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A Christmas Carol meets the gaming multiverse: your festive short stories

A Christmas Carol meets the gaming multiverse: your festive short stories

Our Video Games community imagines the Dickens classic in their favourite games

Aside from the tale of the nativity itself, Charles Dickens’s novella A Christmas Carol is perhaps the quintessential Christmas story. Quite a feat when you consider it’s up against Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause. Bet Dickens is kicking himself not to have come up with a pun like that.
It’s easy to see why, of course. Scrooge is more relatable and complex than he first appears, a mean-spirited miser, true, but also desperately lonely. His eventual embrace of the Christmas spirit is heartening to see not just because of the joy he brings those around him, but the joy he finds in himself. Few Christmas stories have been retold so many times, or indeed reimagined - which is why we thought it’d be the perfect inspiration for our Video Games community as we asked them to write a heartwarming festive fable.
We had a tonne of fantastic entries, and you can read them all on the original bounty thread here. But we had to winnow them down to just three winners, which you can read below. Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year to all!

First place: A Christmas Carol, EVE Online style

First place goes to @EveOnlineTutorials, who wrote and recorded an excellent 11-minute tale that reimagines A Christmas Carol in the EVE Online universe.
We loved the thoughtful ways that the source material has been adapted to fit its new home: Scrooge isn’t a miser whose empathy is strangled by greed, but an assassin who’s strangled it deliberately in order to do his job, and has lost touch with his carefree, empathetic former self with the aid of memory suppression. It’s appropriately dark for EVE Online, but then so’s the original Dickens - maybe EVE was a better fit for this bounty than we thought? As with the original though, there’s a wholesome, happy ending.

Second place: A Christmas Cuphead

In second place, @scrollandshare has a much more upbeat story set in Inkwell Isle, the world of the rubber-hose platformer Cuphead. It deviates from the structure of A Christmas Carol, but there’s no fun in being too restricted, and the core themes of redemption and festive cheer are present and correct. It’s also very well written. Come and enjoy Max’s tale, in which an act of simple, generous outreach melts even the iciest hearts.
Once upon a time in the whimsical world of Inkwell Isle, as snowflakes danced through the frosty air and the scent of gingerbread filled the streets, Cuphead and his brother Mugman were feeling particularly merry. The holiday season had arrived, and the entire island was aglow with festive lights and decorations.
Cuphead, ever the adventurous one, suggested, “Mugman, let’s throw the grandest Christmas party Inkwell Isle has ever seen! We can invite everyone, even the bosses we’ve battled!”
Mugman, a bit more cautious but equally excited about the idea, agreed. “That sounds wonderful, Cuphead! But let’s make sure it’s a party that brings everyone together in the spirit of the season.”
The brothers set out to deliver handcrafted invitations to all the residents of Inkwell Isle, including the fearsome bosses they had once fought due to the devilish deal. They trudged through the snow, from the frosted fields of the Root Pack’s farm to the icy shores where Captain Brineybeard docked his ship.
As they handed out invitations, they were met with scepticism.
“A party? With you two?” grumbled Goopy Le Grande, still a bit sore from his defeat. “I suppose I could give it a shot.”
One by one, the bosses began to warm up to the idea, intrigued by the brothers’ genuine intentions to spread cheer and goodwill. Even King Dice, the cunning casino manager, tipped his hat and said: “Well, I never turn down a good party. Count me in, boys.”
The day of the party arrived, and Cuphead and Mugman had transformed the local tavern into a winter wonderland. A massive tree stood in the centre, adorned with sparkling ornaments and a bright star on top. Tables were laden with treats: frosted cookies, candy canes, and warm mugs of hot cocoa.
Guests began to arrive, each bringing their unique flair to the celebration. Hilda Berg floated in, her dress shimmering like the night sky, while Cagney Carnation surprised everyone by using his petals to mistletoe over the doorways.
As the night went on, the spirit of Christmas worked its magic. Old grudges melted away like snow in the winter sun. The once-feared bosses laughed and danced with the residents of Inkwell Isle, sharing stories and songs. Cuphead and Mugman beamed with joy, their hearts full as they saw their dream of unity come to life.
Just when it seemed the night couldn’t get any more magical, a hush fell over the crowd as the Devil himself stepped into the tavern. A wave of tension swept through the room, but Cuphead stepped forward with a smile.
“Even you, sir, are welcome tonight. It’s Christmas, a time for forgiveness and fresh starts,” Cuphead said, extending a hand.
The Devil, taken aback by the gesture, looked around at the merry faces, the laughter, and the genuine happiness. Something stirred within him, a feeling he hadn’t known for aeons. With a nod, he accepted Cuphead’s handshake, and the party erupted into cheers.
The night continued with newfound camaraderie, and as the first light of dawn crept over the horizon, everyone agreed it had been the best Christmas Inkwell Isle had ever seen.
Cuphead and Mugman, exhausted but elated, watched as their friends departed with smiles and waves.
“See, Mugman? Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year,” Cuphead said, his eyes twinkling like the star atop the tree.
Mugman nodded, his heart full. “And the best part is, we made new friends out of old foes. That’s the true spirit of Christmas.”
And so, with hearts aglow and the bonds of friendship stronger than ever, Cuphead and Mugman looked forward to many more adventures, knowing that the magic of Christmas had changed Inkwell Isle for the better.

Third place: A No Man's Sky Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol is a novella, and most of our other submissions were necessarily abridged in comparison with the original. With their entry, @tyrannosaur took a different tack, writing only the opening scene but luxuriating in the detail of their chosen setting: a space station in the pastel-painted universe of No Man’s Sky. It’s another happy coincidence of settings, as one of No Man’s Sky’s alien cultures is known for its fondness of wealth, chiming with the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. But Philip’s protagonist, Scroogek, could give them all a literal run for their money.
Knock, knock, knock.
Scroogek winced at the racket at his door. “Who is it?” he called. A garbled electronic voice responded from the other side.
Grumbling, Scroogek pushed back from his desk and groaned as his aching joints cracked. He waddled across his office and opened the door. He stepped backwards, looked up, and saw two tall Korvax entities looming over him. At the sight of their unadorned metallic shells and the smell of old unchanged oil, Scroogek clacked his beak in displeasure. They appeared to be poorly maintained, and therefore too poor to do business with him.
“What do you want?” he growled. The blue-shelled entity responded with a staticky electronic voice.
“Apologies for our intrusion, sir. My name is Acer, and this is my colleague Dell. We represent the Caring Collective Charity.”
“You better not be here to ask for money!”, interrupted Scroogek.
Dell stepped forward with clasped hands. “Please hear us out, Mr Scroogek. We only seek a small donation to help underprivileged young entities that dwell in the collective. With a thousand units we can build a new shell, giving them a chance to experience an individual existence in their own body…”
Scroogek had stopped paying attention, turning around to re-enter his office and slamming the door behind him.
“What odorous beings!”, he muttered to himself. He pulled out a small pheromone bottle from his pocket. Bringing it to his nose, he unstoppered the lid and took a deep whiff. Closing his eyes and leaning against his door, he rode a wave of blissful relaxation.
A moment later, the door to his secretary’s office opened and Cratchit entered with a yawn.
Guiltily, Scroogek stoppered his pheromone bottle and put it in his pocket.
“Good evening, Merchant Scroogek”, said Cratchit with a tired smile on his beak.
“Yes, yes, good evening to you as well, Cratchit. Did you finish those ledgers I asked of you?”
“All done sir.”
“Very good. Well I suppose you can call it a day. How about you head home to your family, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.”
Scroogek returned to his desk and busied himself by checking his datapad. Cratchit cleared his throat, and Scroogek looked up with a confused look.
“Is there a problem, Cratchit? You normally rush home as soon as I allow it.”
“Ah sir, well there was something else”, said Cratchit as he twisted his claws together.
“Spit it out Cratchit. You know how I detest wasting time. Time is money after all!” grumped Scroogek.
“It’s Christmas tomorrow sir!”
“So?”
“Well it’s a bit of a holiday, and I was hoping to take the day off and spend time with my family.”
“Bah! Christmas! A profitless tradition for those who observe it. Expensive sentimentality. A waste of time and money, I say!”
Scroogek had to look up to notice Cratchit’s downcast expression. Relenting, he continued in a softer tone.
“Though I suppose you have been working hard, and for the sake of morale I’ll allow you the day off.”
“Thank you, thank you sir! This is very good news. I was planning to take my family for a day trip to the surface. It can get awfully stuffy in this space station!”
“Yes, yes Cratchit, I’m sure it will be wonderful. Begone now, I have business to attend to.”
“Yes sir. Before I go, I was wondering if you would like to join us for Christmas dinner tomorrow? You’ve never met my youngest Gekling, Tiny Tim.”
“Thank you for the offer, but you know I can’t stand all this Christmas business. I’ll be more than happy on my own.” Getting up, Scroogek ushered Cratchit to the door. “Please go now, enjoy your festivities.”
Waving him out, Scroogek locked the door and let out a long sigh.
“Christmas!” he scoffed.
Returning to his desk, Scroogek fingered the pheromone bottle in his pocket before taking it out for another deep whiff. With a satisfied clack of his beak, Scroogek found himself relaxing with his thoughts drifting back to younger days enjoying the pheromones wafting from the spawning pools of Guzlan IV…
Drifting off to sleep in his chair Scroogek napped until woken by a chill. Blinking his eyes, Scroogek noted that the lights had dimmed for the sleep cycle. Squinting, he noticed a blue glow coming from beneath the door to Cratchit’s office.
“He left his blasted datapad on,” muttered Scroogek as he got up to investigate.
Entering the room he gasped in shock. The pheromone bottle slipped from his hand and shattered on the pure ferrite flooring. Standing before him was a ghost. A Gek he recognized immediately as his long-dead business partner. Marley.

We had a very tough time picking our top three winners for this one - we have to add a special honourable mention to @MURRRAAAAY and his charming Christmas Carol Super Mario Style, but honestly every entry is worth a read. You can find them all at the bounty post, along with the original wording of the above, some of which has been edited for brevity. Top image credit: Christmas Carol on Steam.
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