BYTEing Questions is a short segment we’ll be doing every once in a while that will hopefully let you get to know the staff of BYTE just a bit better. Each time, staff members will answer a different question ranging from “Who’s your favorite character of all time?” to “What do you think is a major failure in the game industry that you would change if you could?”
This edition’s question is: What is your fondest gaming-related holiday memory?
In 2008, my parents gave a Wii to my brothers and I as a gift on Christmas Eve.
We were up until about 3 in the morning customizing our miis, making silly miis, and just playing Wii Sports. It was really nice to have something to do with my brothers that was just so much simple fun, and even today my parents mention how happy it made them that they could hear us laughing together well into the night.
Every year that my brothers can make it home (we’re scattered all over the country now) we still play those games together.
One of my favorite gaming memories, just so happens to fall on a Christmas in 1998. My parents had picked my up a PS1 from one of their friends who had modded the system to take burned discs.
So, whenever I wanted to play a game, I had to take a guess which one of the white discs that came bundled with it was the one I was looking for. What I remember most about getting the PS1 was seeing my dad reach into the box of unmarked discs and asking if he could have the first turn.
We hooked up the console and put the disc he chose in, and got to experience the first hour or so of Silent Hill before my dad shut off the machine and broke the disc in half.
It was Christmas 1999 and I had asked for a Playstation 1. Sure enough, my parents had gotten me one and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
Man, the memories.
I remember I unwrapped it and all my other gifts, forgot everything else, rushed into the other room to hook it up, and played it for hours.
The graphics were terrible and the controls were really basic, but I attribute my love for that game as to why I love gaming as much as I do today. I played Spyro, Spiderman and Crash Team Racing on that thing until it couldn’t read discs anymore.
Back in 2006 when the Wii first came out my mom had been telling me about how she couldn’t get a Wii and how hard it was to find one.
Come Christmas day, little 10 year-old me opens up a present and in there is a Wii! Along with it was Red Steel and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I was so excited when I saw it I exclaimed “Santa is real!”
My family still makes fun of me for it today.
Twilight Princess still ranks up on one of my favorite games of all time and the Wii holds so many great memories for me.
Nick Dowell @ncdowell
My best Christmas-based video game memory comes in the year 2000. I’d played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to death. I had like five N64 games but OoT was all that mattered.
Then, Majora’s Mask fell into my lap.
Well, it was placed there by my mom, but still.
I know that Majora’s Mask is a depressing game to associate with Christmas, but for years that game consumed my life.
Fourteen years later, Majora’s Mask is still one of my favorite games of all time. The story, the characters, the gameplay mechanics, everything just got ingrained into my seven-year-old mind. I still pick up my controller from time to time, especially around the holidays. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to play one of the saddest games of all time?
Krissy Thomas @bsu_Kristina
My fondest gaming memory was during Christmas 2008.
I should preface this with the fact that at that time, things weren’t going so well. My father had recently been laid off and was having a really hard time finding a job. I was a freshmen in high school at the time, and I knew that there wasn’t going to be a Christmas. My mom tried her hardest to be kind about it. She sat me down, and told me that there just wasn’t money to be had for Christmas this year, since we could hardly afford food.
So Christmas came around and for the first time, I didn’t plan on getting up at 6 a.m. like I had in past years. Still, my older brother came in and woke me up. I grumbled and got up, heading downstairs.
I had a few presents, but they were all small things, like a pair of socks or a notebook. I said thanks and acted like it was exactly what I wanted. My mom had tried her hardest.
That’s when my mom pulled out a surprise gift.
She had borrowed some money, and my brother had helped. It was a limited edition Pokemon Nintendo DS lite. My brother, who is only 5 years older than me, had also bought me a Pokemon Case and Pokemon Diamond.
I can’t remember crying so hard. I put 700 hours into that game alone. It really made me realize how lucky I was to have the family I had.
One of my fondest gaming-related holiday memories is from Christmas 2012.
We were visiting family and had Christmas at their house that year. I hadn’t asked for anything in particular that year, so I had no idea what I was in for.
Among the gifts under the tree, I saw a large rectangular box. I didn’t know what it was, made a random guess that it was a game system, and was actually right. It was a brand new PS3.
I was completely shocked because I had not asked for anything like that, it was an awesome surprise. I was up until 4 a.m. playing Assassin’s Creed III. It was a lot of fun, and the best part is, it had come completely out of nowhere.
Every event that I got presents, it involved some kind of video game. The best part is that my brother usually got a matching one (even on my birthday!).
Whenever we had a console game my parents made sure there was at least one multiplayer game so my brother (or brothers) and I could play together.
My fondest memories are playing multiplayer with my brother. Whether crushing him in Fusion Frenzy, struggling against impossible mini-game A.I. in Pokémon Stadium, or co-op journeys across Halo and every other universe, we always had a great time.
Kelsey Hayes @15khayeskm
My fondest gaming memory is from all the way back in 2011 when the original Rocksmith came out. That was the one game I really wanted for Christmas because I had an electric guitar.
I used to take lessons, but had to quit because we didn’t have enough money to continue them, and when I heard about Rocksmith, I figured it was the perfect way for me to learn.
Well, I also saw that GameStop had it on sale for Black Friday for 50% off. My dad and my youngest brother went to GameStop to get it for me for Christmas. When they got there, the employee told them that they had sold out, but that he would go look in the back, just to make sure.
Sure enough they were able to score me the absolute last copy of that game. That was hands down the best Christmas ever.
One of my fondest gaming memories was when I got Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation 2.
Now, I had the game before. It was the first game that I bought with my very own money after growing up with my parent’s SNES.
But, since it was the first game I’ve played outside of classic Mario or Donkey Kong, Kingdom Hearts was very hard for me to get used to. I had no idea how the mechanics worked and ended up getting so frustrated that I sold the game after two years.
It wasn’t until I got older when I realised this was a huge mistake, but by that time no game stores had it anymore and it was extremely expensive online. I had almost given up on being able to play the game ever again until two years ago when my parents surprised me one Christmas.
Not only were they able to find one copy at Gamestop, but they somehow found a brand new copy that has never been opened!
After nearly crying from excitement, I played the game properly and ever since then the series grew to be one of my favorite franchises of all time!
Thanks Mom and Dad!
Lucas Schmidt @schmidtyfro
For my ninth birthday, I wanted a PlayStation 2 because I still didn’t have a game console. But my persistently cheap parents got me the recently released Xbox instead because they were able to get it for a lower price.
As the ungrateful child that I was, disappointment was my first reaction.
“What the crud is an Xbox and why isn’t Goldeneye on it?” I kept asking myself.
After quickly becoming bored of Project Gotham Racing my attention span craved for something more exhilarating than driving cars in circles for kudos. Then I discovered Halo: Combat Evolved.
As if my childhood prayer had been answered by Bill Gates himself I suddenly found new meaning in my Xbox.
No longer was I the weird kid at school who didn’t have Jak and Daxter or Super Smash Bros.
Overnight I became the awesome kid who had the ultra violent shooter, filled with purple alien blood and grenades that stuck to peoples’ faces.
The original Halo may have saved the Xbox, but more importantly it saved my elementary school reputation.