Sonic the Hedgehog wins the ugly Christmas sweater battle royale

sweater royale
(Image credit: Future)

Update: After thousands of votes, 31 sweaters have fallen, and the ultimate ugly gaming Christmas sweater has triumphed. Behold your champion: Sonic the Hedgehog.

christmas sweater

This Sonic sweater is a veteran of the ugly gaming sweater circuit, and he battled his way across some fierce competition to come out on top. First Sonic had to defeat Fall Guys, and then The Witcher, proving he has what it takes to outrun younger, more spry PC gaming icons. 

He nearly lost to the Portal sweater, but Sonic's finger wag apparently made for better sweater material than a slice of cake, and he won by 3.2% of the vote. Then it was a close battle against Master Chief's "Happy Halo-Days" sweater, which nearly won on pun power alone. But Sonic still sped ahead, getting 52.6% of the vote.

The finale was just as close, but not even a TIE Fighter could keep up with Sonic's speed. Here's how the whole tournament played out.

Congratulations to Star Wars, which put up a strong showing all the way through. It defeated Dota 2's shitty wizard, the beloved Mass Effect N7, Resident Evil's S.T.A.R.S. department, and the surprisingly mighty Nier: Automata to make it all the way to the finals. Better luck on the next bombing run.

That's the end of this year's ugly gaming Christmas sweater battle royale. If you've been inspired to deck yourself out in cheery red and blue, you can grab the Sonic sweater on Amazon.

Original post below.

I did it. After years of resisting, this year I bought a silly Christmas sweater—Microsoft's MS Paint sweater, to be specific—and all of a sudden I have full-on Christmas sweater fever. I found myself browsing Amazon and other geek stores for good gaming-related Christmas sweaters, bad gaming-related Christmas sweaters, and good-bad gaming-related Christmas sweaters.

After hours of looking at them, it felt only right to enter the season's tackiest outerwear into a battle royale to determine what is, truly, gaming's greatest ugly sweater. I carefully selected 32 combatants, then used a random number generator* to determine the bracket you see below.

How were these particular sweaters chosen? I had a few qualifications:

  1. I liked the sweater.
  2. The sweaters are either specifically for PC games, or closely related to PC gaming. You can find plenty of Nintendo sweaters elsewhere.
  3. Only one sweater per game series, with two exceptions (face-offs!)
  4. I thought the sweater was really ugly, but the right kind of ugly.

*The random number generator determined all the match-ups except for Warcraft: Alliance vs. Horde and Command & Conquer: GDI vs. NOD.

The bracket

(Image credit: Future)

The bracket above will be updated as each round is finished, and we close in on the One True Ugly Gaming Christmas Sweater.

Meet the 32 sweaters

So how's this thing going to work?

See more

Follow our Twitter thread over the next week, vote in a poll for each round of the tournament, and help determine a winner!

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).