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Christmas Weekender

Christmas - and a week of gaming pleasures - is finally here! The team reminisce about glorious Christmas past, and divulge their plans for the seven day stretch.

Favourite Christmas gaming memory?

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Bengt: As far as Christmas or winter related gaming memories goes I have fond memories of Ice Cap Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, brilliant music, and little penguins, an avalanche of sorts. It may not be the best ice level ever made, but it stands out in my memory. And well, that's what's being asked for here isn't it?

I don't really have any special game that I dust off and play on Christmas eve, I know many have that tradition, but I don't. If there was one it would probably be Civilization, it's a game I often pick up and start over on over the Christmas break - but it's not a proper tradition.

Mike: I knew that I had Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 coming from Santa. He usually gets me what I want - he's very good like that. I was really looking forward to playing it (having played the first game rather a lot) and I'd waited weeks to get my grubby little hands on a copy of the game.

You can imagine then that it came as quite a surprise to me when I was playing a different game on Boxing Day.

I'd registered an interest in Batman: Arkham Asylum earlier in the year and it had been duly noted by Santa. On Christmas I ripped off the paper for what I thought was MW2, only to reveal the first installment of Rocksteady's standard setting comic book adventure.

Into the disc drive it went. I think it's fair to say that what happened over the next few hours knocked my socks off.

The reason that it stands out as such an enduring memory was the amount of surprise I experienced. Of course I was expecting a solid game, but nothing prepared me for the quality that Rocksteady delivered with Arkham Asylum.

Eventually I got back to playing Modern Warfare 2, but Batman really made my Christmas that year. Thanks Santa. Thanks Rocksteady.

Gillen: I could go with Sonic. Donkey Kong Country or Christmas Nights, but mention gaming Christmas and one image sears into my head - a pointy hat-wearing wizard stuck in a tiny bedroom swearing at my repeated attempts to poke him with a cursor.

The game was Discworld. Specifically the PSOne port of the point & click original, which I received as a Christmas present in 1995 along with DOOM (talk about your contrasting experiences).

The colours and setting of the fantasy title, based on the best-selling novels of Terry Pratchett, were strangely evocative of the season - perhaps due to overt dealings with magic, slapstick comedy and Monty Python-esque voiceovers (lead character Rincewind was voiced by Eric Idle), which paralleled the themes found in the Christmas television of my childhood.

Forgetting the fact that the game was so bastard hard I had to wait four months to collect a multi-part guide to the game in a PlayStation magazine of the time (or perhaps because of it), I vividly remember the early scenes, while even a brief watch or listen of the opening flashes me back to being wrapped up in bed while snow drifted down outside my window.

Your Christmas Week?

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Bengt: To be honest I'm going away for Christmas and I'm not bringing any consoles. That said, there will be an Xbox 360 on hand where I'm going equipped with Skyrim, and I'll probably get on my iPhone for some harmless holiday fun with Bejeweled and Fruit Ninja, when the boredom sets in. Like I've said previously I've just gotten started on Deus Ex: Human Revolution and L.A. Noire so those games are calling me back home, and I shall play them once boxing day is over.

Mike: I'll be away from my computer and my consoles over the Christmas week, but it's ok, I've put plans in place.

I intend on making a serious dent into The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on my 3DS. On top of that I've just downloaded classic Gameboy titles Tetris and Super Mario Land to my handheld, should I need to rest my eyes from the cruel glare of 3D gaming.

I've also just downloaded Galaxy on Fire 2 for my iPad and plan to invest some time into that. And my recent reminiscing about Command & Conquer: Red Alert has inspired me to buy the iOS version of the classic. I think that will keep me busy over the week, and if it doesn't, I can always head over to a friends house to satisfy my FPS addiction.

Gillen: With purchasing of Skyward Sword out the window due to a house payment needing cleared, I'm seeking alternative fixation for the week ahead.

To be fair, as is the case every year around this time, I've got a stack of games from the past eleven months that need finishing. So when I'm at my folks I'll be clocking Super Mario 3D Land and Ocarina of Time 3D, and when I get back to London, settling down with my girlfriend to run through Rayman Origins, and head back to Skyrim when she's working.

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