Do you have a go-to game or console for the holidays?


Whoops, I accidentally beat Pikmin in one sitting again…

There’s something about late December that makes me want to dig out my GameCube, a stack of games, and a full set of official, full-sized, non-junky controllers. Maybe you can directly relate, or maybe you have your own personal “gaming comfort food” for the holidays. I’d love to hear about it.

This year, it started with a desire to unlock the final few Party Games in Super Monkey Ball 2 (even though we’re totally just going to play Monkey Target and Monkey Baseball). I love this series, but I’ve never been terribly good at it. Somehow, I had a breakthrough: I made it to the end of stage seven for the first time ever, netting a ton of points with which to unlock Monkey Soccer and Monkey Dogfight.

I’ll never forgive level 4-6, “Launchers.” I still don’t know how I lucked into beating it.

Once I plateaued, I moved onto TimeSplitters 2, another classic game that’s a lot of fun alone and even better with friends. It’s tough to acclimate to these FPS controls on a GameCube pad in 2019, and as a result, I’ve been struggling through the eclectic Arcade Leagues and Challenges. I legitimately don’t know how I was ever good enough to earn platinum medals in some of these unforgiving missions.

Our go-to format Virus mode on Training Ground with only remote mines – is still a blast.

That said, those games were mere distractions compared to the time I just put into Pikmin and now, oh god, Pikmin 2. I sometimes forget how much I adore this series (where’s Pikmin 4, Nintendo?).

I thought I’d spend half an hour messing around in Pikmin for old times’ sake, but in reality, I beat the whole game in one sitting without realizing it. Granted, it’s not that long of a game, but I surprised myself. The desire to play “just one more day” is too strong. I found all of the missing spaceship components and took on Emperor Bulblax with 10 days to spare, but there were so many casualties.

After closing out the year with a few stray December releases and some game-of-the-year contenders I initially missed, there’s something so soothing about returning to the past, if only for a few days.