Holidays are a time of celebration, but do video games celebrate?

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Matthew Byers | Staff Writer

It’s no surprise that during the holidays, with Black Friday sales and before/after Christmas sales, video games are just one of many items being sold. Some video games offer bonuses to help entice parents to buy this particular game for their child as a stocking stuffer. Some video games go the extra mile to celebrate the holidays in their worlds.

Team Fortress 2, an incredibly popular, free-to-play, first-person-shooter on PC has numerous holiday events with Christmas being no exception. Valve (producer of Team Fortress 2) creates holiday cheer by offering weapons covered in Christmas lights, brightly colored wrapping paper, jingle bells, or simply creating a giant candy cane to hit people with. Team Fortress 2 also allows players to don festive cosmetic items to create your own unique characters; the items don’t give your characters extra power or new abilities. There’s nothing like dressing up as an elf and then proceeding to shoot your enemies with a shotgun covered in Christmas lights.

Payday 2 is a popular crime oriented first-person-shooter that, while available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox, most of the focus lies on the PC. Overkill (the studio behind the Payday series) celebrates the holidays by allowing thieves, criminals, and heisters to don Santa masks and rob a bank complete with ornaments and a Christmas tree. Overkill even decided to add an extra bit of holiday charm by creating an entire Christmas soundtrack by using the voice actor from one of the in-game characters.

Call of Duty, an incredibly well-known shooter series also celebrates the holidays in similar fashion to the Overkill crew. A set of well-known holiday songs were re-created and then sung by the voice actors of Nazi Zombies characters introduced in Shi no Numa, where players must fight zombies in a Japanese swamp. This wasn’t the first time Call of Duty introduced holiday cheer. On the PC version of Modern Warfare, the game came included with a redesigned map complete with snow, Christmas lights, snowmen, and gift boxes throughout the map.

Saints Row 4 is another crime centered game where in a piece of downloadable content, you could actually rescue Santa from aliens and save Christmas. Your character is a Grinch who doesn’t understand the meaning of the holidays, but that doesn’t stop you from rescuing Santa Claus from his evil clone, Santa Clawz. Your character eventually saves the entire universe by delivering heat-seeking presents to the good people of the world and using twin machine guns to send red-hot coals to the naughty people; in the journey your character discovers the true meaning of the holidays and joins his crew in caroling, making snow angels, and even getting into snowball fights.

The holidays are a time for cheer, and what can bring more cheer and laughter than delivering shotgun rounds to zombies’ faces with the family or creating your own rendition of the Grinch and robbing a bank blind of all their cash and gold while wearing Santa masks with a few close friends. The holidays can be celebrated in all sorts of ways. Even joining up with that special someone and saving Christmas from an evil clone bent on putting everyone on the naughty list.

Graphic by Justice Gage