2010 Video Game Gift Guide

This is a weird holiday season for me so far, because I’m considerably less dirt poor (but still dirt poor) than I have been in recent years now that Break is paying me to write things such as what I’m writing now. So when me moms sent me the email she sends every year around this time asking about some gift items I’d like I was finally able to name some things I want to have rather than things I really need to have. (My list in previous years usually consisted of things like “rent check” and “gift card for the power company”)

Anyway, here we have a list of games from 2010 you should either buy for people or have people buy for you. Just trying to be helpful, damn it.

NOTE: I’m not going to recommend hardware here, just because.

Microsoft Points cards/PSN cards/Nintendo Points cards

I thought this was a list of games.

Well, it is, but I felt the need to remind everyone about these cards because they’re just as important as games, because folks gotta get their DLC and downloadable games.

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Well, it’s kind of impossible to to give someone a physical copy of, say, Limbo, and these cards let the giftee choose what he or she wants to do with it. The beauty of this is that, unlike store gift cards, this doesn’t seem like a lazy cop-out gift, because you’re not getting somebody that instead of getting them something they can get with the card. Be sure not to buy folks a card for a console they don’t own, however.

Mass Effect 2

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Chances are, if a person gave a damn about this, he would already have it, because that’s how sales of RPGs work; most copies are bought in the first couple weeks of release, and so that means not one person is going to ask for this. It’s important to remember, though, that gift giving is as much about pushing s**t on people as it’s about giving them things they want, which is why I usually give my mom some non-fiction books written by liberals. And if you’re shopping for a lady gamer, odds are good she’ll appreciate that you took the initiative and put some thought into it.

NBA 2K11

Platforms: all of them

Why the hell does anyone want this?

By all accounts, this is pretty much the best basketball game ever, and there are a lot of people out there who like sports games but are too lazy or poor to go buy them. Also, a lot of sports fans are very casual gamers who rarely if ever buy new games, and so this would make a solid gift for somebody you know has an Xbox but never talks about games.

Fallout: New Vegas

Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Because it’s better than Fallout 3 and folks’ll get a ton of mileage out of it. On top of that, I’d say New Vegas has even more of a broad appeal than Fallout 3 did just because it handles more like a legit first-person shooter than its predecessor what with the iron sights and less RPG-ish hit detection. This is a pretty great bang-for-your-buck gift. Oh, and now that it’s been patched — and it’ll be patched again soon — ┬áthe glitch factor is way down.

NBA Jam

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Better question: Who the hell doesn’t want this? It faithfully recreates that classic NBA Jam experience, and it’s got way more to it than it did in the old days what with online play and a pile of other modes. It is what it is, and what it is is something everyone wants. Let the trailer suck you in.

Gran Turismo 5

Platform: PS3

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Because it’s Gran Turismo 5, and it actually exists. This is pretty much a perfect gift, because while the hardcore fans pick it up on day one, everyone else — because it’s out the week of Thanksgiving — is counting on unwrapping this in late December. And like New Vegas, this is a real time suck because there’s so much to it. It’s got a total of 1,049,977 different cars and the NASCAR circuit and kart racing, and so GT5 is basically the JRPG of racing games, and there will always be something else to do in it.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Platform: Wii

Why the hell does anyone want this?

I couldn’t tell you, really, because I don’t play the Wii much, and I didn’t touch this one. However, this is the best reviewed game of the year according to Metacritic, so there must be something there. Because it is what it is — a Mario game — most Wii owners already have this, but there are a number of Wii owners who have forgotten they own a Wii, and so this would be a great gift to help them remember that thing is there.

Red Dead Redemption

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

It’s the new game from Rockstar. It’s GTA IV in the Old West. It’s set in the Old West. While we’ve seen a number of Western games in the past decade, there haven’t been many to love, really. Red Dead Redemption is a world you just enjoy being in, and it’s almost your moral obligation to buy this for a gamer who hasn’t yet had the chance to play it.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

I’m actually putting this here instead of God of War III, because Enslaved is like God of War III but with much better writing. And I like Enslaved a lot more, so there’s that. Unfortunately, sales of Enslaved have been less than stellar, but that just means it won’t cost you too much to buy it for somebody, even though it just came out in October. Yeah, there’s a lot of mindless hacking and slashing, but as a whole it’s a really satisfying experience, and you’ll be doing somebody a favor if you gift this.

Rock Band 3/DJ Hero 2

Platforms: PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

The biggest problem with rhythm games is that the bundles are too damn expensive. They aren’t unjustly expensive, mind you, but they cost far more than games that don’t have mandatory accessories and you don’t really get that much more play out of them, and, unfortunately, everybody knows you have to buy the new instruments/turntable every time a new one comes out, which can be problematic. Anyway, that’s why the holidays are so great: because you can tell your rich uncle that you want this expensive thing, or you can be the rich uncle and buy the thing for whoever. I’m saying the holidays exist so people can buy fake plastic instruments for each other. And you really oughtta support DJ Hero 2 on the strength of this ad:

And if you’re a grandma who don’t know nothin’ about this crap, please don’t buy Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock for anybody. It’s not the same.

Super Street Fighter IV

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Fans were on board with Street Fighter IV the first time it came out, and folks were less enthusiastic about having to buy the entire game again a year later. But those folks who were too cheap to shell out would be more than happy to accept this as a gift.

Goldeneye 007

Platform: Wii

Why the hell does anyone want this?

See: NBA Jam

Final Fantasy XIII

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

Why the hell does anyone want this?

If the world were a better place, there wouldn’t be anyone out there who still wants this, but that isn’t the case. My first thought was that inflicting this upon someone as a gift would be very cruel, but then I realized something very important: this would be a great gift for someone you want to leave you alone. As a gift for that person who annoys the hell out of you, Final Fantasy XIII will make it so you won’t have to look at them for months, assuming they dig the game enough to stick with it. Fingers crossed, right? And for f**k’s sake you hope they actually do all the hunting quests, because that means you won’t seem them again for years.

Super Scribblenauts

Platform: Nintendo DS

Why the hell does anyone want this?

Because it’s f**king awesome. The ability to use adjectives with the items you spawn is overwhelmingly great, and there’s nothing quite like riding around killing things on the back of your giant rattlesnake. Folks who own a DS will love this game. Take it to the bank.

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