This holiday season you can make informed choices about which video games to purchase – it’s going to be a big field this year! First, some important console updates for those “gotta be the first to have it” people.
Sony has the Playstation 3 console with more than 20 game titles at about $60 each (including Madden NFL 07, Need for Speed Carbon, Resistance: Fall of Man, Tony Hawk's Project 8 and Tiger Woods PGA Tout 07).
The PS3 has 4 USB ports, and can support up to seven wireless Bluetooth controllers, can run Blu-ray discs, DVDs, CD-ROMs, CDs and, of course, Playstation games. New peripherals include the durable NERF wireless controller exclusively for Playstation 2.
Nintendo’s Wii console has innovative controls, less expensive price (about $250) and many great games. The Wii also has backward compatibility with Nintendo GameCube so save those games. You can also use the Virtual Console to download classic Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 games.
The new online service Gameznflix.com features game titles for all the modern consoles (including Wii and PS3) plus a wide choice of movies including Blu-ray and HD DVD. Users can even find book titles, audio books and podcasts. Plans start at $8.99 a month (maximum is six titles out at a time for an annual fee of $249.00) and offers military discounts. Gift certificates are available.
The book creation software Books by You, with guide John Lithgow, makes a great educational tool and personal gift for ages eight and up. The PSP title LocoRoco has a creatively colorful format as players maneuver little blob creatures through grouping and gravity. The adventure game Okami has amazing graphics as players restore life in a world without color.
Look for Viva Piñata to be a popular Xbox 360 title in demand as well as PC expansions, The Sims 2 Pets, featuring Hilary Duff’s pet Chihuahua, lets players control their pets directly, so be sure you have a good people infrastructure before obtaining your pets. A bustling household with plenty of visitors/friends will help break pets in quickly and positively as they voluntarily interact with them and pull out special accessories.
Other popular series continuations include The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the farming simulation game Harvest Moon DS, which lets players design, develop and harvest their own custom fields and crops. In this Nintendo DS version, players can enjoy endless elements involving livestock, farming, socializing, gathering, fishing, and cooking and, a new element, mining.
You can even create your own video game with Video Game Tycoon. After some helpful tutorials, players can make your own game, which include military, racing, paintball and sci-fi, and burn it to their own CD, making a nice personalized Christmas gift. Creators can also make upgrades, easter eggs, options and cheats on this quality title, which even includes multiplayer support. Submit your creations for a video game design award at gamesweet.com, which also features a free seven day demo trial.
What makes a great media experience in any format? A great story! The third person crime story Yakuza (also known as Ryu Ga Gotoku) set in Japan has a great lead character named Kazuma. This Playstation 2 exclusive game from SEGA has an excellent story, characters and voice talent, but some camera issues and an incredibly frustrating mission hurts the game’s overall credibility.
Popular sports games include FIFA 07 , NBA Live 07, Madden NFL 07, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 and even Table Tennis on Xbox 360. Test Drive Unlimited has amazing racing environments and NASCAR 07 creates a different experience on the track every time at speeds of more than 180 mph. Xbox 360 games will feature a “Platinum Hits” collection of popular games at reduced prices ($29.99) that include some great racing games – Project Gotham Racing 3 and Need for Speed Most Wanted.
Superman Returns: The Videogame features 80 square miles of simulated environments in the city of Metropolis where the classic hero can use amazing aerial maneuvers to help citizens and complete more than 100 missions. More great flying games include Snoopy vs. Red Baron, Ace Combat V and Microsoft’s tenth version of the Flight Simulator series.
If you like the movie or television show, then check out titles like Charlotte’s Web, Chicken Little: Ace in Action, Flushed Away, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island, Open Season, Over the Hedge, Spongebob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab and Star Trek: Legacy, which covers all the different TV shows.
Even fast food chains are crossing over to adventure video games. Burger King will release Sneak King, which predictably requires stealth movements to save hungry people, and other titles.
Ever wonder about all that pounding when you walk by an arcade? It’s most likely a dance pad game that’s becoming a fun and healthy craze. Dance Factory brings the dance pad craze fun home featuring customizable options to create sequences from your own music collection and a calorie counter. Guitar Hero II and DK Bongo Blast provide even more musical fun.
Battlefield 2142 has amazing multiplayer/online action with plenty of strategy and weapon elements against challenging odds. The fast paced RTS (real time strategy) game Company of Heroes demands high attention (and system requirements) as players destroy their way through Europe during World War II. There’s always a lot going on and a lot of things you can do about it. Players need to have a ‘tip top’ computer system (especially a high quality graphics card) to run this deep action/strategy game from THQ. DirectX 9.0c is required. Collector’s Edition and wireless version are also available.
Still in a fighting mode? Check out Gears of War (exclusively on the Xbox 360),
God Hand, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, SOCOM Combined Assault, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent and WWE Smackdown vs. Raw. If you’re in the mood for Grand Theft Auto type fighting then you might want to sample Bully, Reservoir Dogs, Scarface: The World is Yours or Sopranos: Road to Respect.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Justice League Heroes offer in-depth superhero role playing action while Cabela’s Alaskan Adventure lets you travel by foot, boat or air. Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales has open-ended scenarios and multiplayer modes including defend the convoy and capture the fort.
The small handheld consoles pack big adventure with Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (Nintendo DS) plus SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 2, Killzone: Liberation and Medal of Honor: Heroes on the PSP. Brain Age and Big Brain Academy are BIG on Nintendo DS as are Tony Hawk Downhill Jam, Nacho Libre, Pokemon Ranger and Mario Hoops 3 on 3. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon features the Blue Rescue Team for Nintendo DS and Red for GameBoy Advance.
Always check the ESRB for ratings. Happy Holidays!