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  • Game Design Challenge: Merry Christmas!

    - staff
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Every other Wednesday we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted.

    The Challenge

    Design a Christmas-themed video game.

    Assignment Details

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It's beginning to sound like it, too -- the constant loop of cheery holiday music at every retail store has already started to grate, and it's not even December yet!

    A handful of video games have attempted to capture the spirit of Christmas over the years. The 16-bit platformer Daze Before Christmas is a particularly strange highlight; it saw Santa Claus attempting to save Christmas from the clutches of an elf-enslaving snowman. Notably, Santa could transform into the invincible (and somewhat frightening) "Anti-Claus" by gulping down a cup of coffee. It may not have been entirely within the spirit of the holiday, but it was a memorable experience nonetheless.

    Some Christmas-themed titles tackle unexpected genres, like the popular Elf Bowling series and the indie-made Metal Gear Solid spoof Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa. Other efforts aren't nearly as imaginative. We Wish You a Merry Christmas for the Nintendo Wii is a barebones minigame compilation, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer does little to capture the essence of the classic Rankin/Bass television special.

    This is where you come in: your challenge is to design a Christmas-themed game. It can belong to any genre, but its gameplay mechanics should incorporate some aspect of the holiday. There's a lot of ground to cover here, and your game can feature everything from present wrapping to tree decorating and everything in between. Good luck, and make Santa proud!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forum. When your submission is complete, send it to with the subject line "Design Challenge: Merry Christmas." Please type your answer directly in the email body.

    Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, December 12

    Results will be posted Tuesday, December 18

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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