Christmas is easily my favourite time of year. Not for the presents, or the decorating, or anything the Grinch thinks it’s about.
It’s a much geekier (and kind of family-related) reason.
See, my sister and I have always been very close. Sure, I picked on her when we were tiny, but isn’t that what sisters do?
When we grew up and it was time to pick our schools, I stayed close to home, but she ended up moving across the country. Because of things like flights and the fact that her summer job was also far away, Christmas was really the most time I got to spend with her.
The year she went to school was also the year I got my trusty little Xbox 360. She had seen me playing Lego Indiana Jones a few times, and thought it looked fun. The only trouble was that I only had one controller at the time.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that after hearing I’d gotten another controller for my birthday, it wasn’t long until she showed up home with a new game for us to play: Lego Harry Potter, Years 5-7.
Why wouldn’t we start with the first one, you ask? Well, we just like to be interesting like that.
And we played
We’re both dedicated Potterheads, although we have different media. I was just barely old enough when the books came out, so they were my baby; she was younger, so she became more familiar with the movies.
It didn’t take long for Lego Harry Potter to become our favourite game, and our new Christmas tradition.
The game itself followed the story of the movies pretty closely, with a typical Lego flair. It was super wacky, relying on exaggerated gestures and comical props instead of dialogue to get the point across.
It wasn’t uncommon for our game sessions to turn into uproarious laughter and shrieking that would reverberate through the house and probably make the upstairs inhabitants question who had let us use the TV anyway.
We played in all of our spare time for the two weeks she was home, and when it was time for her to go back, we put it on pause until the next time she’d be home.
And we danced
There is a certain joy in playing a level as Dumbledore and running people over with a milk truck at four in the morning on your way to Slughorn’s house, but that was just one of the fun things we discovered about the game.
I think the most frequently used annoyance tactic (other than running the other player over with wacky vehicles) was the red spell slot.
See, once you unlock the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes shop, it becomes part of the open world, and you can wander in whenever you like. Once you’re in there, you can buy new spells—and you can target the other player with them.
Some of our favourites?
- Tarantallegra, which makes people dance uncontrollably
- Anteoculatia, which turns hair into deer antlers
- Herbifors, which turns hair into flowers
- Transfiguration, which turns people into animals (mostly frogs)
I can’t even tell you how many times running around the map would turn into a race, which would end in many frog-ifications.
And we laughed
Think you can guess what my sister got me for Christmas the next year?
Hint: it was Lego Harry Potter, Years 1-4.
Before we could start the new game which was really just the first game of the series we’d already started, we at least needed to finish the story from the first game. We rushed through it a little, which if you’ve played Lego games, you know just turns it into more of a shrieky gong show than it already was.
Ever since then, we’ve played the Lego Harry Potter games for Christmas, even when my sister moved home this past year.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your geeky Christmas tradition?