It is that time of year, friends. The weather is frightful. Fire is delightful. Seasonal music makes radio unbearable. (I haven’t been Whamageddoned yet, though – Ed.) That’s right. Its Christmas time, and we’re celebrating with a look at some of the times one of the season’s most famous faces made their way into JRPGs.
No, not Mariah. We’re talking about seeing Santa in JRPGs.
Jolly old Saint Nick might seem out of place in these games, but sometimes a little suspension of disbelief is the best part of the season. So if you’re wondering what JRPGs you need to play to find Santa during this Christmas period, we’ve got you covered. After tireless research, these are the titles we could find where you could either save Christmas for — or from — Santa.
Secret of Mana
Going on an adventure to save Christmas is a staple of fiction this time of year. Most often Santa comes to the heroes with a request to help him get to all the children in time or to find someone to light his way in a foggy night. In Secret of Mana, the party doesn’t come to Santa to help him. They come to him to beat some holiday spirit back into him. Because meeting Santa in JRPGs means things are gonna get a little bit weird.
You first come across Santa’s workshop in the Ice Country. A friendly but distressed reindeer with a bright red nose is wandering around a workshop, looking for their “master”. This is clue one that something festive this way comes. After fighting their way through a dungeon to find the Mana Seed of Fire, the heroes come across the Frost Gigas, a giant creature that is rampaging through the temple. This is, in fact, Santa in disguise.
Turns out Santa wanted the Mana Seed to boost his power because the children stopped believing in him. Once you take it away by force, he returns to his usual cheerful self. So just remember, kids, if you don’t believe in Santa, he will turn into a giant monster and it is all your fault.
Dragon Quest IX
Holiday events are nothing new among Dragon Quest games, but it wasn’t until IX that we got to see Santa in the game. You can find him on a frozen island to the north. He gives out a few quests and offers up some fun new costumes in return for helping him save Christmas. In all, it is a wholesome encounter.
The only issue here is that Santa, according to the Dragon Quest lore, is insistent on adhering to outdated gender roles. The costumes you get from him depend on the gender of the character you’re playing. Male characters get the Santa Claus outfit while female characters are stuck with a “Santa’s Little Helper” costume. Gotta stay with the times, Santa, come on. Even Final Fantasy lets you cross-dress these days.
That’s right. Going all the way back to the very first Star Ocean game for the SNES – which wouldn’t get a proper release outside of Japan until 2008’s Star Ocean: First Departure for the PSP – you can find Jolly Old Saint Nick hiding among the snow in the city of Silvalant. If you can spot his little elf shoes sticking out from beside the tree, you can get him to peddle his wares to you.
This version of Santa in JRPGs is a bit less on the nose than the others. He is referred to as Santa the Dealer and his equipment for sale is incredibly expensive but also very useful. Particularly the item called Santa’s Boots, which give you a chance to get a random item delivered to you every time you sleep in an inn.
However, he does insist on greeting you with the phrase “You looking for some good stuff?”, so he may not be the wholesome big-bellied father figure (Stop, you’re making me blush – Ed.) we’re used to here on Earth.
If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate Christmas as a weeb gamer, check out our list by Lilia here!
Header art by DragonGarou/Lee. Original source here!
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