Look for several computer games becoming increasingly available as direct digital downloads and on physical data discs. This holiday season has plenty of computer games on PC, Mac or both. NOTE: All release dates subject to change.
Halloween fans can grab Haunted House for some scares and twists as it provides some retro entertainment based on the original 1981 Atari 2600 game of the same name. Fright fans looking for more intense experiences can try Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Left 4 Dead 2: The Sacrifice.
Vampires, clubs, mixed drinks, rooftop jacuzzis, music bands, and celebrity encounters fill the night life in the latest Sims 3 expansion pack, The Sims 3: Late Night, which also offers new pool designs, fountains, and high rise buildings for design fans. Sims fans can also try out extra items in Fast Lane Stuff or explore the workplace in The Sims 3: Ambitions expansion pack.
Sandbox multitaskers can enjoy Sid Meier’s Civilization V or Victoria II where players get full control of progressing nations, including Europe countries and the United States.
On November 16, Create lets players make their own environments then conquer challenges in their own unique way while sharing their masterpieces, puzzle/scenario solutions and more. Battle vs. Chess features animated chess piece battles and expanded stories, puzzles, and challenging placement options.
CSI: Fatal Conspiracy feature five new, intertwined cases featuring characters from the current TV show cast. The mystery game Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge offers “whodunit” tests.
Role playing fans can enjoy Final Fantasy XIV Online, Arcania: Gothic 4, EverQuest: House of Thule, and the action-filled Darksiders featuring striking visuals by Joe Madureira.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm drops on December 7 while the humorous Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale lets players actually run the familiar item shop seen in so many RPG games. Lost Planet 2 has epic sci-fi action at an affordable price while mainstay franchises have entries like Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light which both offer fast-paced adventure and discovery.
Dragon Age Origins: Witch Hunt, Borderlands: Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution, and Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker expand popular game series with additional adventures. Fans who missed the original version can also get great extras in Dragon Age: Origins – Ultimate Edition, Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition.
King’s Bounty: Crossworlds has a new “defender of the crown” campaign and expanded orc content. The required PC base game, King’s Bounty: Armored Princess, is also included in the King’s Bounty: Platinum and Game of the Year Editions.
Military strategy mixes with sneaky deception moves in R.U.S.E., which also features huge environments and the IRISZOOM Engine. Take to the skies in Top Gun as Goose or Maverick while enjoying five online multiplayer modes.
Soccer fans score with Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, FIFA Soccer 11, and Football Manager 2011 (Nov. 9), which has new features like a match preparation area and real time contract negotiation.
Other sports games include NBA 2K11, John Daly’s ProStroke Golf, and Shaun White Skateboarding (Oct. 28) . This last title lets players enjoy side-by-side two player play, multiplayer modes for up to eight people and conquer several settings by literally adding color to dreary environments.
Racing fans can experience SBK X: Superbike World Championship, F1 2010, and Nail’d. Nail’d features intense, all terrain action in settings like Yosemite National Park in single and multiplayer game modes.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Nov. 16) features the “Autolog” statistic tracking system for bragging rights. A limited edition will be available with six of the world’s fastest cars instantly available for that competitive edge.
Younger players can explore LEGO Universe or visit Sesame Street in Cookie’s Counting Carnival and Elmo’s A-to-Zoo Adventure.
There are, of course, also going to be several games adapted from different film franchises. These include TRON: Evolution (Dec. 7), James Bond 007: Blood Stone (Nov. 2), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (Nov. 16), which ramps up the fighting elements as the main characters are relentlessly pursued.
Players can also have a Bloody Good Time in a Hollywood themed multiplayer shooter where the clichés and conniving tactics run rampant.
Multi-console releases that will also be available on computer include Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Call of Duty: Black Ops (Nov. 9), Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Nov. 16), and Medal of Honor. Meanwhile, retro fans can always download classics like Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle while the affordable download Antiques Roadshow($9.99) gives players a chance to hunt for historic treasures.
Save those gift cards for Brink (Jan. 25), Darkspore (Feb. 1), Dead Space 2 (Jan. 25), Duke Nukem Forever (Feb. 1), Emergency 2012 (Jan. 5), and Hunted: The Demon’s Forge (Jan. 25).