Fancy escaping from the family for a bit at Christmas by playing some brilliants games? Or perhaps you like the in-laws and need a good family friendly movie suggestion? Well PopBucket has got all the bases covered to keep you occupied this Christmas time.
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The upcoming film version of Tolkien’s The Hobbit surely needs no introduction- Lord Of The Rings fans at least will have been eagerly awaiting it for several years. The first of two parts, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey follows the story of cautious hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he is convinced by Gandalf the grey (Ian McKellen) to go on a quest. Much like McKellen, several of the actors from the trilogy will be reprising their roles in The Hobbit– even if Tolkien didn’t put them there himself. Building on The Lord of the Rings films- also December releases- The Hobbit is sure to cement “that’s not how it happens in the book!” as the most Christmassy phrase ever.
2. Wii U
Released at the end of November, Nintendo have given shoppers a whole month before Christmas to pick up their new games console; jolly decent of them. While one could easily mistake the Wii U’s remote for a console in itself, it’s actually a gamepad- a controller with an integrated touchscreen, so that you don’t have to stop playing just because your television is off. The Wii U will also be backwards-compatible with Wii games, but not Gamecube ones- which will be available for download. At an introductory price of £249.99, Santa will only bring you one of these if you’ve been very good.
3. Doctor Who
2013 is Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary year- half a century is a very long time, and as we ramp up to the celebrations we can definitely expect exciting things from the Christmas Special. The special will, of course, introduce Jenna Louise Coleman as the Doctor’s new companion- and it will also take us back to Victorian times (the most Christmassy era) for a full hour of festive drama. Richard E Grant will be playing the role of the villain, although he has been known to play the Doctor in the past (once in 1999 and once in 2003).
4. Assassin’s Creed 3
Released across all platforms, developers Ubisoft have described the game as the most ambitious in the company’s history, and it’s easy to see why. Featuring a vast set of maps, the game allows you to take control of a young Mohawk warrior, and explore the wilderness of the frontier- as well as cities like Boston and New York. Of course, there’s a lot of killing to be done too, since the action takes place over a thirty year period coinciding with the American Revolution. A lot of the screenshots look very snowy too, so this may be your best chance of having a white Christmas.
5. Life of Pi
One of two India-based novel-to-film adaptations premiering at the end of this year (seriously, what are the odds?) Life of Pi is due to make an appearance on the 21st of November. Based on the Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name, Life of Pi follows the story of Piscine Molitor Patel (or Pi for short), the son of a zookeeper from Pondicherry in India. After being shipwrecked with only a Bengal tiger for company, Pi tries to make the best of his situation- a situation which may not be as simple as it first appears. Life of Pi is one of the most anticipated film releases of the festive season, and with a budget of $100 million I’m sure it won’t disappoint.
6. Halo 4
Are you ready for the return of the Master Chief? You should be. Scheduled for a November 6th release date, Halo 4 will not only mean a new storyline for Halo fans set 4 years after the events of Halo 3, but also the beginning of a new trilogy- the reclaimer trilogy. It’s an important point for the series, especially because long-time developers Bungie have handed the project over to 343 Industries. How will their work compare? Combining elements of old and new, this is definitely a good time to jump on the Halo bandwagon, and scratch that itchy trigger finger.
7. The Royle Family
The Royle Family missed out on its 2011 Christmas special because of delays in filming- but that hasn’t stopped Sue Johnston, who plays Barbara, confirming that a special is planned for 2012. Although many fans are still peeved- even after all this time- that the series proper has ended, many people are excited that all the well-loved characters will be reunited once again this year. Almost all, that is- will the special be the same without Twiggy? Actor Geoffrey Hughes passed away in July of this year, and is therefore very unlikely to have reprised his role in the show.
8. Midnight’s Children
Based on the bestselling 1980 book by Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children is set to hit screens on December 26th. Written in Rushdie’s usual magical-realist style, and directed by his equally notorious friend Deepa Mehta, Midnight’s Children is sure to be something of a spectacle- and as fans of the book already know, it’s a lot of fun, too. Despite being referred to by Rushdie as his ‘love-letter to India’, the film has run into a lot of trouble on the sub-continent because of the controversial author’s reputation, but that’s no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy it. After all, what else is there to do on Boxing Day?
9. Guardians of Middle Earth
If one visit to Middle Earth isn’t enough to keep you occupied this festive season, then I have good news. Released for Xbox 360 and PS3 on 4 December, Guardians of Middle Earth is a new Lord of the Rings-based game, and it’s a multiplayer online battle arena game, or MOBA. Like other games in this genre, it will allow teams of players to take control of a number of playable guardians in order to attack the other team’s base. Only 12 of the 20 guardian characters have been officially announced so far, but the choices have been pretty interesting and range through both the trilogy and The Hobbit. Are you more of a Galadriel or a Gollum? There’s only one way to find out.
BBC hit series Merlin has edged closer and closer to Christmas over its five series, and this year it’s set to run a two-part Christmas special for the second time. This year’s offering, which is being directed by Justin Molotnikov, is titled The Diamond of the Day, and will be the last ever episode for the series. Can Merlin aid Arthur in overcoming the armies of Morgana and Mordred? Arthurian legend suggests not, ultimately – but since the series has been known to deviate from the original story, there will undoubtedly be a few surprises in store.