A Personal Story and a Game

In 1977, I got an amazing gift from my parents...an Atari 2600. This game shares that story. (Company name changed for parody purposes.) It was one of the moments that changed the course of my life forever. Run the game to see that moment...

As for the game:


Santa got home and found no coal for his furnace! His house is cold. He hear whispers that the Abominable Snowbeast took all nine of his coal chunks, along with nine of his elves, and SIXTY of his cookies! Fortunately, the Abominable Snowbeast sleeps at sunset, so Santa can sneak in and get his coal back!

Santa can't heat his house tonight without at least FOUR COAL. Get four coal and return to Santa's House to win! (Then press then X+O buttons to see how you did!)

AND FOR THE BRAVE: get ALL NINE coal, rescue all NINE elves, and collect SIXTY COOKIES for a perfect win!

CONTROLS Arrows to move. X to swing your CaneMaul to break boulders.


  • Look out for secrets! They're everywhere!
  • Remember: BE NICE to any SNOWMEN or SNOWWOMEN you meet!

THANKS Thanks to Gruber for the song help, Toby for art, testing, and an idea, Squirrel for testing and design ideas, and Enargy, Jusiv & Kittenmaster for testing, and Enargy again for keeping me honest about a nice ending. If I missed anyone, thanks to you too!

Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(5 total ratings)
Made withPICO-8
Tagsadvent-calendar, Christmas, PICO-8, santa


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This was terrific! So engaging and satisfying, hunting for cookies and elves and coal and discovering secrets. WELL DONE.

Aw, thanks much!  My favorite part of the dev was re-discovering the vision occlusion algorithm I did for an Ultima clone so long ago. 

And really loved making a game  that wasn't about fighting or danger but just exploration and discovery.


Loved this. Going to come back for more later and see if I can achieve a perfect run.

Thanks!  Ya gotta be nice! :D


This was a great game to play through - really enjoyed it!

Thanks much! It was fun making it.


I said "Woah" out aloud, when I first saw Santa swing a candy cane like a sledge hammer and smash things. Was not expecting that.


Haha yeah the juxtaposition is funny. But only for boulder smashing!


At first I didn't get it, but then I walked across a river and got the idea ;))

I happened to pick coals backwards 7, 6, 4; don't remember the rest.

good game! love the art and snowppl

Thanks much!  Yeah if you notice the river isn't moving in some spots, there's a little landbridge under the water!


What a great little Christmas surprise. I'm puzzled though, how did you get the stretched pixel effect in Pico-8? And the resolution? I thought Pico-8 only allowed 128x128, and 64x64 with a special POKE command.

Anyways, great game. I love the look and feel of a classic Atari game. Kind of reminds me of a Rankin/Bass Christmas film in video game form. Fun stuff!

Thanks for all the nice words! Yeah depending on what you poke in 0x5f2c, it changes doubling in X and Y. Poking 1 in there does 64x128:


Aw glad it reminds you of Rankin/Bass! :)


This is incredible, thanks for creating. I can see the relationship between this project and the ax project for the toy box jam :) I loved the secrets the full map is brilliant :)

I also loved the nonviolence idea of the game, and focusing on exploration only, and finally, the ATARI aesthetics which I am a big fond of it. As I always marveled with all the limitations on the console people designed great games that play different, feel different, and look different. Each sprite and pixel counted in it.

Overall, great job :)


Aw thanks for all the nice comments!

Yeah it felt weird for Santa to go around killing monsters. 

Well, “Max” said he might “jam with everyone” and finish the game... :)