Tag Archives: Christmas

January Games

January Games

Off to a respectable start, four completions already, progress on one of the games from my 2023 list, and several new games picked up.

Games completed this month

Tales of Vesperia - Definitive Edition

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch

Finished the main story of this at the start of the month. I did enjoy it overall, but I don’t feel compelled to go and do the extra content for 100%. The lack of proper tracking for side quests etc feels like too much of a chore. Might be a little while before I fancy trying any of the other older “Tales” games, although I am interested if they do a new one after Tales of Arise.

I played the Switch version, but you can get that, or Xbox and PlayStation versions here from Amazon*. It seems much cheaper on the other consoles, but it is much less digitally too.

Halo 4 - January 2023

Halo 4 – Xbox Series X

My friend and I managed to roll credits playing online co-op on Halo 4 on the Master Chief Collection. Very much enjoyed that, Halo 5 next, although we’ll take a break to play something else first. So far I think peak Halo for me was the run of Halo 3, ODST and Reach.

Warioware: Get it together

WarioWare: Get it together! – Nintendo Switch

Played through the full story mode of this over two sessions at a friend’s house. Mostly so that we could unlock all the content on her copy for potential 4-player sessions. Not sure if they’ll happen but the 2-player story was entertaining at least.

Dead Cells - December Games

Dead Cells – Xbox Series X

Pleased to say that after my brief plays in December this did get it’s hooks in me, and on my 12th try I cleared the boss and rolled credits for my first completion. Granted to actually complete the game takes something like 6 complete runs on increasing difficulties. However, I can’t see me managing that, so counting this initial completion to give myself permission to quit when I’m bored. I did manage to get to the ‘last’ boss again on the next difficulty though so I’m not quite done yet. I will still be all over that Castlevania DLC as soon as it’s out.

I’m playing on Xbox because it’s on GamePass, although if it hadn’t been I probably would have gone for the Switch edition* as it’s the perfect type of game to take when you’re travelling.

Games played during January

Harvestella - Nintendo Switch

Harvestella – Nintendo Switch

I did buy this in January so could have put this in the pick ups instead, but I have already made a decent amount of progress in the story so it makes more sense here. Unlike the story, which does not make any sense at all, like a proper JRPG. This is the new game for my RPG group though following on from Tales of Vesperia. Hopefully we’ll all finish this one, not just me.

I think it’s also availble on PC, but I’m playing the Switch version. It is still pretty new, so I bought it physical, so I can sell it on when I’m done. I picked it up reduced in GAME, but is also available on Amazon*.

Gears 5 - January Games

Gears 5 – Xbox Series X

Following our successful completion of Halo 5, my friend and I have returned to the Gears of War franchise. We’ve played a couple of sessions so far. Mostly it feels good, like the game we’re used to. I’m a bit concerned about an open world style section in Act 2, hopefully there isn’t too much more of that to come.

What’s been on the arcade?

September Arcade

Ten pence arcade picked another ropey looking game for January, so I ignored that and am hoping they go for another shmup for February. In the meantime I’ve been playing a mix of X-Men: Children of the Atom and Super Street Fighter 2 on the cab. Both games have silent attract modes so I can leave it running while I’m working to jump on for a credit during breaks.

Pick ups during January

The A500 Mini

The A500 Mini

Convinced myself I needed one of these. Only my second ‘mini’ system, joining my Core Grafx Mini that I also heartily recommend. I don’t have a great affinity for the Amiga, never owned one of the main machines but do have fond memories of some of the library from playing at friends’ houses. I did own a CD32 however, so it’s nice to be able to play some of those games on here too. Why they chose to replicate the CD32 controller for it though is beyond me. That’s one of the worst pads I’ve ever used.

The mini itself is a delight to use though, and it was straightforward to add a collection of additional games to it via USB stick. Now I just have to play them.

I got mine from Argos, but it is a bit cheaper on Amazon* currently. It has dropped below £90 on there recently too.

The Darkness II - Xbox 360

The Darkness II – Xbox 360

Another game I’ve bought several times for different systems and not got round to playing. It dropped to a couple of quid in the Xbox sale, so I grabbed it hoping I’ll get round to trying it on the Series X. I loved the first game so we’ll see.

Blasphemous - January Games


A friend has been going on about this for a while, I do love a metroidvania and my recent joy playing Dead Cells weakened me to the idea of this one. I’m still wary of the “soulslike” combat though. At least it was cheap.

Task Force Kampas - January Games

Task Force Kampas

Another recommendation, this was silly cheap and although it looks ridiculous in the trailer, I am assured that it is good fun.

Dead Cells DLC

Dead Cells DLC Bundle

Although the main game is on GamePass, I did also buy this bundle of DLC content. It’s all the expansions so far, and for a tenner is a great purchase. The content is accessible straight away, and adds extra routes through the game. I think once you’ve decided you like the game enough to keep playing, it’s worth grabbing this bundle before you play more.

*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

December Games 2022

December Games

Rounding the year out with 3 completions. Well, 2 and a bit really. Also don’t seem to have bought anything, unless I just forgot.

Games completed this month

Vampire Survivors: Legacy of the Moonspell

Vampire Survivors: Legacy of the Moonspell – Xbox Series X

I spoke too soon last month when I thought I was done with this taking all my playtime. The released a DLC pack which added more characters and challenges so naturally I was straight onto that. It was also less than £2 so didn’t even need to think about it.

Soccer Story - December Games

Soccer Story – Xbox Series X

Similar in principle to the excellent Golf Story on the Nintendo Switch, Soccer Story is an RPG with football instead of combat. It’s pretty straightforward and has some fun puzzling. Enjoyed it but probably wouldn’t have played it if it hadn’t been on GamePass.

Little Hope - December Games

Dark Pictures: Little Hope – PS5

My girlfriend and I finally finished this on New Years Eve. We tried to play in November, but a patch for the game in October had introduced some major bugs. Fortunately they fixed that, and also added free visual upgrades to the games for the PS5. Enjoyed the story of this one more than Man of Medan, though if they want me to worry about keeping the cast alive, then need to make more likeable characters.

Physical PS5 version available here from Amazon* though they do get good digital discounts in the sales.

Games played during December

Tales of Vesperia - Definitive Edition

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – Nintendo Switch

Plodding away, as suspected I didn’t finish before Christmas. My friends have given up on it but I’m determined to get to the end, as I am still enjoying it. I might try to let go of the side questing though.

I’m playing the Switch version, but you can get that, or Xbox and PlayStation versions here from Amazon*. It seems much cheaper on the other consoles, but it is much less digitally too.

Elder Scrolls Online - December Games

Elder Scrolls Online – Xbox Series X

Played this a bit again on the request of a friend. Didn’t get far with it but did quite enjoy it on the Xbox rather than PC. Can see me spending more time with it if I don’t have any other big games on the go.

Christmas Nights - December Games

Christmas Nights – Xbox Series X

Obviously. Though I think for next years playthrough I might go back to playing on the Saturn for the extra nostalgia.

Mario Kart 8 Booster

Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo Switch

Played a bit more with the new tracks on my own, but then somehow didn’t get to play any with the family over Christmas this year. Mostly because we played boardgames instead, but still.

If you’re one of the handful of people with a Switch who doesn’t already own Mario Kart, there is a decent discount on Amazon* at time of writing.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand – Xbox Series X

Finally got round to playing this in online co-op with my mate, and it was just as much fun as we’d hoped. It’s utterly ridiculous, but also great fun. I’ll have a sequel please 50.

Dead Cells - December Games

Dead Cells – Xbox Series X

I bounced off this a while back when I tried to play it before, and I still struggle with the roguelike elements. However, some Castlevania DLC has been announced and I want to be able to enjoy that so here we are. It does seem to be clicking a bit better this time round so hopefully I’ll stick with it.

Marvel Snap - October Games

Marvel Snap – Mobile & PC

Barely touched this during December, but did load it up a couple of times. The microtransactions are starting to show their teeth and the real money costs of anything are very cynical. I’ve seen “special promo deals” for a card or two and some currency for £45, or £90 worth of the in game currency you can buy with real money. Of course you don’t have to buy those, but it does show signs of the game leaning into “pay-to-win” that destroys multiplayer games for me.

What’s been on the arcade?

September Arcade

Didn’t really play any arcade games during December as the Christmas tree was next to the machine. I had a couple of goes on Thunder Force 3 though. It’ll be back on everyday now the decorations are down though.

*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

December Games 2019

December Games

Ahead of my end of year post that’ll appear (hopefully) early January, first we’ll close out with gaming goings on from December. Looks like another month with nothing completed too.

Games played during December

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - December Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Switch

Like any good December, the majority of my gaming this month has been multiplayer. Wish I’d started practising in November though. At least Mario Kart remains a good time even when you’re not winning…

December Games - Puyo Puyo Tetris

Puyo Puyo Tetris – Switch

This Christmas featured a good amount of Tetris, and a lot of the Puyo Puyo Tetris multiplayer variety. Such a great multiplayer title, and a great way to round out what has been a year of Tetris really.

December Pick-ups

Monster Boy - Switch

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom – Switch

I have been interested in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom for a while. It got a substantial 50% discount in a December sale on the Nintendo eShop so decided it was finally time to pick it up. Haven’t played much yet, but it looks incredible running. Looking forward to getting stuck in.

Halo Reach PC - December Games

Halo Reach – PC (Game Pass)

Yes of course I’ve played this before, but was very interested in trying the new PC port. Remains one of the best games in the series, and looks great in this version. Looking forward to them adding more of the games to the PC version of the Master Chief Collection.

Cities Skylines - December Games

Cities Skylines Add-ons – PC

Humble Bundle had a strategy bundle up during December, and although I already owned most of the games, it was worth a purchase for the various Cities Skylines expansions I hadn’t picked up yet.

Demon's Tilt - December Games

Demon’s Tilt – Switch

I was already feeling spoilt when the Xbox One version of this excellent pinball game appeared on Game Pass. I didn’t realise a Switch version was coming until the day before it released. It was a day one purchase for me, particularly since the developer’s gave me a code for the PC version so I could do this Demon’s Tilt preview. For one of my favourite games of the year, I was certainly happy to throw some money at them for a Switch version.

Now I just need one of those flip grips, so I can play with a vertical screen.

December Games - Dicey Dungeons

Dicey Dungeons – PC

First of two games gifted from my Steam wish list by a good friend. I did mention this briefly on my EGX Rezzed blog post, now glad to be able to play the finished game.

Islanders - December Games

Islanders – PC

The second of the Steam games I received for Christmas, I don’t really know anything about other than the description from the store page. It looks great though!

Streaming / Podcast Recording PC

I had been considering putting together a second PC that I could dedicate to recording and editing the podcast for a while. It also occurred to me that the same hardware would be suitable for handling streaming if I decided to try that. Fortunately my partner’s work were auctioning off some old hardware and I picked up a 2017 Dell laptop on the cheap. I’ve since doubled the RAM up to the limit of 8GB, and added a 480 GB SSD*. It is now pretty nippy and should be up for the task.

I didn’t really know where to start with things like audio mixers and capture cards, but have gone for the below based on some bits I’ve read, and will see how I get on. I went with the HD60 rather than the HD60 S thanks to the former’s hardware encoding. This should shift some of the load away from the CPU in the older laptop.

Mixer: Behringer Xenyx QX1002USB*
Capture Card:https://amzn.to/39qGFRx*

Of course I don’t actually know what I’m doing with any of this yet, but I’ll figure it out. Maybe.

Retired during December

Ritual of the Night - September Games

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – Xbox One

I’ve retired this for a while due to not getting as much time on the Xbox as I’d like. I’m presently in two minds about grabbing the Switch version despite the performance issues just so I can play it more regularly. We’ll see.

Various editions available here* from Amazon

*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

All-Time Top 5 Christmas Movies

Various conversations on Twitter had me thinking about this recently. Thought I’d collate my personal Top 5, and as usual include comments on a few of the notable absences at the end.

So, in reverse order:

5. Christmas Vacation (1989)

Always been a fan of the Vacation movies, but I still think this is the best of them. It’s a shame Chevy Chase turned out to be so thoroughly unpleasant, the best thing about all the Vacation films is Clark Griswold’s earnest pursuit of quality family time in the face of ever escalating set-backs.


4. Polar Express (2004)

I’m pretty much a sucker for a train movie at the best of times, but this ticks lots of boxes. Even the weird animation style works for me, and although the soundtrack isn’t going to be worrying Disney anytime soon, it remains a festive joy.


3. Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

While the Polar Express is slightly let down by it’s soundtrack, the Muppet Christmas Carol excels. Somehow having a magic that the Muppet’s never managed with any of their other big screen outings, this is a masterpiece. One of my favourite performances from Michael Caine too, can’t be easy acting alongside puppets.


2. Scrooged (1988)

A firm Christmas favourite and essential viewing every year. Bill Murray (as usual) is outstanding in the lead role, and is still the best interpretation of the Scrooge character for me.

It’s all at once funny, dark, depressing and sentimental. Just like Christmas.


1. White Christmas (1954)

“Let’s just say we’re doing it for an old pal in the army.”

My personal favourite, and the greatest Christmas Movie of all time, is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Most of my reasons for loving it are sentimental, for how much it was part of my childhood. Usually start watching it in November, and get 3 or 4 viewings in by January.


Other Mentions

Die Hard (1988) – This is only absent from the list because it didn’t make the top 5. It is absolutely a Christmas Movie, and if you’re spending any time arguing to the contrary, kindly rethink your priorities.

Holiday Inn (1942) – While I still mostly enjoy breaking this one out over the festive season, some of the content which is easy to dismiss as being “of it’s time”, I find uncomfortable to watch. Not least an entire routine in blackface. Just as well that was left behind when remaking it into White Christmas.

The Santa Clause (1994) – This (and at least the first sequel) only just missed out on the top five.

Elf (2003) – I sort of like it, but Will Farrell grates so much that it would never make my top 5. Top 10 would also be a stretch.



November Games

Only one real completion in November, but I’m going to throw a second in on a technicality. Well it is my blog.

Games completed this month

Nights into Dreams – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

Although I did play through this last year on Steam, Nights was recently added to the free Games with Gold on Xbox, so I sat down to clear the main story with both characters in order to unlock Christmas Nights, ready to play over the holidays.

injustice-2-listing-thumb-01-ps4-us-06jun16Injustice 2 (again) – PS4

Yes, I’ve counted Injustice 2 before, when I first cleared the story mode. I’ve put a lot of hours into this during November though, and thought I’d record another couple of milestones. Firstly I went back and cleared the alternative choices in the story mode that I couldn’t do on my original play-through (unfortunately this meant siding with Superman, urgh). This month I also cleared the arcade mode in the multiverse with every character to unlock all their unique endings. I’m aiming to get every character to level 20, albeit with the AI doing a lot of the grinding. In this manner I’ve been using remote play on my Vita to play the game as almost a Superhero management sim, so I still gain XP / loot and contribute to my guild’s progress, when I don’t have time to break out my arcade stick.

Also played in November

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

I had been waiting for a deal on the Vita version of Axiom Verge, as although the Steam version was often available for very cheap, it seemed more suited to handheld play. I’m glad I waited as it is excellent on the Vita, and a great game all round. I’m probably around half way through, although my progress has been somewhat derailed by using my vita for Injustice 2. I’m going about this a bit backwards, as I never really got into any of the 2D Metroid games, but playing Axiom Verge has definitely bumped Super Metroid further up my “to play” list.

everybodys-golf-1_1Everybody’s Golf – PS4

This game is a joy. I played a fair amount of Everybody’s Golf back on the Vita, and am thoroughly enjoying this new version. It’s perfect for a quick game, with a round of golf taking around 10 – 15 minutes.

38923-Punisher,_The_(Europe)-1459753927The Punisher – Mega Drive

Safe to say I’m a late comer to this port, but this year I discovered it is one of the best brawlers on the Mega Drive. Playing in co-op with my partner, we’re yet to beat it, but we are getting there! One or the other of us has made it to the Kingpin each time, but I think we’ll need to get there together (and with some spare lives!) if we’re going to beat him.

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

Still playing this, about 70% of the way through. Hopefully I’ll be able to tick it off in December, I seem to have too many games on the go again!


November Pick Ups

PSVRPlaystation VR

I almost made it through the whole Black Friday / Cyber Monday farce unscathed. The only bit of hardware I was keen to pick up was the PSVR headset, as I wrote about after trying it in August. Before the sales started I set myself a hard limit, if I could get the Headset alone for less than £200, I’d bite. I already owned some games, the camera and move controllers, so I wasn’t interested in a bundle. The sales included some very impressive bundle deals, which rapidly sold out everywhere, but nothing on the standalone headset.

That was until I discovered that Amazon had a blanket 20% off all of their Amazon Warehouse deals. In the end I picked up a ‘like new’ headset for £191. I’m very pleased with it, the outer packaging was ripped, but inside everything was mint, with all the protective plastic film still in place. So far I’ve mostly been playing the games I talked about in August, but hopefully my library will increase a bit over Christmas. Particularly keen to get Star Trek, a racing game, Rez Infinite and a few smaller titles like Batman, VR Worlds, and probably the VR addon for Super Stardust HD.

Christmas Songs

All-time Top 5 Christmas Songs

Determined to at least get one more post on here before the end of the year, and inspired by both the season and a recent re-watching of the excellent High-Fidelity, I felt compelled to assemble my own Christmas Songs Top 5.  In reverse order, for extra drama. Since this was written, I’ve also assembled a line up of Top 5 Christmas Movies too.

5. Glee – Deck the Rooftop

The only entry from Glee’s selection of Christmas Songs, I promise.  I love this, it’s just a shameless fun mash-up, and makes me happy. 🙂

4. Tim Minchin – White Wine in the Sun

This is beautiful.  Amusing and sentimental, and really hits home how I feel about Christmas, despite Christmas in Stoke not featuring much in the way of sun.

As always Tim is donating the proceeds of all sales of this song during November to January to an Australian autism charity, so well worth buying if you like it. More info on his White Wine in the Sun blog post.

3. The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York

Pretty sure there is a law that this has to be on every list of great Christmas songs, (it should probably be number one, but what the hell…)   It is great though, and the first time I hear it on the radio is a much better start to the season than celebrating a bloody red truck…

2. Puff Daddy ft RUN DMC, Mase, Salt & Pepa, Onyx and Keith Murray – Santa Baby Remix

Merry Hip Hop Christmas!  This is so great, easily my favourite version of Santa Baby, with so many great rappers.  It’s very 90s, but if we didn’t listen to dated songs at Christmas, we wouldn’t have much left…

1. Mighty Mighty BossTones – This Time of Year

My all-time favourite Christmas song is coincidentally also by my all-time favourite band.  It’s joyous and I love it.  “This time of year gets me and it never lets me act like I don’t care.  This time of year’s my favourite time of year ’cause all of us are here together.”

Sorry about all that, I’ll get back to the games soon…