As well as delivering Christmas toys, Santa Claus also takes the time to appear in a variety of video games. Here’s Game Rant’s pick of the best Santa Claus video game appearances.

As we edge ever closer to Christmas, many a video game fan will be hoping that Santa Claus is able to bring them something special. With so many games available on the market, Christmas lists are likely to be chock full of the likes Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, and many more of those games that saw a late 2016 release.

However, Santa Claus himself is something of a veteran when it comes to video game appearances. From early console generations through to releases that came this very month, Santa has been a character in many different games. Here’s our pick of the best Santa Claus appearances in video games.


Dead Rising 4

Dead Rising 4 Mall Trailer

Let’s start with one that will still be fresh in the memory. This December saw the release of Dead Rising 4, and as usual for the Capcom-helmed zombie-killing franchise, there was a variety of weird and wonderful characters on show. Among those available was Santa Claus – although Saint Nick was shown in a very different light from what gamers may be used to.

Rather than the jovial, present-giving Santa of old, Dead Rising 4 instead made Santa Claus into an optional boss encounter. This axe-wielding ‘Sadistic Claus’ certainly has the player on his naughty list, and the only present he’s likely to give is the swing of his axe. Hardly one to leave cookies and milk out for.


Secret of Mana

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Dead Rising 4 is not the only time that Santa has turned up as a boss to be overcome. Indeed, Father Christmas had a similar role in acclaimed RPG Secret of Mana. One of the locations in the SNES title was Ice Country, which held the Ice Palace – and a particularly fearsome boss – within.

The boss itself, named Frost Gigas, is discovered after Rudolph (of red nose fame) advises the player that Santa has been kidnapped. Running to his aide, the player then proceeded to take down the aforementioned Frost Gigas, only to discover that it was Santa Claus all along. Advising that he turned into Frost Gigas because “kids just no longer believed” anymore, Santa’s plans to recapture the imagination of children backfired, only for the player to return him to his former self.


ToeJam & Earl

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Not every video game Santa purely wants to take the player down, as seen in ToeJam & Earl. During the titular characters’ adventures, a variety of different presents will be discovered – some of which aiding the hip alien duo on their journey.

As it turns out, Santa Claus has been leaving these presents around. As well as this, Santa can actually be found in-game, and by sneaking up on him, players can even get the Christmas icon to drop several more presents. Of course, this being ToeJam & Earl, not all of these presents will actually help matters – as seen with the rocket skates – but it’s the thought that counts.


Sam & Max: Ice Station Santa

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The Santa Claus that starred in the Telltale Games adapation of Sam & Max was not quite as useful, however. Found in the second season of the acclaimed return of the crime-solving duo, Sam & Max discovered the character in the aptly named Ice Station Santa episode.

The Santa found in the episode is more than a little worse for wear, however, equal parts paranoid, gun-toting isolationist and demon-possessed entity. Eventually, Sam & Max are able to prevail, but not before taking part in enough adventures to make more ardent believers in the Christmas spirit feel a little uncomfortable.


Bully: Scholarship Edition

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A somewhat subverted Santa Claus can also be found in Rockstar’s Bully: Scholarship Edition. Closer to Bad Santa than Miracle on 34th Street, the Santa that starred in the school-based title is that of Rudy, an alcoholic homeless person who Jimmy can work for.

The missions that Jimmy receives from Rudy are hardly the stuff of Christmas legend, however. Instead, players will be asked to destroy a more traditional Santa’s Castle found in Bullworth Town, as well as setting up a back alley Santa’s grotto. A fun diversion – if not one that will go down as a particularly festive story.

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