Santa may be a busy guy, but he still makes time to show up in the odd video game now and then.
We’ve already looked at festive-themed games to play over Christmas, but how about those titles that either put Santa where he doesn’t obviously belong, or present a twisted take on the man himself?
Believe it or not, Santa’s popped up in a bunch of different games, from brawlers to classic RPGs. In some of these, he’s the real thing, but in others, it’s someone masquerading as the jolly old guy instead. Regardless, a little bit of Santa goes a long way – he’s a welcome presence in any game.
Let’s take a look at some of his weirdest cameos, starting with his appearance in one of Rockstar’s most underrated games …
Bully: Scholarship Edition
This open-world school-based adventure lets you do all kinds of things, from skateboarding to taking classes.
One of the most interesting activities you can take part in? Working with Rudy, a homeless chap partial to the odd tipple and dressing as Santa. He’s hardly the type you’d let anywhere near your kids, let alone have them sit on his lap, but his presence is suitably weird – even in a Rockstar game.
Secret of Mana
This classic RPG for the SNES is still beloved by many, and boasts a nice little unexpected Santa cameo.
He actually appears in the game as a monster … though, you don’t realise this until you’ve beaten him. Why?
Because he’s been transformed into a hulking creature known as Frost Gigas, that’s why!.
He’s not doing this for laughs, though. It was all part of a plan to reignite kids’ belief in him, but it backfired (obvs). Still, it all turns out right in the end!
Dead Rising 4
This new instalment in the Dead Rising series is set entirely at Christmas, in a small town decorated to the nines with festive touches.
Capcom saw their chance to have returning hero Frank West go toe to toe with Santa – and they seized it in grand style!
Fighting an axe-wielding Santa (‘Sadistic Claus’, as he’s known) is one of the game’s many highlights, especially when he threatens to open you up like a present.
Of course, Frank himself can also dress up as Santa for added Christmas fun …
Toejam and Earl
The first Toejam and Earl game may not be quite as cool, fun, and funky as its sequel, but it still features a silly little Santa cameo that could be the weirdest of all.
If you find Santa on the map, rummaging in his sack, you can sneak up on him with a few careful steps. In the grip of sudden fright, Santa will drop gifts on the ground – allowing you to swoop in and take them.
Santa will then, of course, take off on his jetpack.
You can do this again and again, provided you can keep tracking him down …
Take a walk down Dobuita Street in the classic Shenmue, and you’ll find Santa advertising the various local businesses.
That’s pretty much it.
Still, you can stop and chat with him if you like, but don’t expect any anecdotes about reindeer or spanning the globe in one night – he’s an ageing, former marathon-runner, rather than the real deal.
Clayfighter 63 1/3
Okay, so this may not a cameo in the truest sense, as this Santa is a playable character in his own right. Still, it’s just so odd we couldn’t leave it out.
Sumo Santa (as he’s known here) is a huge, fat, almost-naked dude with some serious fighting skills. He’s actually Santa’s evil twin, and has his eye set on world domination. He’s also equipped with a nice helping of trash talk, and looks pretty damn disturbing on-screen, what with those jerky movements and tiny pants.
The Sims 2: Holiday Party Pack
Players can summon Santa by setting up a Christmas tree and leaving cookies out for him (how else?).
On demand, he appears in your living room with a hearty chuckle, before promptly devouring said cookies. He’ll leave presents, as you’d expect … but his tendency to take a leak in your toilet might come as something of a surprise.
It has to be said, watching the big man himself standing over the ceramic throne, with his private area obscured (thankfully!), is extremely creepy.
Especially when he follows it up by laughing for no good reason. He doesn’t even wash his hands, either.
Have you seen any of these weird Santa cameos? Let us know!