels” as in worlds or stages, but it does have tons of updates and expansions throughout the year. The last couple of years, players have received special updates around Christmas time like a decorated tree in your apartment and Santa hats to wear. Along with that stuff, it would seem a blizzard passed through San Andreas. If you were to login on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the whole world was transformed into a winter wonderland. Everything was covered in snow and occasionally you would see flurries falling from the sky instead of rain. You would even be able to pick up some snow and make snowballs to throw at other players and NPCs. This would have been my #1, but Rockstar has not mentioned if the snow will return again this year.
1 – Freezeezy Peak
Banjo-Kazooie was a platformer on the Nintendo 64 that rivaled Super Mario 64. It not only had a unique variety of levels, it also expanded on the collect-athon aspect. Around the halfway point of the adventure will be Freezeezy Peak. Almost everything hear screams Christmas! In the center of the stage is a giant definitely-not-Frosty the Snowman. Not far from here, you can find a stack of presents and a Christmas tree. At the tree, you have to help the Twinklies get to the tree. Once enough are on the tree and the power is on, it will light up and you have to ply through the star at the top to unlock the Jiggy. If that was not enough to get you in the holiday mood, you also have to play Santa by delivering three sentient presents to some polar bear cubs.
These were just a few of my favorite holiday themed levels. What are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!