GamePro 2008 holiday gift guide
- — 19 December, 2008 16:54
For the Casual Gamer
Casual gamers get a bad rap but they're a rapidly growing segment of the gaming population; besides which, there are some casual games out there that are more popular than 'real' video games. They're fun, they're easy to pick up and play and they're a perfect bite-sized way to satisfy your gaming jones. Here, we've compiled a list of some awesome products guaranteed to please the casual gamer on your shopping list.
Energizer Power & Play (Wii)
There's a lot to like about the revolutionary Wii Remote-it's helped reshape the way we play video games. The only thing we don't like is having to swap out the batteries; nothing sucks more than having your controller die in the middle of a game. But the Energizer Power & Play charge station eliminates that problem-you plug in rechargable battery packs and dock your Remotes when you're not using them. The charger keeps your Remotes juiced and ready to go at all times. If you play a lot of Wii games, then the Power & Play is a must have accessory.
Do you take your Rock Band and Guitar Hero sessions seriously? If so, then you need to look into getting a Starpex. These sweet controllers are not only compatible with both Rock Band and Guitar Hero but they're also full sized replicas; that means first-rate construction and a sweet rocking look.
Able Planet Sound Clarity
If we had our way, every electronic device would be wireless, especially headphones. We love being able to put on a pair and immerse ourselves in our music but we hate being tethered by a cord; the Able Planet Sound Clarity headphones solve that problem by eliminating the wire completely. Couple that with its awesome performance and comfortable design and you've got a compelling wireless alternative to the traditional wired headphones.
Big Fish Games
Casual games might not get as much love as "real" video games but that doesn't mean they're not just as fun and compelling; we've played some casual games that ate up as much of our time as triple-A console titles. That's why we recommend you check out Big Fish Games-they're a veritable treasure chest of awesome casual games. Download classics like the Mystery Case Files series or addictive time-wasters like Fairway Solitaire and say goodbye to your free time.
We're not recommending the Touch here because of its music playing capabilities or its big gorgeous screen that's perfect for watching downloaded TV shows and movie clips. Sure, the Touch does all of that well but it's also a fantastic casual gaming device. There are a ton of awesome apps and games out there that you can download and the touchscreen opens up some awesome possibilities. It's not as involved as a DS and a PSP, making it perfect for someone who just wants a way to kill some time here and there.
$229 (8GB); $299 (16GB); $399 (32GB)
Ultimate Game Card
If you regularly play online games like Maple Story and Gunbound, then you need an Ultimate Game Card. They're essentially pre-paid cards that let you purchase content from over 200 games like Maple Story and Gunbound. If you know a gamer who's constantly on their computer playing these kinds of games, then an Ultimate Game Card is a perfect stocking stuffer.
Guitar Hero World Tour/Rock Band 2
If you have a lot of people over, then you have to get your hands on Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour; with two guitars, drums and vocals as well as a stacked line up of popular songs from various eras, both games offer a great party experience. Both games will appeal to hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike; all you have to do is invite your friends over and warn the neighbors that you're about to turn it up to 11.
$189.99 (full bundle)
$189.99 (full bundle)
SceneIt? Box Office Smash/Buzz! Quiz TV
When you're done rocking out, you can mellow out your party by putting on one of these two awesome trivia games. Both offer a humorous and lighthearted presentation, loads of general knowledge and movie based trivia and four unique controllers that let you buzz in just like in a real game show.
Silent Hill Mobile
Mobile gaming is a rapidly growing market but don't think for a second that they're all just simple time wasters; some big names in the game industry are moving into the mobile space, including industry heavyweights like Konami who are taking established franchises like Castlevania and Silent Hill and creating deep and complex games for your cell phone. The mobile title is an extension of the best-selling survival horror franchise and it's got enough gameplay to keep you entertained for a long time. It's the perfect way to pass the time on the bus or when you're stuck in a waiting room somewhere; just be warned that you might end up screaming out when something scary happens.
(Price varies according to mobile service)
South Park Imaginationland
The iPod Touch and iPhone have slick touchscreens and Imaginationland takes full advantage by offering up a cute puzzler starring everyone's favorite punching bag, Butters. Taking place in the colorful land made famous in the episode of the same name, Imaginationland is an interesting puzzler that's perfect for a few rounds of on-the-go gaming.
Doghouse Armor ES 4850
Everyone thinks you need a blazing fast computer that costs as much as an automobile to play the latest PC games but that's not always true: there are plenty of mid-tier and entry-level systems that will get you into the game without breaking the bank.
Doghouse Systems is a relative newcomer in the PC gaming market--they made their name configuring workstations and server--but they have plenty of knowledge and know how; their Armor series is proof of that.
They have an ES line that clocks in at a little over $1500 and offers enough performance to get you into the action with games like Call of Duty: World at War, World of Warcraft: Rise of the Lich King and Crysis: Warhead. Armed with a dual core processor clocked at 3GHz, 4GBs of RAM, a half-terabyte of storage and an ATI Radeon HD 4850 video card, it's got everything a casual PC gamer could want in a rig. It's powerful but yet affordable so if you're just looking to log on and play a few rounds of the latest PC games, then take a good long look at the Armor series.
Must Have Movie Gifts (page 1 of 4)
There's nothing we love more than curling up on the couch with a good movie; there's no better way to relax. We scoured the new release shelves and came up with a giant list of the must have DVDs and Blu-rays for the upcoming holiday season; we also threw in three essential movie related gifts as well to help turn your life into a movie paradise.
For the Hardcore Audience:
The Dark Knight (Blu-Ray)
"I believe that whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger." These words, spoken by Heath Ledger's now iconic Joker marked the beginning of one of the finest comic book films ever created. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was everything a Batman movie should be: exciting, gritty, frightening, and completely and utterly engrossing. With stellar performances all around by some of our generation's finest actors, The Dark Knight not only proved that a comic book movie could capture the hearts and minds of mainstream audiences everywhere, but it could remain faithful to its source material all the while surprising fans of the franchise new and old with an incredibly deep plot, stunning visuals, and edge-of-your-seat action.
Dead Space: Downfall (Blu-Ray)
This animated prequel to EA's blockbuster survival horror epic is a chilling tale worthy of the Dead Space namesake. When a mysterious ancient relic that could prove the very existence of God is brought aboard an unsuspecting space-craft, an alien scourge known as the Necromorph is unleashed upon the crew, turning the would-be Heaven into a bloody, horrid Hell. With amazing animation by acclaimed studio Film Roman and astonishing voice acting featuring Afro Samurai's Kelly Hu and Tron's Bruce Boxleitner, Dead Space: Downfall is a gutsy and spine-tingling journey into madness that we definitely recommend taking.
Iron Man Ultimate 2-Disc Edition (Blu-Ray)
Some superheroes aren't born - they're built. This being the case, it's safe to say that Jon Favreau built one hell of a superhero flick with this year's blockbuster hit, Iron Man. This stunning comic book movie took Hollywood by storm with a sarcastic yet endearing lead in Robert Downey Jr., whose spectacular portrayal of playboy billionaire Tony Stark and his quest for redemption captured the attention of movie-goers worldwide. With Blu-Ray technology, Iron Man looks better than ever, and with this extraordinary two-disc collector's edition, expect a myriad of spectacular special features such as the 108 minute "I Am Iron Man" making-of documentary.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Blu-Ray)
Everyone's favorite foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping, pancake-eating anti-hero is back in action in visionary director Guillermo Del Toro's latest epic: Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The sequel to the devilishly good Hellboy picks up right where the last one left off, and finds good ol' Red soon entangled in not only fiery relationship issues with Liz, but a fantastical world of monsters, trolls and elves who have declared war on the human race. With stunning visuals and fantastic performances from Ron Perlman, Doug Jones and Selma Blair, The Golden Army comes highly recommended from the GamePro offices.
Firefly: The Complete Series (Blu-Ray)
Joss Whedon's gun slinging space western returns for the first time on Blu-Ray DVD with Firefly: The Complete Series! Re-join Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds and his crew of mercenary misfits on the Serenity as they try to make a not-so-honest living in a galaxy divided by an intergalactic civil war. With fantastic writing from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog not to mention outstanding performances through and through from the entire class, Firefly is an exceptional show with just the right amount of action, adventure and charm to keep you watching and re-watching.
Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.0
One of the best written and best acted science fiction programs to grace prime-time television is back for another helping of intergalactic conflict with the fourth season of the Sci-Fi channel's Battlestar Galactica! After the human race is nearly wiped out following a long and bloody war with the sinister Cylons, Galactica chronicles the adventures of the surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Join President Laura Roslin and Commander William Amada on the starship Battlestar Galactica as they search for the long-forgotten thirteenth colony: Earth.
Resident Evil: Degeneration
Grounded firmly in the roots of the universally acclaimed survival horror franchise, Resident Evil: Degeneration is a feature length computer animated film featuring fan favorites Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, the two protagonists from Resident Evil 2 in a brand new heart-pounding, zombie-infested adventure! When the infamous T-Virus causes a widespread outbreak at an international airport, it's up to Claire and Leon to bring their zombie-hunting expertise to this catastrophic epidemic in hopes of discovering who's responsible for this act of bio-terrorism in the latest, and perhaps greatest film based on the prestigious Resident Evil franchise!
Monty Python: The Holy Trinity
Everyone's favorite off-the-wall British comedy troupe is back and bigger than ever in this spectacular new collection, celebrating three of the Monty Python crew's finest films: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian, and Monty Python's the Meaning of Life. Spread across six jam-packed discs, this celebration of absurdist humor and religious satire is a must-have for both jaded Pythonites and newcomers to the one of the funniest, zaniest ensembles from across the pond.
Freaks & Geeks: Yearbook Edition
Who doesn't remember high school? The cliques, the drama, the dances, the angst - and of course, the people that never quite fit in. Freaks & Geeks was an insanely smart and charming show created by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, sadly cancelled after only 19 episodes. With the Yearbook Edition of this stellar suburban comedy, fans of the series will be treated to a collection of brand new special features, including table readings from the cast, deleted scenes, original cast auditions, behind the scenes footage, and much more!
Tropic Thunder: Unrated Edition
This zany war-time satire was a blockbuster success at the box office earlier this year, featuring the comedic talents of Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black and Ben Stiller. Set against a war-torn jungle backdrop, Tropic Thunder was an outlandish parody of what happens when you a group of prima donna actors take "method" acting a bit too far. With never-before seen footage, the unrated edition of Tropic Thunder weighs in at a whopping 107 minutes, packed with never before seen special features and commentary with the cast and crew!
James Bond Blu-ray Collection Six-Pack
This Amazon.com exclusive features six of Ian Fleming's super-spy in some of his most outlandish and memorable adventures, all available on Blu-Ray DVD for the first time! Featuring three different generations of Bonds from Sean Connery, Roger Moore to Pierce Brosnan, the James Bond Blu-Ray Collection has something for every fan of M16's deadliest, dashing and most stylish agent.
Home Movies 10th Anniversary Edition
From the people that brought you Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, Lucy: Daughter of the Devil and Metalocalypse comes what may be one of the smartest television shows of the past decade: a Flash animated cartoon.
Home Movies is shot through the eyes of amateur filmmaker Brendan Small as he faces every day challenges such as meeting film deadlines, impressing girls, and simply surviving the fourth grade. The 10th Anniversary Edition boasts all four fantastic seasons of this incredibly witty cartoon, not to mention a myriad of extras and short films from the Home Movies team.
The Adventures of Indiana Jones: The Complete Collection
Dust off your fedora - Indy's back and ready for action! The Adventures of Indiana Jones: The Complete Collection features all four films in the prestigious Indiana Jones franchise, chronicling the infamous boulder chase scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark to the debut of Indy Jr. himself in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Join Dr. Jones, Marion Ravenwood, Short Round, and Dr. Henry Jones Sr. in this celebration of everyone's favorite Nazi-punching, whip-cracking, artifact-snagging archaeology professor in this quintessential Indiana Jones collection!
Rambo Collection (Blu-ray)
You've got the PS3 and a smattering of M-Rated titles, but what's a high-def action-gore fan to do when you want the blood without the button-mashing? You whip out the Rambo Blu-ray box set, which compiles the first three chapters of John Rambo's saga. You can pick from the first film's tense manhunt or the explosion and gore orgy of the subsequent two movies in the three-film box set, but if you want to really see some high-definition loss of life and limb, pick up the newest movie, sold standalone, to enjoy the bloodiest thing on the PS3 that you don't need a control pad to enjoy. Each movie has a pretty solid selection of special features and a pretty pristine transfer, though the 2008 release has the best of both.
Before they conquered the undead and spoofed buddy cop flicks, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, along with the delightful Jessica Stevenson, helmed the brilliant British sitcom, Spaced. Full of geeky pop culture references and smart writing, it's a show worth watching regardless of which side of the pond you live on; it also gives you a glimpse of the comedic magic that the duo would tap for their hits Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.