There’s something about the holidays that evokes powerful memories and feelings of nostalgia. I think it’s because we inevitably end up comparing this year’s festivities with family traditions that span decades. And sometimes we want to go back to happier times.
In my family, holiday traditions usually involve video games. That started when me and my brother, as kids, received video games as Christmas gifts. But Thanksgiving has never been left out, because it has always been a great opportunity to rope in the whole family— or a bunch of visiting friends— in a wholesome game of M.U.L.E. for the Atari 800.
But my brother and I grew up, of course, and we now have families of our own. And my father passed away in 2013, so that part of my life will always be incomplete. But if I switch on a video game of my youth, I am transported, even if temporarily, to a world of happy memories. I think it’s okay to escape this way, because it plays off of how we are built as humans: nostalgia is quite possibly a coping mechanism for dramatic change.
So with all that heavy pop-psychology stuff out of the way, I thought it would be fun to take a look at seven classic video games that can be enjoyed by groups of people (three or more, in this case) over the holidays. If you’re a retrogamer like me, you might have this hardware already sitting around. If not, get thee to eBay and make your retro dreams come true.
When you’re done reading, I’d love to hear about some of your family’s holiday gaming traditions in the comments. And Happy Thanksgiving!