On the first day of Blogmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of those tunes you either love or hate, but you can’t deny that receiving 364 gifts in less than two weeks is impressive. There’s something that can be done to make all that swag better though: wouldn’t you look forward to opening those presents even more if they had something to do with video games?

Creative conductor Athena from AmbiGaming has taken it upon herself to gamify the song and turn us into a gaggle of gaming Christmas carollers for the festive season. A big hug to her for coordinating this – be sure to check out her blog today to see what she’s written for her first answer in this Blogmas collaboration – and Christmas kisses to all of the other bloggers out there taking part. I can hear the choir clearing their throats and warming up in the background so let’s get this party started:

On the first day of Blogmas, the gamers said to me:
What are your 12 favorite gaming memories?

1990: Meeting Guybrush for the first time

I’m sure everybody already knows the story about how I originally got into gaming as a child, after receiving an Amiga for Christmas and playing The Secret of Monkey Island almost thirty years ago (if you don’t, why not take a look at my contribution for The Games That Define Us collaboration over on Normal Happenings). This event is what kicked off a long-lasting love of the adventure genre and a crush on wannabe pirates.

2007: My mum, the honorary gamer

Other than a few casual games on her iPad, my mum isn’t into video games but has always taken an interest in whatever it is I’m playing. So on Christmas day a number of years ago, I managed to persuade her into playing BioShock with my brother and I. She didn’t have a clue what she was doing and was absolutely terrible – but hearing her yell ‘Pew-pew!’ at the screen has made this a memory I’ll always remember with a giggle.

2013: Meeting Ben, my blogging partner-in-crime

Rezzed, SpecialEffect, Ben, Kim, PeteWhen I originally started blogging, I thought it would be a great idea to try and arrange a small meetup for WordPress bloggers in London. Sadly only one person decided to show up: but that person was Ben and it was the start of a beautiful friendship! Work and family commitments mean he hasn’t blogged in a while now but we’re still good friends; he’s been there for me through a lot of events and has one of the biggest hearts I know.

2014: Playing Cards Against Humanity with Tim and Joel

When I heard that Tim and Joel from GeekOut South-West were due to be at Kitacon as the same time I was there for Rezzed, we immediately arranged to meet up in a pub in the NEC for a few drinks. In walks this guy dressed up as Edward Elric, who instructed me in the ways of Cards Against Humanity and handed me a card saying ‘Paeodophiles’. There’s a recording of this event somewhere on the internet, but most of it is me laughing hysterically.

2014: Being invited to the pub by Red Thread Games

Rezzed, expo, event, video games, Martin Bruusgaard, Kim, Ragnar TornquistBesides Monkey Island, the other series that holds a special place in my heart is The Longest Journey. I managed to get a front-row seat at Red Thread Games’ developer session on Dreamfall Chapters at Rezzed in 2013 and was starstruck when they recognised me at EGX the following year! Martin Bruusgaard very kindly invited me for a drink but unfortunately I couldn’t make it so he followed up with a lovely email the next day. They’re such a lovely team!

2014: Volunteering for SpecialEffect with Dr Mick Donegan

I’ve been volunteering for SpecialEffect for a number of years and it’s great to see so many people sign up to help the charity during in that time. Becky now coordinates volunteers but back in the day, Dr Mick himself ran the stands at events. I had the pleasure of learning the ropes from him at EGX in 2014 and can honestly say that SpecialEffect’s founder is a caring man; he told plenty of stories about his work and it was an honour to meet him.

2014: Having a sci-fi Christmas with Pete

EGX, video games, expo, event., gamers, Kim, PeteThis memory was the subject of my Question of the Month answer for December. For our first Christmas evening together, the most festive thing Pete and I did was eat an entire tub of Quality Street. The rest of the night was spent playing Alien: Isolation, creeping around the Sevastopol space station in search of Ellen Ripley – and being unable to make our way through a dark corridor because that damn Xenomorph kept dropping through a vent in the ceiling and onto our heads.

2015: Surprising the boys with a PlayStation 4

My stepson Ethan dived into his Christmas stocking this year to open a box containing LittleBigPlanet 3. He was a little confused and said to me: “I’ve always wanted to play this game! But it says it’s for PlayStation and we don’t have one…” It was at that point that I surprised him and Pete with another box containing at PlayStation 3. We spent the majority of the holidays that year streaming on Twitch so family and friends could stop by and say hello.

2015: Watching Ethan’s reaction to Journey

Rezzed, video games, gaming, expo, EthanEthan fell in love with Journey as soon as we handed the control over to him. After climbing the snowy mountain and reaching the final cutscene, he said: “So I’m the star… and the next person playing right now will see me in the sky at the start of their game. That’s cool.” Getting that opportunity to show him that video games don’t have to be about guns and violence, and the fact that he understood that so well made me very proud.

2017: Seeing how good my sister-in-law was at virtual reality

Ethan, Pete, Christmas, PlayStation VRLast year, our families clubbed together to get Ethan a PlayStation VR and everyone had fun trying out the headset (except my mother-in-law who doesn’t like heights and didn’t enjoy the experience very much). The biggest surprise turned out to be my sister-in-law; my brother put on VR Luge to try and screw her over, and then had to eat his words when she turned out to be pretty good at it. Let’s see what we can get her to play this year.

2018: Hysterically laughing through GameBlast18

When Pete, Ben, Nathan and I took part in the GameBlast18 marathon, we ended up playing That’s You! At one point during the game all of us said it would be Nathan who’d get us lost in the woods and would end up looking like Swamp Thing, which we all through was the funniest thing ever in our caffeine-induced haze. We fell into hysterics on the stream and it was a struggle to get it back on track – but this memory reminds me what great friends I have.

2018: Meeting new blogger friends

I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing blogger friends this year both online and in person. Ian from Adventure Rules, Athena from AmbiGaming, LightningEllen from Livid Lightning, Katie from The Gaming Diaries and Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate have made me laugh and given me good advice. Luke from Hundstrasse saw a developer session with Tim Schaefer at Rezzed with us; and Chris from OverThinker Y and I shared a hot-chocolate in London. You guys, as well as so many others reading this, are simply awesome.

It’s time for the choir to take a short break but we’ll be back for the second day of Blogmas tomorrow with the video games we love. In the meantime, why not tell us about your own favourite gaming memories below?

UK Blog Awards, UKBA19, logo, voteHello there! If you like what you see in this post, why not take a moment to vote for Later Levels in the UK Blog Awards 2019?
Doing so will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)

17 thoughts on “On the first day of Blogmas

  1. It was a friendship that blossomed over pedophiles… Wait, that’s a weird way to begin! 😂

    It’s been great knowing you over these years, along with writing with you back on 1001-up 🙂 Great times knowing fantastic people!


  2. Pingback: On the First Day of Blogmas… – AmbiGaming

  3. What awesome memories!!! Thanks for sharing the memories of gaming with your family, and I especially loved reading about Ethan’s reaction to Journey. Like others have said before, I’m sure you’ll have more great memories with your family next year!


    • Thanks Athena, and thanks so much for organising the Blogmas event for us! I had a lot of fun going through old photos for this post and it was a lovely bit of nostalgia for Christmas. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aw! This was a great read with so many awesome memories. Later Levels is definitely one of my favourite blogs to read 🙂


  5. Thank you for the shoutout! It was interesting reading through this – we’ve been blogging together long enough that I felt like I was there for some of these things because I remember the articles you wrote about it. And that GameBlast 18 stream was certainly a ton of fun! I remember laughing quite a bit on the audience end of the stream.


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