For the Wannabe Rock Star
- Rock Band 2: Special Edition Bundle (XBOX360,PS3,Wii,PS2) $99.99
- Guitar Hero 5 Guitar Kit (XBOX360,PS3,Wii) $99.99
- Beatles: Rock Band (XBOX360,PS3,Wii) $249.99
- Brütal Legend (XBOX360,PS3) $59.99
- Cheaper Alternative: Rock Revolution (XBOX360,PS3,Wii) $4.99
So your friend plays air guitar whenever you hang out. That's cool. However, imagine if the empty space in his hands can be filled with a plastic toy guitar, and he's pretending to play real music with friends instead of alone in front of a mirror. With Rock Band 2, he can pretend to be the rock star that he has always wanted to be. Although Guitar Hero 5 is the same price, Rock Band has the advantage of having a year's worth of downloadable content (and arguably better songs). The Beatles Rock Band is another alternative if he's a Beatles fan.
Brütal Legend is an action/adventure/real-time strategy hybrid of a game that is a tribute to the art and culture of 1970s-1980s heavy metal with a great sense of humor. The game's brütal difficulty and annoying strategy sections of the game may turn off many, though.
For the Wannabe Skater
- Tony Hawk: Ride (XBOX360,PS3,Wii) $119.99
- Cheaper Alternative: Skate 2 (XBOX360,PS3,Wii) $39.99
Skateboarding can be dangerous! It's also really embarrassing when you fall flat on your face when trying to perform an ollie to impress the girls sitting on the park bench.
This holiday season, give the gift of safety to your loved ones. In Tony Hawk: Ride, all of the dangers of real skateboarding are gone. Included with the game is a plastic skateboard peripheral that senses movement with infrared sensors. The game can be played in the safety of your living room, so if you do happen to fall on your ass, at least it's on carpet in front of your mother.
For the Bored Friend With WAAAY Too Much Free Time
- Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition (XBOX360,PS3) $39.99
- Dragon Age: Origins (XBOX360,PS3,PC) $59.99
Do you have that friend that wakes up at noon and spends all day watching court TV in his sweatpants? This Christmas, give him a gift that allows him to use his time more productively. The gift of time-consuming video games. Fallout 3 can take players up to 100 hours to complete, not including the 5 bonus downloadable content (DLC) packs included with the Game of the Year edition. Each of these DLC packs will take another 10 hours each. If you do the math, that's 150 hours.
Dragon Age: Origins is another time-consuming RPG from Bioware. This game has a very Lord of the Rings-ish feel to it, featuring orcs, dwarves, and elves. Each character race has their own "origins" story, and the player will have to complete the game with each race in order to completely enjoy the full story. The only problem with this is that each story takes roughly 80 hours to complete.
If you truly hate your friend, buy him both Fallout 3: GoTY edition and Dragon Age: Origins, and you may never see him again.
For the Nintendo Fanboy
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) $49.99
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (NDS) $34.99
- Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (NDS) $34.99
Nintendo fanboys hold the Nintendo name brand very dear to them. They grew up in the '80s, a time in which the word "video games" was synonymous with the word "Nintendo". In a way, the Nintendo subculture raised this generation of children. These children would watch the Super Mario Bros cartoons, eat the disgusting Zelda cereal, and wear Donkey Kong backpacks to elementary school. Nintendo, just like Disney, knows how to capitalize on this nostalgia. They'll repackage the same old games for these Nintendo fanboys (now all grown up) for them to buy over and over again. And the Nintendo fanboys just don't care. Playing New Super Mario Bros Wii will make them have fun like children all over again. It's the same old Super Mario formula that worked in the '80s, and still works today.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and Bowser's Inside Story still retain the Nintendo charm and is great for on-the-go gaming. Nintendo fanboys can bring their nostalgia with them wherever they go, whether it's on the train or on the toilet.
For the Crazy Friend Who Enjoys Jumping From Building to Building
- Assassin's Creed II (XBOX360,PS3) $59.99
- Cheaper Alternative: Mirror's Edge (XBOX360,PS3) $19.99
Parkour, as they call it, is the art of negotiating obstacles and buildings in the most efficient way possible, using only their bodies and performing skills such as jumping and running. Simply stated, they're running around jumping from building to building. That's crazy, man. Do them the favor and give them that same exhilaration in the form of a video game. In Assassin's Creed II, protagonist Ezio assassinates important political figures in Renaissance Italy and then does all of the crazy running.
For the Pervert
- Bayonetta (XBOX360,PS3) $59.99
- Cheaper Alternative: Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (XBOX360) $9.99
- Cheaper Alternative: Rumble Roses XX (XBOX360) $14.99
Technically, Bayonetta won't be released until January, but you can always buy a pre-order copy of the game for the pervert in your group. According to the Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB), Bayonetta features:
"female characters [who] perform suggestive taunts and poses, including opening their legs or gyrating their hips. Some of the more provocative outfits are shed during battle, resulting in brief depictions of buttocks and breasts. The camera occasionally pans close-up on breasts as they are jiggling."
Cheaper alternatives include Dead of Alive Xtreme 2 and Rumble Roses XX. Both of these games feature collecting sexy outfits that you can dress up your female game characters with. It's kinda like Barbie. Except for men.
For the Health Nut
- Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board (Wii) $99.99
- Wii Sports Resort (Wii) $49.99
Health nuts love the outdoors. After a good, healthy workout, what do these guys enjoy doing? If it's simulating exercise in front of a TV, then Wii Fit and Wii Sports resort is the perfect gift for them.
For the Friend Who Hogs the Karaoke Mic
- Singstar (PS3) $49.99
- Lips (XBOX 360) $49.99
Every group of friends has someone who can't put down the microphone during karaoke night. She (yes, it's always a she) thinks that everyone actually enjoys hearing her version of Mariah Carey's "Fantasy." No thanks! Instead, get her either Singstar or Lips, depending on on what system she owns. That way, she can sing to her heart's content--alone.
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For the Gangsta
- Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (XBOX360) $39.99
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (PSP) $39.99
Do society a favor and get Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City for your gangsta friend. The more time he spends committing crime in the game's Liberty City, the less time he'll spend committing crimes in real life. Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City is an expansion of last year's Grand Theft Auto IV. Strangely, you won't need the GTA IV game to play it. GTA IV is a gritty take on the American Dream from the point of view of Niko Bellic, an immigrant who continues to return to a life of crime in order to achieve success in the United States.
For simulated crime on the go, Chinatown Wars is an improved remake of the Nintendo DS game of the same name. It plays in a similar fashion to the first few GTAs, in which all of the action occurs from a bird's eye view.