So... what's video gaming's Die Hard?

You know — the video game that is, to you, indisputably a Christmas game, and will make many people roll their eyes when you call it a Christmas game?

Mine is Undertale.


I was also gonna say Undertale, it’s such a nice cozy little holiday themed game at the start.
That series just has the vibe y’know.

So I’ll say Max Payne is my other Die Hard christmas game.


Hypnospace Outlaw partially takes place on New Year’s Eve, and heavily features a fake subgenre of music called Coolpunk which remixes a winter-themed soda advertisement. Lots of Christmas bells!


Parasite Eve is set in Manhatten at Christmas time, opening on Christmas Eve, also has a major character named Eve. There’s also a twisted Immaculate Conception in the story.

Also I can’t explain why but there’s something very Christmas-y about Nier Automata to me. Just feels inevitable that those androids will find a way to celebrate the Yuletide…


I have two answers here: first is Yakuza! I’m struggling to find hard data to back me up on this, but I’m fairly sure the bulk of the original game is set in December 2005, and several sequels take place at similarly wintry times of year (Yakuza 5 notably features the city of Sapporo deep in snowy winter). Being set in Japan the Christmas decorations and general vibe are fairly low-key (Christmas Eve is more of a couples holiday a la Valentine’s and Christmas Day itself is kinda nothing except for the esoteric KFC connection).

It’s a similar feeling to something like The Bourne Identity - you barely realise it’s set at Christmas until he reaches a farmhouse and the decorations are up (source: I watched it this afternoon on Christmas Eve and entirely forgot it was set at Christmas, a happy accident). So maybe Yakuza is a bad gaming Die Hard because Die Hard is indisputably a Christmas film, it’s much more than just the occasional bit of set dressing. For something closer (while still not being about Christmas, just like Die Hard) I’d point to Spider-Man: Miles Morales.


I was going to say Miles Morales although it’s very open about its setting.

Death Stranding is a Christmas game. Sam Porter Bridges is Santa and completing that game, much like Christmas Day, leaves you feeling stuffed and slightly full of regret.

Also, sometimes when you’re running about in the snow you can sometimes hear jingles.


I’m going to take the opposite approach and say James Pond 2: Robocod. It’s entirely christmas themed, but the idea of someone playing it for christmas is completely absurd to me.


I think this is where people end up splitting hairs over what a “Christmas” game/film is – for some unless it’s like Miracle on 34th Street it’s not Christmas enough (ergo Die Hard and Miles Morales are not Christmas things), for me it’s more the general setting (so they totally are).

Love the Death Stranding suggestion though. Plus you can get Sam a Santa hat!


My friend recently said that “Eyes Wide Shut” is a Christmas movie and I’ve never been more mad at someone saying something that I didn’t think of. It’s the perfect “yes and…” to Die Hard is your favourite Christmas movie.

It’s very hard to quantify though. I’d say Lord of the Rings is a Christmas trilogy because it has that classic feel-good factor supplemented with undoubted melancholy. Also it released close to the festive season.


Disaster Report 2 aka Raw Danger is a game that takes place during Christmas. There are Christmas decorations around, and a couple of references to the holiday, but it’s mostly a game about trying to survive ever escalating natural disasters!

Also, there’s a Santa costume in the game that is surprisingly good at keeping your character warm! I can’t find any screenshots of it though.


I don’t actually play it on Christmas, but Bayonetta 2 fills that same “you know, it’s technically a Christmas thing because it takes place near Christmas” category as Die Hard.

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Norco, to be quite honest. It’s definitely set at Christmas but thats also definitely not the first thing I think of when I think about that game.


Oh wait, I’m so dumb. Pentiment is screaming in my face.


Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon for me. The games typically start you in spring with a whole year to get ready for winter. You get your farm in shape, get some money flowing, get to know the locals, and by the end of the year you get to share your bounty with the community. Christmas (or whatever lore appropriate celebration) becomes a opportunity to reflect on the past year, to enjoy some festivities, and perhaps a chance to kiss that one person you were sweet on. It’s Christmas as fuck, even when you’re toiling in the field in the middle of July.

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