Top Ten: Games for the Holidays

The moments that capture the spirit of the season!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 12/24/2015 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Holiday Wishlist 2010

Schala’s Sacrifice

Chrono Trigger

Selfless acts can be some of the most astounding to witness, and such was the case when Schala chose to sacrifice herself in Chrono Trigger. As the Mammon Machine erupted into chaos around her, threatening to kill everyone around her, Schala, unable to free herself, looked to Magus and what was left of the party and sent them away from the crumbling palace. Schala remains behind, her fate unknown (presumed dead until the events of Chrono Cross on PS One). Magus would make it his life’s mission to find her, but despite his efforts, Chrono Trigger offers no solace to the player other than knowing she had done something exceptionally brave to save everyone else.

The Wedding

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Link’s quest to save Termina takes him to every corner of the land, where he encounters all the residents of the game’s enormous cast of characters. There are two people, however, who stand out above the rest: Anju and Kafei. Kafei has been cursed by Majora and shrunken to the size of a child, and to make matters worse his Sun Mask, essentially half of a wedding ring in the world of Termina, has been stolen by the thief Sakon. Link’s efforts to retrieve the mask and reunite Anju and Kafei in time for their wedding spans the course of the title’s entire three in-game days, and even in the face of almost certain doom, the young hero fights to make things right for the couple. Once Majora is defeated, the Final Day is revealed, showing Anju and Kafei finally united and married. Majora’s Mask has always been a special game in part because it focused so much on people and their relationships as much as it did dungeons and puzzle solving, and the wedding of Kafei and Anju is a pristine example of that.

Rosalina’s Storybook

Super Mario Galaxy

Narrative has never been a strong suit of Super Mario games, but as Super Mario Galaxy made pioneering strides for 3D platformers, so too did it break ground as the first true vehicle for storytelling in the franchise. Though not at the forefront of the game, Rosalina’s storybook is an episodic tale told by the eponymous lord of the Comet Observatory in her Library. Over the course of the adventure, Rosalina recounts the events of a young girl who came to befriend and become the mother of the Luma beings who guide Mario throughout his quest. Though never explicitly stated, it’s heavily implied that Rosalina is telling her own life’s story. It’s poignant and moving in a way that’s unusual for a Mario game, revealing the young girl’s struggle to move on from her own family to become the mother of the Luma, as well as how the bond between her and the celestial little creatures came to be. Rosalina’s storybook is a story of family and the love that drives a mother to care for her children, even up to the point when they inevitably have to go their own way.

Baby Metroid’s Sacrifice

Super Metroid

The buildup to this moment actually encompasses the events of two games in the series: Metroid II and Super Metroid. In the former, Samus disobeys her orders to eradicate all Metroids when she stumbles across a lone hatchling who imprints her as its mother. Samus, feeling too guilty to eliminate the infant, takes it with her to Ceres Space Colony where she drops it off to be examined. As the events of Super Metroid unfold, the baby grows and eventually comes face to face with Samus once more, but doesn’t recognize its “mother” until almost killing her, at which point it runs away in shame.

Samus later finally encounters Mother Brain in battle and is nearly killed by the monster, when suddenly the Metroid hatchling intervenes and sacrifices itself to save her from certain death. Samus goes on to destroy Mother Brain, but the loss of the Metroid is crushing and leaves her despondent. It’s a somewhat surreal relationship given how hostile the interactions between Samus and the Metroid species have traditionally always been, but the love that the hatchling had for the bounty hunter was genuine and touching, and showed how even those with the biggest differences between them can still care about one another.

Lucy’s Christmas Wish

Elite Beat Agents

Elite Beat Agents is one of the most revered games to have ever hit DS, and with good reason; it was as fun as it was original. The titular agents complete a variety of tasks on their missions throughout the game, with each seemingly zanier than the last… until this one. Young Lucy Stevenson and her mother, Laura, watch as Mr. Stevenson leaves the house, promising to bring his daughter’s stuffed bear Teddy a girlfriend for Christmas. Flash forward a bit, and it’s revealed that Mr. Stevenson actually died when he left his family that day, and all Lucy wants for Christmas is to see her father again. Complete this sequence well and the player is treated to the sight of the ghost of Mr. Stevenson reuniting with his family– and he even remembered to bring Teddy a girlfriend. It’s a cheesy, yet genuinely heartwarming experience that comes out of the blue, and firmly established Elite Beat Agents as an unforgettable game, as well as a real gem of a moment to behold during the holidays.

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