The Official Father Christmas Game, ZX Spectrum

Although you may laugh at the title of this Christmas-themed game, it’s not called that because the publisher (Alternative Software) went to Lapland to buy an official license from Santa… It’s called that because it is an official tie-in with the famous children’s charity, Save The Children. The game was sold (for a reasonable £2.99, for the Spectrum, Amstrad and C64) in 1989 and all profits went to Save The Children.

As Christmas games go, it’s actually not all that bad. It’s certainly better than many other Christmas games that were released on the Spectrum (have you seen Santa’s Christmas Capers?).

The Official Father Christmas Game has three distinct stages. The first sees Father Christmas trying to locate parts of his sleigh inside a house full of floors and ladders. When he has a part in his possession he must then take it to the nearby reindeer, but if a wandering elf touches him they’ll take it from him, so he must avoid them if he doesn’t want to keep collecting the parts over and over again.

In stage two Santa must then choose which gifts he wants to deliver to the children, then collect them as they drop down inside his grotto.

In stage three it’s then on to the most important part of the process: the delivery of the presents to the children of the world. First Father Christmas flies over America, then Africa, then Asia, then Europe, and in each continent he must drop the presents into specific places that are marked with an arrow. If a present hits a cloud, a bird or a plane, then it’ll miss its target. Thankfully it seems that Santa has an unlimited supply of presents, so can keep dropping them until he hits the right place. He is up against a time limit, though, which is indicated by the dial at the bottom of the screen.

Happy Christmas from The King of Grabs!

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