Twelve (short) Games to play on Christmas evening


Santa (or Father Christmas as he was known to me as a kid) has come and gone and you’ve probably had way too much egg nog by now.  ‘Tis the season, after all.  But most importantly we’re mere hours away from the first ball being bowled annual boxing day Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  It’s a wonderful time of year isn’t?

Anyway, yesterday I ran through six games that if you’re feeling rather antisocial on Christmas morning, are so short you could polish them off.  If you’ve just had Christmas lunch, and have answered more than your fair share of questions about when you’re getting married or having kids, or “why you kids change jobs so often”, here are another six games to keep you away from the, by now, very drunk family.  Merry Christmas and stay safe.

7. Warioware: Touched!

(Nintendo DS)

You could put the names of all the Warioware games in a hat and pick any of them, really, but Touched! is probably the easiest one to find and play these days.  But really any of them will do, because not only is Warioware one of the best pick up and play series around, it is als0 probably my favourite of any of Nintendo’s properties.  While the first of Nintendo’s reverent mini-game collections is still for mine the best in the series, making its home on the Game Boy Advance, Warioware: Touched! on the Nintendo DS was my introduction to the two-screened monstrosity that would dominate my game time for the next half a decade, and so holds a very special place in my heart. But while you can make your way through the game within a couple of good solid hours, if you stop there you’re kinda missing the point.amo


8. Project Rub XY/XX

(Nintendo DS)

The courting of the opposite sex is hard.  Long gone are the days where the matriarch would spot a rich, agreeable chap riding into town on his horse, invite him to a spout of Victorian era dancing, and you’d have your daughter married of within the month.  Now it’s a long drawn of process of the man playing the hero, puffing his chest out, and beating off his competition with a stick.  Sega’s Nintendo DS launch title, the unfortunately named Project Rub XX/XY, captures that vital part of the human experience perfectly with a series of mini games that have you vying for the affections of a girl that didn’t quite have the ‘love at first sight’ you did.  It’s ridiculous, it’s over-the-top, and it just also happens to appeal to the most basic of human instincts.


9. Gargoyle’s Quest

(Nintendo Game Boy / Nintendo 3DS)

Gargoyle’s Quest was the Game Boy’s quiet achiever for a long time.  I played the game when it came out, borrowing it off of a relative, and finding my way through to the credits by the end of the day.  But it was a mighty special experience, and like anyone that owned a Game Boy in the 90’s I knew in my heart of hearts that it was an instant classic, blending the overhead shenanigans of your typical JRPG with action platforming, to make a gaming cocktail fit for a king.  But to most, it didn’t rate a mention, struggling to get its head above the Marios and Donkey Kongs that got instant recognition as black and white classics seemingly on name alone.  Thankfully, the gospel that we Game Boy devotees had been spouting for years was spread when it finally made its way to Virtual Console, and finally Gargoyle’s Quest was put on the pedestal it so well and truly deserved, for everyone to see and admire.

Gargoyle's Quest, mine at long last.

10. Touch my Katamari

(PS Vita)

Katamari is the closest thing to intravenous happiness this side of Rayman Legends.  You could argue that, after six mainline console entries in the series, Katamari is getting a little long in the tooth. And yeah, sure, it hasn’t evolved a whole lot in that time, still having you roll a giant adhesive ball around ridiculously japanese real-life inspired locales, picking up everything in your path until the timer runs out (or, in some cases, you pick up a cow).  But does that matter when the simple fact is that Katamari’s infectious charm and addictive gameplay can make your heart sing even on the worst day?  And like a stack of games on this list, while you can make it to the end of the PS Vita game in a couple of hours, by the time you’ve gone back and collected everything and found all of the Prince’s adorable cousins, you’ll have the japanese lyrics to Everlasting Love etched into your brain.  And you’ll still have no clue what its about.


11. Another World

(Everything, ever.)

In the scheme of things I think Another World is the game that had the most influence on my gaming tastes growing up.  It taught me video game violence didn’t need to be tasteless, that games could be smart without being complicated, and that you don’t need narrative shoved in your face to enjoy a good yarn.  But it also encapsulates everything I love about video games.  Games have been more real and believable – and sure as hell prettier – than Another World in the more than 20 years since its release, but none have managed to thoroughly transport me to a fictional planet quite like Eric Chahi’s masterpiece.  You could perhaps put it down to the fact that Lester is the spitting image of me, but I feel like I took that deadly journey, and survived to tell the tale.  Unless you consider Heart of the Alien cannon, I guess.


12. Prince of Persia

I miss the days where games weren’t judged on their length.  Prince of Persia comes from a time where it was okay to advertise that, hey, this game is exactly one hour long and if you can’t save the princess in an hour, well too bad Johnny but you lose.  It’s hard and fast time constraint wasn’t even worth a bullet point back in the day, but going back and playing the game all these years later, it’s a refreshing change in pace to games that seem to try their absolute hardest to pad their games out with meaningless distractions.  Bring the time limit back I say.  After all, saving the world can seldom wait.