Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year? What’s so wonderful about hearing the same old carols and carols? Do you see the same old decorations? Enduring the same forced “goodwill to all men” feelings while watching the same people tear each other apart on Black Friday? For the masses, Christmas isn’t just a sham: it’s the whole rotten confection. So how can people who hate christmas get away from the ‘festivities’?
They could convert to another religion, or turn up death metal or hardcore gangsta rap tunes. Maybe stacking up a whole shelf of non-Christmas movies can neutralize all those TV specials. However, these video games will act as an antidote to the joy of Christmas, and last long enough to see it through for another year.
7/7 Yakuza 0
One way to avoid Christmas is to travel to a country where it is not such a big deal. Or at least play a game set in one of them if the plane ticket is too expensive. For example, many of Japan’s Yakuza games take place around the holidays, but players wouldn’t know because it’s so tangential. The closest the games will get to Christmas spirit is Saejima dressing up as Santa Claus Yakuza 5.
Yakuza 0 gets the nod because it’s more dedicated to being a 1980s sim than a Christmas sim. Once players are done with the crime drama theaters, hostess club sim, real estate mini-games, and more, it will be mid-January. By then, everything Elf-related will be passé. If even the hint of Christmas is too much, Yakuza 3 and 6 eliminating the winter environment entirely for the sunny surroundings of Okinawa and Onomichi respectively.
6/7 Civilization VI
Another escape from Christmas culture is to build a completely Christmas-free one! The long-running strategy game series Civilization allows players to choose any nation via one of its notable rulers, and expand their territory, culture and customs against their rivals. The first to eliminate them all, or reach a milestone like launching into space, wins. Players can choose whatever religion, philosophy, economic and political system they like to get ahead of the competition.
Even if the player chooses Christianity, capitalism, or other holiday traits, the characters aren’t suddenly going to be wearing red Santa hats and giving advice on how many resources to allocate to fig puddings. But if a player wanted to pick Gandhi in Civilization VI and come to terms with his nuclear threat against a Christmas-observing nation, which can feel quite cathartic.
Even if gamers disliked the religious aspects of Christmas so much, they might prefer this Metroidvania title with a Catholic flavor. While the religion at its heart is not literal Roman Catholicism, the iconography, character designs, and general style are inspired by Spain’s view of the Christian institution. Probably because the developers, Game Kitchen, are based right out of Spain.
Players control the Penitent One, a knight brought back from the dead to embark on a pilgrimage through the highly religious nation of Cvstodia. They must solve quests across the kingdom to complete their journey, fighting monsters and followers of His Holiness Escribar, the last son of the Miracle. It’s a dark and difficult game that can neutralize the saccharine sweetness of the holiday season.
4/7 Resident Evil VII: Biohazard
Even in secular houses, Christmas is presented as a holiday where families gather, exchange gifts and get along over a nice dinner while they all try to get along. If only all families were as warm as the schmaltzy pictures present. Some relatives are just not worth putting up with, especially if they do Resident Evil VIIThe Baker family feels normal by comparison. The game shows that not all families give each other unclear feelings.
In Bakers’ case, they are monsters that are a nightmare to deal with and can’t even provide an edible side dish for dinner either. As Ethan Winters searches for his long-lost wife in a dilapidated plantation, he must endure them and their malicious machinations. He must avoid their traps, avoid the nearly invincible Pa Baker, and survive long enough to learn just what happened to them and his revived but psychotic wife.
3/7 God of War series
Funnily enough, many Christian traditions actually come from Norse and Anglo-Saxon rather than any Christian sources. Yule logs, Christmas trees, bearded men riding in sleighs with gifts: they all originate from stories about Odin and his family of Asgardians. So that’s a good thing God of War: Ragnarok come out! Now players can end the originators of Santa Claus and co in the ice through Kratos and his arsenal of goodies.
Even if the two Norse games are not to your taste, the original Greek hack n’slashers manage to provide a bloody, noisy adventure for the particularly stressed. God of War 2 and 3 even giving them their own bearded white man in Zeus to exact their bloody revenge. So, whether players appreciate a proxy Santa to crush, or a non-Christmas culture that’s at the fore, god of war will give them their escape.
2/7 Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue
But why beat gods who inspired or look like Santa Claus when other games let them crush the real deal? Designed by Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert, the Deathspan series sees the titular hero smash his way through an action RPG to rid his world of evil. In the second entry, Thongs of VirtueDeathspank must supplement the artifact he received in the first game with the Six Thongs of Virtue to complete the quest.
One of the stingy underwear owners is Santa Claus himself, who has been ruined by his generosity Thong. He will force Christmas on anyone and kill anyone who gets in his way, including Deathspank himself. Santa cannot attack him directly because he is on the nice list. But he can lock him in a dungeon with his coal monster. It’s not often that a game makes a point of killing Santa and ruining Christmas, but it does Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue a godsend for grinches.
1/7 God’s fight
Digital Crafter’s fighting game isn’t exactly great. Not compared to other fighting games anyway. It may suffer from broken gameplay and cheap difficulty. It was even banned in Malaysia and Singapore, and censored on PS4 because the premise, the gods of religion and mythology fighting each other, was a bit too spicy for them to handle. It remains uncensored on PC and Nintendo Switch.
However, one of the playable characters is Santa Claus himself. Christmas fans can try spreading the holiday spirit through the jolly old elf’s fists. But scrooges can join in on the fun by picking everyone else and smashing Santa to pieces. Want to put Hannukah first? Choose Moses! Love ancient Egypt? Go for Anubis! Want to recreate it South Park Pilot? Choose Jesus and see who really is the reason for the season.
More: Best Non-Christmas Movies