Monday 18 December 2023

New (Unique) CHRISTMAS Games!

For the 2014 Christmas season, I had prepared a special Unique Games entry on some of my favourite Christmas themed games for various platforms. Although I have found some more Christmas-themed games mostly from the olden days for the classic platforms, I decided to do a special entry on comparatively new unique and/or exclusive Christmas- and winter-themed games for old machines, most of these made within the last ten years, since there are plenty to be found. Links to games' pages provided as far as legally and/or officially possible.

As usual, I have tried to be as thorough in my investigations as possible, but it still could be that I might have missed some of even the more notable Christmas/winter-themed games from this list, so if you can think of anything to add, feel free to throw in a comment at the end of the post.




The retro platform with the most prolific catalogue of Christmas- and winter-themed games made in the past ten years is Commodore 64, but most of the Christmas-themed games released for it are modifications of previously released games, such as Sarah Jane Avory's Santron (Neutron) and Snow Force (Soul Force), Badger Punch Games' Snowdown (Showdown), Simon Jameson's Doc Xmas (Doc Cosmos) and Knights of Bytes' Sam's Journey: Season Special, just to name a few. I'm going to feature five completely standalone games that I have enjoyed in the past few years, just to keep an element of the hunt for uniqueness alive.

1. Santa's Snowball Challenge (2020, Stephan Freudenreich/public domain)

There's no doubt about it: there has been a fair amount of Christmas games with the specific theme of throwing snowballs on the C64, but Santa's Snowball Challenge puts a fresh twist to that idea. The old mythical white-bearded Christmas figure has somehow seated himself on some tree branches outside of a house, with seemingly no way to get down from there, so in order to deal with his seasonal predicament, presents are summoned on the roof of the house, and Santa's mission is to throw snowballs at them to get them down the chimney. At least that's what I like to think how it goes.

Your mission is to keep an eye on the type of presents that come directly in your line of fire, or line of snow to be more precise, and select the corresponding present with your cursor below the action screen in the given line-up of presents, and then push the fire button. It's basically an endless score grinding game, but there is an ending to it: as the pile of presents piles up towards the left end of the roof, the closer to the end you'll get. Once a falling present drops off from the roof and reaches the snowman between yourself and the house, the game is over. It's a reasonably fun puzzle-action game that might keep you entertained for a while, but there is also a fair chance of becoming tedious before too long. Still, it's a unique Christmas game for the C64 worth checking out.

2. Quasimodo's Christmas Caper (2022, RWX Designs)

One of the most high-quality Christmas-themed games I have ever played on any platform (not that there's all that many truly high-quality Christmas games around) is Quasimodo's Christmas Caper, the first game in a series of new upcoming Quasimodo games by RWX Designs. This is a single-screen platformer, fairly reminiscent of Manic Miner combined with Bubble Bobble, but more challenging.

You control Quasimodo, whose job it is to clear all screens of snowballs before you are given the permission to exit through the doorway to the next level. Collecting stars will give you a chance to pick up some power-ups, such as temporary invulnerability and enemy freeze. Although the game offers a fair challenge even in the first screen, the game play is well-balanced, and it starts fairly easy with nothing particularly exciting, and moves on after a couple of screens to featuring ice balls that freeze Quasimodo, as well as disappearing platforms. There are only twelve levels in the game, but the challenge is hard enough to keep you going at it for hours. Highly recommended!

3. (Vinny's) Xmas Caper (2022, FREEZE64)

Another Bubble Bobble variation is a game called Xmas Caper, which is also known as Vinny's Xmas Caper or even Freeze64 Xmas Caper, since it was originally released as an e-mail-ware for Freeze64 magazine subscribers in Christmas 2022. It's another single-screen platformer, with the Bubble Bobble element here being the top and bottom of the screen looping, so you cannot die by falling down a hole.

The idea is to light all the Christmas light in a level, but your mission is made more difficult by the roaming enemies, which look suspiciously familiar from their more heroic roles from other games. You can kill them by jumping on them, similarly to Giana/Mario, so that's already a different game influence. The Christmas lights mission reminds me more of games like Toy Bizarre, which has a similar enemy influence on the mission elements. Although that's all good and fun combining of elements, the real trick that makes Vinny's Xmas Caper surprisingly addicting is the fact, that you only get a single life to get through the entire game. Even if you never make it, it's still good fun for your future Christmas playlists. However, the only way to find it by non-subscribers, as far as I can tell, is by digging through the Commodore Scene Database ( for a cracked version.

4. Santa's Rats Issue (2021, Marco Giorgini/public domain)

Single-screen arcade action games seem to be the chosen popular way for making modern Christmas games for the C64. Another game to adopt this method is Santa's Rats Issue, which puts Santa Claus work his beard off once more inside several buildings - similar to Creative Sparks' old Special Delivery. Basically, it's another ladder-based platformer.

This time, the story is, all the untamed house animals of the world, such as mice and bats, have decided to take revenge once and for all against all the people on Earth for killing their brethren with various traps and such, and they have booby-trapped all the presents. So, naturally, it's up to Santa to disarm and collect all the booby-trapped presents and exit through the chimney. As the game is also designed to have a somewhat harsh time limit, strategies for picking up the presents are necessary to think up. The only real problem I have with this game is the similar look of all the houses, but since the house designs are different enough, it's a minor complaint. It really is a very enjoyable Christmas game, and I can only recommend it highly.

5. Santa's Workout Trilogy (2021-23, Vector5 Games/public domain)

When I started writing this blog entry, the last C64 thing for this list was originally two games, but became a trilogy while writing this blog. Now an increasingly prolific C64 game developer, a Finnish bloke by the name of Jani Parviainen (Vector5 Games) had written and published one C64 game prior to the first Santa's Workout, which became a reasonably successful game for the 2021 Christmas period.

In the original Santa's Workout, the basic premise is only to reach the door in each level, though the more presents and spare ice blocks you have collected, the better your bonus score will be. The controls are deviously simplistic, but not exactly intuitive - the in-built instructions are certainly good to read. In some ways, Santa's Workout reminds me of Solomon's Key, but without the weapons and enemies, or even keys to enable the exit from each level, so it's definitely it's own thing, and all for the better.

The second game plays more like Lolo's Adventure for the NES, or if you're more of an MSX fan, the name Eggerland might have more significance. So instead of a side-view, this game is viewed tilted above, and you need to collect stars, bombs and presents from single-screen mazes, and push around rocks to fill up holes and be careful not to make new holes on ice. The difficulty curve is notably steeper than in the Lolo/Eggerland games, but if you know what you're doing, it's a fun challenge. Also, being one of only two Eggerland/Lolo clones on the C64 (the other one being Eggland from 2014), it's certainly worth a few tries.

Finally, released on the 10th of December 2023, we have Santa's Workout III: Silent Night, in which you need to sneak through 24 dog-guarded houses in any chosen order, and find the Christmas tree in each house, under which you need to plant a pile of presents. After trekking your way back out through the front door, you are taken to a "pick one of three" screen, which gives you the chance to win extra lives. This is the first, and so far the only multi-screen game in the series, and it plays surprisingly similar to Merry Gear Solid, which I mentioned in the Unique Christmas Games blog post nine years ago. For me, the third game is easily the best in the series, even though the other two are not half bad, either. All of them offer more Christmas gaming value than most classic era Christmas games do.



While not having produced quite as many Christmas- and winter-themed games in the last ten years, the Spectrum community have still produced enough to take the second place with a large margin. Perhaps the real difference is, there is practically no Christmas modifications of earlier games, but rather, all the games here were made for the purpose.

1. Christmas Gift Hunt (2015, Stephen Nicol) - 48k/128k

The first and the oldest one of the lot is Christmas Gift Hunt, a simplistic maze adventure created with Arcade Game Designer (AGD), which the author Stephen Nicol later used to make tutorials for AGD Basic. You can find them on his website/blog, Loading... SCREECH.

Christmas Gift Hunt is simplistic enough not to feature music at all, and not that much of sound effects either. The graphics are just about 1984 standard, as is gameplay. Somehow, though, therein lies the game's charm. It's thoroughly Spectrumesque in all that it offers, even though it could have easily been made more modern and technical. You just wander around the map, collecting presents and avoiding contact with enemies, and that's it. The map design is charming enough for warranting at least that one playthrough, but the game is really more useful as a tutorial, if you're up for it.

2. Frumpy - Christmas Jumper (2021, Stonechat Productions)

Here's what you call a minimalistic Manic Miner clone. Except that it isn't quite that, although on the surface, it certainly appears so. Frumpy incorporates some elements from an Amstrad classic platformer called Bumpy - specifically the waterdrop and umbrella items and how they are used just upon contact.

The few traces of being a modern game in Frumpy are notable, yet not very visible. The only modern gameplay element is the wall-jump, so there is also an element of Super Meat Boy here. Otherwise, you get infinite attempts for solving each level, instead of just three lives; and there is also a timer, which instead of counting towards zero, keeps time of how long it takes for you to finish a level, and shows you the best time for each level upon dying or completing it. If you're not satisfied with your finishing time, you can retry the level. Again, Super Meat Boy comes to mind. The game itself doesn't feel all that Christmas-y, though the loading screen definitely is reminiscent of those woolly jumper knitting pictures, and the level names are mostly somewhat Christmas-related. Everything else, though, is just good, simple, yet challenging fun.

3. Gherkin's Christmas Carnage (2020, DomReardon)

More single-screen action games, and this time we have a rather oddly designed shoot'em-up. What I mean by "odd", is that the level designs allow for multiple entry points for enemy waves, which, from all I can tell, are pre-designed, so there is no randomizing factor here. Upon further examining, this is a good thing, since some levels give you no room for preparing for the odd chance of having an enemy wave appear where you don't expect it to.

The idea is to protect the flashing present in the middle of a pile of presents in each level, and the way to beat a level is to gather 50 points. In some levels, it is simply impossible to get the 50 points by shooting enemies, but by the time you get to that level, the game has introduced collectable extra life and score items. With these elements, it is a surprisingly entertaining game, although without any sort of random element, it is bound to become a dust collector sooner rather than later. For a Christmas game, though, Gherkin's Christmas Carnage is a good change of pace, and good for a few goes.

4. The Unofficial Zombo's Christmas Capers (2016, Monsterbytes)

Until writing this blog post, I had no idea who or what Zombo was, but the character got me intrigued, thanks to this unofficial Christmas game starring Zombo. Well, it appears Zombo is a character in the British science fiction comics anthology 2000 AD, which made his first appearance in 2009, and the latest one in 2017. Zombo is a human/zombie hybrid with a hunger for human flesh, but he's very polite. I should probably hunt down a few 2000 AD magazines with Zombo featured, just to see what the fuss is all about, as I'm now definitely intrigued.

As for the unofficial game, it's another one of those flip-screen maze adventures, in which you need to collect all the presents and a few keys to access all areas. At some point, you can pick up a weapon, with which you can shoot some of the enemies, but not all of them. Oddly enough, there is even a final boss fight in the game, for which you need to have collected pretty much everything the rest of the game map has to offer. For this type of game, Zombo's Christmas Capers is one of the most entertaining ones of its kind, and even surprises you in the last minute. It's the only game on the entire list that I have managed to complete (so far), but I'm looking forward to repeating that next year!

5. Lockdown Town ZX (2022, PuttyCAD / 100 Tinsoldiers) + ZXmas + ZXween

Sort of similarly to the C64 section, the Spectrum list ends with three games in one entry, although this time it's because all three versions of Lockdown Town ZX were released on the same day. Inspired by the effects of covid-19, Lockdown Town ZX puts you in charge of an ambulance driver, whose job it is to pick up patients all over town and deliver them to the hospital for treatment while avoiding the wandering virus-looking nasties.

Whether you agree with the subject matter or not, I won't be going into the politics of the whole thing, but this is a well-constructed maze game made with Jonathan Cauldwell's MPAGD (Multi-Platform Arcade Game Designer), with the real treat being additional Christmas and Halloween editions of the same game released simultaneously. They all have enough of different maps and graphics to warrant playing all three versions, and I included it here because the Christmas version wasn't an afterthought, but rather a package deal. Good stuff!



The NES became the four on the list of having the most original Christmas-themed games. Like so many other modern NES games, all three games were authored with some NES gamemaking software, but the quality is, on the whole, much better than one would expect from games made with gamemakers. And to be honest, for Christmas-themed games in general, you wouldn't expect anything more ambitious.

1. Turtle Rescue: Unwrapped - Holiday 2019 Edition (Joe Sherman, 2019)

For the first of three NES games, I have chosen Turtle Rescue: Unwrapped, which has the additional "Holiday 2019 Edition" slapped as a subtitle. The point of it rather escapes me, since I haven't been able to find a non-holiday edition of the game, but no matter. Arguably the best of these three, TR:U plays somewhat like a classic Legend of Zelda variant, since it's a top-down flip-screen adventure with some fighting and puzzle-solving involved.

You play as a turtle, whose community is inconvenienced by kidnapped infant turtles. The common enemy has wrapped them in Christmas presents and scattered them all around the game area, and it has basically been made your mission to gather all the infants and deal with the enemies so Christmas is saved. Although there's plenty of unnecessary dialogue and a bit of grinding involving seashells you need to gather for ammunition, overall it's an adequately addicting adventure game with nice graphics and music. Also, the theme of playing with turtles instead of the usual Santa Claus or penguins in a Christmas-themed game is a nice change. From my admittedly unreliable memory, TR:U is easily one of the best NESmaker games that I have ever played, and I can only recommend it highly, particularly as a Christmas game.

2. Maile Penguin's Christmas Card Adventure (karikas, 2021)

According to this game's page at, Maile Penguin's Christmas Card Adventure was created with NESmaker for karikas's family as a digital holiday card, and was inspired by actual locations in their daughter's life. The plot of the game is, Santa can't find his way to Maile Penguin's house, and you need to help him by finding eight Heart Blinks and use them to guide Santa to do his seasonal duty properly.

For the lack of a better description, it's an 8-bit walking simulator, where you merely need to collect the eight Heart Blinks in the relatively small map, although a couple of them are a bit harder to find than the others. It is cheerful in its simplicity, though, and the personal touches to the game are endearing. The nice uptempo rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" gives a more comedic touch to the game than you would expect. The game can be finished in a few minutes, but then, how many Christmas games are there that are able keep you at it for any longer? It's a nice game to break your other Christmas traditions, but I can't say if it's worth repeats to most gamers.

3. Santa's Snowman (Paul Palmer, 2022)

The third and final NES title for this list is Santa's Snowman, a short Sokoban-like puzzle game made with Retro Puzzle Maker, in which you play as a snowman, whose job it is to collect all the presents from each of the game's eight levels and bring them under the Christmas tree, which then sends you to the next level. Being only eight levels long, the game feels more like a playable demo than a full-fledged game, but again, for a Christmas game, it's good enough for a few minutes.

For the eight levels you do get to play, you learn to push snowballs into holes to fill them up, realize that walking over spaces marked with X will turn into holes, and that ice slabs will slide you all across to the next un-iced space, whatever that is. Only one level features a key and a door you need to open up with it, so there's definitely room for more progression here. Also, the graphics are a bit too simplistic to fit the awesome soundtrack, which is really the biggest asset this game has, even though it hasn't got an inch of Christmas about it. Of course, you could consider the cheapness of the graphics a funny element, but again, the music isn't funny to fit the big picture. Regardless of what you might think of the graphics and lack of content, the gameplay is solid enough to hold through all eight levels, and makes you wish it had more to it.



Three platforms managed to get two Christmas-themed games on this list, which is exactly as many of them as I could find by digging through and other thematic websites and archives. For the Commodore Amiga, LemonAmiga's forum threads listing all the games for each year since 2012/13 was particularly helpful, but even so, three is all I could find that I might consider worthwhile in some way. There were also a couple of nice modifications of NIVRIG Games's Turbo Tomato and Dodgy Rocks, respectively called Turbo Santa and Santa Rocks, but the rules from the C64 and Spectrum still apply - modifications of earlier games are not accepted on the list.

1. Santa Run (DoubleSided Games, 2020) - AGA/CD32

The first Amiga Christmas game for this list is a runner game of sorts, although unlike the usual Canabalt style, this one is viewed from above, and it's not endless. Santa Run also incorporates a gameplay element reminiscent of Paperboy, which makes an interesting combination. That said, the game does take itself a bit too seriously in the Canabalt style endless runner genre - it could have benefited from having more than one life to start the game with, or indeed, ever having.

Controlling Santa in this game takes a while to get used to, since pulling the joystick left and right only throws presents left and right. Santa is deathly allergic to the ground, so you need to jump from roof to roof by pressing the fire button to keep yourself alive, but you have a finite amount of elf jumps. It took a few tries for me to realize that the elf jumps enable you to double-jump in mid-air, and a few more  tries to get that reprogrammed to my muscle memory. Thankfully, it is a rather short game, so it works very well as a score attack game for your Christmas gaming sessions. Too bad it requires an AGA Amiga to work; the only way for me, at least, to enjoy it, is through emulation or my A500Mini, if I can get the game working on it.

2. Santa Claus - Xmas Season 2022 (Amiten Games, 2022)

The other Amiga Christmas game for this list is a clone of Mike Singleton's 1983 game Siege, which you might remember is what the old Creative Sparks game Orc Attack was also based on. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, the basic idea is, you as a fortress guard need to throw things at enemies trying to climb up to your level, and the things you need to throw are given to you by any given entity on the two sides of the screen. Here, Santa Claus is the guardian, and two reindeer are the entities giving you things to throw.

This Santa Claus game is on the other hand a bit more simplistic than Orc Attack, as it doesn't give you more than a single weapon type, and the enemies climb on a firmly built ladder instead of having to combine their own ladder pieces. However, the game gets gradually faster, so that by level 10, you will be having trouble keeping the top of the castle safe. If at any time your castle is sieged, Santa's speed resets, but you are given a chance to pick up an item that gets you back up to the speed before you were thrown off. It's a nice enough variation of the theme, with nice graphics and a jolly seasonal soundtrack, but if you're specifically looking for a good Siege/Orc Attack clone, there are other options.



I had doubts as to whether or not to include these two C16 games on this list, because they are both made in BASIC, but then I thought, there aren't that many Christmas-themed games on the C16 to begin with, so what the heck. The only other ones I could find were two rather horrid games from 1986 and 1990, and Misfit's 2022 Christmas shooter called X-Massacre, which is also available on the C64 and VIC-20, so that doesn't count.

1. Santas Winter Work (RKSoft, 2018)

The first one is another Siege-clone, which was distributed as a type-in in a German magazine in 2018. And yes, the title is officially spelled without an apostrophe, so I didn't bother correcting it.

For a BASIC game, Santas Winter Work is surprisingly nice-looking, but it plays sluggishly and has a couple of bugs that can kill the game. I played it three times for the sake of this entry, and twice my game ended due to a bug. The first time, the present-shaped bomb dropped through the enemy, so the enemy got up anyway, and the second time, a second bomb was accidentally dropped the same shaft after killing one enemy, which crashed the game big-time. Still, the animations are sort of fun, and for a BASIC game, it's surprisingly enjoyable.

2. Santa's Glowing Balls (Giuseppe Mignogna, 2020)

The second game, now featuring an apostrophe, was apparently coded for a Christmas-themed online BASIC game challenge, which ended up not taking place after all. The Plus/4 World website features downloads of the uncompiled and compiled versions, of which the latter requres at least 32kB of RAM to work.

This one is not only far more competent as a game than SWW, but also vastly more entertaining. Santa's Glowing Balls is basically an artillery game, in which you aim by moving your Santa Claus a little bit in the given area, and then adjust the horizontal and vertical meters. Instead of destroying your enemy, as is usual in these types of games, the idea in Santa's Glowing Balls is to attach Christmas ornaments on a Christmas tree by throwing them onto the designated spots on the tree. It's a good challenge, and the PETSCII graphics (featuring funny animations) and cheap sound effects make for an excellent sum of unexpected parts. Definitely one of the high points of my investigations for this Christmas!



I never considered the CPC to be a particularly Christmas-y platform, as it didn't have much of a backlog of classic Christmas games in the first place. Therefore, it's always a pleasant surprise to see something even remotely Christmas-themed get released on the machine.

1. Elfo Saves Christmas (CPCretrodev.Byterealms, 2018)

Here's an odd little beast that was made for the Amstrad CPC game creation competition (#CPCRetroDev) in 2018, and finished at number 27 out of 41 participants. As such, it doesn't really give much promise, and when I saw the game's screenshots at CPC-Power, it didn't give me a sense of "this is going to be fun".

You can probably see, why, from these screenshots. It's very red indeed, accompanied mostly by black things, and it has no music whatsoever, so it has an oddly dark atmosphere. However, Elfo Saves Christmas is surprisingly energetic with its Smash TV like controls, and requires a bit of thinking, thanks to your weapon's slowness. You can only fire a single bullet at a time, and it takes a second for your weapon to reload, if you like to think it that way. It could be sloppy programming, but it could also be a considered feature. The basic idea is to kill all the black beasts from the underground maze, which get faster as you go down to further levels, but you also get weapon upgrades eventually. I definitely liked it more than I expected to, but it is a bit on the harsh side and not very attractive in any way, unless perhaps you're a goth.

2. Penguin Attack (Pat Morita Team, 2022)

Alright, I admit I'm stretching it a bit here, but Penguin Attack is such a brilliant little winter game, that I couldn't help including it here. Pat Morita Team's 2022 offering takes the concept of snowball fighting into a proper arcade-like setting, makes the gameplay interesting and solid, and turns the difficulty knob up just enough to make it frustrating but addicting.

You control Pinwi at the bottom of the screen through 21 levels, in which you need to take down hostile penguins, octopi and other antarctic creatures as you progress, but making it even to level two is an achievement of sorts. You can throw snowballs left, right and straight up, and your movement is restricted to left, right and tummy slide, which gives you the possibility to dodge snowballs coming from your sides and move a bit faster. What really gives this game a good edge over basically every other snowball fighting game is, that your enemies actually use the covers to at least some advantage, even if it's not exactly something you would call AI, but the enemy action is programmed more cleverly than you normally see in these kinds of games on the 8-bits. So, while not precisely a Christmas game, it fits the time of year perfectly well, and earns a firm place on this list. Highly recommended!



Finally, here's a few random Christmas-themed games I managed to find on platforms that I could only find one for each platform. Except maybe the first one.

ATARI 2600: Stay Frosty / Stay Frosty 2: Stay Frostier (AtariAge, 2008/2014)

To my shame, I had not included any A2600 games into the original Unique Christmas Games post in 2014, but then again, there are no specifically Christmas-themed games on the A2600 from the classic era. Winter-themed, yes - just from the top of my head, Skiing, Ice Hockey and Frostbite come to mind, but no Christmas games. They didn't really start appearing on the console until well into the 2000's, with Reindeer Rescue, Toyshop Trouble and two Christmas game compilations, Stella's Stocking and The Byte Before Christmas, all of them being released prior to 2013. The original Stay Frosty was featured in Stella's Stocking, but for the sequel, they decided to dedicate an entire 32K cartridge. All the above mentioned games can be purchased through the AtariAge store.

So, the original Stay Frosty is a simple but quirky single-screen platformer, in which you as Frosty the Snowman need to put out fires by jumping and walking over them as many times as necessary. Of course, fire will melt snow, so you will need to also collect ice cubes to rebuild your snowly body. The main idea is to find a balance between melting yourself to douse the fires and rebuilding yourself whenever necessary, but only so much as to keep spare ice around if needed.

Stay Frosty 2 puts you against many new enemies and gives you new gameplay features, such as a double-jump and the ability to throw snowballs when able. The real party trick is different Christmas tunes for each screen, which has been made possible by the Melody DPC+ enhancement, which is also featured by the Harmony cartridge. Stay Frosty 2 is a much more challenging game than the original, but the enhancements and new features make it worth the attempt. Many people at the AtariAge forum have declared Stay Frosty 2 as the best Christmas game on the Atari (if not elsewhere), and I can certainly understand why.

SEGA MEGADRIVE: MegaXmas'89 (Nekojita, 2019)

I was a bit hesitant to include this one here, because MegaXmas'89 is publicly acknowledged to have been heavily inspired by the old Windows 3.x game SkiFree, but simply for the reason of wanting to include as many platforms in this post as possible, I chose to ignore my own rules a bit here. Happily, though, MegaXmas'89 isn't a complete carbon copy of SkiFree, and the fact that your skier this time is Santa Claus himself isn't the biggest of differences.

The similarities to SkiFree are there as far as anyone can reasonably tell, but you need to pick up presents while skiing, and you have three lives to lose, instead of infinite lives. While the original Windows version of SkiFree was playable with either keyboard or a mouse, you were restricted to one action button (jump + trick) and five directions; this Sega remake adds an acceleration button and separates jump and trick buttons. Perhaps to lesser effect, the graphics are completely overhauled and there's a couple of seasonal tunes and a few sound effects included as a soundtrack - none of which the source material had at all. So, you could say it's a full upgrade to SkiFree, but it's also partly a reimagining of it.

NINTENDO GAME BOY SERIES: Gingerbruv's 12 Second Snack-Down (GarbageCat, 2023)

Released literally on the final day of writing this blog entry, I managed to find a more enjoyable alternative to the ultimately unplayable bomber variant called Santa Claus Journey from 2013. GarbageCat's entry for Indie Game Squad's 12 Seconds of Christmas Game Jam is a bite-sized single-screen platformer with no more than four levels and a surprise bonus, if you manage to beat all four levels without losing lives.

It feels like playing one of those browser-based platformer games like Karoshi, but there is basically no puzzle elements to this, unless you count finding out the odd collision detection areas a puzzle of sorts. You control Gingerbruv, a gingerbread-man, who has to reach a seasonal object at the other end of each screen by jumping on platforms and avoiding spikes and the bottomless pit, but the real catch is, you only have twelve seconds to finish all four rooms. The idea of 12 seconds of playtime is definitely forced by the competition rules, so no sense complaining about that thing - after all, the levels can be completed in a couple of seconds each, if you're good. It's a nice, if ridiculously short, addition to the unfortunately meagre library of Christmas games for the Game Boy, but at least you can play it on all classic Game Boy consoles, so there's variety in colour.


That's enough of Christmas games for now - I hope you found some new favourites for your Christmas playing sessions! Maybe I'll do another one ten years from now, if I'm still around to do this stuff and Blogspot is still around to keep this stuff online.

Have yourselves a merry and peaceful holiday, whatever it is you're celebrating, and eventually, a happy new year as well! Thanks for keeping on reading the blog and following FRGCB's YouTube endeavours; hope to see you around next year!

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