In 1966, TV station WPIX filmed a a fireplace at New York's Gracie Mansion, canceled $4,000 worth of advertising, and broadcast it for two hours on Christmas Day as a gift to viewers who had no fireplaces in their apartments. Its spirit lives on screens large and small to this day.
You can give your games console, PC or mobile device the same cozy holiday cheer with these suggestions, ranging from free to $3. Happy Holidays.
• Leviathan Games offers the Crackling Fireplace Dynamic Theme in the PlayStation Store for $2.99. "This winter both the comfort and chaotic beauty of a roaring fireplace can be yours with this dynamic theme. Warm both your body and soul as tongues of flames embrace the crackling logs and dance across your screen."
• Your best bet is still the original Fireplace, released in 2008 by SniperED007 in the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace. It's 240 Microsoft points. "With realistic smoldering embers and flickering flames it sets the perfect backdrop for a relaxing evening." Plus it's rated 0/3 in violence, sex and mature content.
• The Wii has probably the most fully featured yule log app of the three consoles in Cozy Fire by dtp young entertainment, for 500 Wii Points. "Select from a variety of logs and use the Wii Remote controller to stack them up. Next, light the virtual match and your home will soon be snug and glowing." Six available fireplaces are there for you to poke and tend, or put it in "Butler" mode and the App will take care of that for you.
• There is a lot of garbage out there. A lot. Much of it on YouTube, where the same 1- or 2-hour video of a couple lonely logs with overcrackling, bad audio, dominates your search results. This video looks like your best bet, as it's 90 minutes long and in 1080p, and its audio is reasonably mellow.
• There are loads of fireplace apps available in the Mac App store, some cost money. I recommend going with Jesse Lauro's free Fireplace. If you want a dynamic desktop, Fireplace 3D Lite will do the trick, although the heat refraction effect is a little wavy for me.
• Blue Crystal Web Design's Coal Fireplace, at 99 cents, seems to be the pick of the bunch, but you'll find several, ranging from a buck to $1.49, by searching "fireplace" in the Android App store.
• Tons of Yule Log and fireplace apps in the iTunes App store, too. Ultimate Yule Log by Aurora Studios is 99 cents and compatible with all iOS devices. It allows you to open an iTunes playlist (that you must create beforehand) to play your favorite holiday tunes from within the app.