The top 8 free retro games for the Holiday Season (iOS and Android)

Christmas is coming! And what’s better¬†during the holiday season than playing some festive videogames!? A popular tradition back in the ’80s and ’90s was to produce Xmas-themed games featuring festive music and our favourite pixelated heroes (if you are from that generation you might¬†remember titles such as Holiday Lemmings or Jazz Jackrabbit).¬†Well, this tradition is back!¬†Here is our top list of¬†Xmas-themed and old-style¬†mobile games available today in the App and Play stores…

1. Droppin’ Santa (iOS Universal & Android)

Dropping Santa for iOS and AndroidDroppin’ Santa is an infinite scroller where a pixelated Santa Claus has to drop presents down the chimneys while avoiding green fireballs. The gameplay is as simple as that, yet the game is not as simple as it may sound. Fun and addictive! The game soundtrack is a mix of “We wish you a merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” with an original chiptune style! My personal highscore is 43 presents. What’s yours?


Play Store:

dropping Santa highscore iOS and Android

2. Christmas Invaders (iOS Universal & Android)

icon175x175screen568x568-1Inspired by the arcade classic Space Invaders. Tilt your device to control your Christmas Tree shooter and hit the oncoming enemies that are getting closer and closer.


Play Store:

3. Super Mega Worm Vs Santa (iOS Universal & Android)

icon175x175Guess who has been a naughty boy this Christmas? Santa and his little helpers have crossed the line and now they must pay. Join Wojira, The Great Mega Worm, as it returns in this all new adventure set in the North Pole. Crawl and eat your way through waves of elves and their evil machines as you grow and evolve into the ultimate weapon of mass destruction to become the Super Mega Worm!


Play Store:


4. Flap Tap Santa (iOS Universal & Android)

icon175x175-1 screen322x572-1Yet another clone of Flappy Birds, with the addtion of a nice, Xmasy 8bit soundtrack. You (Santa) have to avoid Xmas decorations and chimneys. Each time you avoid an obstacle, a present will drop in the chimney below. Flappy Birds fans will love it!


Play Store:

5. Santa’s Coming¬†(iOS Universal)

icon175x175 screen568x568Nice and fun vertical scroller where Santa Claus has to collect presents and candies while avoiding fireplaces! The game features 27 Levels (of which 12 easy & 15 hard) to ensure hours of fun!


6. Green Christmas (iOS Universal)

IMG_3934 icon175x175-1Collect the Christmas items to earn points while avoiding the coal. Little green-colored game that reminds the old ZX spectrum or Olivetti PC screens! Ideal for the nostalgics.


7. Saving Xmas (iOS Universal)

icon175x175 Help Santa to eat all the cookies. Protect children from inappropriate presents. Give Grinch ultimate K.O. in the epic battle for Christmas! Feed Rudolf to make him prepared for the Christmas night and much more! Many little games in one!



8. EightBit Santa (iOS Universal)

screen568x568 icon175x175Help Santa to collect presents and avoid obstacles while going down the chimney. A nice vertical scroller with a lovely soundtrack (that includes a real “ho ho ho”).



That’s it for now. Do you know other free and Xmas-themed retro games worth mentioning?

Cultural stereotypes retrieval from Google Autocomplete API

An American in Rome (Alberto Sordi)
A scene from the Italian movie “An American in Rome” (1954). Nando Mericoni is a young Italian living in the early ’50s in Rome. He loves the United States (that he discovers through the movies) and he tries to live like an American.¬†The movie is a smart satire of “americanization”, plenty of stereotypes about Americans.

Stereotypes are often inconsistent generalizations based on cultural, social, sexual, linguistic, ethnic and religious differences.

Google offers an interesting autocomplete predictive algorithm that, while the user is typing, displays search queries based on millions of users’ search activities.
I developed an automatic web-based tool that allows the real-time extraction of cultural cliché and stereotypes based on Google autocomplete:

Free public APIs offered by Google and many other web services such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, can consitute a precious source of information since they allow to obtain extremely large and rich datasets that couldn’t be collected otherwise through standard means (e.g. questionnaires).

The cultural cliché and stereotypes retrieval tool aims to be a proof of concept of how data retrieved from the web can provide insights on human culture and beliefs (including but not limited to human ignorance and xenophobia). The results of our tool are retrieved in real time hence they cannot be previously moderated or controlled: take them with a grain of salt.

[EDIT January 2014: Google seems to have removed most of the stereotypes from the autocomplete features, therefore the Cultural stereotypes retrieval tool  is now presenting empty results in most of the cases]