Game Front’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers

Page 1: Intro | Page 2: Games | Page 3: Consoles & Gadgets | Page 4: PC System Building

Price: $59.99
Buy It On: PC
Buy It For: Your trigger-happy teenage nephew; your perpetually stoned college-age stepson.
Buy It From: Amazon
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release Date: 10/25/11

Despite its lackluster singleplayer campaign, BF3 set this year’s standard for frenetic first-person-shooter competition. Ranging through gigantic, meticulously designed levels, players will have to work together to succeed — the game rewards strategy, teamwork, and a diverse array of playstyles. Whether the object of your affection prefers operating as a lone sniper or in a team of highly mobile, chopper-based, spawn-capturing hellions, there are hours of fun to be had. Get the PC copy for better graphics and 64-player games.

Price: $10.19 (!)
Buy It On:PC
Buy It For: Your kid. Your lonely great-uncle. Yourself.
Buy It From: Steam
Publisher: Valve
Developer: Valve
Genre: Action-Adventure, Puzzle
ESRB: E10+

Portal 2′s humor, creativity, and air-tight design made it one of the best games of 2011. Now it’s only $10.19 on Steam — as bargains go, pretty much a no-brainer. Full of dark comedy and clever puzzles, Portal 2 continues the story of Chell, a plucky, silent, jumpsuit-wearing test subject stuck in the futuristic labs of the mysterious Aperture Science corporation. Using the series’ titular Portal gun, she’ll traverse a series of whimsically dystopian levels and evade the attentions of a pair of extremely passive-aggressive robots.

MSRP: $59.99
Buy It On:PS3
Buy It For: Your friend who’s constantly quoting Hot Shots Part Deux.
Buy It From: Amazon
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Volition, Inc.
Genre: Open World, Action-Adventure
Release Date: 11/15/11

Saints Row has always been over the top, but in Saints Row: The Third, they’ve gone so far over the top that the top has shrunk to a tiny speck, far in the distance. Less than an hour into the game, you’ll already find yourself careening towards earth without a parachute, gunning down thugs who are also in free fall. Things only get more ridiculous from there, as you go on to acquire hoverbikes, weaponized dildos, and the powerful, mysterious “Fart in a Box.”

In a season of psychologically tortured protagonists and gritty, realistic depictions of Modern Warfare (TM), Saints Row: The Third is the perfect antidote: silly, escapist fun. No wonder GameFront’s Ross Lincoln enjoyed it more than any other game this year. Buy the PS3 copy, and the recipient can use the online pass that comes with the game to download a full version of Saints Row 2.

MSRP: €19.95
Buy It On:PC
Buy It For: Anyone you know who enjoys playing with blocks.
Buy It From: The Minecraft Store
Publisher: Mojang AB
Developer: Mojang AB
Genre: First-person, Sandbox
Release Date: 11/18/11

Ever since its initial release in 2009, Minecraft has revolutionized the way people think about games. Created on a lark by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson, the title has grown by stages, starting with an experimental classic version, moving through a beta stage, and finally culminating in an official release. Minecraft has been publicly available since the beginning, and its legions of fans have grown along with it, using the title’s infinitely block-based sandbox to create towering monuments and hilarious, emergent moments. Publishers Mojang AB can now boast roughly 240 million logins per month, and last weekend they summoned devotees for the first annual MineCon in Las Vegas. This holiday season, give the gift of an indie success story.

MSRP: $59.99
Buy It On:Xbox 360
Buy It For: Your dungeon master; your LARPing goddaughter.
Buy It From: Amazon
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Genre: First Person, RPG
Release Date: 11/11/11

Though it’s afflicted by the same problems that have plagued previous Bethesda offerings (e.g. bugs, ugly character animations) Skyrim is still a spectacular achievement. The sheer majesty of the wintry gameworld is the star of the show, and picturesque lakes, startled elks, and the aurora borealis seem to pop up at every turn. The vast environment is also populated with a seemingly inexhaustible array of content — if you only give one game this holiday season, make it Skyrim, since the person you give it to can easily wring 200-odd hours out of it, if they’re so inclined.

You’ll want to avoid the PC version and its lackluster control scheme; the lower resolutions will soon be forgotten in favor of all the stuff there is to do. Whether players want to wander aimlessly or quest purposefully, cast spells or wield battle axes, sneak or charge, craft items or steal them, Skyrim has it all.

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4 Comments on Game Front’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers


On November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for this extensive & thoughtful list. I’ve already added The Wild Vine & The Everything Guide to Wine to my Amazon Wish List. Hopefully, my friends are paying attention! Thanks again for a very useful post.


On November 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I don’t even…the list went from listing cool console games to suddenly turning into a huge catalog of parts for an overly expensive and over powered electric word processor and email/torrent catch all.

Its not really worth all the money, trouble or effort just to play a real PC exclusive like Minecraft, hell even that will be available on the consoles come spring 2012. And I imagine it won’t be long that what ever is left of the few PC exclusives will soon follow suit.

I guess somebody can put together one helluva Dosbox or emulator for PC gaming on but man talk about giving out expensive holiday gag gifts.

Red Menace

On November 24, 2011 at 12:13 am

Now that my Xbox red ringed maybe I’ll give that Playstation 3 320GB Console Bundle a go. I’ve been very interested in Uncharted 3.


On November 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

Not counting the PC parts, are there any reasons why ALL of the gifts are above or at 60$?

Also encouraging people to buy call of duty? Shame on you.