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All I Want For Christmas...
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posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
date posted: 12:00 AM Tue Dec 9th, 2003
last revision: 12:00 AM Tue Dec 9th, 2003

By Monica Hafer
Since I've finally come to the conclusion that I'm not getting Johnny Depp in his pirate outfit under my tree for Christmas, I've decided to become more practical in my holiday wishes. And although a girl can always use another pair of fuzzy Godzilla slippers, there are other presents that I have in mind this season. As a public service, I'm sharing my ideas for gifts your inner geek (or the gaming fiends around you) would love to receive. So in the spirit of giving, here goes my list of yuletide yearnings:

If They've Been Naughty

and you'd like to keep it that way, a two pack of Grand Theft Auto III and GTA: Vice City have hit the shelves at a department store near you. Although there are some copy-cat games coming out, if they haven't visited this franchise, they're missing out. There is a lot to be said for a game that encourages bloodshed, mayhem, and sex, and still manages to amuse more often than not. If you're not quite up to being that bad yet, The Simpson's: Hit and Run can ease you into things.

If They Like to Share in the Fun

There are some must-have party games that have enough replay value to see you through until the next season. When you get your gaming friends together, there are just some titles you shouldn't go without. Tony Hawk's Underground is not just about skating any more, but all the flava is still there. In the same vein, SSX 3 is a hit for the winter season. On the more family-friendly racing side of things is Mario Kart: Double Dash!! A personal favorite of mine is still Soul Caliber II from Namco. I just never get tired of kicking butt with Ivy. And speaking of kicking butt, some party fun at a lower price point can be found in Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters (when did you think I wore my slippers?). Some other group games that need dusted off (or purchased anew for the uninitiated) in preparation for their next installment include Grand Turismo 3 and Halo,I believe I'm drooling already, so keep these future gems in mind for Valentine's Day and anniversary presents for your loved ones. Finally, I need to have a stockpile of group games that work when my parents come to visit, so it's always a good idea to have a copy of Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Monopoly on the shelf (besides, you can always fit in the naughty category for strip Monopoly once the folks have left).


For the Kid in You

Just like a heroin addict needing a fix, kids will be clawing for the latest Yu-Gi-Oh! titles. But what out there is that exciting for adults? The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This game is one that has appeal to everyone, regardless of gender or age. Granted, you can only find this game on the Gamecube, but it is still a must-play. If you'd like a trip down memory lane and a little nostalgia, you can try Kingdom Hearts, Dragon's Lair 3D, or the myriad of updates and old-style favorites like Frogger, Centipede, and Pac Man.

Not Just a Pretty Face

Although I am the first to fall madly in love with the pretty face of graphics, I realize that this can only keep my attention for so long. I have found several titles that I think have beauty and brains, if you will. First and foremost is Prince of Persia: Sands of Time by Ubisoft. I can't say enough about how lovingly crafted this game is, and how many hours of enjoyment you and your loved ones will have playing it. It is a deep and challenging game that enthralls you, but also makes you stop sometimes in the middle of gameplay and exclaim, God that's gorgeous!? Another on the Ubisoft list is URU: Ages Beyond Myst. Although this game is probably just for the patient puzzle solvers out there, it is a really innovative and beautiful title. A franchise that I happen to think is a great investment for both beauty and, in this case, brawn, is Deus Ex. If you want to have your brain stretched and be able to create havoc, you should try out these titles. And for our mature audience at a lower price point, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is a must.

For the Sports Fan

If you have a football gaming fan in the house, John Madden 2004 is a sure hit (or should I say, tackle?) There are also some interesting new games to check out, like FIFA Soccer and Nascar racing.


Variations on a Theme

This is my favorite category of gifts to give and receive. This is where you make a set of theme related gifts. First, the Wachowski's have made life easy for you this year, and along with a gift of Enter the Matrix (the videogame, which is all sorts of fun), you can package a copy of the Matrix, Matrix Reloaded, the Animatrix, and/or theater passes to the Matrix Revolutions. I myself am also wishing for a five foot poster of Trinity for my bedroom wall, but we'll have to see how it goes. Or how about a bundle including Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (the game) with one of her slaying-seasons now available on DVD. If you're more middle earth than hell-mouth, try Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (or one of the other two LOTR or Hobbit games) along with Fellowship or Two Towers videos, or perhaps the animated version of the Hobbit and movie passes for Return of the King. You can also make a gift of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and perhaps the classic three pack of episodes IV-VI (or one of those nifty lightsaber toys!). And let's not forget Tomb Raider.

For the kids in your life, consider Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup and one of the films or, better yet, a book from the series. For the young girls on your list, check out the Bratz videogame that can be paired with figures or accessories from the Bratz line. It's a lot hipper that Barbie and you don't have to worry about giving the girl a complex about gravity defying boobs and feet that don't fit in anything but heels. There are also kid's games that have product tie-ins that make a great package, such as Dragonball Z: Budokai, Finding Nemo, and Spongebob: The Battle for Bikini Bottom. I am especially fond of the big stuffed Nemos, complete with lucky fin!

Stocking Stuffers

All gamers can use extra memory cards for their console, perhaps a memory upgrade for their PC, or an extra memory stick for their digital camera. And sometimes an extra controller is nice if you have little ones (or not so little ones) that like to eat and game at the same time. Also, T-shirts of a person's favorite video game (or the cool vintage? Super Nintendo cheat code shirts) can be rolled down to stocking size. Mousepads also count for this category. Gift certificates for game rentals fit just fine and handheld games are always a welcome choice. And some of the latest digital cameras and phones with games are available if you have the money to spare.

Then there are those things that you can do for your favorite gamer if you are looking at a cash-poor Christmas. For instance, if your significant other is a gamer and you're not, and you argue about time spent gaming, give your love a set of coupons for guilt-free gaming. Each can be limited to one hour where they can cash them in and you promise not to nag or interrupt them, or give the gift of a day of gaming with the guys/girls in which you promise not to make an appearance. And, if you want to add an extra special coupon to the mix, make a coupon for a night of passion with you dressed up like the game hottie of their choice. If you're artistic or crafty,? try taking a headshot of your honey and drawing their body as their favorite game character (I'm still working on my Laura Croft look!). You may also think about casting them as the hero/heroine in a videogame story you write and illustrate or again, use pictures of them that you combine with a collage of visuals from their favorite videogame magazine (just make sure it's not one they're saving). Kids and adults alike get a kick out of this last one.

A Final Note

One of the most addictive things I ever got was when my friend sent me Elf Bowling? via email, so it just goes to show you that it's the little things that count. I think I may throw my fear of copyright infringement to the wind and try my hand at making comic book and video gaming Christmas cards next year. Whatever you decide to do for the people you love, remember that it is always the thought that counts, so you should take the time to personalize your gift.

Happy Holidays!!