Retro gaming at Christmas … the essential collection

After browsing through the latest Christmas TV Times I am seeing less originality than another Flappy Birds game, it’s like being in 1987 again.

So if they can do, so can I !

Last year I brought you all the much loved (yeah right!) Amigos Retro Advent Calendar bringing you best in Retro gaming each day, so this year I am just reusing all the content in this one big article, it’s like what Netflix do they just give you everything so you can binge watch, but unlike them I am not charging $12.99 a month for it and if you make it to the end I will add a special piece of bonus content.

December 1st. Stay frosty 2 – Atari 2600


Stay Frosty 2, whilst a newer homebrew 2600 game is an excellent Christmas themed game and for me if a console came out in 1977 anything that runs on a cartridge in it is retro enough for me. I will admit now, that I mainly picked it because of the name, I love the phrase ‘Stay Frosty’, but this is a fun game and one that makes me think for 30 or so minutes should I get into the Atari a bit more ? , then my Commodore heart skips a few beats and reminds me who is boss.

December 2nd. Home Alone – NES


There are many Classic films, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful life and of course the romantic Christmas classic Bad Santa, but for me nothing beats a small boy inflicting permanent damage on a couple of burglars and thanks to this NES classic you can join the fun. In my house Home Alone is a Christmas staple next to Gremlins and something that we put on each Christmas to fall asleep in front of playing the game of he who falls asleep last gets to put tinsel on others.

December 3rd. Batman Returns – SNES


Nothing says Christmas better than a man dressing up in a costume and punishing people that have been bad. It’s kinda like Santa Claus with his naughty list but kicking the ass of people on it. The film and therefore the game are ridiculously Christmas themed and the fact it was a Christmas game release as well just tie this together, like a nice rug in a room.

 December 4th. Father Christmas – C64


This ‘classic’ was a budget release in 1989 for the Commodore 64. However don’t let this put you off, first you hunt around your house to build your sleigh then you climb aboard in a round-the-world race to deliver all your presents, as Santa would say this is Ho-Ho-tastic. 

December 5th. Christmas Carol vs the ghost of Christmas presents – Intellivision


Ok, ok this is another homebrew new game ( , but the console came out in 1979 so is retro enough for me and when you are restricting yourself to Christmas themed games it harder than you think!. The object of this blurry mess of pixels is to guide Carol through a series of caverns to pick up all the Christmas presents while avoiding enemies.  Now I only just played this game for the first time today, and I enjoyed it for 10 mins or so which is more than enough time to drink your latte and munch your daily choc! 

December 6th. Moley Christmas – ZX Spectrum


Nothing is more Spectrum than Monty Mole, and this classic is as frustrating as they come. Released in 1987 as a free Christmas giveaway on the front of ‘Your sinclair’ and is technically a sequel to the retro classic Auf Wiedersehen Monty.  If you only play one free Christmas themed Spectrum cover tape game this holiday period then this has to be the one. 


December 7th. Jet Pack – Christmas Edition – DOS


In this free promotional Christmas version of Jetpack, you play as Santa Claus! What I like most about this game is that it comes with a level editor so you make your own Christmas based fun.

December 8th. Special Delivery: Santa’s Christmas Chaos – C64


This gem comes from 1984, it’s sold as an action game – I guess game classification was a bit more fast and loose then.The game has you flying around catching Christmas presents in a bizarre Santa themed defender inspired question that seems to take place in broad daylight, come on – people will see Santa!  However the ‘fun’ does not end with this, you then land your sleigh and try to deliver the presents under the tree without getting caught.

 December 9th. Frosty the Snowman aka Frosty’s Busy Night – C64

frosty_loader T

his was a free game that came with ‘Your Commodore’ and is the must play free C64 cover tape game that is Christmas themed ever released. It’s basically a two player obstacle race across festive themed fun, it’s frosty meets Combat School. I actually quite enjoyed this game for some unknown reason. 

 December 10th. Daze Before Christmas – SEGA Genesis / Megadrive


Now we talking a Sega Megadrive Christmas based game, the budgets, the production it’s time for the big league. I personally think this is an excellent little platformer, a guilty little pleasure almost. Sure it no classic, but it’s got nice sound, lovely graphics and is fun to play – not one to ignore. 


Ho-ho-ho and welcome to this second exciting instalment in my Retro Gaming Advert Calendar, this time taking you from the 11th to the 20th December. So grab your Quality Street tin and a cup of tea and get ready for some more crazy Christma crackers.

December 11th. Robocod – Amiga


This game is great fun and it captures the joy of Christmas. Each level has a glorious Toy box theme and throughout the game you will liberate elves, defeat evil snowmen and collect penguins (Mcvities, so tasty Chocolate ones!) The sugar coated graphics and delightful tunes fill you with Christmas joy for the entire holiday period. Dreamkatcha (The gangster from Manchester) on the Amigos Podcast rates Robocod as one of the greatest Amiga games around, whilst it doesn’t make my top twenty I do agree it’s a fun game. 


 December 12th. The Nightmare Before Christmas – Oogie’s Revenge – PS2


Some argue if the PS2 is retro, it came out in year 2000, that is 16 years old. In 2000 no one saw the NES (just 15 years old at the time) as modern so for me it’s retro despite the polygon madness. Now this is a BIG game, a giant game with amazing production values and is the true sequel to the movie. If you have never played this game I urge you to try it out. 



December 13th. All Terrain Racing – Christmas Edition – Amiga


This little known piece of obscura (See here for details) for the Amiga is a special Christmas version of the Amiga racing classic released on a cover disk with Amiga Action and Amiga Format magazines. It’s your standard ATR fun but all snowy graphics and jingle bells a plenty in the music to make you merry all day.

December 14th. Psycho Santa – Amiga


This is another Amiga cover disk game, this time from Amiga One magazine. It really was a golden time for free Christmas related games. In this game you start by trying to throw presents in the house whilst dodging all sorts of weird enemies whilst even throwing snowballs at the ghost of Christmas past, if you succeed you are given a bonus level of trying to grab presents off a tree whilst bouncing on a pogo stick (What was the designer smoking??) This sequence just repeats and gets harder, ranked high as I love the pogo stick! 


December 15th. Toy Commander Christmas surprise – Dreamcast


After that weird cover disk madness comes this polished little festive level to the lovely Toy Commander game for the SEGA (SAAAAY-GA!) Dreamcast. If you ever wondered what it would be like to control Santa on a jetpack, well you are in luck my friends. Sometimes a video speaks a thousand words, so sit back watch the video and then if you got a Dreamcast get the ISO.

December 16th. Santa & Rudolph Do Christmas – Amiga


This game has it all, festive music, annoying Merry Christmas sound samples, Santa flying around holding onto a balloon shooting birds and flying penguins with propellers on their heads. It is essentially a single screen collect & shoot with lots of deliciously themed levels. An entertaining way to pass 5 mins before the music makes you want to set fire to Santa’s beard.

December 17th. How The Grinch Stole Christmas – DSi


Released to coincide with 2000’s terrible Ron “Richie Cunningham” Howard movie with the only rarely funny Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Now time to confess, I am British I have no idea on any of this Dr Seuss stuff, it just not travelled over the pond. Therefore I have no idea about this weird grinch fella and all his antics but the American’s seem to lap this stuff up. So the game …. it’s a 2d side on adventure puzzler where you attempt to steal Christmas. It’s a bit dull, a bit repetitive but I know someone who worked on it and hated every minute so I thought I would include it as that fact makes me smile. 

December 18th. Jazz Jackrabbit 2 : Holiday Hare 98 – DOS


Jazz Jackrabbit (In no way a rip of Bucky O’Hare – honest!) was an early PC success story. The game is a side on platformer that tries to emulate Sonic for speed, but ends up half way between Sonic and Zool. A notable part of this game is the mode-7 style first person sections that look like an mushroom trip of Super Mario Kart.  Now for some reason I have always been a fan of this game, despite not having an original bone in it’s green bunny body it plays well, it’s slick, the sound is good and the graphics are bright and colourful. So this Christmas edition where they have spent an extraordinary amount of time to get the Christmas detail is just great.  

December 19th. Santas Xmas Caper -Amiga


Another day, another free cover disk Amiga Christmas game. It truly was the era for free Christmas themed giveaways. Now this enjoyable side on platformer has you controlling the big man (Santa – I know him!) Santa seems to have an gravity defying jump and you have negotiate your way across the roof tops avoiding killer moons, turkey shaped helicopters and Snails with baubles for a shell- all you are armed with is unlimited snow balls. Now ignoring the copper field backdrop (lazy!) this is a colourful and fun Christmas themed game. Like to many Amiga games the first level is ridiculously difficult but level 2 is a breeze and each level has Christmas themed music to hum along to.

December 20th. Grinch – Dreamcast


Lets end this instalment with that ruddy weird Grinch guy!. Now I am bit into my Sega Dreamcast at the moment, so this may be the reason this game features. This if I am honest is not the best game, simply because it is ridiculously easy, but after playing Amiga games sometimes you need to be reminded that it is possible to complete a game once in a while. It’s basically a Grinch Christmas themed scavenger hunt that is fun for a quick 30 mins blast but don’t go paying silly Dreamcast prices for this one.  

Now it’s time for the final countdown to Christmas – these final five games I have played, alot and they are all excellent and festive to boot.

December 21st. Christmas Nights into Dreams – Saturn

Nights is a Saturn classic, infact a modern day gaming classic and a game that if you have not played you should seriously seek out to enjoy, it’s a bitch at first until you get the controls before it turns into a mesmerising magical adventure. Anyway what is so special about this Christmas special edition? Well for starters for 364 days a year most of it’s goodness is locked away, it actually uses the clock on the Saturn and on Christmas day it comes alive! Everything transforms into Christmas related objects,  the Ideya captures are now Christmas trees, the world is covered in fairy lights and baubles and collectible stars become bells ringing out a festive peal. The main character himself is suddenly clad in a red and white onesie, while Santa can be seen dropping presents from his sleigh – all only if you play on Christmas Day!

December 22nd. Cannon Soccer –  Amiga

When Sensible software were asked to do a Christmas coverdisk game (it really was the golden age of cover disk Christmas games!) someone thought, what would happen if you cross Sensible Soccer & Cannon Fodder.  Well the game is technically more a two level promo demo of Cannon Fodder, but you start off on the football pitch (Soccer for our American friends)  and fight your way across the pitch into some suitably Christmas themed Cannon Fodder levels. If you love Cannon Fodder (and who doesn’t) then this is a fun Christmas themed mini demo, for me the lack of Christmas music knocked it a few places down the list but it’s still a great bit of fun and as my mate Stoo would say – it’s sensitastic !

December 23rd. Elve’s Dreamland – Amiga

Now I am a sucker for Jet Set Willy type games, now combine a Jet Set Willy, with Christmas, on an Amiga – well my festive cup runs over! This is a new Amiga game coming out in 2015 (See here on the english amiga board). Guys still making games for these old computers deserve a lot of respect, instead of knocking out a mobile game to make a few quid they let passion lead the way and create some great content. Now I will admit the music hurts my ears on this game, but the graphics are well drawn and cutesy – however it is the level of detail of recreating bits from other games (See creators website here) that is fantastic. Well done, and to those that now tried it give it a whirl this Christmas.


December 24th. Fire & Ice Christmas Special – Amiga

Today marks out penultimate game. (Yes I know some Advent Calendars end on the 24th, but some end of the 25th as well). Anyway this being the penultimate game, it is a real Christmas cracker! Now Fire & Ice is one of the few Amiga platformers that I actually like, so to get a Christmas special version was a real treat. Release in 1992 on an Amiga Power cover disk (Yep another!) , this is a set of specially created Christmas themed levels using the same game engine. The graphics as per usual Graftgold are superb, ton’s of extra detail and flourishes have been added to make it all more festive. An essential play for any Amiga fan this holiday period.


December 25th. Christmas Lemmings – Amiga

Oh no ! Lemmings is probably one of the greatest Amiga games ever created, no Amiga owner in existence has not played this game at some point and was so popular even parents were kicking kids off the ‘miggy to have a go. Combining cute graphics, tough logical puzzles and the need for quick reactions it was a perfect venn diagram of game design. As the final game should be, this was another coverdisk special this time with Amiga Format. ( loved the Amiga coverdisk era. a time that has yet to be matched for getting fun and quirky stuff out to the general public. So popular was Xmas lemmings, for the next three years further holiday editions were released (Xmas Lemmings ’92 , Holiday Lemmings 93 & 94) with the later ones being commercial releases according to HOL (Click here). So with this final game I wish you all Happy Holidays ! 



Best classic english Christmas TV ever 🙂

5 thoughts on “Retro gaming at Christmas … the essential collection

  • December 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

    LOL. That takes me back. Life was so much better back in 2016. Kids don’t know they’re born these days… whatever that means.

    • December 17, 2017 at 12:45 am

      2016 – ah the golden years 🙂
      Keep Jingling !

  • December 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    nice work! I’m was convinced there was a Wiz N Liz Christmas special, but I can’t find any trace of it at all – I felt so certain, too!

    • December 17, 2017 at 12:43 am

      Just looked as well and can’t find it you must have dreamt in a Christmas Baileys haze, stay frosty !

    • December 17, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Actually there are loads of snow levels, maybe that was it ?

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