Merry Christmas 2013!

Aaaah, the festive season is upon us once again with all its pomp and overblown, commercial mess. Still, those extra few days off from work are definitely welcome and offers the perfect opportunity to catch up on those classic video games we have been waiting to play. It is also a time which gaming also somewhat regains its charm and mystique, as we are transported back to our various memories from the past, and of times when gaming meant so much. For most children Christmas represented possibly the only time of the year other than birthdays, were you would actually get a new game, or if you were really lucky a new console. The games at Christmas have always typically been the blockbusters, creme da la creme of a particular system's output and the Dreamcast was no exception.

Personally, there was no better period in gaming than Christmas of 2000. Being a Dreamcast fan in Europe although exciting, had been difficult. You see, while Sega were infamously proclaiming that Dreamcast was for "Up to 6 Billion Players", only small handful of my friends actually owned one, as the situation really was that most gamers were quite happy to plod along with their Playstations. It didn't help that the online aspect of the console, outside of web browsing, took over a year to arrive and when it did it was launched with a rather dismal puzzler, rather than a sports, racing or shooting game which the mass-market was demanding. Nonetheless, Christmas 2000 more than made up for these errors with Sega delivering a slew of top quality titles like Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Capcom Vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000, Street Fighter III:3rd Strike, Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, Quake 3 (online gaming, hurrah)for gamers to enjoy after their Christmas turkeys, and even a few stocking fillers such as Resident Evil 3, Dino Crisis, Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Powerstone 2.

Xmas 2000, was there a better time in gaming?

I have to admit, it was the first three from the aforementioned games which really got my Christmas bells jingling. I clearly remember picking up Shenmue and JSR together for my local EB games (receiving a free Shenmue guidebook as a reward for my pre-order) as I seem to remember them being released on the same day in Europe, with both games taking me on an emotional roller coaster, keeping me hooked until well after the holidays had finished. Capcom vs SNK, was also a title I spent a humongous amount of time playing. I splent probably over a 100 hours on it, eagerly finishing the game's copious amounts of  time with my then girlfriend's brother as we attempted to open up every little secret item hidden inside. So many memories, drunken Santa Claus, police chases under the red Tokyo skies, THAT moment when Akuma swoops in for the first time, they were all so special and have become engrained in my mind that they become as special as my most dearest of memories. It is kind of hard to imagine myself in fifteen years feeling as fondly about about any of today's games but yeah, maybe that is just a sign of age more than any underlying problem with the gaming industry.

I would like to wish a very happy Christmas to all DCgaga readers - I am sure most of you will be spending at least some of your time replaying old classics, and recalling a time when the gaming skies were blue, multiplayer meant friends coming to your house, and the name Sega equaled bloody good entertainment. I'll toast to that!