Seasons greetings, Nintendojo readers! When the weather goes frosty, it’s a sign that the calendar has turned to that time of the year when friends and relatives come to visit and spread the merriment. Outside of building a snowman or splashing around in puddles, entertainment in the winter usually comes from inside the home as opposed to outside, and for many folks that means one thing: time to play some video games. Which ones, though, are best played during the holidays and truly capture the spirit of the season? Read on to find out the top ten games for the holidays!
Animal Crossing Series
Animal Crossing titles are unusual when compared to other games in that they focus so much on forming bonds and building friendships with the various neighbors sprinkled around the player’s town. These relationships really come to the forefront, however, when the real-time calendar of the game lands upon the winter months, where the weather goes gray, snow dots the ground, and the march towards the wonderful event Toy Day begins. Whether simply finding the right gift for a beloved animal neighbor (I’m looking at you, Tex!), setting up a Festive Tree in the living room, or looking at all the twinkling lights outside, Toy Day brings the spirit of the holidays into the palm of the player’s hand– and maybe even their heart!
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
The Twin Snakes‘ plot revolves around the threat of nuclear war poised by the rogue military group Foxhound, but at the core of its story rests something much more important: the redemption of Solid Snake. Snake’s life had been spent on the battlefield, leaving him emotionally scarred by the people he killed and the actions he had to make to survive. As the narrative of The Twin Snakes unfolds, Snake is initially called on to prevent the designs of the walking tank Metal Gear Rex from being loosed onto the black market, but after he crosses paths with the soldier Meryl Silverburgh and scientist Hal Emmerich, the mission becomes more about saving his friends than anything else. Snake forms bonds with Meryl and Hal, realizing along the way that he can be more than just a killing machine. Snake regains his humanity by the end of the game, set to live life as a free man and not a monster in seclusion.
Link and Marin on the Beach
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The beach and the holidays don’t necessarily seem like a natural fit, but when Link and Marin unite on the sandy shores of Koholint Island in Link’s Awakening, it marks a tender moment between the two characters that highlights the bond that the they’ve formed over the course of the adventure. The duo stare out at the sea as Marin tells Link about her dreams of flying across the ocean like a gull, eventually ending with her embarrassedly telling the silent hero that she wants to know everything about him. It’s funny, it’s warm, and it touches on the importance of the relationships between people and the support that they provide to one another; isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Fans can debate the mechanics of Brawl all they want, but if there’s one thing that the majority of players can agree upon, it’s that the Subspace Emissary is a triumphant Nintendo crossover story. Told almost entirely without words, the story is packed with action and humor, gripping fan-service moments like Meta Knight clashing swords with Marth, and more. The real treat, and an oddly moving moment in the narrative, is when all of the characters, good and bad, friend and enemy, unite to battle the evil Tabuu. Even Link, Zelda, and Ganon put aside their differences for this one! Everyone is ready to risk their lives and go down fighting together, and it’s a powerful scene that reminds everyone why Nintendo is home to the greatest characters in gaming.
James Saves Fox
Star Fox 64
Fox enters the depths of Venom in order to finally put an end to the reign of the villainous Andross, where he discovers the madman’s true form to be an enormous floating brain and eyes. The two fight to the death, with Fox emerging victorious… until it’s time to leave. Andross’ base begins to self-destruct, with the ensuing explosions chasing Fox and rapidly closing in on him. All looks lost, until suddenly, out of nowhere, an Arwing appears before Fox– and it’s not being piloted by Falco, Peppy, or Slippy. The voice of James McCloud crackles through the intercom and tells his son to follow him to safety. Confused, Fox follows, bursting free from the lair at the last possible moment, but James is nowhere to be seen. Was it an illusion? A ghost? Fox never knows for sure, but it’s an amazing moment where the love of a father for his son transcends beyond the realm of life and death.
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