PAT NEAL: What I wanted for Christmas

HOW WAS YOUR Christmas?

Mine was a disaster that started out bad when the inflatable Santa lawn ornament took a direct hit from what loggers call a widow-maker.

It’s one of many forest hazards that can fly through the air on a 40 mph wind with gusts that seem like 80, propelling a broken tree top with a deadly accuracy that pinned Santa to the lawn like a big plastic blob.

Then Christmas took a turn for the worse with the wind knocking over the smokehouse and shutting down the electricity.

All of which meant no smoked steelhead, which just figured since the rivers have been unfishable for weeks so there was no way to catch a fish anyway.

There would be no Christmas cookies since there was no way to do any holiday baking without power. Christmas was ruined before it even started. Not that it mattered at the time.

You can hardly expect to be an evil, mean and rotten person like myself and expect presents from Santa.

Then a miracle happened. I got presents anyway. Call it the magic of the season or the true Christmas spirit if you will.

Even though my presents were just socks and underwear, my plan is to take them back for a refund the day after Christmas and get what I wanted for Christmas in the first place — video games.

Every year, it seems video games are evolving into more horrifying and violent pastimes. Do-gooders worry about the effects of all this violence that seems to get replayed regularly on the nightly news.

But in fact, video games are no worse than the movies we watch and lately we have been able to play video games made from hugely popular films.

The granddaddy of all horror movies, Friday the 13th, is now a video game where players can assume the role of Jason and hunt down opponents who assume the roles of different camp counselors.

A warning might be in order: You will need a strong stomach for the slasher scenes.

Choosing a Christmas video game is a tough job because there are so many cool ones on the market like Bulletstorm: Full Clip, Dead by Daylight and Resident Evil.

Call me old-fashioned but I like to stick with a traditional game that has been bringing the joy of the holiday season into our homes for years, Grand Theft Auto.

The story follows “truly horrible, terrifying psychotic” criminals and their efforts to commit heists and violent rampages everywhere from hospitals to liquor stores while under pressure from a pesky government agency.

Grand Theft Auto started a ton of controversy over its depiction of women, torture, suicide, homicide, robbery and car wrecks but the numbers don’t lie.

Grand Theft Auto is the third-best-selling video game of all time with over 100 million copies shipped and is one of the most financially successful entertainment products of all time, with over $6 billion in worldwide revenue.

If slasher or mayhem video games aren’t your cup of tea, maybe you’re itching for some trigger time. You can step up to the challenge of Global Offensive.

This game gives you an arsenal of cool weapons including rifles, sub-machine guns (SMGs), pistols, Molotov cocktails, grenades, smoke grenades and bombs. Have fun but remember killing your teammates gets you a penalty that lowers your score.

This is important because your score determines whether you get more powerful weapons in the next round.

Video games may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect Christmas gift but for my money they sure beat socks and underwear.


Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via

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