Three Terrible Games to Play Instead of Celebrating Christmas

The holiday season is upon us, and thanks to increasingly rampant commercialism, it’s better than ever before. Unfortunately, the whole “friends and family” thing hasn’t quite died off yet, and Christmas is still very-much infested with cheek-pinching, mistletoe-dodging, and gift box-shaking aplenty. However, thanks to some advances in technology over the past few years, acknowledging your family during these trying times is a Facebook “like” away. Don’t let them fool you into caring. Instead, play some video games. Awful, disgusting Christmas-themed video games.

The problem is, Christmas games are pretty hard to come by. Why haven’t they made many Christmas games, you ask? Well, mostly because this is a time of year when our televisions betray our trust, and trick us into giving a crap about “relationships” or “the true meaning of love” through brain-washing films and jewelry store advertisements. And some people just prefer spending “quality time” with their “loved ones.” Add a shortage of compelling stories to that nonsense, and Christmas isn’t exactly a bankable video game concept.

Frankly, nobody wants to hear about an obese grandfather-figure handing out presents to children. It just doesn’t even make any sense. Why is he handing out gifts? Who supports what is likely the most extensive toy production and delivery service in the world? These questions and more will not be answered below, but rather my top three terrible games to play instead of celebrating Christmas. Hold on to your sled’s reins, because these babies suck more s*** than a Dayton self-priming centrifugal pump.

Daze Before Christmas

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You know a game is going to be exciting when your avatar is a bearded, overweight, potential-child-predator that carries a brown satchel of gifts around. Thankfully, the story doesn’t follow the true tale of Santa Claus — which would essentially be a game in which you adjust your erection while parents fork-over $10 for a photograph of their kid on your lap. Instead, Funcom chose to go with a timeless classic. You know, the one where Santa saves Christmas from a malevolent Snowman that imprisoned his elves and reindeer.

I’m sorry, have you never heard the story of Santa battling giant rats with his magical powers that turn everything into toys?  That’s strange, I thought everyone was familiar with that one. Fortunately, the platforming works well-enough, despite Santa having the body — and possibly the habits — of John Wayne Gacy. And despite having a title that sounds a lot like an 80’s National Lampoon movie, the graphics aren’t entirely abhorrent, either, sitting somewhere between mediocrity and colorful feces. Actually, the only gameplay aspect that isn’t completely average comes about when Santa drinks a cup of coffee. As expected, a sip of the Colombian nectar transforms old Kringle into “Anti-Claus,” an evil version of himself that swings a toy-sack of justice, is probably a closet Naziphile, and also happens to be invincible. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be raising my kids to believe in this version of Santa. I guarantee they’ll be less likely to throw a tantrum at Big Lots once I mention Schutzstaffel Santa will be paying a visit.

Perhaps the trickiest part of Daze Before Christmas is obtaining a copy of the game for the Mega Drive — the only system worth playing it on, obviously. Since the game was only released in Australia, a country that is [evidently] known for its love of Santa Claus and his mischievous ways, the cartridge demands quite the fee online. Although, you can simply skip the holiday gift giving tradition this year and start a new one: gift taking, followed by playing the Daze Before Christmas game you bought for $500 on eBay. It’s a win/win situation for you, and as for your family and friends, it’s usually only a matter of weeks before they forget about the whole incident. Even less if you slip some liquid-happiness into the eggnog.

Elf Bowling

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Because nothing screams Christmas like a nice round of crushing the bones of innocent day-laborers with a gigantic ball. I mean, we all knew that St. Nicholas was no better than a fat, white Pol Pot; forcing malnourished, growth-hormone deficient subjects to construct iPods, cellphones and various other modern gifts for self-entitled brats across the world (and last I heard he had installed some nets around the compound due to so many suicides). But using his minions as bowling pins? Well, that’s just sick.

As far as the game is concerned, it’s terrible. The only reason to even consider playing this piece of s*** is if you — for some insane reason — have a personal vendetta to settle with elves. And even then it’s a waste of money. However, thanks to the spirit of Christmas, all games involving Mr. Claus are given an honorary thumbs-up during the holiday season. And certainly the best part about this game is that it’s available online for free. Despite that fact, I suggest that you purchase a copy for the Nintendo DS. Why pay for something that’s essentially available for free, you ask? Because that’s where the game is at its worst, and what better way to show your family that you don’t care about them than by playing a game that’s less enjoyable than swallowing a bundle of whatever parasitic-plant you’re supposed to kiss beneath.

The DS cartridge is available online for around $20, making it the worst way to spend a Jackson since the dumpster-prostitution circuit in Vegas shifted its business to Craigslist. Thankfully, it’s obscure enough to be re-gifted to an unsuspecting niece or nephew, who will likely never speak to you again after playing through the introductory round of bowling. As far as I’m concerned, that’s two birds with one stone. Collectors will also notice that the box art, as with the in-game artwork, looks like it was designed by a blind, mentally disabled child with a congenital insensitivity to pleasure. The bottom line is, I’ve painted more attractive designs on the walls of a toilet bowl after a Del Taco binge.

Mall Tycoon

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While not technically a Christmas game, what better place to experience the most depressing aspects of the holiday season than at the mall? Goodwill, perhaps, but that’s because watching two men in filthy trench-coats fight over a pair of leather sneakers isn’t fun when there’s no one taking bets. It’s true, though; the mall is the saddest place (in a first world country) during Christmas, and the employees working during the holiday look about as happy as the survivors of the 1972 Andes flight disaster after feasting on the flesh of the only person with enough religious conviction to refuse resorting to cannibalism. As you can imagine, they’re pretty disgusted.

However, of the titles on this list, Mall Tycoon is by far the best — if you enjoy building and managing a bunch of low-polygon stores in a computerized shopping center that refuses to register clicks whenever it feels like it, that is. Which I don’t. And neither should you. You see, it’s not that I dislike the hundreds of Tycoon games released each day, it’s just that Mall Tycoon is so poorly designed that the only real challenge is not snapping your laptop screen after being forced to delete delinquent wall pieces that never seem to erect where you want them to. That’s what she said… does that fit here? No? Moving on.

Thankfully, the game is available for purchase online for the low, low price of $1. It’s a price that makes even Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis a decent purchase, and that game was like cancer of the GameCube. The only question that remains is: how many hours will you invest in this game while simultaneously ignoring the calls of your friends and family? Your answer should be hours. Days, if you’re a real man. Hell, if you have the balls and unemployment status, weeks, even. Honestly, there’s no better way to spend your time. Well, unless you have access to the Playboy Mansion — and not as one of Hefner’s brides.

In Conclusion

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Christmas isn’t just about getting drunk and stealing decorations from peoples front lawn; throwing smoke bombs at carolers, or calling the Government Child Exploitation hotline when that Mall Santa gets a little too frisky. Christmas is about purchasing expensive gifts for yourself and opening them in front of less privileged people. It’s about going to the food bank with some Red Lobster To-Go containers and dining in your car with the windows open, blasting holiday tunes. Most importantly, though, Christmas is about ignoring your loved ones and spending as much time as humanly possible playing awful games. Happy Holidays!