The ‘Write to Santa’ (Or ‘Convince Me To Buy You a Game’) Christmas Contest Launches!

This contest is closed, thanks for participating!

Now is your chance to win any video game of your choice. All you need to do is:

1) Tell me what game you want (name/url/whatever)
2) Write a comment in this blog post: convince Santa (or me…. at least you know who is going to guide Santa Claus on this) to buy that game to you.
3) Leave your email to the comment (it’s not shared with anybody, and nobody can see it – except me so that I can pick the winner)

You can participate as many times as you want (as long as you have some fun ideas about why you should get the game), and there’s pretty much no limitations except your imagination.

You have about 3 weeks time, and the winner will of course find the gift (digitally wrapped) on 24th of December (since in Finland Santa gives us presents on 24th day, in some countries it’s 25th day).

Good luck.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. ….and now the contest is closed!

    Thanks everybody. The winners will be mentioned in couple of days… so you’ll get your games soon!

  2. Dear Juuso,

    I’m not so good with hardware, especially vehicles and robotics. Seriously, I learned most of what I know about the combustion engine from the Magic School Bus show. (Saw nearly every episode too.)

    It’s important too be good with this kind of stuff. (Yes, that is a technical term.) Machinery plays a big role in the lives of most people. Car engines, lawn mowers, weed eaters and many other such machines are standard parts of my life. So, I think it is about time that I improve my skill working with them.

    This is where you come in. (That sounds familiar. Hmmm…) Giving me a PS2 Ratchet and Clank game would obviously help me. Ratchet carries a ratchet around and saves multiple worlds with it and his little robot companion. How could that not help? (Please don’t answer that. I’m on a roll here.)

    Each and every enemy would be a help. Taking apart thousands of robots would familiarize me with how the parts work. The repetition would hopefully be enough for me to remember how the gears you collect in that game are used in everyday life.

    Then there are the vehicle, engines and highly complicated equipment and machinery he works on and operates. If I can get through but one of the Ratchet and Clank games I’ll be a master mechanic for sure. (Crickets? … *crunchcrunchcrunch* … That’s better.)

    Clank and the infobots would be great references. Having a handy reference is vital to the learning process and these games have made sure to look after the player.

    Then there is all that exploration and thinking on your feet that goes on in these games. Only in the best of training environments do you get this kind of realistic freedom to accidentally blow up your vehicle, supplies or the building your standing in. Truly a wonderful learning environment with instantaneous feedback. That’s another important part of great learning environments.

    It’s time for me to learn the vital information every driver should know to maintain their vehicles and lawn care machinery. (I haven’t had such good luck with the later.) Perhaps then I would feel confident enough to get a driver’s license. So the special improvements like lasers and rocket launchers might boost my confidence a little too.

    As you can plainly see I not only need your help, but have offered a very viable solution to this problem. You can help me, my friends, family and all those people bored on their daily commute to work. (Keep your snickers to yourself. Oh, a Snickers? Thanks. You’re so generous.) So a good deed like this is an obvious choice for so gracious a person as yourself.

    May your keyboard not stick,
    and your monitor be bright,
    Steven Egan

  3. Oh, so if Santa is unable to supply me with some TIME then I’d like to have enough Microsoft Points to buy Braid for XBox 360 (think that’s around 1200 points) because Braid let’s you control time!! (or so I’ve heard).

  4. Actually, I’ve decided that I really need Santa to get me some TIME for Christmas. With TIME I can play my backlog of old games and maybe some new ones AND spend time with my kids AND finish my game soon AND watch tons of DVDs, and still have time for Christmas Pudding. Obviously you can’t buy time in a store, but I thought that Santa might have some special elves who make it or something…

  5. Dear Juuso,

    Looking for some interesting computer games I came across the corny cartoon higinks of A Vampyre Story. In a Gamespot review the good and the bad were mentioned.

    “Saturday-morning visuals and attitude * Challenging, traditional point-and-click puzzles * Loads of voice-acting samples and great music”

    “Too many puns * One amazingly annoying lead character”

    Too many puns? Is there such a thing? I’m not so sure there is. As a person known for changing topics via puns repeatedly in the same conversation, I may be just a tad bias on the matter. After all, who doesn’t love a few good lumps with their tea?

    Speaking of Bugs Bunny and that slow witted mountain lion, the Saturday morning cartoon thing just appeals to me. It speaks to me, or maybe it’s all the reruns I grew up watching. There are some classics like “What’s Opera Doc?” that are worth watching several times. Then there is the “Rabbit of Seville”. Good times. Good times. You just don’t find that kind of writing much anymore, but lots of botched attempts. Just look at the Scooby-Doo mess-ups. It’s just sad.

    You know, it’s as sad as all those poorly designed games out there cranked out like cookie-cutter novels with little to no imagination. (As you might remember from a previous letter, I’m an avid reader.) This game sounds like it might have an interesting combination of styles. Perhaps I could learn something from it. Yet I can’t learn a thing from it if I don’t have it. (You might have guessed this, but here is where you come in.) There’s inspiration there, I think. Maybe not. …

    It reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera show Wacky Races. (Don’t ask how I made the jump from gothic vampires to … Never mind it’s kinda obvious; puns and the Creepy Coop.) It’s one of those shows that has so much potential to inspire, if you know what to look for. That was a show with creative writing. That creativity is what I’m looking for, merged with casual gameplay.

    Maybe I could be inspired and come up with some great stuff … or at least enjoy hours of point-and-click fun. Normally I find that kinda boring. I think there is a lot to learn from this game. The ratings I’ve seen were at worst 7 out of 10, so it has to have some really good stuff to counter the voice of the main character.

    It sounds like a good idea.


    Okay the thing is I’m curious if there might be some hope of bring the cartoon hijinks into educational video games.

    That might be a stretch.

    I’d totally play a cartoony game that uses silly gameplay mechanics requiring, and helping, the player to master curriculum. After all, years later I can still remember that in Spyro 3:Year of the Dragon, the first level where you can play as the trigger-happy monkey there is a balloon above the first part of the level. It’s easy to see if you go through the first stone arch to the door, you know the one with the red button you have to shoot, then turn around and look above the stone arch. Well, it’s and opening in the mountain that makes up the center of the island. That balloon is easy to miss if you don’t know about it.

    (Drat! I need more filler. Uh, uh, uuhhhhh … Oh I got it.)

    I can then, after you get me the game (or any of the games I ask for in these letters), write about it on my blog “Learning Science Meets Game Design”. I’ve been a little lacking in the game posts. This would be a good game for showing the potential of getting people to do the not-so-enjoyable parts of learning. It shows up in the review I read that there are some not-so-great parts of the game that are made up for by other parts. Therefore I think it worth your investment of money and my investment of time to help further the advancement of educational games. (How much thinker should I lay it on? Eh. I’ll get to writing the next letter. That one looks like it will be fun to write.)

    Deprived of Good Games,
    Steven Egan

  6. Dear Juuso

    The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning (or any of the trilogy) is my game of choice for this letter. (There are more to come. Lucky you.)

    Why might I be so interested you wonder. Well as much as I like Insomniacs work, I have the first three Spyro games so burned into my brain that a single image or bit of background music and I can almost always tell you what level, from which game, with a full description of the level. That means all puzzles, side-quests, characters, some secrets and how to get through them. While I played each of the first three games two or three times each for fun, I also helped my mother and little sister through them, four to five times, for each game, for each person. If you have a question from those three games, just ask. I can probably help.

    You’d think after that I’d swear off Spyro. Well, for a while I did, because without Insomniac behind the IP the games weren’t really fun for me. The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning sounds like the first decent one since, but budgets have been tight for a while. So I still don’t have it, and neither does my mother or sister. The later of which has been at a lack for decent new game she likes. I think this would help greatly, and be fun for me. That’s a definite plus. It’s better to enjoy the game you’re helping with. Especially when you could be facing any particular boss 15 – 20 times.

    I enjoyed facing off against two eastern dragons in a side quest, found through a portal in the Firework Factory, where you are led around by the two spy twins. You meet them first in the Arabian themed world where you help the sister save her brother. In fact you usually deal with the sister. Always thought that was kinda odd. She’s also the one in the closed off area where you face the two eastern dragons. It’s one of the only dogfights (fight while flying) in the game where you control Spyro. It’s like a version of the flights. Those are fun too … That part was one that I always enjoyed helping out with.

    So, while I can tell you almost every part of the first three games, off the top of my head, I want another Spyro game. No the time has not diminished my desire to play around as a little purple dragon that saves the day by beating up on baddies. It’s time to get my Dragon on, and on, and on as I help a certain two people through the game.

    Not only would this give me something new to play, but also my little sister. While I’m not so sure about her, I know I’ve been good. Well, it’s easier since I haven’t been making my mother motion sick by playing Spyro in a while. There’s just something satisfying about doing that.

    Steven Egan

  7. Dear Juuso,

    While I normally have what I call the paladin complex (OCD: Smite Evil) it would be very good for my personal growth to be given Star Wars The Force Unleashed for PS2. Then there is being a game designer recommended by David Perry, that needs some games to play. Here are the reasons I have that I should be given this game.

    1) As stated, I am OCD about smiting evil. With this one gift you can help me be more compassionate to those of weaker will saves (No, I don’t play D&D.) and morale values by letting me experience what it is like to be a villain who comes face-to-face with the reality of their life.

    2) I’m a Star Wars junkie who has spent hours roaming the depths of Wookiepedia, but rarely gets any kind of fix. No lightsaber toys. No action figures. No good Star Wars games. It’s a sad fate.

    3) I can read, so I can appreciate the mini comic included with purchase from the LucasArts online store. Truth is I’m an avid reader and haven’t even had much in the line of new books for several years. While the mini comic might not be enough to satisfy, I’m hoping the game’s plot line will help.

    4) I follow your blog, link to it and have shared your posts with others. That’s worth something, right?

    5) I’m a game designer and college student without the funds to get myself games, or do almost anything else. Behold the fact that only the PS2 version is of any use to me. I haven’t had a new game in over a year.

    6) I’m a game designer that wants to come up with fun and educational games, so I’m really interested in seeing how the linking skills and physics work together to make great gameplay. Hopefully playing with such game mechanics would help me design fun ways to use curriculum content.

    7) Destructible environments are a BLAST (Pun intended.). While I’m a mild mannered … okay I’m nice but kinda loud. The thing is that I love to leave levels having destroyed everything that can be destroyed, everything. If all I see is a flat plane to walk on, I know I’ve done a job well done. Explosions make me happy in video games.

    8) I WANNA BE A JEDI! There. I said it. Force powers and lightsabers are what this is about. Flinging starfighters, lightning and goons with abandon, now that’s the life. This is what it boils down to. Life and death duels with powers and amazing weapons all throughout the galaxy, far far away.

    While I know that you, probably, can’t make me a jedi, this should be within your powers. This is beyond my force powers/budget.

    Years ago, you started this blog; now my family and friends beg you to help them in their struggle against the Star Wars fandom. I regret that I am unable to present my family and friends’ request to you in person; but my ship has fallen under attack and I’m afraid my mission to bring Star Wars games to Alderaan has failed. I’ve placed information vital to the survival of my family and friends into the memory systems of this blog. You will know how to retrieve it. You must see this game safely delivered to me on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Juuso Hietalahti; you’re my only hope.

    Oh shoot! I just quoted Princess Leia. Eh, ooohh, this is bad. The process has started. Please, for the sake of my sanity, and those around me … [wookie noises] … A chance many to save you have. Grateful much be would I, if this thing do you would.

    Steven Egan

  8. Please apply ROT13 to the below to find out what game I want for Christmas.


    V jbhyq yvxr gb trg n tnzr sbe zl oebgure-va-ynj jub vf univat n uneq gvzr rpbabzvpnyyl. Hasbeghangryl, uvf jvsr vf ntnvafg ivqrb tnzrf fb V pnaabg trg vg sbe uvz. Ohg, vs vg jrer gb pbzr sebz n Fnagn Pynhf svther, fhpu nf lbhefrys, V qbhog irel frevbhfyl fur pbhyq bowrpg. :)

    Ur unf na Kobk 360. V jnf guvaxvat bs Ebpx Onaq 2. Gurl nyernql unir Ebpx Onaq jvgu gur vafgehzragf (juvpu vf ubj V vapheerq ure jengu gur svefg gvzr. :). Be Pnyy bs Qhgl 5 jbhyq or tbbq gbb.

    Vs lbh pubbfr guvf ragel, V’q or unccl gb cebivqr gurve nqqerff naq bgure vasbezngvba.

  9. As a programmer I occasionally need a little stimulus which is not along the lines of a new IDE or command line compiler. However, “real life” things are way too intense, I don’t even like “real life” sims. So I wrote an AI to suggest what game I might like to ask Santa for and it told me to get a brain training game. Naturally after this massive insult I brought up the End Task dialog and shut down the monstrosity before it took over the World. Next up I wrote a spiderbot to collect and analyse the entire Internet to suggest a game for me. After browsing the results for several days (this was such a fun game in itself; making pivot tables and charts and so forth rocks!), I have decided that World of Goo would be a good game to get. I am a little to concerned about its “organic-ness” though, with all that goo flying around, but I think that it may be good training for January when I plan to go “outside” for an experience – wish me luck Santa!

  10. Dear Santa,

    For 20 or 21 christmases passed I got gifts only 2 or 3 times :/ :D , so send me Unreal Tournament GOTY edition please.

    I’m wondering if Santa will make an exception for this year :D .

    Yours Ivane

  11. Dear Santa,

    This Christmas i was really hoping for a copy of any game you would recommend.

    I unfortunately judge books by their covers (well games by their cases) and always end up picking the worst games there are. Since you give many presents I have confidence in the fact that you could choose an extremely good game for me.

    If you do have trouble deciding (there are so many good games out there right?) I am leaning towards a copy of GTA IV. Even though all my friends have it, they don’t share it with me because apparently they all have poles rammed up their asses (I don’t think I should call them friends.)

    From all the reviews on GTA IV i found that it is a game that i would really like to play, but alas i have no money to afford this masterpiece.

    So on a final not Santa, If GTA IV is too expensive or anything else, feel free to opt for a cheaper game because getting anything at all would make my Christmas :)

    Yours Truly

  12. Dear Santa,

    As someone who has been stuck on consoles for oh so many years, I am now ready to break free form those restraints. I have recently received a high-end PC and I am dying to experience what computer gaming has to offer. Unfortunately, I have not one game to play on my wonderful little gem. This is where you come in. As Santa Clause, you travel around and deliver toy on Christmas Eve. As you pass by my house, could you please drop off a copy of Left 4 Dead. This would just warm my heart to see that not all people are cruel and uncaring. That would make my Christmas. Also, GO DEAD WAKE!!

    Thank You Mr. Santa


  13. Dear Santa

    I hope to have a legal copy of COD5 including the activated code with which I can play online, in China. I like COD games, however we don’t have pulisher who give us the Local version. And we heard that COD5 is going to be published here, but no online content. That’s a sad news.

    Please give me 1 COD5 as Chrismas gift~~~

    Thank you very much~~~


  14. Dear Santa

    I love dogs and would love to have one to live by me. He/she can even sleep on my bed! I know the SPCA has lots of dogs looking for homes but sadly I’m commitment phobic, which probably explains why I’m 40 and single, and even a puppy is too much commitment. So please can you buy me The Sims 2 Pets so that I can live vicariously through my Sims and hopefully they’ll help me overcome my commitment phobia so that I can get a real live puppy.

    Thank you.

  15. Dear Santa,

    I’m not sure I want any present from you this Christmas because with all that traveling I’m seriously concerned about your Methane Footprint. I mean: your reindeer crisscrossing the whole planet must eat a lot… and belch accordingly! How do you do it staying downwind for pretty much the whole night? Yuck! Anyway, another reason I don’t want a present is that you should save some money and buy yourself a Wii Fit. All the photos I see of you consistently show you are quite chubby. And we all know that men with a waist to height ratio like yours are at serious risk of heart attacks. You better slim down or one of these years the reindeer will have to find their way alone!

    That been said, if you really, really, really want to send me a present I’d be happy to get a voucher for a digital download of Bioshock to continue my very serious studies in game development.

    Yours, Manu

  16. Dear Santa,

    My life has been rather lonely as of late. It appears all my friends have a person to call their own. Their pod is decorated and they have all the coolest stickers! They have even managed to create fun and challenging places to play thanks to their owner or “Player” teaching them how to use their popit menu. Stephen Fry says he wont let me use mine until I get an owner of my very own to supervise building on my moon.

    Please Santa deliver me to rorkimaru so he can put a shiny new copy of LittleBigPlanet into his PS3. Then I can laugh and frolic with all the other sack-boys and sack-girls.

    Signed the loneliest SackPerson.

    PS I would also love a shiny new sticker to decorate my pod!

  17. Man, I’m sooooo gonna win this. Your requests are all LAME! ;-p

    So I have another request (yeah I read the rules suckers):

    I’ve recently been feeling that my productivity has increased to an acceptable, even impressive level and I now wish bring it way back down to where it belongs by playing an RPG! We all know that if you are geeky (or should that be nerdy? Geek has some skill right? A nerd is just, well … nerdy, and as for a Dork – don’t even go there!) enough to get into a good RPG you’ll be lost to the world for quite some time and forget to eat, drink, sleep and go to the bathroom (unless Cartman’s mom lives in your house – google WoW Southpark and die with laughter if you can find the episode). Plus on the rare chance that you have a girlfriend, when she invites you to bed for some spawning you’ll say “in a minute, I’ve just got to level up first” and then you get absorbed in some side quest that only rewards you with some lame dialog or a magical item that you’ll never use.

    Anyway … went off on one there, sorry about that. I’m not dumb enough to let World of Warcrack anywhere near my PC because they don’t have government sponsored rehabilitation programs for that … yet, so I think I’d like the aptly named Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for Christmas please Santa OR if Eschalon: Book 2 is out by then, I’d really love that instead because I enjoyed the first one so much. Thanks beardy dude!

  18. dead santa,
    i would verry much like a copy of dead wake, but because that wont be out for a while,
    could you get me COD world at war pretty please :P
    yours faithfully
    my inner child :D

  19. Dear santa,

    I want DOOM5 for christmasseffect.
    If it is not made yet, please go to john carmack and make him make me that game.
    But if that is not possible (and I am sure it is possible, because I had a dream about it), then I would like you to buy a game for my friend.
    I recommended a game for my friend, and he said he can’t afford it.
    The game is only 10euro(IIRC) and its a great game.
    The game is called The tales of bingwood.

    Thank you santa.

  20. Dear Santa,

    I want Fallout 3 for PC. I spend all my money on hardware and don’t have any for games. I’ve been a good boy this year… I didn’t try to make a MMORPG…

  21. Dear Jesus,

    I would like Unreal Engine 3 or 4 with source codes for christmass.

    [note: in our culture there is no santa.. jesus brings stuff here.. though, as i’m atheist, i’m a bit skeptical about both of them :P]

  22. Dear Santa Juuso,

    I have been such a good girl for sooooo long that I need a new game to keep me occupied (and at least somewhat sane). Then, like childhood, my Christmas morning will be all about playing with new toys. I would like the new Return to Ravenhurst game for Christmas. It would complete my set. As I have all 4 of the previous Mystery Case Files plus the 3 Hidden Expedition games,and many more.
    Thank you Santa Juuso.
    Merry Christmas to you.

    Merry Christmas Everybloggies !!

    Juuso, What would YOU like for Christmas?

  23. Dear Santa,

    I don’t wish any computer game for Christmas. I’m not even able to finish my first one, Monkey Island, a friend of mine gave me half a year ago.

    But I would like you to make the world a better place, and make all the beings happy all year round. Pretty please? With sugar on?

    Thank you.

  24. Dear Santa,

    I would really really be pleased if you got me Mass Effect for Xbox 360. It seems like a good RPG worth trying. Thanks alot!

  25. Dear Santa,

    I would like Left 4 Dead for Christmas, as I will not be able to afford a good Christmas this year. Due to circumstances that were orchestrated by persons other than myself, a crappy legal system, and a boss that only needs me when he’s behind, what very little money I have left will go to my kids (who want Lego Star Wars II).

    I…just…need my…zombie…fix…before I…go…crrrrraaaaazzzzyyyy…


    Seriously though Santa, help a poor man out, and give him Left 4 Dead so that he can take out all of frustration and rage on hapless zombies, rather than the neighbours dog.

  26. Dear Santa,

    I would like Lemmings 2: The Tribes (the full version, not the demo). I’m asking because I don’t believe you could deliver on this even if you wanted. It’s impossible to find and all Lemmings games are awesome. Also I wanted to get this for my boyfriend, but there are so many copies of the demo out there that the full version is impossible to find (if it even exists). Help me Santa, you’re my only hope.

  27. Dear Santa Claus,

    I would like Microsoft Flight Simulator X. I’m already buying it for my dad, but we would like to try some co-op sail glider towing over the net.

    We have radio-controlled airplanes as hobby, but unfortunately the season for radio-flying in Finland is very short, and during the cold, dark and long winter nights, it would be nice to practice flying so that our flying skills don’t get completely rusty. It’s a lot of work to repair the airplanes when you crash them.

  28. Dear Santa, I would like The Orange Box for Christmas. I believe that I am the only person on the planet with a PC who has not purchased this game via Hot Water or whatever it’s called, and that makes me feel inadequate, so inadequate that I bow my head in shame whenever I’m in public. I’ve been waiting a) for it to drop in price, but it never has and b) to finish my existing backlog of games before playing it, but I’m giving up on that now. Being a game developer who has not played this games makes me a laughing stock – it’s like being a politician who’s never told a lie.

    So pretty please Santa, help me blossom into a fully fledged human being and get me this game. I’ve been a good boy all of the year too if that helps, but hopefully your “good boy detector” (which I’ve told my kids about) has a record of this.

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