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Special: 2009's Game Developer Xmas Cards, Part 1

In a special holiday round-up, sister blog GameSetWatch is scanning and posting Xmas cards from game developers worldwide - here's the first selection, from Rare to Sony. [UPDATE: New cards added.]
[In a special holiday round-up, Gamasutra sister blog GameSetWatch is scanning and posting notable Xmas cards from game developers worldwide. UPDATE: The second part of this gallery has not been posted.] Well, it's that time of year again where video game companies send out their Christmas cards - some of them very cool, actually - and so we thought we'd break out the scanner and bring back a holiday tradition - neat game developer Xmas card scanning! (It's nice to showcase the often-custom artwork to the world, especially if it arrives in physical form and isn't posted online anywhere.) The alert among you may recall that GameSetWatch did just this in 2006 and 2007 - lots of cool cards there, and links to other people scanning them. But we skipped it in 2008, partly because we were too freakin' busy - but also because there were lots of other outlets, including C&VG, the folks at Joystiq, and the GamerTell guys on the case. This year, it seems to have been a lot quieter on the scanning front, but we did find a GamerTell gallery with a number of neat Xmas cards in it. (Comment or ping us if you know of other outlets showcasing cards, or have some you've scanned yourself.) Anyhow, having pooled the GDC, Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra office's cards for this good cause, we'll be showcasing some of the best cards we got across multiple posts. Here goes:
  
The awesome Austin, TX-based indie studio Twisted Pixel, creators of The Maw and 'Splosion Man, sent along this card, complete with 'Season's Meatings' salutations and Splosion Man himself handing out all kinds of slabs of raw flesh for the holidays.
This postcard is from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and continues the subtle snowflake/holiday season-like effects with Sony icons that the company has sent out in previous years. Neat.
The nice folks at Natsume's U.S. office have made Harvest Moon a big part of their business, so it's no surprise that their Xmas card features plenty of sheep, chicken, and vegetables -- with some bonus Xmas elves and naughty monkeys.
Zoonami's Bonsai Barber for WiiWare was one of the most under-rated games of the year for us, and Martin Hollis' Cambridge, UK company's Xmas card features the main characters hanging their hair-cutting implements from the Christmas tree for everyone to admire.
Finally for this batch, and not too far away geographically of course, the chaps at Rare sent over this card featuring the famous Rare logo swathed in holiday trappings, with lots of cute ephemera scattered around it. Hints on their next games anywhere in there? No idea, we'll leave that to the legions of conspiracy theorists out there, but it sure is a cute card anyhow.
Los Angeles-based Naughty Dog, fresh off the triumph of Uncharted 2, put together their holiday card featuring all of that game's protagonists and antagonists (with bonus skeleton with submachine gun!) carousing contentedly and wishing everyone a happy holiday. As indeed they should.
The fine folks at Scottish indie developer Denki, currently making the wordgame-tastic Quarrel for Xbox Live Arcade, went for a special card featuring one of the in-game characters (we discover when opening the card!) peering through a Christmas tree, with bonus Scrabble-y holiday greeting writing.
This is a fun card that I suspect might confuse some, since they might consider it's about 15 years late and got stuck in a time warp. Nope, in fact it's the holiday card for the unofficial PlayStation Museum, which is currently digging out all kinds of PS1 game prototypes and presenting info on them for public display.
Capcom Japan's card is a straightforward holiday greeting that includes nods to some of the company's most anticipated games of the next few months, including Super Street Fighter IV and Lost Planet 2.
The LucasArts and Lucasfilm holiday card is actually featured on StarWars.com already, where they note: "Designed by artists Harrison Parker and Kelly Smith, the card appears to be a gingerbread cookie tin which opens to reveal several Clone Wars characters in gingerbread form, complete with cookie-dough "ghosting" on the reverse of the interior panel." If you look closely, you'll see the embossing pattern has slipped on ours (though the card is still cute anyhow) - but misprints are clearly a Star Wars collector windfall in future years!
Finally for this set, Hudson's holiday greeting comes in a typically explosive form, as you might expect from the creators of the perennial Bomberman, which they doubtless hope many of you will consider playing as alternative post-Christmas dinner entertainment. Just be prepared to counsel your uncle after he blows himself up yet again. [UPDATE: New cards added, with a second round-up due tomorrow. If you'd like to be featured in our late Xmas card round-up or add us to your list for subsequent years, our HQ address is on the parent company page, mark c/o Gamasutra or GameSetWatch.]

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