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Half Mag / Half Zine

Three Rare veterans – David Wise, Grant Kirkhope, and Kevin Bayliss – have banded together in the spirit of the holidays to release a video-game-themed Christmas single.

Long-time Rare fans should immediately recognise the trio’s contributions to the studio’s beloved back catalogue; Wise, for instance, was responsible for many memorable tracks in the Donkey Kong Country series (and provided the sublime score for Nintendo’s Tropical Freeze), more recently composing music for Sumo Digital’s Snake Pass and Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee.

Kirkhope’s impressive credits include Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Viva Piñata, and more recently, Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids, and Bayliss has designed characters for the likes of Battletoads, Killer Instinct, Diddy Kong Racing, and Yooka-Laylee. He was famously also behind Donkey Kong’s redesign.

All three Rare veterans have recently joined forces to form a band called Retro-Fusion, and its first effort is a bit of a festive diddy inspired by the Christmas hits of yore, albeit with a video game twist. “I always wanted to do a cheesy Xmas tune in the grand tradition of the UK Xmas hits that were huge when I was a teenager,” Kirhope wrote on Twitter, “This year it happened.”

Titled A Video Gaming Christmas, the disarmingly catchy tune is a passionate plea – with a surprise rap interlude – to loved ones, requesting a cartridge-shaped treat inside a stocking on Christmas morn. It’s certainly no Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), but at least it doesn’t drive me to violence like Wizzard’s I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday.

So there you go; stick on a silly jumper, shove a pie in your mouth, and press play. The season has officially begun and it will not stop until your sanity is undone.