Game Front’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers

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


Sony Tablet S – 16GB
MSRP: $499
Release Date: November 2011
Buy it online

Why you want it:
Sony’s entries into the Android tablet market have one thing that no other tablet does: Playstation branding. And that doesn’t mean just a fancy Playstation logo (although it does include a fancy Playstation logo) – it means that in addition to a tablet capable of accessing hundreds of thousands of apps in Google’s Android Market, you’ll also get Playstation games, starting with Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes, plus more Playstation One and PSP games you can download online.

Tablet S integrates with Sony’s larger online platform, so in addition to getting all the functionality of a tablet for things like viewing videos and browsing the web, you also get Sony specific stuff, like access to its music and movie services. And you can even control your other Sony devices with your Tablet S.

Sponsored by Sony


Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack
MSRP: $49.99
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: 10/16/11
Buy it From Amazon

Why You Want It:
Before you protest violently, intoning something about purchasing childish toys for a childish game, do me a favor and look around your room/house/office/parents’ basement. Do me a favor and do a quick count of the toys you have around. Is it more than ONE? Because if it is, your argument is instantly invalidated.

Anyway, by all (adult) accounts, Skylanders is the most fun you can have with toys and video games at the same time. Unlike the crappy action figures of our collective childhood, Skylanders are toys that you can set on the “Portal of Power” peripheral and actually take into a video game to use as characters. Your character data gets saved to the toy, allowing you to take it to a friend’s house after school and play cooperatively or competitively. And you have to buy other toys to get other characters, triggering that crazy collection instinct so many of us seem unable to control. Skylanders is an unexpectedly great time for people of any age.


Call of Duty: Elite One Year Premium Subscription
MSRP: $49.99
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: 11/8/11
Buy it online

Why You Want It:
Let’s be honest with ourselves: You have a Call of Duty fan on your gift-giving list (or you’re that fan on someone else’s), and you’re lazy. Luckily, giving the gift of Elite is not only guaranteed to apply to that person’s interests, it’s also cheap and easy. When it’s finally working correctly come its relaunch in December, the Premium version of Elite will offer your favorite Modern Warfare 3 fan the opportunity to compete for prizes, join clans and groups and watch premium CoD-related programming created just for the service — basically, to nerd out as much as possible. But socially.


R.A.T. Gaming Mouse
MSRP: $79.99
Brand: Cyborg
Release Date: 5/26/10
Buy it on Amazon

Why You Want It:
Perfect for the PC gamer who loves customization (as well as really cool stuff), Cyborg’s R.A.T. gaming mouse line allows for just about all the customization you can get out of a mouse. I’ve got one of these, and it’s awesome. Fully programmable with three different profiles, with buttons I’ve never even used before (nevermind figured out what they do), the R.A.T. is a quality little device that’s great for everything from shooting guys to clicking furiously until all the skeletons in this dungeon are piles of dust.

But the best part about the R.A.T. is that it’s modular, allowing you to customize how it actually fits in your hand. Height, length, thumb and pinky rests, even weight can be altered quickly and easily for personal preferences. Plus it looks like a sloppy piece of evil scrap metal, which is my favorite part.


Portal 2 Lithograph – 70′s-Style Movie Poster
MSRP: $29.99
Brand: Valve
Buy it From the Valve Store

Why You Want It:
This is seriously one classy piece of video game art. Originally created by Seattle artist Tristan Reidford as a labor of Portal 2 love, Valve has since picked up this piece of fan art and turned it into a full-size, 24×36 lithograph print. It’s only available through the Valve store, but in addition to being beautiful, it lets you support the hard work of fan artists… kind of.


Ear Force X12 Gaming Headset and Amplified Stereo Sound
MSRP: $59.95
Brand: Turtle Beach
Release Date: 8/16/11
Buy it From Amazon

Why You Want It:
Built for the Xbox 360 but fully compatible with PCs as well, Turtle Beach’s Earforce meets all the demands of a quality pair of headphones and a quality gaming headset. It’s USB powered and includes on-headphones controls for volume for the game and for in-game chat, plus a bass boost control so you can really feel the explosions as rockets rip past your head in Battlefield 3. Everybody can use a quality pair of headphones and a decent headset, and the Earforce X12 is both in one.


Dream Cheeky USB Fridge
MSRP: $26.99
Brand: Dream Cheeky
Buy it From Amazon

Why You Want It:
Although it’s not extremely practical, this USB fridge is capable of cooling exactly one beverage can (and basically nothing else). It’s perfect for a single emergency beer (or, if we’re being fully honest with ourselves, a can of Game Fuel), and it makes a solid novelty offering for your thinks-he’s-hilarious jokester PC fan friend. Or dad. This is a “Great joke, Dad” kind of gift.

Harmony 700 Rechargeable Universal Remote
MSRP: $99.99
Brand: Logitech
Buy it From Amazon

Why You Want It:
One remote to rule them all — everything you have attached to your DVD (up to six devices), including your Xbox 360, Logitech’s Harmony line of remotes are pretty awesome if you can justify dropping that kind of coin on something you use to change channels. But remember, this thing will prevent you from ever having to leave your couch again. The Harmony remotes use an online setup, which means Logitech can keep adding devices to the database of things the remote can control. It’s also rechargeable, so say goodbye to looking for batteries. If you spring for the $249 Harmony 900, you get a docking station and the ability to control something like 15 devices. Which means, presumably, you could change channels on your neighbor’s TV just to screw with him.


This Is Not a Pipe T-Shirt
MSRP: $12.99
Brand: Threadless
Buy it From Threadless

Why You Want It:
We detailed a number of highly awesome gaming t-shirts in a feature not long ago — all of which would be a worthwhile holiday purchase — but this one may stand above the others because it’s so damn clever. It’s simple. It’s green. It’s classic. And it references art, which makes its wearer look smart. So you’re not only giving the gift of a quality gaming shirt, you’re also helping make your gift recipient more attractive, at least to some weird game-and-art-loving subset of the population.


Playstation 3 320GB Console Bundles
MSRP: $299.99
Brand: Sony
Release Date: 11/1/11
Buy it From Amazon

Why You Want It:
If you can’t find a better deal on Black Friday, you can at least grab one lucky gamer a decent last gasp of this console generation. Amazon and other retailers have Playstation 3 bundles that include games such as Uncharted 3 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, or the Playstation Move, plus a massive new hard drive to contain all the media you could ever want to pack onto the thing. Couple it with a nice Playstation Network gift card and you’ve got a decent Playstation 3 starter kit — just in time for next-gen hardware to start ramping up, but hey.

Keep in mind that you can get a generic PS3 for about $249 this holiday season, which includes a 160GB hard drive.


Xbox 360 320GB Console Bundles
MSRP: $399.99
Brand: Microsoft
Release Date: 11/1/11
Buy it From Amazon

Why You Want It:
Again, keep your eyes open on Black Friday, because there are some awesome Xbox 360 bundles floating around for the superfans out there. The Gears of War 3 branded Xbox is probably the coolest. It comes with a custom skin for the console, Gears 3 sound effects on start-up, exclusive in-game items for multiplayer, two controllers and the massive new 320GB hard drive. There’s also a similar bundle for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and one that packs Star Wars Kinect along with the Kinect motion control hardware as well.

You can snag an unbundled Xbox 360 for $299 with a 250GB hard drive, or with a 4GB hard drive for just $199.

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

gifts

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.

G.A.R.B.A.G.E

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.

Warp

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.