The ghosts of Christmas past...

We’ve all been there; anxiously twiddling our thumbs at 5am in the morning, each tick of the clock sounding like the titanic strides of a giant, waiting for our parents or guardians to rise out of bed and bestow upon us the gift of giving once more before the year retires. Yet, as you tear away at the countless layers of wrapping paper hoping to catch a glimpse of the game you’ve sought after for months, a shocking truth pierces through you like a rusty partisan…

Instead of Super Smash’ve got Wii Party U. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Nope, it’s Modern Warfare 3. Hoping for a state of the art MadCatz fightstick? Dig out your AV cables because you’ve got a bootleg Atari plug n’ play instead.

It’s a wonderful time of year, full of flubs that you can only look back on and laugh. Or not. Here are five Christmas gifts every gamer has to deal with during the holidays!

5. The Third Party Controller No One Wanted

Much like the guy who gets mutated at the end of RoboCop, third party controllers are a lost cause. Often looking like a veritable Frankenstein’s Monster, and created by a company whose name you can’t even pronounce, such controllers are known to be purchased by those last minute shoppers who like to steal the pens from Argos.

Please... kill me...

Please… kill me…

Made from cheap plastic? Check. Suspiciously lightweight with stiff, jagged buttons? Check. Hilariously short wire or battery life? You bet. It might sound ridiculous, but these controllers are silent Christmas assassins, often sent by clueless relatives or lazy last-minute shoppers.

4. The Console With No Games

No, that’s not a topical joke about the PS4, but an oddly common occurrence around the Christmas tree. Again, often a mistake made by those not necessarily in the know, the “console with no games” trope happens, rather obviously, when the purchaser of the gift neglected to also buy the “entertainment” part of the “entertainment system.”

Now granted, it may be because the games are pretty expensive, and buying them in addition to the console itself does inflate the price. And with newer systems the blow is softened by the ability to buy digital. But still, you probably shouldn’t buy the system in the first place if you can’t afford the games to go with it. Or at least do your Christmas shopping early enough to get a decent bundle deal.

Lest we forget...

Lest we forget…

3. Asks for Skyrim, Ends Up With Morrowind…

…not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it serves as an example of someone buying you the wrong version of a game at Christmas. This is more commonly seen with annual releases such as Assassin’s Creed, FIFA or Call of Duty; and to be fair, I don’t think it’s that inexcusable of a mistake given that these games do release once a year. For someone less clued in, any of these games could be the latest one. However, I must say that there’s tons of information on this out there not just on the internet, but also on the high street, and pretty much anywhere you can find an advertisement.

Of course, if the gift is for someone quite young, the information they give about their sought after game might not be the best description. For example, FIFA 15 might be “the one with Messi on the box,” but it’s not the only one in the franchise to feature his likeness on the front. Same with Call of Duty or Battlefield: “it’s got a soldier on it” doesn’t exactly narrow down the search window.

It's the hit new game all the kids are talking about!

It’s the hit new game all the kids are talking about!

It may sound like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but last year I worked at GAME during the console launches and such questions certainly abounded. On more than a few occasions I did have to point out the latest releases in place of older titles (mostly with FIFA), so it was nice to save some people the heartache of buying the wrong game for the recipient.

2. Attack of the Clones

Most of us have had this happen at least once in our lives (at least, I hope, otherwise I must be especially unlucky): the same present bought by two different people. I remember when I was very young, around 6 or 7 years old, my grandparents bought me a Pokemon-themed electronic game. You know, those Tiger Electronics kind of games with the monochrome screen? Yeah, one of those. It was in the shape of a Pokeball and you had to tilt it around to play the game in the centre. It was large, cumbersome, and actually quite heavy. Well, too heavy for my tiny 6 year old hands anyway.

From the other side of my family came the exact same gift; so I had two of these giant Pokeballs hanging around, not really doing much. Of course, one was eventually returned in exchange for something else and, in my case, it was a pretty huge coincidence; I’m pretty sure these things weren’t manufactured en masse, and only certain stores had them. Regardless, it was pretty cool having a giant Pokeball. I pretended I was Gary Oak.

I also had one of these. The best thing Tiger Electronics ever made.

I also had one of these. The best thing Tiger Electronics ever made.

1. Not Asking For Money (or Vouchers) Instead

To be perfectly honest, I like to play it safe with Christmas nowadays. I love giving gifts to my friends and family, and I appreciate getting them in return – who doesn’t, right? But when it comes to games, I’ve learned that the best thing to ask for is not the game itself, but rather the means by which to acquire it: cold hard cash. It may seem like a super trivial thing, but I’ve made the mistake of not asking for money every damn year until now.

Money is a gift anyone can appreciate, which is in turn why vouchers are so popular. In my opinion, a voucher is arguably the most efficient present one can receive. Not quite the most endearing, but when you look at new games and the high prices they command, I’m glad my relatives can avoid making mistakes and possibly wasting their own time and money.

Ho Ho Ho!

Well, that’s my list of classic Christmas mistakes I’ve personally experienced. Do you have any funny and/or memorable gaming related Christmas stories? We’d love to read them! Sound off in the comments below if you feel like sharing! Tis the season, after all!