Christmas is a magical time for gamers, and for retro fans it always brings back memories of large boxes under the Christmas tree, gaming treats ready to be unwrapped on a chilly December morning. We’ve all got special Christmas gaming memories – to celebrate it this year, we at Antstream Arcade are sharing with you our own nostalgic recollections of retro gaming in the season of goodwill. Happy Christmas everybody!
Brandon, Chief Marketing Officer.
Brandon loves a bit of Space Invaders – and now he can play it on Antstream Arcade!
Atari and the holidays were always synonymous to me and my family life evolved around gaming from a very young age. My best and worst memories about Christmas day were driving to Grandma's house every year, out in the sticks of Arizona. The drive was horrible, but the food and the family were always great. We would all fight over joysticks and who played which game. My memories of gaming all started out with the family but ended up with me alone at two AM playing Defender or Space Invaders, and to this day, gaming and holidays are very connected. Last year the family played tennis on VR headsets and challenged each other on Antstream. Yes, we are an Antstream family. The connection of games to family has always been linked and will continue for years to come.
Darren M, Licensing Director.
One of Darren’s first gaming loves, The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600.
As Christmas 1982 approached, my friend David and I could barely contain our excitement for The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari VCS which he was getting for Christmas. Finally the weight of anticipation got the better of us and David carefully picked open the tape around the box and slid the cartridge out before resealing the wrapping paper. We played the game for two weeks before managing to get it back into the box and under the tree. His parents never found out what we had done but they were always in awe of how quickly we appeared to master the game on Christmas Day! There are so many Christmas stories from back then: my first 48k Spectrum, my C64, even my first Binatone tennis game. The video game industry, in its rudimentary home form, was so much more exciting back in the Eighties.
Darren I, Senior Developer.
Darren loves a bit of Bully on his Electron.
My earliest Christmas gaming memory must have been about 1983. I already had an Acorn Electron, and my great grandmother got me a game for it, although I suspect she had help choosing. It was Bullseye by Macsen, a tie-in to the ITV darts gameshow. The darts part was fun although I was terrible at the questions. One later Christmas, I managed to blow up a new Walkman by trying to plug my Electron power supply into it. The plug was the right size!
Graeme’s first gaming love, the ZX Spectrum.
At Christmas 1984 my life changed forever. There sitting on my parents’ bed was a huge box, and within it a ZX Spectrum complete with a huge pile of games, cassette player, joystick and more. Of course, it didn’t work, and I spent all of Christmas gazing longingly at all the cassette inlays, wondering what entertainment awaited me once I finally got to play them. When we got back to the store, the replacement didn’t work either, so by the time I got to play all those games it was into the New Year. But I’ll never forget that moment when I opened that cardboard box and saw the jet black Spectrum box inside, together with a big stack of beautiful cassette boxes.
Woody, Community Marketing Manager
Woody fondly remembers the Christmas he first spent with Lara Croft.
I was lucky to have a childhood that was in the middle of the famous Nineties console wars between Sega and Nintendo. I owned a SNES, but was slightly jealous of my friends who had the ultra cool Mega Drive! But something lurked around the corner, something that would change the game forever. December the 25th, a large square box in wrapping paper awaits. As I rip open the present, I'm greeted by one word: Sony. I spent my whole Christmas day with an adventurer named Lara, a cop named Leon, a Vampire named Raziel and a soldier named Jimmy Patterson. My gaming journey had changed forever.
Jess, Content Manager.
Jess’ favourite Christmas present ever!
My strongest Christmas gaming memory is the year that my younger brother and I were given Game Boy Advances and new Pokémon games. We always asked our parents to have one of each so that we could trade with each other, and he would always check to make sure that I had my preferred game, no matter what his own preference was! I remember us sitting next to each other, backs against the wall, snacking on chocolate, completely oblivious to the rest of the family as we stepped into a new world together.
Jim, Back End Developer.
Jim’s copy of Altered Beast, shortly after he’d finished with it.
It was years ago back in the days of the Mega Drive, and my then girlfriend had got me Altered Beast for Christmas. But for some bizarre reason she hid it in the microwave so I couldn’t see and she could wrap it later. About half an hour later, I went to put something in the microwave and accidentally hit the start button opening the door. It was on for only a fraction of a second, but it turned out that that was quick enough to fry the game, and I couldn’t return it to the shops because I’m guessing it wasn’t faulty before I fried it. I always carefully open any microwave door now.
Tom, Customer Support.
Tom loves a bit of Dreamcast Sonic.
My favourite Christmas Gaming memory is the Sega Dreamcast. I'd been asking and begging my parents for one for the most part of the year it came out – completely obsessed. I'd talk to my friends about playing on the new Sonic game, and when Christmas Day came around it was the best day ever. I spent pretty much the whole day setting it up and playing Sonic over and over. It was the first sonic game I completed multiple times, and it had loads of different story lines with different characters. Very cool!