2007 Christmas Gamer's Guide

By Mike on 11:30 am

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Not many more shopping days left for all you people out there, and lazy bloggers. I had actually meant to post this earlier but things get hectic this time of year. If you're reading this, chances are you are a gamer or know a gamer and you might be wondering what to buy them for Christmas.

TV Top Consoles:
There are currently four TV top consoles worth looking at. The Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, and the Wii. The Wii is an excellent gift for any gamer on your list since its fun and simple games appear to causal or first time video game players. It's graphics are a little dated but its well suited for those who don't have an HDTV. The Wii is backwards compatible with Gamecube games and features lots of retro content on the Virtual Console. Great for the kids. However, it's December 18th and if you haven't picked up one of these bad boys already, forget about it. You can still find them on eBay but expect to pay on average $350 or more, far higher than the $269 MSRP. If you do go that route, don't expect it to ship before Christmas, and beware of shipping scams (eg. overcharging).
The next up is the Xbox 360, which comes in three flavours. The Elite with its 120gb HDD, the Premium (aka Pro) with its $20gb HDD, and the Arcade with its 256mb memory card. There really isn't much difference between the three units other than storage space. They cost $499, $399, and $299 respectively. All come bundled with two games. ItThe Xbox still does suffer from quality control issues though. However, it's games have broad appeal to both causal and hardcore gamers. Its also the cheapest way to get into high definition gaming. It is also backwards compatible with Xbox games.
Next is the PS3. It currently comes in a 80gb model and a 40gb model. The 80gb is backwards compatible with Playstation 2 games. It's a beast of a console well suited for hard core gamers. It's best described as a home theater system due to its excellent media and web capabilities. It features a built in Blueray disc drive for watching HD movies. A multi-memory card reader also allows you to quickly upload digital media. It does however lack a widely appealing game library and is the most expensive. It costs $499 and $399 respectively. Some older 60gb models are still available and cost $449 at retail. The 60gb features the best backwards compatibility with PS2 games.
Lastly is the Playstation 2. It's seven years old but still going strong. It has a strong game library and is still widely supported by Sony and developers. It's also the cheapest console of the four. It comes in three varieties. All are based on the slim design. You can get it in black or silver sans game for $130. The Sing Star 2 bundle is $150 and comes with the Sing Star 2 karaoke game and two microphones. The PS2 is well suited for children and casual gamers on a budget. Plus, it already has a full library of great games such as Gran Turismo, God of War, and Okami.

MMN Tech's Pick: Out of these three, I would have to go with the Xbox 360 as your best bet. It's strong library and HD gaming capability will make it a lot of fun and it has the broadest appeal of all consoles. You really can't go wrong with it if you're buying it for somebody else.

There are two handheld consoles that you need to worry about. The Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. The DS stands for double screen. It's a two screened game boy that uses 64-bit graphics. It's essentially a portable Nintendo 64. The DS is a pure gaming system that has broad appeal. It also has excellent wireless networking capability for web surfing or linking up with other gamers for some multiplayer action. Great for both adults and kids who want to indulge in some casual gaming on the go. You'll get games like Nintendogs and Pokemon for the kids, and adults will enjoy BrainAge. The stylus and dual screens add a new dimension to gaming, something Nintendo has made its name on lately. However, it lacks media playback capability. As of writing, the DS can't play music or videos since it has no onboard storage. The DS sells for $140.
The PSP doesn't directly compete with the DS since it's targeted at a different market. Nintendo wants to attract kids and casual adult gamers while Sony wants the adult lifestyle and hardcore gamer market. The PSP features a single 16:9 aspect ratio screen. The system itself is capable of near PS2 graphics though be it somewhat cut down. It uses memory cards for onboard storage and Sony's proprietary UMD discs (like mini DVDs) for games and feature films. The PSP has the best media capability out of any digital media player I've seen and it certainly has the best graphics. Load times are a little long for games though since it uses an optical drive compared to the DS's flash cards. The new Slim & Light has some nice features and sells for $170 for the just the system. For $199, you can get either the Daxter or Battlefront bundle. The Daxter bundle is the best deal since it includes a 1gb memory card along with the game. The Battlefront bundle lacks the memory card but includes a Darth Vader lithographed PSP. The PSP has some pretty decent games too.

MMN Tech's Pick: You really can't go wrong with the PSP since its a music player, movie player, and game system all in one. Even if the person doesn't like the games, they'll still get plenty of use out of it.

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