Christmas NiGHTS

So, back in 1996, there was this thing called the Sega Saturn. It didn’t do so well and most of the games on it weren’t so good. But, that’s history we all know; as Sega is only making software now. However, the Saturn needed a ‘mascot’ game. You know, like Mario is to the Big N, or Crash Bandicoot was to the PS1. Well, instead of Sonic the Hedgehog–the obvious choice–they decided to have fun with the new 3D technology, and create a game about flying. It became a cult classic, released in July 1996. That game was called NiGHTS.

However, that’s only the beginning of our tale.

This is a tale about Christmas, as you can plainly see. So, why sperge about a game only a handful of people love? Well, it so happens, Sega worked on the project just a little bit longer and created a demo disk for their game. The demo disc; for nine months out of the year was just an ordinary unassuming demo of NiGHTS. However, starting November 1st, something magical happened. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. The Sega Saturn, unlike most game systems of the time, had an internal clock. It had no real reason–you’d set it, and then forget about it.

Back to the magic. Once the Saturn’s clock told the game it was November 1st, the magic happened. The unassuming little demo of NiGHTS into Dreams became a winder wonderland. The green scenery is suddenly snow-covered, and there’s snowfall. However, we’re still not done with the tale. I mean, we can skin games like no other now. This was just never done back then (you have to figure this was 13 years ago); so this was amazing. Then December hit. That’s when the true magic happens.

That’s when we see what could have happened if the Sonic Team delayed NiGHTS for just a few more months. When December hits, Christmas NiGHTS is activated. The entire game is reskinned! From the children’s costumes, to NiGHTS’ outfit. Even the game’s music is replaced! And it’s not only monthly based. No, we’re not even stopping at the date. They lovingly programmed hourly cues into this masterpiece. For example, if you play at midnight on Christmas Day, you’ll see Santa and his reindeer in the background. Other times of the day the sun’s brighter, or there’s weather. Play the game on Valentine’s Day, and there’s hearts. It’s a wonderful little hidden gem in the Saturn’s library that was only given out for a very short amount of time, and only to people who bought a certain gaming magazine. I still, to this day, have the disc and my Saturn. And while games have come and gone, this one will always remain. The game, and the system will always have a special place in my collection.

If you don’t smile at least once while you watch this video, you have no soul. I’m sorry to let you know that.


(Big McLargehuge file. 27 minutes of magic.)

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