How Christmas Shopper Simulator Ruined Christmas


Game has released a free download game called Christmas Shopper Simulator. From the description it’s intended as a marketing effort poking fun at the year’s crop of gimmicky, niche and weird simulator projects. Alice downloaded it and challenged Pip to play too. Usually at some point in this paragraph we would have linked to the game but it was awful and we really don’t want to.

Pip: Alice, here’s a question. If you were to indulge in a spot of winky in-jokey marketing for your gaming #brand would you…

a) realise that perhaps this is all a terrible idea and back slowly away
b) try and do it properly and if the thing is good release that
c) release something that makes it seem like you don’t understand good games and feel utter contempt towards your customers

Alice: If I were to? Pip, I’ve proven my dedication to running full-force into terrible ideas. So I respect Game greatly for following through with such a clearly awful idea.

Christmas Shopper Simulator is a remarkable display of Game’s self-awareness, either its complete absence or so much that they spiral into self-loathing.

Pip: I wouldn’t normally write about a bad marketing ploy. The universe is full of them and I already have a full time job (Alec hasn’t fired me a single time this week!) But the thing here is that the game Game has produced feels so bizarrely bad and, as I said earlier, contemptuous towards its customers.

For people who might be toying with the idea of playing it, I’ll save them the trouble. It’s a badly made affair where you run around a barely populated shopping centre collecting presents for your nearest and dearest. The presents have that whiff of zany randomness to them, you take your orders from a payphone (lol what’s one of them!!???!!!1!), and you sometimes kick people so you can take their stuff. It’s boring. It’s snide. It’s classist. It relies on poking fun at the recent crop of one-note sims. It’s lazily put together.

Oh, and then there was the bit where you had to shoplift so you could sell your stolen property to Game and also the part where you have to kick an overweight woman until she drops the pair of jeans you want.

Alice: What? There’s a mission for that?

Pip: YOU HAVEN’T EVEN FINISHED IT? Did you trick me into playing the whole dreadful thing while you just wandered off? Get the hell on Skype and boot it up so I can hear you finish it.

*minutes of swearing later*

Alice: Pip, I’m kicking her a lot. I’ve kicked people and it really doesn’t take this long to make them fall over.

*many, many, many mouse clicks later*

There we go!

Pip: Do you think they think they’re being all subversive with that shoplifting mission?

Alice: Well, you know the kids and their Grand Theft Autos…

Pip: Yeah, but Rockstar aren’t trying to run a car dealership as their main business.

The thing is, I’m worried we might accidentally make it sound so bad it’s good. It is not good. It is not entertaining. Neither of us had fun. Nothing was satirised. It was dreadful.

Thing is, I actually had a really positive experience in a Game store recently. I found what I needed easily and then had a really nice chat with the lad behind the counter about what I was buying and gaming in general. Until now that was the experience I had in my head when it came to the Game brand. Now my most recent experience is this. A hateful, snide exercise in trying to ride a zeitgeist. Well done, Game. 10 business points to you.

Alice: Pip, don’t you feel festive now, though?

Pip: You are going to need to mull me a lot of things to repair this damage.

Put the link here, Pip We are still not linking to it.


  1. kav2k says:

    “Game The Game, The Game” game by Game.

  2. Chalky says:

    Not a game in which you watch yourself becoming increasingly irrelevant at the hands of digital distribution? My immersion :(

    • Wowbagger says:

      It’s a game where you go to Game and buy boxed games that turn out to be steam codes in a box.

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    This is no way to treat a Pip.

  4. voorsk says:

    All they needed to do was re-skin Pacman.

    Pacman = Customer
    Ghosts = Game staff trying to harass you
    Fruit = Desirable games that aren’t overpriced
    Little pips = Overpriced pre-owned dross
    Big pills = Genuine requirement for staff (payment/question)

  5. Pop says:

    Surely the Game experience is all about getting as much good preowned gaming as possible, without the guilt of overspending or being seduced into buying crap games because they’re dirt cheap.

    Maybe it can be metaphorised (verbage!) as a Katamari experience?

  6. Donkeyfumbler says:

    Ironic that Game should have released a PC game (is it available for the consoles too?).

    Strangely enough, I’m always drawn into walking into a Game whenever I’m shambling around the local ‘mall’ but then I realise it’s just the nostalgia that has lured me in and that no-one in their right mind would buy PC games from Game these days (from the single shelf they still have dedicated to them), so then I walk quickly back out.

    • aldo_14 says:

      no-one in their right mind would buy PC games from Game these days

      Not least because they’d be hallucinating if they saw PC games in Game.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        What do you mean “Norton Anti-virus isn’t a game”???

        • Nereus says:

          It does have one evil anti-hero and enough running around to qualify for questing.

      • Koozer says:

        I recently visited a Media Markt in Austria. They had shelves upon shelves of PC games. I held back tears at the sight of so many obscure German management and simulation games.

      • Timberwolf says:

        It’s also somewhat ironic that Game are releasing something dissing tedious simulators since that’s what the solitary “PC Games” carousel in their stores is inevitably dominated by. I wouldn’t be surprised to find their entire PC market now consists of confused grandparents thinking, “ooh, Circle Line Simulator, I bet little Jimmy would like that!” It’s a far cry from the days when my local Game had a high-end 386 set up inside the shop, meaning you could not only pick up almost any PC title you’d heard about but try it in-store before purchasing.

  7. Chaz says:

    Scroungeland, oh ho ho ho. Because people that shop there are obviously on benefits and are therefore scroungers. What a bunch of cunts.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Fairly sure they mean scrounge as in “on the scrounge” or “going for a scrounge” to mean looking for cheap stuff.

  8. geldonyetich says:

    You know things are bad when the site that linked a spanking simulator won’t link your Christmas shopping simulator.

    I expect to be seeing a lot of this game on YouTube, its intended audience.

  9. Muzman says:

    So it’s sort of Jingle All The Way – The Game er Game (of which there might be a legit one already)
    Well be sure to Put That Cookie Down! (so advertising companies don’t track you obv.)

    • Jalan says:

      That’s an insult to a holiday classic such as Jingle All The Way.

      I’m so angry, I think I’ll go punch a reindeer right now.

  10. KDR_11k says:

    I would have expected it to be some sort of race to the new game release and missing out, then being told to preorder it. But they can’t even come up with the regular abusive scenarios…

  11. melnificent says:

    The game they should have made is a management game where you start off with a small shop
    Build up a national chain,
    Annoy all your suppliers,
    Go bankrupt, recover (by magic),
    and still neglect to shift to digital in the end game.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      You forgot “devote “99/100’s of your shop to consoles”

  12. Rymdkejsaren says:

    Christmas shopping is awful. The simulation game about Christmas shopping is awful. Where’s the problem?

  13. iPlay says:

    The game is killing the christmas spirit around well EVERYWHERE…

    I played it and noticed a shop called “Go Fax Yourself”

    and there was this one mission where you would steal from a closed shop a video game.

    I like the fart feature tho :3

  14. Hex says:

    I’m really tickled that they’re taking a hard-line against linking to the thing from here. Kudos!

    • rexx.sabotage says:

      yeah definitely! We should DDoS their website too and then we can go burn all the books we don’t like and then let’s silence all those people that disagree with us!

      • LionsPhil says:

        Tattoo the RPS logo on your forehead or I’ll accuse you of practicising censorship.

      • Hex says:

        Are you for real?

        How do you survive in a world in which not providing direct access to a thing = censorship of that thing?

  15. fish99 says:

    Seen the ad for this on twitch about ten times now, and even when all the best experiences it has to offer are condensed into a 30 second montage, there still wasn’t one funny moment to be had. What is funny though is how it puts you off going to Game for your xmas shopping.

  16. Axess Denyd says:


    Give me a frigging break.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      That one word is the only thing you took from this article? Give me frigging break.


    “Alice: Well, you know the kids and their Grand Theft Autos…
    Pip: Yeah, but Rockstar aren’t trying to run a car dealership as their main business.”

    *standing ovation*

  18. gbrading says:

    GAME (as I prefer to call them), as a corporate entity, has long held its customers in contempt. Indeed, I’m not sure if GAME management even play video games. Usually the people who actually work in GAME stores are pretty savvy about things, but their corporate management and business strategy is pretty abysmal. I was surprised when they survived going into administration a few years ago. The shrinking room dedicated to PC games is also a contributing factor.