5 Winter-themed games to get you ready for the holidays


Photo courtesy of pexels.com (Public domain)

Anthony Winslow, News Editor

Sometimes, the holidays don’t come along as easy as you’d hope.  Even with Christmas music starting the day after Thanksgiving, houses lit up so bright you can’t sleep, and an endless supply of freshly baked desserts, it’s tough to get in the mood to celebrate.  This calls for some serious atmosphere.

Luckily, there’s a solution: inject your favorite hobby with holiday cheer!  Or, just a lot of snow.  This is what I’ve done to force myself into the holiday spirit with one of my favorite pastimes: video games.

This list doesn’t discriminate between naughty or nice, just that there’s enough snow.  The rules are simple: the game must take place in Winter, or a very cold Winter-like area for a significant amount of its playtime.  In no particular order, here are five games that should help you power into the holiday spirit.


Starting off strong, SNOW is a Winter extreme sports game created by Poppermost Productions.  It has been referred to as a “skiing simulator” due to its attempts at making the gameplay more grounded in reality (and harder) than other extreme sports games such as the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series.

So why SNOW?  Well, obviously it’s got snow in it, but besides that, it’s totally free!  The game has been on PC and PS4, but flown under many radars, most likely due to its complex controls that contribute to a higher difficulty level than other games.

For the low price of $0.00, there’s no harm in at least trying SNOW out for a while.  It’s great to play on your own, competing against time trials and point records; or just exploring the mountain with a few friends.  It’s also a beautiful game.


Photo courtesy of bully.wikia.com

Finals are here, and most students probably don’t want to think about school.  However, anyone brave enough to power past post-finals stress should check out Rockstar’s classic, “Bully”.

To be fair, the whole game doesn’t take place during winter; but an entire chapter does, and when it does, you can explore most of the town in its beautiful, snowy glory.  It even has Christmas missions!  The game is a charming romp through what high school would be like if it were combined with an action movie.  If Red Dead Redemption 2 is great, but it just doesn’t feel cold enough, give Bully a try.

Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa)

Photo courtesy of neveralonegame.com

Never Alone is a game with deep snow, and deep cultural roots.  It was created through cooperation between developers and Alaskan-native Iñupiat storytellers, to translate traditional lore into a tale that can be experienced firsthand.  This worked out wonderfully.

The game is beautifully animated, and uses this to bring new insight to the cultures of those many may not have known of before.   Never alone has been given shining press coverage across the board, so there’s no need to hesitate.  It is available on practically every modern platform one could think of (even the App Store!), so no-one has an excuse to pass this one up.

The Long Dark

Photo courtesy of Hinterland Studio

The Long Dark is a harsh, but beautiful game.  After a small plane crash, the player finds themself fighting to survive in the Canadian wilderness against predators, hunger, and most importantly: cold.

The beginning goal is simple: survive.  But depending on the mode you choose, you can go it alone and try to discover why everything is so desolate, or get the help of hermits in the game’s new story mode.  Either way, it’s a fun reminder to why we play games about the snow, instead of actually going out and living in it.


Photo courtesy of Bethesda

Skyrim has been released more times than you would believe, and captivated players with each increment. It’s also a wonderful game to play when you wish it was cold enough to wear fur cloaks, then remember you live in Southern California.  Skyrim takes players on a legendary journey against undead dragons that wish to destroy time itself.

Not only is the story engaging, but the game offers a huge, cold, world for players to do whatever their hearts desire in.  You could play as a thief, warrior, wizard, or all three! And you can shoot ice from your hands.  Skyrim is a marvelous adventure through a fantasy world you won’t regret.

There it is folks!  These games should get you through Winter in the right spirit.  Have fun, and play to your heart’s content!  Or at least until Winter Break is over.