Created in association with Save The Children, The Official Father Christmas Game was developed by Enigma Variations and published by Alternative Software for the C64, Spectrum and Amstrad in 1989. Profits from the game went to the aforementioned children’s charity.
In the first level you must explore a house and collect parts of Santa’s sleigh. When you find a piece you then have to take it to the waiting reindeer, but if you touch a mischievous elf along the way he will take it from you and you’ll have to go find it again. So when carrying a piece of sleigh the game then becomes: avoid the elves at all costs. You have a limited amount of time to find all six pieces, and – no – you don’t have any guns and can’t shoot them, or jump over them. So the best thing to do when an elf is running toward you is to run off screen, then go back again, and the elf will have disappeared. This at least allows you to carefully make your way to the reindeer – one screen at a time.
For the second level, Father Christmas must choose six Christmas gifts to deliver to the children then collect those six items as gifts rain down on him inside Santa’s Grotto, which sounds… authentic. Haha.
For the third level, Santa then gets onto his sleigh and flies left or right to deliver the presents, which he does by dropping them onto targets using parachutes. Just like in real life… LOL.
In the Commodore 64 version Father Christmas visits America, Europe, Africa, Antarctica, and Finland. Unlike in the ZX Spectrum version of this game, Asia doesn’t get a delivery from him. Oh well. Maybe the developers of the C64 version of this game were Finnish (or from Antarctica) and decided to switch out Asia for their home country? Note: after a quick check, the developers (Enigma Variations) were from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, so the Finland connection must be a ‘Lapland’ reference. Still not sure why the devs would include Antarctica (which they incorrectly spell as “Antarctic” in the game) and leave out Asia, though…
The Commodore 64 version of this game is arguably the best of the three published. The constant tune that plays (“We Wish You A Merry Christmas“) is quite pleasant and the graphics are well-drawn and colourful. It’s a decent enough Christmas game to get you into a festive mood and is generally overlooked on many ‘Christmas video game’ lists.
Merry Christmas from The King of Grabs!