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There’s no denying that Christmas can be an extremely stressful time for everyone concerned. I, your regular guides writer here at VG, can’t stand to think of you heading unprepared into a maelstrom of overcooked turkey and undercooked banter served by your tipsy relatives. Here are some tips I’ve found useful for getting through the season; I hope you do to.
1. Don’t bother playing games online
This is a given by now, yeah? On Christmas morning loads of people are going to get brand spanking new consoles, which is great for them and I hope they enjoy it. But whoever got it for them inevitably won’t have pre-installed all the updates, (either because they’re a slack jawed idiot or, thank goodness, they’ve managed to avoid being pulled into the relentless vortex that is liking video games, and therefore didn’t know they ought to) so they’ll need to sort that out.
Then they’ll need to download updates for the actual game they want to play, and when they’ve done that they’ll be online for hours, thousands of them, taking up all the server space for a couple of days like the cyclist who gets on the train and pushes himself into your life, only to get off again two stops later. The continual ‘servers are busy’ messages will do nothing to enhance your Christmas Cheer™ so it’s best to remove the issue completely with a self imposed ban.
2. No wait, do play games online
Yeah, actually, ignore everything I just said: go online. Every game with a competitive element will be flooded with new players who have no idea what they’re doing. You’ll f***ing munch ’em. Watch your KDR rise to new heights. A phoenix from the ashes.
3. Enjoy the scheduled festive content
Who doesn’t look forward to the Regular Annual Doctor Who Fake Snow and Guest Stars December Bonanza feat. Peter Kay? Only joyless Scrooge types like our own dear Tom Orry, that’s who. You can almost definitely enjoy an animated reindeer having an adventure with a moral about friendship, too.
Then of course loads of games stick in a bit of Christmas gubbins, like how you can visit Calendar Man in Batman: Arkham City and hear him say something vaguely creepy in his BBC Radio 4 voice, or all the heartwarming seasonal s*** going down in Animal Crossing on and around the 25th. One iron clad guarantee for a Christmas Special is Valve, who always do something for Christmas, at the very least a load of special weapons and hats in Team Fortress 2 – a game with a financial structure now built largely around special weapons and hats.
It goes without saying, though I appear to still be saying it, that you’ll gather your entire family to watch the Christmas Message in hushed silence (the Burns Christmas Message, not that other one).
4. Try not to look too disappointed if your granny gets you Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Look, it’s not her fault. She’ll just have asked what games are popular with the kids right now, the same way people go into HMV and end up buying a Nickelback CD, as if people still listen to either CDs or Nickelback. Except it turns out they do, and they also play Assassin’s Creed by the hundreds of thousands. Your nan wasn’t to know. God help her, she didn’t know.
It isn’t so bad. Nothing says Christmas as much as some Jack the Ripper DLC, right? Saucy Jack? Yeah?
5. Consider sacking the whole thing off
Christmas comes but once a year, which is a good thing because the preamble lasts for months and then it’s over incredibly quickly (like [insert whichever developer you currently hate the most and make your own f***ing jokes], hey-oh!). So why not just skip the entire affair.
The thing is that in order to get to your aunt’s on time you’d have to leave Totness at 6 a.m., and anyway you don’t have a car at the moment because Grace’s broke down unexpectedly so you’d have to get the train (which is prohibitively expensive), and you’d love to be there but would, on the whole, prefer to sit around in your pants eating and drinking whatever the hell you want, playing hour upon hour of Mario Kart against the similarly disillusioned childless and the occasional actual child. Merry Christmas!