Christmas time is peace and goodwill to all men and women on the planet. It’s a time of rest and relaxation, festive cheer and plenty of food and drink. It’s a time where we get together with those that we care deeply about, to remember the year fondly and to reflect upon the coming years. We’re thankful for a lot of things at this time of year: Good health, fortune and wealth, love and family. We’re keen to share in our holidays with those who we are endeared to and sometimes to that old crazy uncle that you know will bust out a dance move or two. Forget the fireplace and mistletoe, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.
However, not all of Christmas is all that it’s made out to be. In fact some of Christmas is positively insane. We’re here to dispel what we believe are the Top 10 worst things about Christmas in our first ever:
NOW! That’s What I Call The Worst Of… list.
10) Bragging Friends
You are about to sit down after a long Christmas period. You scored quite nicely with what you receive thanks to jolly old Saint Nick, or your lovely mother and father. Perhaps your brother and sister took the time to get you something you really appreciate? Great, it sounds like you had the loveliest of times this Christmas. You’d better do the rounds of calling people up (which can be hard on Christmas Day or even Boxing Day) and just let them know how much you appreciated what they did. Oh, but whilst you’re on the phone, you’d better ask how they did this Christmas and if they got anything of interest.
Then you call up that guy. You know who I mean, that guy who will say things like “Oh yeah, this Christmas, I got a brand new Smart TV, a new PC tower along with a GeForce GTX 980 Ti, oh and a couple of games to keep me going.” Then you pause momentarily in absolute shock that someone could receive so much for Christmas. Afterwards, they say “oh and it sounds like you had a nice Christmas too. Well, got to go, I’ve got some gaming to do. This game isn’t even released yet!” Then they just hang up.
9) The Wrong Games
Aww bless you Granny, you’re trying so hard to understand. But the sad fact of the matter is the look I’m giving you now is probably the same one “The man in the store who said that would be the one you wanted” because you stood in front of him and asked for “the dragons one.” I don’t own a console, I already have this game, I wanted the DLC for PC, and I know Mum wrote it down for you because I stood over her and watched, but bless you, you tried.
While I weep softly into the £3 socks that I suddenly find I’m appreciating more than the £35 game because adulthood has swept cruelly upon me, you sit satisfied that you have related to the modern youth without having to bake anything. You’ll never know that we had to sneak out on Boxing Day to swap it out, the excruciating, guilt ridden wait while we try and get it done without the receipt lost within the chaos of your “filing box” trying not to think about how you failed, and how we’ll still love you for trying.
8) Casual Christmas Games
The Casual Christmas Game. I’m sure you’ve played one or two in your life, whether it’s a Facebook game that’s come out just to monopolise on Christmas, or if it’s a full fledged game that was released for the casual gamers. Casual Christmas Games are usually nothing more than skins of an existing game which serves as nothing more than a way to make a few quick quid and it works wonders. In the video above, I played a game called Garden Rescue: Christmas Edition. As far as I can tell, it’s just the game Garden Rescue but with a skin over it to make it seem more like a Christmas game. Nothing wrong with how it played, but clearly just monopolising off the season.
Of course, you could chose a game that’s way more suited to the season of Christmas. Why not play a game of Little Inferno, which isn’t a Christmas specific game, but hey, it does a great job encouraging you to keep warm throughout. You keep yourself by a fireplace, it’s casual enough to fit this category and it’s just all around a sweet game. Shame the neighbour is a bit annoying, but that happens wherever you live in the world.
7) A Geekless Household
It’s the time of year for family, gathering around to enjoy each other’s company and delicious food that is mysteriously unacceptable for the rest of the year. But there is a reason why we have friends, friends who are doing the exact same thing as we are on this festive occasion: Looking around at our company and wishing sincerely that they could bust out there phone and chat to each other, or retreat to the safety of a good game or book, without invoking the annoyance of everyone here present.
You may be one of the lucky ones, with a sibling or parent with whom you can gleefully gush over the new films and toys we’ve just unwrapped and they’ll understand, and reciprocate. Spare a thought for those of us who must sit through conversation as dry as the turkey, with the only prompt to keep words flowing is a heavily over-recycled pun pulled from a cardboard tube containing a tiny explosive, and the promise of a full bin bag by morning.
Be ready stalwart geeks, we will be here for you at about 19:00-ish to sympathise, and chat and rave about the promising year to come. Thanks the internet for rapid socialisation.
6) Fake Toys
Toys can be a great and almost integral part of Christmas for the discerning geek. It’s a case of receiving and opening, or leaving in packaging, the contents of a figurine which you have been itching to get your hands on. When a friend or family buys you a figure, it’s even better. Whether you’re like the wonderful duo over at AddAltMode who show an amazing display of affection for their collection of Transformers toys, or you’re just starting a collection of POP! Vinyls, toys are a sweet little addition to anybodies home.
But then you open the box after you realise the box is a little bit wrong to begin with. You know you’ve seen these figures before and there seems to be a lot of shoddy work on the face of the character you’re looking at. Like in the above video which Ashens shows the saddest looking Batman you’ve ever seen (who is even potentially in the wrong set), you notice the craftsmanship isn’t what you expected. In fact, it’s as if this wasn’t the real deal. Yes, you’ve received a cheap knock off and it shows. Now it’s going to either sit on your shelf, almost shamefully, or it’ll be in the bin faster than you can say “oh… Thanks for that truly obvious rip off.”
5) Seasonal Puns
If you work in advertising I assume you have an itemised list of Christmas-based wordplays with a wax seal around it, that you gleefully reach for at the start of November, sat in front of a wall of words relating to your target brand for you to mix and match. Know that I hate you all for even turning the pages of that book, and you are the reason for the increasing hatred for classic Christmas music.
Rest assured that hear on GeekOut, you will never read the word Geekmas, never hear a carol into which we have shoved in geek related terms. Such things tend to receive a frosty reception, and your trust is snow joke to us. Yule always receive the very best from us, we’re no flakes who resort to cheap laughs.
Santa something something…
4) Holiday Events – Missing Out!
Have you ever been an MMORPG player? If so, then I’m sure you’ll be aware of World of Warcraft and their annual Feast of Winter Veil. Yes, every single year, the Alliance and Horde forget all of their tensions to go on a bit of a jolly bender of sorts, eating and drinking to celebrate life (and possibly more war.) There are unique quests relating to this, there’s a Great Father Winter in the major cities who gives away gifts and there’s snowballs to be launched at one another. Don’t forget to turn your friends into a snowman and to visit some of the bosses, who will now have reindeer and so on.
However, this type of behaviour isn’t exclusive to the World of Warcraft. MMORPGs in general seem keen to promote this time of year for all to enjoy. Since Western culture is so widespread, it’s observed even in some Eastern games. With this said though, the addition of these holiday events means that if you’re not around because you’re away for the holidays, then that’s it. You’re that one guy who didn’t get that really cool but now unobtainable vanity item. You don’t get that unlockable character called the Baddest Santa like in Killing Floor. You don’t get the achievement that tells everyone that you’ve slaughtered one hundred gingerbread men by eating them all and dunking their leader into milk. No, you’re just that guy who has missed out and missed out big.
3) Christmas Songs
We’re not on about the traditional songs of Deck The Halls or Jingle Bells. We’re not on about the children or groups of people who come to your door eerily and start singing in your face and expecting some form of compensation for it (isn’t this just begging?) We’re on about the Christmas songs that come out as a sort of “hey everybody, it’s Christmas time, don’t forget it. Look, we’ve not forgot it. See?!”
In the above link, you’ll hear from the worlds favourite robot duo, R2D2 and C-3PO. C-3PO acts as a narrator throughout a whole album dedicated to singing us Christmas songs in celebration of the jolly season. It’s not particularly good music, but it’s not exactly the worst out there. This isn’t an isolated incident ever. Once a YouTube channel begins to get a large amount of follows, they’ll also start doing Christmas stuff including Christmas songs. You can be damn sure that once there’s a fanbase big enough for GeekOut, we’ll do more for Christmas because Joel loves this season.
2) Christmas Specials
How many times must Santa be saved? An entity capable of transporting himself across the globe in a sled as part of a mass-distribution setup that takes one night only, somehow finds himself in trouble with alarming regularity and must be saved by those who truly believe in him.
I have never seen the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special, I have seen Marvel’s recent cartoon “Frost Fight” and a wealth of seasonally themed sitcom episodes such as the claymation episodes of both Community and Eureka. Garfield, Charlie Brown, plenty from the Muppets. Been there, done that, starting to get the idea that if you’re a licensed property you either do a Christmas special or you clearly hate people and money!
There are some great examples tragically lost in a quagmire of trash filled with badly shoehorned morals and warm fuzzy feelings. We can almost ignore the badly constructed Christmas films that haven’t tarnished our favourite characters in the process, but these are rather rammed down our already embittered throats.
1) Let’s Get x To Christmas Number 1
The internet pulled off some weird kind of miracle with Rage Against the Machine in 2009 when it beat out the traditional competition for Christmas number 1 in the UK charts which has been dominated by the X-Factor since 2005 (the year that was stolen from Nizlopi’s JCB song). Only two other years in the last decade have pulled off the same trick and not one of them did it because of a Facebook campaign.
Seriously guys, it’s been five years and you still haven’t figured out that it was a one-off victory? If people could rally behind a single song it might just work, but last year I distinctly recall seeing at least four different ones, and they were all bad choices, and none of them had the support of the rock/metal/alternative communities behind it, the assurance of the artist saying the unexpected money would go to charity, and more potently they did not have Simon Cowell publicly denouncing the campaign.
Give up good people, you’ve had your victory, now redirect your efforts more productively into putting an end to consumerist music and it’s artless creed. Turn off your televisions, and don’t do what they tell you.
Ah now that’s what I call the worst of Christmas, for sure… But now we’ve got two more choices for this list. They didn’t quite make the final cut of this wonderful album which you can now purchase for £5.99*, but you can be sure they will not be forgotten off our bonus CD which we’ll throw in with this amazing deal ABSOLUTELY FREE.
*Purchase not required, there is actually no album.
Relegated to the honourable department for actually having some major upsides, but let’s address the worst parts first:
For those of us without alarmingly full and mostly unplayed library of games the Steam Christmas sale is now largely a prolonged festival of checking endlessly for that one game that doesn’t make you shrug and go, “Am I ever going to get round to playing it?” or “I should get on with the first one before I get the sequel.” Sometimes we pursue the badges and community achievements because we’re weak minded number-chasers, and because maybe there’s something to actually get out of it, like a hat or something. Probably a Santa hat…
For those of you without embarrassingly large collections, hold onto your wallets because it’s about to get rough. You made it through Summer, at Hallowe’en you survived off the extra sugar boost, and now you stand an the precipice of impoverished death. Don’t forget to think about other people though, and they in turn may think lovingly of you when reaching deep into their paypal for an irresistible bargain.
But I did get Arkham Asylum the year after it got Game of the Year for something stupid like £6.50, and that game is incredible! It worked too, because I ended up pre-ordering Arkham City for a mere 10% off and some pre-order benefits, and it was worth every penny and then some.
As well as being an oh so clever pun at the expense of the words “Festive” and “Avatar”, the above picture that I slapped together goes a little bit deeper than that. See, Festive Avatars are a thing we’re used to seeing all throughout the holiday season. This is because people like to show that they’re truly in the spirit of the season by sharing with the world their avatar, but with a Santa Hat slapped on.
There’s absolutely no harm in these little hats being put onto your favourite avatar of Avatar: the Last Airbender (Nor the above James Cameron’s Avatar). In fact, it’s a little bit sweet that people go out of their way to boot up programs like GIMP or Photoshop, or hey, even Microsoft Paint to do things like this. But the fact remains that this is really a very silly thing to be doing with your time. Not like it matters by this point, as you’ll already be too far gone. What’s next, a website changes its avatar to that of a bauble or something equally ridiculous? Hahaha– Oh wait, we did that didn’t we..?
I’ve had enough, I want to drink all of the beer and forget this year and this damn holiday season has ever happened. But enough about that, it’s time to be thankful for a few things. Thank you to everyone who has read GeekOut this year. We’re truly grateful for an incredible diverse and unique group of geeks who read our site and get involved in our activities. Please take a minute to head on over to Facebook and Twitter where you can join in with our online social media communities.
Oh yeah, before you leave, vote for your personal choice for next weeks Top 10. Christmas will be over and there’ll only be a couple of days of 2015 left, so it’s time to let this year go off with a bang. Get voting!