It's that time of year again, folks! The holiday shopping season in in full swing and the store shelves are jam packed with plenty of games, toys, tech and gear. But don't fret: GamePro's got your back with our incredible list of awesome presents for 2008!
Deciding what to buy presents to buy come holiday time can be a colossal chore but there's no need to worry: GamePro's got you covered. We scoured the malls, electronic stores and Internet retailers for this holiday season's hot gifts and we've compiled a list of awesome products that's sure to make your holidays merry and bright. But we've taken things a step further this year: we've broken down our recommendation into discreet categories to ensure that you'll find a perfect gift for everyone on your shopping list.
So click through and read on for our recommendations. With the gifts on this list, you're almost guaranteed to have a very happy holidays!
The Top 5 Essential Holiday Gifts of 2008
While we have tons of amazing gifts on our list, the following five gifts are the best of the best. If you are on the hunt for a surefire winner, you can't go wrong with any of the following.
We've said it once, we will say it again: your home is just not complete without a brand spanking new HDTV. Trust us, once you've stepped up to an HD set, you can never go back. It'll improve your TV viewing, your movies, your video games-heck, it'll just improve your life in general. There is a lot of debate over technical specs and competing technologies but for our money, nothing beats a big screen LCD unit that's capable of displaying a true 1080p picture. That's why we are so enamored with the Vizio brand: not only do they produce some truly awesome displays but they're competitively priced. For instance, we've been testing the SV470XVT1A, a 47" LCD with a true 1080p picture. The screen is gorgeous, it has plenty of inputs and even the built-in speakers are pretty kick-ass. But the best part is that it's competitively priced at $US1699.99. Regardless of whether you're a first time buyer or someone looking to add another set to their home, make sure you check out the Vizio line before you make a decision.
Next-Gen Video Game Console
It seems like a no-brainer for us to recommend a video game console but as hard as it is to believe, there are gamers out there who don't own any of the current crop of next-gen hardware (shocking, we know). Well, there's no time like the present to finally get your hands on an Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii; heck, if you already own one or two, you should probably do yourself a favor and fill out your collection by adding the other systems. While most high profile titles are cross-platform, there are some exclusive games that you can only play on specific consoles; that means that if you don't own an Xbox 360, you're missing out on Gears of War 2 and Fable II. No PS3? Say goodbye to Metal Gear Solid 4 and Resistance 2. Is your life Wii-less? Then we guess you haven't experienced the joy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl or Mario Kart Wii.
So do yourself a favor: get hands on a next-gen console this holiday shopping season. Each platform has a deep library of games and a growing laundry list of features such as Netflix integration. Besides which, that brand new HDTV you're going to buy will need something to cuddle up with.
Microsoft Xbox 360
$199.99 (Arcade); $259 (20GB Premium); $299 (60GB Premium); $399 (Elite) Sony Playstation 3
$399 (80GB) Nintendo Wii
There's no denying that the Apple iPhone 3G is a bona fide must have gadget. Much like the Apple iPod, it's incredibly sleek, insanely stylish and ridiculously useful-we couldn't imagine life without one. Whether it's checking email, surfing the web or looking stuff up on the Internet, the iPhone is the Swiss Army knife of the technology world; oh, did we mention that it also works pretty damn well as a cell phone? Sure, there are plenty of competiting phones out there like the BlackBerry Storm and the new Android-enabled G1, but for now, and for the foreseeable future, the iPhone is the king of the mountain. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to go update our Facebook accounts, find a nearby restaurant to get dinner, check how our stocks are doing, call up our friends and...
$299 (8GB); $399 (16GB)
Now this is the gift that keeps on giving: Netflix, the convenient movie delivery service that mails DVDs and Blu-ray discs to your home, has saved us on several occasions when there was nothing to watch on TV and we'd exhausted our video game library of fun titles to play. It's also a terrific way to catch up on TV shows if your social life won't allow you to sit on the couch for long stretches-hello Lost, 30 Rock and Weeds marathons! Chances are, the people in your life already have a Netflix sub but getting them a gift subscription is still a fast and easy way to say you care. And if you know of someone who doesn't have a Netflix account, well, then it's a no-brainer, isn't it? Seriously, we shudder sometimes when we recall the days of driving to our local video store and waiting in line to fork over ten bucks for two movies; with Netflix, we need never re-live that nightmare ever again.
A Brand New Car! Hybrids FTW!
Okay, so this one's a pie in the sky but what better gift for a loved one (or for yourself, because after all, you totally deserve it) than a brand new car? And if you are going to buy a car, do yourself and the world a favor and invest in a hybrid. Not only do they have the cool geek factor, but they also use less gas and therefore, produce less harmful emissions. So do the math and you'll see that the old saying "less is more" is true after all.
2009 Toyota Prius
$22,000 (base) 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid