The holiday season snuck up on me this year. I was just cruising along this fall, watching the leaves change, slowly adding more wool to my daily wear and anticipating beaucoup shiny game releases all in a very short few weeks.
That last item should have clued me in that there just might be a huge holiday coming up soon, one involving lots of commerce. But I remained blissfully unaware of the imminence of the D-month. This may have been purposeful.
I am finding myself having, for the first time ever, negative feelings toward the holidays. Instead of searching out the radio stations that have gone All-Holiday, All the Time, I find myself skipping them. I see holiday decorations popping up, and I grumble. In short, I am something of a Bah Humbug this year. These things happen.
My friends and family have taken note of this odd occurrence, and have made it their mission to perk me up. They have employed many nefarious tactics, such as sending me endless youtube links of holiday happiness, giving me Christmas music to listen to, leaving holiday treats on my desk, even going so far as to invite me over for a meal and cooking red and green food.
But, and don’t tell them this, it’s working. It’s not the little goodies or other thematic food. It’s not the music or e-cards. It’s the companionship, friendliness, engagement with these people so important in my life that make the holiday. I’m starting to come around.
I’m starting to remember the good things around the holidays. I’m remembering Christmas mornings playing the NES with my big brother. I’m remembering playing Cranium, bridge and Trivial Pursuit with my family. I’m remembering playing Taboo while on a ridiculous sugar high at my annual Christmas dessert party.
These are some of my best holiday memories, and because of their interactive nature (even most of the single-player ones can involve others – map drawing, hello?), games are a natural part of the holidays for me – and many others. And for this reason, and this season’s vital import to the financial health of the game industry, we devote this week’s issue of The Escapist to Holiday Gaming. Our writers share personal stories of holiday gaming, as well as explore some of the business impact of the holidays on gaming. Enjoy!