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Feature: Staff Memories of Nintendo at Christmas

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Thomas Whitehead

My Christmas Nintendo memories are fairly scarce, which feels like a real shame having read the other contributions. Much like Mark, my experience with Nintendo didn't kick into gear until the N64, due to my Sega allegiance in the 1990s. That was my brother’s console, however, and his departure to University prompted a spell of PC gaming.

I eventually returned to console ownership with the Wii, and every Christmas since has featured plenty of family gaming: Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Mario Kart Wii and New Super Mario Bros. Wii have all featured prominently. My favourite Wii Christmas memory, however, is the most recent: Donkey Kong Country Returns in 2010.

Since becoming a grown up with boring things like jobs and personal bank accounts, I’ve often bought major releases on release day. Last year I made an exception and asked for DKCR as a present, simply so I could relive the magic of playing a new game on Christmas Day, just like the good old days. Christmas morning came, and I was transported from being 26 to ten years old in an instant, firing up an eagerly anticipated game on the best day of the year.

The game is a triumph and one of my favourite platformers of all time, and blasting through the gorgeous early levels in single player was immense fun. The best was yet to come, however, when my older brother, his fiancé and two teenage kids came around on Boxing Day. After eating too much party food and Christmas cake, we fired up the Wii to try out the title’s multiplayer. In the next three hours everyone took turns, passing Wii Remotes around and loving the experience. The entire room turned into a kid’s playroom as we all – even the young’uns – went back to our innocent past of indulging in festive gaming. We could have played all night if the Wii Remote batteries hadn’t run out.

That’s easily my favourite Christmas memory as an adult. It was so memorable that I’ve deliberately held out from buying Rayman Origins and Mario Kart 7, both waiting to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. I can’t wait for more quality time with my younger self.

Zach Kaplan

The temptation is so strong sometimes, especially around the holidays. You think it will make you cool. You think it's ok because you've seen it on TV. You think you'll win some acclaim for it, but all you get is a holiday sweater drenched in sticky regret. That's right: peeking at your presents before your parents can wrap them. Everyone wants to do it — but once you cross that threshold, there's no coming back.

The year was 1997 and the Nintendo 64 was at the height of its powers. I had fallen in love with the system more than I ever had about any entertainment device. I had given my parents a few game suggestions on a Christmas list and could barely stand the anticipation. Luckily – or so I thought at the time — my mother had the easiest gift-hiding spot to find of all: right inside her closet. So, one day while I was home alone, I said to myself, "If Bart Simpson can do it, why can't I?" And I peeked.

Mischief Makers was there, along with two others I don't remember. But it didn't feel right. I could sense the pre-emptive excitement dying and predict an entire month of false wonderment. Sure, I played the part and acted surprised when I got the game. But it didn't feel right.

Peeking at your gifts pre-Christmas is neither fun nor glamorous, kids. Just wait for the surprise and you'll enjoy the gift a lot more.

This has been Scared Straight: Nintendo Life Edition.

We'd love to hear all about your Nintendo Christmas memories in the comments below. Finally, a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all of you from the Nintendo Life team.

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User Comments (39)

Yadoking

#4

Yadoking said:

Great stories everybody! Christmas is a time when smiles come upon your face all by themselves, without even thinking. Reading some of your stories made me smile and feel like I was experiencing them for myself. I can't wait until tomorrow!

GameLord08

#5

GameLord08 said:

These... th-these are b-better than any Christmas classic I've ever r-... read. :'(
Great stories, everyone!

Shiryu

#8

Shiryu said:

In the Christmas of 1990 my life forever changed, for under the Xmas tree there was but a Commodore Amiga 500 waiting for me. And here we are now... ^_^

Mik

#9

Mik said:

No Hanukkah stories? I could sure share a few of them over the past decade!

SuperLink

#11

SuperLink said:

While I greatly enjoyed everyone else's Christmas stories, I'll have to say that Corbie's actually made me cry, and I don't cry easily.

Merry Chirstmas everyone!

Pyrodon

#12

Pyrodon said:

I liked Zach's story. But sometimes its obvious when there is a present under the tree that is shaped exactly like a Wii game or 3DS game. And then I have grandparents that wrap their presents in tissue paper...

milkman12

#13

milkman12 said:

@corbie's story

toucjing story! is there any chance you went to see "tron" in a movie theater that same year? siskel and ebert apparently liked it.

MrArkade

#15

MrArkade said:

Wow Corbs. thats a great story. Well I'm actually hoping to get a Donkey Kong Jr. Game & Watch for christmas. If not I'll buy one anyway But it would be great if I did.

kaw270

#16

kaw270 said:

All great stories, I'm about to cry from corbie's though, great story

CorporalPegasus

#17

CorporalPegasus said:

@zezzy and AtomicWaffles Oh, im sorry if i sounded like a jerk, wasn't meant that way. forgive me.

Great stories, Nlife stories are always either very funny or very touching.

DRLAdmin

#18

DRL said:

Great stories guys! I hope a copy of Skyward Sword is waiting for me under the tree tonight...

Shadowflash

#20

Shadowflash said:

@10: I guess since Chanukah is a less popular holiday, they don't bother with and article for it...I still want one, though.

shredmeister

#21

shredmeister said:

Ah, the Donkey Kong Game & Watch, nice. I remember when I got mine in the 1980's, too. Still have it, although it took a beating unlike the one in the picture. I never had an Atari, though. Matter of fact, I did get one Atari 5200 with a whole bunch games for X-mas '86, but it only worked for one hour. I had to return it the next day and, oddly, there were a whole bunch of people in line returning theirs with the same problem as well. Guess what I ended up getting instead? It had a robot and a light gun. *grins

OrdonianLink

#22

OrdonianLink said:

This isn't my favourite memory, but when I was younger, my brother was obsessed with Pokemon (though he still is, at 18, not as much though). Anyways, I saw this on a Family Video, but he unwrapped his gift and he shouted "Pokemon! My Favourite Favourite!" I was beside him, also being a fan, I saw they we're stickers and said "they're stickers..." He had such a disappointed look on his face after, my whole family haves fun teasing him with this memory.

MayhemStaff

#23

Mayhem said:

Corbs is even older than me then, and I thought I was getting on a bit heh... but I recall a Atari 2600 related Christmas, before the crash, before we then switched to a Commodore 64...

bub166

#24

bub166 said:

Mine has to be just this last year, actually. I really don't care much about what I get, so I usually just ask my grandparents for a gift card each year. I already knew she was determined to wrap things for everyone last year, but I just couldn't think of anything so I asked for a gift card anyways.

On Christmas, however, there was a box many, many times the size of a gift card. She said it was clothes, but laughed mysteriously when she said it, so I was somewhat confused. When it came time to open it, I unwrapped the gift, and there it was: another layer of wrapping paper. So I unwrapped that, and there was the box: I opened it, and there was another layer of wrapping paper. This went on for about 2 or 3 more boxes and 5 more layers of wrapping paper before finally arriving at the gift card. By the end of it, the whole family, including me, had been laughing hysterically.I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve tomorrow. :D

MasterGraveheart

#25

MasterGraveheart said:

My Christmas memories are actually primarily focused around the new game systems. Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, N64, Game Gear, GameCube, DS, DSi, Wii, and the NES on my very first Christmas. Roughly a third of my Christmases were pretty much defined by the new game systems I got and, save for one, it's all been Nintendo!

Actually, the only systems I own that WEREN'T Christmas gifts are my Genesis (birthday), my SNES (two birthdays later), and my 3DS (first system I purchased myself).

Squid

#26

Squid said:

Great stories, guys. Hope you have more memories for next year! Merry Christmas!
That one made me cry a bit, Corbs. Very sorry for your losses. :(

milkman12

#27

milkman12 said:

i dont wantanything new. i like old games, like on SNES. im getting a portable one tomarrow morning :) and it has a TV output too! im getting super mario world and super starwars.

MetroidMasher17

#28

MetroidMasher17 said:

Interestingly enough, Christmas for me involves not getting new games on Christmas but playing them with my cousins. There has not been a single Christmas when my two cousins and I have not been racing neck-to-neck in Mario Kart DS...
Still, though, Nintendo played a part in it.

Chris720

#29

Chris720 said:

Good god, it's Christmas again, already? I still remember last years version of this... holy crap, where'd my year go? D:

TKOWL

#30

TKOWL said:

Christmas 2003, I received my GCN with Kirby Air Ride for my 7th Christmas, it was the best present I've ever received in my life ;A;

Aqueous

#31

Aqueous said:

I was shocked to not see James Newton here but nice stories guys. I love this time of year, however I fell time speed up each year and I could easily wait longer and get more sleep. I love my little sister but the noise prevents my sleep. My older younger brother and me always get some new game and play each year since we got our gameboy colours years ago. However him and everyone else thinks I'm becoming a Scrooge, my lost of love for every little thing and extremely calm personality is making my love of the holiday "vanish". Of course I still love this time of year even if I don't show it with going to bed late and getting up early in excitement, anymore. Also we started playing ds games at grandmom's in the evening, I hate saying it but entertaining all of my younger relatives is not quite fun. They have no focus, nor can they stay on a single game for long. At least they have been keeping themselves busy the last few years.

Infernapeking

#33

Infernapeking said:

I never had a SURPRISING Christmas that made me so happy although I did get happy when I was younger than 11 but now uh not so much cause I buy my own stuff.

armoredghor

#34

armoredghor said:

Aweome stories guys. My favorite gaming christmas was in 1999 when I got pokemon Red with brand new gameboy color. that was the first system of my own. gonna go celebrate the reason for the season.

grumblegrumble

#35

grumblegrumble said:

@Corbie What an amazing story! I have similar stories about me and my older sister "breaking" our Atari 2600 every single year and Santa mysteriously knowing this each Christmas and bringing us another one each year! LOL. And I remember waiting in line for the Pac-Man (yes, that one) Atari 2600 game for hours and hours at a local grocery store in the early 80's. hehe... Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful guy, and I know he is in heaven now smiling down on you even to this day. Thank you for sharing your sweet story. Merry Christmas everyone!

Tare

#37

Tare said:

You know, my major console triumphs never happened at Christmas, for some reason I always got consoles or portables on my birthday, or when the end of the year report card came home.

I think I got a Gambe Boy Advance one Christmas when I was...8 or something. It came with a Bomberman game that I adored, but I forgot the name a long time ago.

Getting the free GBA does induce a bit of nostalgia, particularly the Mario Vs. DK. My friend and I always laughed when the TV says "Mmm Bananas, Mmm-"

Have a great break everyone.

Dak_n_Jaxter

#38

Dak_n_Jaxter said:

Great stories.....love thinking about all of those good memories. And it's odd how almost all of my past Christmas excitement has been based around Nintendo.....hadn't thought about it. nes, snes, game boy, game boy color, gba, gba sp, game cube, wii, ds.....and yesterday.....my 3ds. Sadly, i never got a 64.....could only afford one system, that's when i got my Playstation. But honestly, thank you Nintendo. You've added so much magic and excitement and joy to my life.....

LeasTwanteD

#39

LeasTwanteD said:

Loved reading your stories, people. Corbie's is worthy of being a script to one of the best Christmas movies ever made. Just by reading this i already like your grandfather a lot. My sympathies for your loss there.

And heed Zack's words, people. Don't ruin what could be one of the best surprises of your lives.


Except for my father and my aunt my family isn't interested in gaming at all so i don't associate Christmas with any games. I can't remember ever getting one as a gift.
While i know that i've brought my Wii to one or two family meetings and that we had fun with Wii Sports, some of us even with Guitar Hero 3, it didn't really blow their minds.

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