Holiday Guide

Holiday Guide

Written by The GN Staff on 12/12/2006 for DS   PC   PS3   PSP   Wii   360  

With the holiday season right around the corner we asked the GN staff what items they wanted to receive for the holidays.  For the most part they are gamer related but we did have a few interesting exceptions and we hope this guide gives you some ideas of the cool stuff available this year.

 


 

Randy Kalista - Staff Writer

The Clothes
Shut up and get yourself matriculated into the prestigious ivy-league STFU institution from ThinkGeek(established in 1337, get it?) and show your school spirit by wearing the official STFU tee or hoodie, available at thinkgeek.com.
 
The Books
 Bag these three books for 25 bucks on Amazon: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, so you can finally become a part of the sci-fi cognoscenti; Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, because your wholesale adoption of L33T speech has left you with only the faintest grasp of the English language; and Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, because we still desperately need to paint a human face on the Middle East.
 
The Music
 Jay-Z, Kingdom Come, because anybody that can sit in a studio for 15 minutes, not write down a single word, step into a booth, polish off an entire track in a single take -- and repeat said process to create an entire album -- demands your attention and respect.
 
The DVD
 How I Met Your Mother - Season 1, because the sharp writing and clever concepts may be one thing, but Neil Patrick Harris (that's right, Doogie Howser) is hee-larious, Alyson Hannigan (the once and future this-one-time-at-band-camp girl) is the coolest chick you've never met, and the never-seen narrator is none other than the nefarious Bob Saget. This show may also single-handedly bring back the high-five.
 
The Game
Medieval 2: Total War. Ignore the critics that are possibly trying to be "evenhanded" by not passing out yet another Editor's Choice award to the folks at Creative Assembly. The previous entry, Rome: Total War, racked up dozens (dozens!) of 5 star reviews, and virtually every reviewer of Medieval 2 acknowledges that it's even richer and more rewarding than its predecessor. You need to do the math, even when we writers can't.

Dan Keener - Stafff Writer/XboxAmerica Mod

Mad Catz Arcade GameSTICK (Xbox 360)
Why? Because 1980's style Arcade games don't always play nice with the Xbox 360 wireless controller.  It is the perfect gift for any Xbox 360 owner.  Oh Yeah, I want this really bad.
             
 
Pelican NERF Controller (PS2)
This plays double duty for Cleveland Browns fans as well as satisfying the angry inner child in all of us.  It doesn't matter whether you are watching Charlie Frye complete a rare Quadruple Double (4 Picks, 4 Sacks) against Cincinnati on a Sunday, or getting spanked in Madden 07 by some 8-year old.  The PS2 NERF controller is for you.  Its soft, yet durable sides allow for a cushioned impact against the wall, floor or furniture alike.  One item of note, stay away from direct impact with your television, as the Wii owners can attest......
 
 
Alienware Area-51 ALX series (PC)
For a cool $6,100, you get one of the tightest gaming machines available. Featuring an Intel® Pentium® Core 2 Extreme Processor, XP Media center, 2 GB of RAM, Dual 768MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8800 GTX and a 24" LCD in the base package.  If that doesn't make you happy, you can customize this little beauty by adding up to 4 GB of DDR2 Memory and 2.5 Terabytes of storage!
 
 
Playstation 3 (PS3)
 This would of course make the ultimate gift, because every unit available is a rare collector's edition.  How often do you get a chance to buy a product that instantly appreciates in value when you walk out the door!  The only thing that would have made these more valuable was to actually stamp what number out of 400,000 (yeah right) you received of the 2006 edition.  At $599 retail, or $1,000+ on the E-bay black market, this is the perfect gift for those parents that will do anything (and I mean anything) to make sure Little Johnny has the latest and greatest.   ;-)
 
 
Gym Wall Pads, Lacrosse Helmets and Bite Suits (Wii)
Why even worry about whether that cheap strap and a sweaty palm is going to turn your Wii-mote into a surface-to-air missile.  Bystanders waiting in line to play should have no fear of a headshot or low blow.  Its all about protection, protection, protection.  Accessorize your gaming area with these three items and never be hassled by broken TVs, black eyes, lawsuits or holes in your drywall ever again!

Sean Colleli - Staff Writer

DS Lite: Nintendo’s quirky portable is still going very strong, and with good reason: it has one heck of a software library. As with any console there are scores of mediocre games for the DS, but high quality hits just keep coming. The face-lift it saw earlier this year fulfilled its true potential. The DS Lite is far and away much better than the original model, with dazzlingly bright screens, a smaller, more comfortable design and three stylish colors—Polar White, Onyx Black and Coral Pink. Unless you really want to pinch pennies and go for the older, cheaper model, pick up the $130 DS Lite. It’s just plain better, and is sure to be the perfect gift for a gamer, assuming there are still gamers who don’t have one!
 
DS Games: That slick new portable needs some games to go with it to be the perfect gift. Here I’ve outlined the top titles hitting the DS this winter, and some old classics that are near and dear to my heart. I’ll also list the ESRB rating next to the game, so you’ll know if it’s appropriate for younger kids or not.
 
Nintendogs: Dalmatian and Friends
The DS killer-app is getting a new paint job, specifically white with black spots. Nintendo’s cute and lovable puppy simulator returns with a specially formulated opening lineup of available breeds, notably Dalmatians. The firehouse canines could be unlocked in previous editions of the game, but are ready to adopt from the get-go with the latest version. If you’re not a Dalmatian person, older versions of the game (Daschund, Labrador and Chihuahua) are still widely available in stores. 
Rated E for everyone.
 
Elite Beat Agents
This rhythm game has been topping the charts, for its stylish attitude and oddball humor. You take the role of the titular agents and help people from all walks of life through the power of dance and music. Not your typical game, which should be great for non-gamers. 
Rated E-10 for players 10 and up.
 
Yoshi’s Island 2
A sequel to a true Super Nintendo classic, Yoshi’s Island 2 multiplies the action by throwing several new babies into the mix. The Yoshis are now charged with saving many more toddler versions of Nintendo mascots, like baby Peach, Donkey Kong and Wario. Each baby gives their dino mounts special abilities, which should help in the ever-challenging platformer levels. This one is great for older gamers with fond memories of the original, or young gamers who are experiencing Yoshi’s escapades for the first time. 
Rated E for Everyone.
 
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
The 20th anniversary of this legendary vampire hunting series materializes onto the DS this holiday. Portrait of Ruin takes the franchise back to where it started, with whipping a-plenty. Some of the more recent ideas from other games return as well, like an updated team dynamic. Any Castlevania fans would love to find this in their stocking, and most hardcore gamers will be hard pressed to find something to dislike in this game. It’s not the best idea for the kids though, as the subject matter is decidedly dark. 
Rated T for Teen.
 
Final Fantasy III
Sqaure-Enix has resurrected a Japanese classic and completely re-made it for the DS. This game isn’t for the casual or uninitiated; it’s a long, difficult RPG quest with many levels of complexity. That said, it has considerable depth and will take a great deal of time to finish. Ask your family members if they like RPGs (Role Playing Games)—if they say yes, Final Fantasy III is almost a sure bet.
Rated E-10 for players 10 and up.  
 
Cooking Mama
Unless they really like oddball games, this probably isn’t the best gift for a hardcore gamer. Rather, it would be perfect for casual gamers or people who have never touched a DS. It consists of cooking-themed mini-games which don’t take a lot of skill to master, so it’s a good pick up and play title. All I know is that my sister has been asking for it for months.
Rated E for Everyone.
 
Here are a few of my old favorites. Not exactly new, but great nonetheless.
 
Metroid Prime Hunters
This gritty sci-fi adventure is suspenseful and beautiful—one of the prettiest and deepest games on the DS. The main story mode is involving enough, but the online Wifi multiplayer is where things really heat up. The controls might cause some cramps, though.
Rated T for Teen.
 
Trauma Center: Under the Knife
Do you have an aspiring med student in your family? Well…this game is pretty stylized, so it won’t be very good practice, but it’s a lot of fun anyway. As Derek Stiles M.D., you’ll suture and incise your way through over 30 adrenaline pumping operations, in a gambit to stop the G.U.I.L.T. parasite from becoming the next epidemic. This title is very challenging and can get really intense, so younger players might get frustrated as their patients continually flatline. Other than that, it’s a sleeper hit that helped define the DS a year ago.
Rated T for teen.
 
Mario Kart DS
The definitive DS party game, Mario Kart is the perfect balance of gameplay, extras and fun. Kart racing reaches its zenith in this extraordinary title, with solo races, head-to-head multiplayer and even online Wifi modes. When I got this game I played solidly for two weeks, and stopped only for life essentials and to let my thumbs rest. Mario Kart DS is a game that every DS owner should have.
Rated E for Everyone.
 
Wii-
Nintendo has just unleashed its unconventional new home console onto the unsuspecting world. After tooling around with it for three weeks, I can safely state that it’s an excellent piece of hardware and a great holiday gift. The gesture-based controller opens up gaming to a whole new audience—people who always found gaming too complicated, daunting or just plain unappealing. Shaped like a remote control, the Wii controller lets players play games simply by moving in natural, fluid motions. Wii wipes the slate clean and offers a fresh experience to people from all walks of life, with games for the hardcore as well as the casual and non-gamers. 
 
It even comes packaged with Wii Sports, a free collection of minigames that show off the new controller and instruct in its basic use. Want to play tennis? Just swing the Wii remote like a racket. Baseball, bowling, boxing and golf are similarly intuitive to control. Being mid-December, it might be difficult to find a Wii; they’ve been selling out right and left. Unlike the Playstation 3, however, there are still plenty Wii consoles to go around, and you don’t need to resort to overpriced EBay auctions. Some industrious phone calling and store searching, and you should find the perfect new video game console for the whole family, just in time for Christmas. And I’ll tell you the best new games to buy along with it.
 
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
While the fans debate the true place of the latest Zelda in the long, storied history of the franchise, I’m here to say that it’s a must have for the Wii. Whether it’s not as good (or better) than previous Zeldas is irrelevant—it is simply one of the deepest, richest and most memorable video games to date, and the best the Wii has to offer now. Its graphics aren’t mind blowing and some of its technical details are a little dated, but on the whole it is a masterpiece. Zelda Twilight Princess will keep any hardcore gamer busy for weeks—it takes at least 50 hours to beat—so it might not be the best idea for a casual player. That said it is the best example of a traditional game on the Wii launch list. Buy it, play it, love it.
Rated T for teen.
 
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
The second installment in the cult classic series is really a remake of the DS original, not a true sequel. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an excellent launch title. A whole new final chapter has been added, and a second playable doctor too, and all of the other operations have seen an overhaul. The graphics are considerably better than the portable version, but are still a bit dated. The controller is the real show stealer, though. The Wii remote is a perfect fit for this operation room sim, and the game is a great example of what the Wii can do. Variable difficulty levels have been added for players who found the original too hard, but the challenge can be ramped up for the seasoned surgeon.
Rated T for Teen.
 
Red Steel
This game has the dubious honor of being the Wii’s first shooter. Because of that, Red Steel blazes a lot of trails but only gets things half-right. It’s a good game once you get used to its ambitious controls, but the Wii remote aiming just isn’t accurate or comfortable enough. The multiplayer is pretty shallow too. One thing is for sure, Red Steel is one of the prettiest Wii games so far. Expect some frustration, but an ultimately satisfying experience from Ubisoft’s Yakuza-themed FPS.
Rated T for Teen.
 
Rayman Raving Rabbids
This party game from Ubisoft looks admittedly bizarre at first glance, but trust me, it’s a riot. Based on the enduring Rayman franchise, this title is a collection of off-the-wall minigames that don’t make much sense. Despite that, the sheer lunacy of the games (shooting plungers, swinging cows, pumping carrot juice) makes for great family entertainment, and the simple, addictive controls are easy for anyone to pick up. This game easily merits the purchase of extra controllers and nunchuck attachments. 
Rated E for everyone.
 
While those are the top sellers for Wii this holiday, they aren’t the only options. The great thing about the Wii is that it runs all Nintendo GameCube games, and has full support for GameCube controllers and memory cards. So, if you have an old collection of Cube classics, or never picked up the Cube and want to experience its great library of games, Wii has you covered.
 
The Wii also has the “virtual console” library. Basically, you can log onto the online Wii Store and buy older Nintendo games, for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis or Turbografx 16 consoles. Once purchased each game is downloaded directly to your Wii, or can be stored on a separate SD memory card. You can buy these games with a Wii Points card available at retail, or with a credit card. There is only a handful of old school games up right now, but that number will grow every week as new games are added to the list. Each game has a budget price too, ranging from 5 to 10 dollars, so it’s a good, cheap way to some quality entertainment.
      

Ben Berry - Staff Writer

This is the first year I actually had the time to complete my holiday guide in time to run. As I review the list, I realize there are a lot of things I still want, but aside from it being the season for giving, it’s the season to want things, because there are lots of sales.
  1. An HDTV. As prices continue to drop on larger than reasonable sized LCD TV’s, it’s only a matter of time before the number of HDTV’s with built-in HDTV tuners in American homes become to overcome the number of SDTV’s in American homes. Personally, I say go with a mid sized unit this year, somewhere in the 37” to 42” range. The bigger units will be dropping in price next year, so this year’s living room TV can become next year’s bedroom TV.
  2. A Playstation 3. Yes, they’re huge. Yes, there are problems with them. Yes, the PS3 launch is probably going to be talked about in college marketing courses for years as one of the worst major product launches ever, but this is an investment in the future. Patches for the system will continue to trickle out, and over time game development for the unit will grow. So, if you manage to stumble upon one at a Wal-Mart late some night, or manage to get the manufacturer to send you one, think about passing it along to your favorite Staff Writer (this means you, Chuck).
  3. A Nintendo Wii. Well, I already have one, but leaving it off would have meant a scathing email from Sean Colleli about how I would have my skin flailed from my bones by the ghost of Zelda past, so I thought it best to put it on the list for those who have yet to know the joy of Wii Sports Boxing or Excite Truck. Definitely one of the best purchases I’ve ever made, and as releases come out over the next couple of years, this system will provide tons of entertainment, which when it comes down it, is the reason we buy these things.
  4. PC upgrades to get ready for Vista. As the years progress, MS continues to find ways to force computer users everywhere to throw money at the PC’s that run their products. Many PC gamers already have high end rigs, but may still be required to bump up their video cards or RAM as the games for the new OS begin to come forward.
  5. A high end audio/video receiver. As more and more consoles of the current and prior generations enter our living rooms, the tangle of audio and video cords grows, and most TV’s or surround sound systems simply don’t have enough ports to handle all those plugs. Plus, the advantage of a receiver is that you get a single point to control which feed is headed into the TV at any point. Pioneer makes some excellent units, and of course Sony built a lot of their brand quality on these products.
  6. A smart phone. As digital devices get smaller and smaller, more and more functions get packed into our phones. As a part-time journalist, having the ability to record audio and video, take still photos, browse the web, post news updates, and even GPS to help navigate my way through a city I’m driving in for the first time. It means never leaving an important work tool at home again, unless you forget your phone, of course. Specifically recommended are the Nokia S and N series, but make sure to have plenty of room on your credit card.
  7. An Xbox 360. There are still people out there who haven’t know the feeling of having their life sucked away by Oblivion or seen that run and gun only gets you killed in Gears of War. As game development shifts further from the Xbox to the 360, now is the time to make the jump, especially with many retailers offering mail-in rebates to bolster Christmas sales.
  8. A Digital SLR camera. Only for those who really need a high quality photo beyond what typical cameras can provide, the digital SLRs such as the Canon Rebel XT provide endless flexibility as to the use of the camera, and click to picture speeds that rival the shutter speeds of film based cameras.
  9. Bluetooth phone accessories. With even the free phones offer with most plans coming Bluetooth enabled, it’s time to pick up your hands free ear mounted headset, so you too can look like a dork on the subway or an insane person talking to themselves on your drive to work.
  10. iPod speakers. You can never have enough places to plug your iPod in at home or in the office to kick out the jams without damaging your eyes with those evil little earbuds.

Tyler Sager - Senior Staff Writer

First off, I absolutely have to recommend Okami (PS2)—If they haven’t already played this, this piece of gaming art will appeal to just about every taste. 
 
For that turn-based fan out there, you certainly can’t go wrong with Galactic Civilizations 2 (PC). Of course, if you really want to spend time with that special someone this Christmas, you may want to wait until after the holidays to hand this package over.
 
And while you’re at it, give that gamer in your life a subscription to TotalGaming.net. They’ll get a second chance at downloading some wonderful older games, as well as getting first crack at the great Stardock titles.
 
There’s always more to life than computer and video games. And by that, I mean board games! Tear that MMO fan away from their computer and sit them down for some tabletop action with World of Warcraft: The Board Game by Fantasy Flight Games. This is a solid translation of the popular MMORPG, which can be finished in an afternoon. And if the electricity gets knocked out by that Christmas blizzard, you have nothing to worry about! Except, perhaps, frostbite.
 
Finally, Santa, if you’re listening, Tyler has been eying a little game called The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. And I probably need the Wii to play it with. I’m really not asking for much…



Matt Mirkovich - Staff Writer
  1. A 4 Gigabyte Memory Stick Pro Duo – For those gamers on the go, there really isn’t a much better gift than a nice large memory stick, with all sorts of empty space for movies and such *cough*emulation*cough* for the PSP.
  2. The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Master Sword and Hylian Shield 1/6th Scale Replica – Yeah that’s a long description, but man is this thing ever cool. I picked one up for a friend, and I lucked out on finding it in stores. These can be found at Target’s around the country or on eBay though you’re going to pay a premium, but just look it up, it’s quite a cool collectible and would make an excellent present.
  3. A new HDTV – Do I really need to explain this one? And no, an EDTV is not just as good. Gaming doesn’t get much better than on an HDTV
  4. A Burger King 360 Game Collection – For the gift giver on a budget, these games really aren’t a bad pick-up. While really the equivalent to a low budget X-Box Live Arcade title, these games are a quick dose of fun.
  5. The Sega Genesis Collection for PS2 or PSP – Got an older gamer on your list? Then you really can’t go wrong with this awesome collection of 28 games. There’s a whole lot of Phantasy Star love on here and that makes it worth it alone.
  6. Okami for PS2 – One of the greatest games released this year, one of the greatest gifts to give this year.
  7. Disgaea Figures from Nippon Ichi Software America – Check the shop on NISAmerica.com for these awesome collectable figures from that loveable strategy RPG series.
  8. Elite Beat Agents for Nintendo DS – Here is a game that will eat up a lot of time and is a blast to play. Probably the best music game released this year, and yes I would play it over Guitar Hero 2.
  9. X-Box Live Marketplace Point Cards – With the new Oblivion content recently posted and all the television shows posted to the marketplace, your gift recipient is going to need fake online money to pick it up.
  10. New Wii Controllers – Odds are you have a friend with a Wii, get them some controllers if you spot them in stores because odds are, they are going to be sold out the week before Christmas.

Cyril Lachel - Senior Staff Writer

This year I thought it would be fun to target a few of those hard to shop for friends. You know the type; they are the people that make you walk up and down the stores trying to find the perfect gift only to be disappointed when they open it. But this year is going to be different. This year you’re going to get them the perfect gift thanks to my handy guide for hard to shop for gamers. In this holiday guide I want to show you how easy it is to shop for these picky gamers. If you happen to know anybody who fits the descriptions below you’re in good shape, because I’m here to tell you exactly what to get those hard to shop for friends and family members. Hopefully these ten descriptions help you find something for everybody on your list. So enough small talk, 

 

To the person that was let down by Zelda … I give you Okami!

I’m not going to say The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess is bad, but it has its fair share of problems. If you’re the type of person that wants a great Zelda-like experience but is also looking for a little originality in your diet, forget the new Zelda and pick up a copy of Okami.  It takes everything that was great about the Zelda series and flips it on its head … and best of all, you actually get to do cool stuff as a wolf. That’s certainly more than I can say about The Twilight Princess!

 

To the person that is sick of traditional sports games … I give you Rockstar’s Table Tennis!

These days sports games are getting complex; they are full of realistic graphics and amazing depth. But what if you’re shopping for somebody that is sick of the Madden NFL games and could care less about the MLB license? Well, I suggest you give them the best sports game of the year: Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis. Sure it’s not an obvious choice, but that’s what makes it so great. This is one game that almost anybody can enjoy, and there’s so much depth to the game play that you’ll still be at it for months to come. And best of all, the game is a steal at $40!

 

To the person that simply has to have the best graphics ever … I give you Gears of War!

Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Gears of War is the best looking game of all time. And I’m not the only one saying this. Even people that make games for competing systems are floored by what Epic has been able to accomplish with the Xbox 360 hardware. If you know somebody who is a graphics whore and wants to show everybody how great their TV is, then there’s no better game than Gears of War. And for once that’s not a bad thing, because Gears of War is one of the best games of the year. So don’t feel bad picking up Gears of War for your self-obsessed friend, if he’s like the rest of the world he will be blown away by what Gears of War is capable of doing. Then again, if he’s a graphics whore then he probably already has the game. Oh drat, I just messed up my own gift idea!

 

To the person that wants a system with absolutely no support … I give you a GameCube!

The GameCube has never had a lot of support, especially when it comes from the third parties. But 2006 was an especially bad year for Nintendo’s current generation console. For 11 months the only games the GameCube saw were terrible kids games based on animated movies and TV shows. And then came December … which gave us Zelda. But why would you play Zelda on the GameCube when you could get it on the Nintendo Wii? When it comes to the GameCube exclusives Nintendo just didn’t deliver the goods, which essentially puts the final nail in the GameCube’s coffin. Even the Dreamcast had better exclusives this year … seriously, did you play Under Defeat? So if your friend is the type that is looking for a console that is as dead as disco, then the GameCube is a great choice. (If you can’t find a GameCube, then the original Xbox will do).

 

To the person that doesn’t actually want to play games this decade … I give you a Duke Nukem Forever Pre Order!

Cheap shot? Maybe, but at this point I’ll do anything to actually get Duke Nukem Forever to come out. But seriously, if you’re looking for a gift that won’t get a laugh and may actually make somebody cry, then go to your local Electronics Boutique and pre order Duke Nukem Forever. Chances are you will be the only person at the store who has reserved it, which makes you special by default. No seriously, go put five dollars down on this game that will never come out … I guarantee that you’ll have a great time telling the minimum wage employee exactly what you want!

 

To the person that still lives in the past … I give you Sega Genesis Collection!

This year saw a lot of great video game compilations, but none were greater than the Sega Genesis Collection. Sega is a company known for messing up their game collections (just see the Sega Ages line), but somehow they were able to port 30 mostly amazing games to the PSP and PS2. This is the type of collection that will keep you busy for months, especially if you start with the multiple Phantasy Star titles. If you’re looking for an excuse to remember your youth, then this Sega Genesis Collection is the best way of legally jumping in the way back machine. While this collection is great, it would have been perfect had they gone ahead and added the Streets of Rage series. I guess they had to leave something for the Sega Genesis Collection 2.

 

To the person that wants to see what the PSP is capable of … I give you Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops!

After a great year full of great games, it’s hard to believe that there are still people out there that question the power of the PSP. I guess they didn’t play Daxter, Pursuit Force, Killzone: Liberation, Vice City Stories and Syphon Filter. But if you need to convince somebody you know that the system is capable of delivering a great experience, then look no further than Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. With its short missions it’s a great portable game, but it’s so much more than that. It offers online multiplayer, stunning graphics, a compelling story (that picks up soon after Metal Gear Solid 3) and so much collecting that it may be bad for you! Few games this year impressed me like Portable Ops, and that’s why it’s the perfect gift to give somebody who still doesn’t see the potential of the PSP.

 

For the person with way too much time on their hands … I give you The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion!

Look, I won’t kid you, Oblivion is entirely too long. If you’re the type of person that has a full time job, has to deal with family issues and likes to hang out with friends, then Oblivion may be too much for you to handle. You could conceivably be at this game for hundreds of hours and not see everything. And to make matters worse, they are still adding stuff to the game. But maybe your friend isn’t the type of gamer that is being pulled from all sides. Maybe he’s somebody who is unemployed and just wants to sit on the couch and veg out. If that describes somebody on your list then you need to get them Oblivion, because he’ll be at the game for years to come.

 

For the person with sweaty hands … I give you any system other than the Wii!

Does your friend have a strange (and totally disgusting) sweat problem? Well, don’t get him a Wii. Get him an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, PSP, heck, get him a Collecovision … just don’t get him a Wii. With all the arm swinging and movement you know he’s going to whip that control clean out of his dirty hands and break something. That control could literally destroy is TV set. Or worse yet, it could hit you! And to make matters even more disturbing, the safety wrist strap isn’t going to help you. That sucker is dinky and unreliable, there’s no way it’s going to hold up when Mr. Sweaty Hands is flinging it around. Unless you want a concussion, get this guy a control he can’t hit you with!

 

For the person that wants to stop playing games forever … I give you Superman Returns (DS)!

Sometimes you’ll run into those types of people who just don’t want to play games anymore. They feel like they’ve spent too much on the couch playing games and now they want to focus on family, the job and other stupid “adult” traps. Maybe this guy wants to quit, but he needs a real good reason to stop playing games altogether. That’s when you give him Superman Returns: The Videogame for the Nintendo DS. A few minutes with this “game” and not only will he never want to play another game, but he’ll end up video games to the point where he’s on the picket line with Jack Thompson. With its terrible glitches, horrible frame rate, awful graphics and non-exsistent control, Superman Returns is unplayable. This game was clearly made by people who hate fun and want to see it die. The game is so bad that it’s almost worth owning so that you can say that you own one of the worst games ever made. Let’s just put it this way: Superman DS is actually worse than Superman 64. Now put that into your pipe and smoke it!

Charles Husemann - Editor-In-Chief

One thing that people always forget when buying a new system is to pick up an extra controller or two. Extra controllers always make great gifts because you’re always going to need a backup controller in case you have a friend over, one breaks, or becomes a chew toy for the family pet.

Another thing console gamers need is online credits to buy digital content for their consoles. Whether it’s points for the Xbox 360 or the Wii, or virtual Sony dollars, gamers can always use the tokens to buy new downloadable content. The fact that you can buy gift cards for these things just makes your life easier.
 
For gamers who have managed to get their hands on all three consoles and hate having to flip ports and channels on their TV and receivers you might want to consider getting them a new multimedia receiver like the Pioneer Elite VSX-80TXV. Receivers like this create a central hub so that you don’t have to toggle three or four different switches to play a game. Of course the alternative is to get a killer multimedia remote like the Logitech Harmony 880 but that’s not nearly as fun as completely new receiver.
 
For console games this year you need to make sure your gamer has the best game for their particular console. For Xbox 360 owners the game choice is going to be Gears of War, for the Playstation 3 it’s Resistance: Fall of Man and for the Wii it’s Rayman Raving Rabbids (calm down Zelda nuts, if they have a Wii they bought Zelda with it, this is just a good alternative that everybody can play). 
 
For the PC gamer there are two titles that claimed an unholy amount of my life this year. The first is Galactic Civilizations 2, as space strategy game that’s deep and has a decent sense of humor. If your gamers is more shooter oriented than make sure they have Battlefield 2142. I know I ripped on this game in my review last week but by the time the holidays come the folks at DICE should have this sucker to where it should have been at launch.
 
I know it’s a bit much for a network card but you know you’re hardcore if you have one of Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC’s. Killer is actually the name of the network card and while blowing almost $200 on something that’s built into most motherboards seems a bit much this is exactly the over the top gift that will make the gamer in your life happy.
 
Continuing on the trend of over the top add on cards, the Asus Ageia PhysX card might also be a nice pickup. There aren’t a lot of games that take advantage of it now but I have a feeling this is going to be a must have card in 2007.
 
PC Gamers love their big screen monitors and none is more drool worthy right now than Dell’s new 30” Monitor, the 3007WFP. Sure you could probably get by with a 20” or 22” monitor but a 30” monitor future proofs you for at the least another two years or so.
 
For those without an unlimited budget you may want to give your gamer some video game history lessons. I highly recommend either of Dean Takahashi’s Xbox books for those who want some detail on what thoughts went into the design of Microsoft’s game console. Also recommended are Dungeons and Dreamers and Masters of Doom. 
John Yan - Senior Hardware Editor


GeForce 8800 GTX SLI - OK, so the first thing is hardware related but who wouldn't want to game on the fastest video setup available? To play Company of Heroes or Neverwinter Nights 2 at maximum resolution with all the bells and whistles is what the holidays are all about.

Intel Core 2 Duo - To go with the great video card setup you need a great CPU. Intel's the leader of the pack now with their line of Core 2 Duo processors that blow away the competition. AMD's playing catch up this time and they have a lot of catching up to do.

Dell 30" UltraSharp Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor - Finally to go with the video cards and the CPU you need a monitor that can show it all in all its glory and that's what the Dell monitor does. A resolution of 2560x1600 will have you gaming in high resolution nirvana as you take in a full 30" viewing area. If you have two GeForce 8800 GTX together, you're going to want this monitor to take full advantage of them.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive - Now that I got this fancy new high definition TV, I need some high definition movies to go along with it. In comes the Xbox 360 HD DVD player that latches on to the console. Two great things about this little device: 1) It's cheap coming in at $200. 2) It can be used on the PC as well. I can switch this puppy between my HTPC and my Xbox 360.

USB Missile Launcher - I work in cubes since I'm a software developer and sometimes I need to launch a few missiles at a co-worker. In comes this cool USB Missile Launcher at ThinkGeek.  There are three spring loaded missiles that can arc 5 to 8 feet. The newer one even has a laser on it. This'll be good for those times I need to take some frustrations out on someone nearby.

Gaming T-Shirts - Also at ThnkGeek, I'd love to grab a few old school gaming T-shirts. The I Roll Twenties is the one that I've been thinking of picking up.

A Major Sports Team in Cleveland Winning a Championship - I know this is probably the one on my list that will least likely happen but please... Cavs.. Indians.. win a championship before I die. I'd like to see a nice championship parade one day going through downtown Cleveland. Browns... well.. how about getting back to respectability in the next 5 years?

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


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