Why so jolly? pic.twitter.com/5wSJsBFky7
— Brian Kent (@wizofvideogames) December 25, 2015
(Edit 12/30/09: Thanks to the Chinese slamming the hell out of my server, the previews and downloads of the MP3s aren’t available at the moment (including my Halloween Mega-mix!). Merry Christmas to you too, fuckers!)
Once again, the season of holiday is upon us. All up in dat Mass. In my never-ending quest to bring you the best in Catholic-related chiptunes, I’ve come across a gem that was actually released last year during the time of the turkey. Holy 8bit Night + is the work of 16 different chip artists, combining their powers in celebration of the baby Jesus. It’s only been released on the Japanese versions of Itunes and Amazon, but as soon as I can figure out what to click on, the purchase will be as sure and clean as new fallen snow. You can preview most of the tracks at the VORC Records home page, and find the links to the aforementioned eastern versions of said stores. There are also a YouTubes of artist Saitone performing his remix of Sleigh Ride at a show in Tokyo:
Merry the Christmas!
Chiptune stalwarts 8-bit Weapon have “whipped up a tasty batch of delicious holiday chiptunes for everyone!” I’ll be honest and say that I’m not as big a fan of the Weapon, but they’ve got their Mistletoe in the right place. Only one song is available for preview, the somewhat boring, yet cheerful, Deck the Halls. Amen.
If you missed it the first time, be sure to check out Dr. Octoroc’s 8-bit Jesus from last year and sing we joyous, all together.
TRIPLE DOG BONUS:
My new best friend, allistonmedia, has tooken upon themself to convert some of our favorite yuletide SIDs from the High Voltage SID Collection and packaged them up in a nice little package with a bow on top and a .RAR extension on the end. In what could only be called a Christmas Miracle, a mysterious stranger known only as Recorded Amiga Games has created a YouTube preview of the tracks therein:
Who says angels don’t exist?
WHERE THE BONUSES END:
Finally, if you are a bit (HAHAHA) behind on your X-mas chiptunes, you’ll probably also want to take a look at the elder statesmen (and women) of chiptune, the 8bit Peoples’s release The 8bits of Christmas. Phew! Time for some eggnog.
OK, NOW YOU ARE BEING SILLY BONUS:
I’m sorry, but I just keep finding awesome, everywhere. This time, 8bitcollective artist henryhomesweet found some magic in that old Gameboy he found, for when he placed it in his hands, I began to dance around:[audio:A Frosty Nightmare Before Christmas.mp3]
I GIVE UP BONUS:
This one is from the fantastic game Garden Gnome Carnage, a sort of reverse Lemmings type of affair with parachuting elves, black cats, and air strikes:[audio:game.mp3]
UPDATE: Doc’s puppy needs surgery and he’s having trouble making ends meet this month. If you can donate $15 or more, you’ll get a physical copy of the full album release later this month. Save the puppies, and then dance with them!
My head esplode! The genius Doctor Octoroc has just released a teaser of his in progress Christmas album 8-bit Jesus, and it has blown my mind’s brain. Not content to simply port over several holiday favorites to the 8-bit format, the good doctor has based each of these tunes on a particular game from that era with incredibly spectacular results. Joy to the World as if it were included in Bionic Commando? Fantastical. A version of Carol of the Bells straight out of Castlevania? Stunning. The best part of the whole deal is that only half of the tracks have been released so far, with the rest due out around the coming of Old Saint Nick. Please immediately head to Doc’s blog and give him some feedback and motivation to finish this amazing amazingness.
UPDATE: Ughzzz…I totally forgots: team this with the 8-bit Peoples’ The 8bits of Christmas and all of your Christmas dreams will come true and be awesome.
Okay, I take back everything I said about Santa Ride! and Santa Ride! 2 (but not what I said about Die Hard Trilogy). This time, I swear to God, Garden Gnome Carnage is the best Christmas-themed game I’ve ever played. Well, technically, I hadn’t ever played Garden Gnome Carnage before, so what I said about Santa Ride! was true, from a certain point of view. kentdog engages in hyperbole; it’s a first.
Where to start about this fantastic little game? Let’s see if I can wreck your shit with some math:
Rad pixel graphics + Incredible 8-bit music + explosion / great micro-physics gameplay =
A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
The story is simple:
“Garden Gnomes don’t like holidays. You, a gnome of the big city, have had enough of those pesky elves climbing down your skyscraper to drop gifts down the chimney. You put remote-controlled wheels on the skyscraper and tie yourself to the chimney with a bungee cord. This holiday, the will elves fly.”
Move your skyscraper back and forth, swinging the Gnome into the Lemming-esque elves that assault your tower with the gift of giving. Grab explosive bricks from your building and fling them into crowds of hapless elves. If things get too hot, call in an airstrike for mass destruction. Score multiple hits for combo bonus. Win bonus from me just by playing this game. Pass it around the office. It’s this years Elf Bowling, I swear.
Santa Ride! 2 is probably the worst Christmas-themed game I’ve ever played, unless maybe you count Die Hard Trilogy, of which 2/3 does happen to take place on Christmas. Did you know that every time John McClane kills someone, an angel gets its wings? That reminds me that I’ll have to talk about Die Hard Trilogy later on. Santa Ride! is essentially a modification of developer Invictus’s Cross Racing Championship off-road racing game for the PC. There’s not much to it. Race Santa’s Sleigh, or “sledge” as it is called here, around a simple track, collecting presents for points and extra time, accompanied by festive music. A surprising amount of physics allow you to drift the Santa’s Sledge directly into the presents for extra bonus. However, for this sequel, they managed to totally dick up the physics to the point of it not being fun any more. Turning is just way too stiff, and that makes me flacid. For extra bonus from me, enjoy Santa Ride! 2 whilst watching the Dirty Harry parody Sledge Hammer!
I feel like Dropo, the laziest man on Mars…
Santa Ride! is probably the best Christmas-themed game I’ve ever played, unless maybe you count Die Hard Trilogy, of which 2/3 does happen to take place on Christmas. Did you know that every time John McClane kills someone, an angel gets its wings? That reminds me that I’ll have to talk about Die Hard Trilogy later on. Santa Ride! is essentially a modification of developer Invictus’s Cross Racing Championship off-road racing game for the PC. There’s not much to it. Race Santa’s Sleigh, or “sledge” as it is called here, around a simple track, collecting presents for points and extra time, accompanied by festive music. A surprising amount of physics allow you to drift the Santa’s Sledge directly into the presents for extra bonus. For extra bonus from me, enjoy Santa Ride! whilst watching the Dirty Harry parody Sledge Hammer!
Before we go off willy-nilly and attempt to chronicle the entirety of yule-tide game-tivities, let’s take a moment to prepare ourselves. Diving head-first into the freezing lake of Christmas cheer can shock the yule right out of your log. So, I’ve prepare some recommendations to help get you in the mood. I hesitate to call this a Buyers Guide as you won’t be buying this stuff for anyone but yourself, but sometimes the Magic-Self Lamp needs a little rubbin’.
God, what a recockulous paragraph. I guess that’s what happens when you write solely to amuse yourself.
Samual Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack
As a general rule, I’m not the biggest fan of Samuel Adams. His brews are just a notch above Budweiser in my opinion, which puts them slightly above the piss-water in the bottom of the toilet and into the realm of the blue-tinged water that drips from the inside rim of the bowl. Come Christmas time, Samuel redeems himself with a pack of holiday inspired beers that will warm the Grinchiest heart. I’m funny that way, in that individual quality isn’t as important as variety, and the Sam Adams pack contains 6 different flavors to tempt your palate and kill your brain cells:
Sam’s trademark brew doesn’t really deserve inclusion in this pack, but has somehow snuck in. At least there are only two. Save these for the end of the night, when everything tastes the same.
Made from real Winter extract, this hearty brew is basically a thicker version of the Boston Lager.
A new addition to this annual pack, Cream Stout will make you wish it were a Guinness.
Old Fezziwig Ale
“Ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, and orange”. Any beer named after a character from A Christmas Carol is okay by me. It sure does make me wish there were a porter named after Frank Cross. It’s my personal fav.
After coming strong with Old Fezziwig, Sam takes the conservative naming route with their porter. It really steams my piss that they can just say the word Christmas on the damn thing. You can’t fool me Sam. I just noticed that “this heavy porter finishes with traditional English Fuggles and East Kent Goldings.” Somehow my Eastern Goldings have ended up at the bottom of this bottle, not unlike how the rest of me will eventually.
Cranberry beer–wha-huh?! The oddness of a cranberry based brew is only eclipsed by the inclusion of Lamb into the mix. Because, we are all a little like lambs, you know? Still, I can’t help but think that turkey would have been the better meat choice.
Festive Beverage Container
Now that you’ve got all these beers, what are you going to drink them out of? Beer just tastes better when drank from the hallowed out skull of Old Saint Nick. Good luck finding one of these. I found mine at the Goodwill for 3 dollars. If you can afford it, this guy on eBay sells replicas of the Wally World Moose Cups from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, perfect for snarfing eggnog into.
Playmobil Advent Calendar
I first learned of this thing from Matt over at X-Entertainment.com, where his Christmas countdown is now in its 6th glorious year and just keeps getting better. My shitty shit can’t hold a Taper of Sacrafice to Matt’s incredible volume of comedy gold.
What better way to keep track of when you should put down the Orange Box and switch to the Pink and Gold one. Things have gone a bit bat-shit crazy in Playmobil-land this year. Rather than sticking with a traditional Christmas theme, what we have here is a Unicorn Princess Advent Calendar.
Thank god I have a four year old daughter to blame for buying this stuff. I can’t imagine what the clerk was thinking when I walked in by myself and demanded that they
give me the last one in the store that had been placed on hold by someone far less hairy.
Mother’s Holiday Striped Shortbread
Baking Christmas cookies is a lot of damn work. Like anything good, it’s mostly worth it, but sometimes the most I want to do is tear open a hermetically sealed package of processed sugar and shovel whatever is in there straight into my mouth, just like mom used to do. I’ve written about the glories of Mother’s Holiday Striped Shortbread before, so allow me to summarize (ie. cut and paste) my thoughts here:
I’ll admit that I am a bit of a cookie fanatic. Since I have grown up, my love of candy has waned. A Snickers just doesn’t look as appealing as a frosty mug of beer at this point in my life. Childhood seemed like nothing else but a constant pursuit of candy. Starting with Halloween, the cavalcade of chocolatey confections continued through the rest of the year. Perhaps it’s the fact that I can go to the store at any moment and buy myself a King Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that has dulled the allure of such an action. As with anything, I suppose, candy lost it’s magic when it became instantly available at any moment and not just an occasional triumph over my parents will. However, such a thing could not be said of my desire for cookies. “C” is for cookie and that’s good enough for me. (But don’t get me started on cake…)
My favorite cookies that my Grandma used to hand out were
Fudge-Stripes shortbread. Being from the Philippines, my Grandmother could put together some tremendous home made goods, but, nothing like store bought preservatives got my hands trembling with delight and sugar withdrawals. Grandmas are cool like that, always pleasing the kids, even at the expense of themselves sometimes. Thanks for the cookies, Grandma. And the Matchbox cars.
Now, I’ve always been partial to the Fudge-Stripes put out by the Keebler Elves, but this year the entire team of Elves have been one-upped by a single Mother. It’s not that Mother has three kids and is divorced, it’s just that there is only one of her, but she is one goddamn cookie making son of a bitch. The Elves were sitting pretty on a mountain of Double-Stuffed E. L. Fudge cookies, and that mountain, my friends, has tumbled. Chaka, when the walls fell. Out of nowhere, Mother has come and dethroned The King.
Okay, so all she did was use white fudge instead of dark, but that’s not all. Red and green colored stripes help round out the festive motif. Another nice touch is complete coverage with the white fudge leaving no cookie area unfudged. It’s like your very own snow covered hilltop stained with the blood of sinners and Vulcans.
The technique of choice for eating Fudge-Stripes was to stick my finger through the hole in the middle and eat my way to the center until there was nothing left but a thin ring of cookie. It’s too bad that as my fingers have gotten larger, the hole in the center of Fudge-Stripes hasn’t kept pace. I’m forced to fall back on my pinky and, still, the cookie barely makes it to the first knuckle. By the way, it’s best to eat the remaining Ring O’ Cookie straight off of your finger. Pulling the ring off would result in a chocolate smear on your whole finger and explaining to your mailman why you’re sitting there with your brown-stained finger in the air could be a challenge. Well, you’ll no longer have to feel awkward in front of your mailman, at least during the holiday season. Introducing Mother’s Holiday Fudge-Striped Cookies! Better get some while they last.
Mother is watching.