Directed by Michael Dowse (of ‘What If’ fame), ‘8-Bit Christmas’ is a refreshing family-oriented feel-good Christmas movie. The story follows Jake Doyle, and all Jake ever wanted for Christmas was a Nintendo. At the same time, a grown-up Jake (Neil Patrick Harris) narrates to his daughter the story of his Nintendo haul. Winslow Fegley shines as the child version of Jake Doyle, and the movie is painted with an exciting winter ambiance. However, how does Jake get the Nintendo? Let us revisit the finale in greater detail. SPOILERS AHEAD.
8-Bit Christmas Plot Synopsis
Jake’s daughter Annie wants a phone for Christmas, but a sudden collapse on the road makes Jake revisit his childhood days. Jake starts telling Annie the story of his quest for the Nintendo that sits under a pile of dust at his paternal home. In flashback, Jake lives with his eccentric parents and terrorizing sister in the Chicago suburb of Batavia. Timmy Keane, the most popular kid in the school, is quite short-tempered. But he is famous because he is the only kid in town with a Nintendo. All other kids from the neighborhood stand outside Timmy’s door to play the video games, but Timmy chooses only the lucky ten.
The motley pack comprises Mikey Trotter (the one with the mature mind), Evan Olsen (the geeky kid in the group who has to go home early), baseball card genius Tammy Hodges, her twin brother, Teddy, and Jeff Farmer (pathological liar; not a friend of the group, but always around). When they are not waiting in the queue in front of Timmy Keane’s house, the kids are thrown around by in-house bully Josh “King of the mountain” Jagorski. He spends most of the day at the principal’s office, wears an Iron Maiden t-shirt, and spends time near the beer counter at the gas station.
After the miserable experience at Timmy Keane’s house, Jake Doyle comes home to plead before his parents for a Nintendo. While managing three tasks at once, Jake’s mother agrees to the plea. When Jake helps his father with his woodwork, and his father also agrees. However, at the dinner table, Jake’s sister Katie throws a bucket of cold water on Jake’s excitement. They talk about how video games are making children inattentive and fat. While the town gets buried under snow, Christmas does not look hopeful for Jake. To make things worse, Timmy Keane loses his Nintendo in an accident. But there is always a silver lining.
8-Bit Christmas Ending: Does Jake Get the Nintendo for Christmas? What Is the Moral of the Story?
Timmy Keane unveils his Power Glove, and even the old coach is present in the yard to catch a glimpse of the revolutionary machine. However, as the later generation knows, the Glove is a total disaster, and Timmy Keane makes a fool of himself trying to navigate it. Jake enters through the backdoor, but nobody notices, except for the dog. The dog gets to eat a gourmet sausage, but it would meet its doom shortly after. After losing to Tammy Hodges, Timmy gets enraged and kicks the television set to show his prowess of Taekwondo, which falls onto the defenseless dog. The group flees the scene, and with that episode, the fun time at Timmy Keane’s house seems over.
But it makes the Nintendo all the more necessary. Upon heavy snowfall, the government declares closure of schools in some counties, but Jake’s residence in Kent County is not one of them. Consequently, Jake has to wear a pair of purple boots and get ready to face the wrath of Jagorski. But before Jagorski can beat Jake to a pulp, Farmer brings a Ranger Scouts ad which claims to give away a Nintendo to the person able to sell the most number of Christmas wreaths. With the conjecture, the students eagerly become salespersons, going about door-to-door for the Nintendo haul. While pathological liar Farmer seems pretty good at selling stuff, Jake is out of luck and has to clean dog poop from the yard.
To worsen his misery, Jake’s mother has bought wreaths from Farmer. However, in exchange for enlisting Jake’s help to get a Cabbage Patch Kid for herself, Katie tells Jake the secret of winning the Nintendo. Jake has only to visit Prairie Pines, the nursing home, to find two hundred older adults under a single roof. They are generous, and maybe they are going to buy some wreaths. Jake wins the first prize with the insight, but the first prize is revealed to be a set of World Encyclopedia instead. The reason behind the mishap is Timmy’s father, who has started an aggressive campaign to ban Nintendo. Boomers are banning Nintendo, but the Millennial Falcon has a 15-step comprehensive plan at hand.
Following the plan, the Hodges siblings gather money by selling their baseball cards, and Olsen gets ready to vomit his stomach out by gulping down a couple of cans of Spaghetti. However, Jagorski becomes a problem, but Jake snatches the money back from him with some courage. Even Parker comes to help when Mrs. Hodges and Mrs. Keane need some distraction from their campaign at the mall. However, while hurrying to reach the bus, Jake slips on the snow, and the newly-bought Nintendo goes under a car.
The tragedy ends their spirited adventure, but Jake gets life advice from the Cabbage Patch Kid seller and a cab ride to the museum. Christmas comes, but there is no Nintendo for Jake, although uncle Dan sends him a game of Lite Brite from Japan. But lo and behold, Jake’s father makes a tree-fort for him with arduous labor of love, and it looks as exciting as the Nintendo, if not more. He gets the Nintendo later by working for a month at the Prairie Pines, but that is not the story’s point. The moral is that one should not miss the belongings of the present thinking about the future.
Is Jake’s Father Dead?
The finale brings us back to the present, and while Annie is disheartened and underwhelmed to hear the story, the spirit of Christmas catches on to her. Jake takes her to her favorite place at grandma’s, the treehouse. The treehouse makes Jake remember his father, John Doyle. The Christmas of 1988 was the one when John won the heart of his child, Jake. As the camera shows furniture around the house that Jake made with his father, we realize that Jake has followed his father’s footsteps to become a skilled carpenter. However, as Jake assures, his father was a magician.
However, they reminisce about John before dinner, and the tone becomes somber. As Jake looks intently at the empty chair where his father once sat, it seems that John has passed away. However, he has also passed on a tradition to Jake, which is what the festivities are all about. With the bittersweet note, the story leaves a lingering impression in the minds of the viewers.
Read More: Is 8-Bit Christmas Based on A True Story?