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2011 Holiday Buyer's Guide: Esteban Edition

Esteban gives you the gift of a list of gifts he thinks you should give.

Seasons Greetings, players. It's that time of the year, when we all run out and get lost in the crowds of people to buy our friends and family that which they love, in celebration of the holiday season/to help the economy. If you don't know what to get your loved one and he or she loves video games, then you must not be paying attention. Nevertheless, we've got you covered. Here are some suggestions on what is worth karate chopping the jerk who cut you off in the parking lot for your personal lovable gamer.

Do you know someone who was the most popular guy in high school? Was he on the Varsity team? Did he have a smoking hot girlfriend? Did he go to parties and get drunk with his friends and try to flip over a cow? Is he now in college and behaving the same way? Then chances are your friend is a Jock or a Bro. Bros need excitement and that's what they play video games for. It's something to do while downing their eleventh beer. So while they're doing so, why not get them a copy of Madden NFL 12. Nothing screams pizza at one in the morning like Madden. They'll all be making their own Super Bowl in the dorm rooms with this game. However, sometimes bros need to feel appreciated. They need to feel loved. By other bros. The feeling of a team working together. For this, I suggest giving them the ultimate bromance in video games, Gears of War 3. They'll cheer, they'll fume, they'll cry as they play through the co-op campaign and overcome adversity in the Horde 2.0 mode. Brothers to the end.

                   Gears of War 3                                          Madden NFL 12

          Available on the Xbox 360                                    Available on the PS2PS3PSPWii, and 360

Mama should be easy. You wouldn't even think of getting her a video game. Yet somehow she wants one. Whether she just wants something to do to work out or she just wants to see what the fuss is about, you've got an older woman who wants to play video games. I guess pigs have flown. Well, we don't want to scare her off so why not get her Dance Central 2. Mom will get a workout and she'll be intimidated by the new hip music she doesn't know. If that proves to be a problem, then get her Michael Jackson: The Experience. She'll know all the hits MJ made famous. They've probably been on her mind since the Conrad Murray trial has been on the news for the past couple of months. But wait, maybe you're worried your mom will start hogging the Xbox 360 and the Kinect, preventing you from using it yourself. If this is your concern, then get her Child of Eden and watch her try to keep up. Sure, she'll love it because of the artistic graphics but soon she'll become frustrated and give up and you're left with your console and a challenging game. You're welcome!

                    Michael Jackson: The Experience Box Art                                                Child of Eden PS3 Box Art

         Available on the DS, 3DS, PS3, PSP, Wii, and 360                                              Available on PS3 and 360

So, you know one of them, huh? One of those sad, poor, pathetic people who only have a Wii and no other console. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I feel so so sorry for both your friend and you (and me). In lieu of recommending older titles or another console, all I can say is get them The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. That's all any Wii owner wants right now. Chances are they've already pre-ordered it. Probably paid it off back in January. Maybe you should just get them a gift card...

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Box Art

Available on the Wii

You know, I don't even understand this "girl gamer" label. Isn't that a girl who likes all the same games a hardcore gamer would like, when up to this point, all the hardcore gamers have been nothing but men? How would you recommend a game for "girl gamers" that you wouldn't recommend to "guy gamers?" Does that mean that if I recommend Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception to girl gamers that guy gamers won't like it? If I say that girls will like the story focused around treasure and jewelry and shiny things that no guy would either? How about that girls will love Nathan's rugged good looks and charisma? Can't guys enjoy a handsome man? This whole "girl gamer" logo is pointless. As if only girls will like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D just because it's about a boy going to save a girl from an evil guy. As if only girls will appreciate the puzzles in the various dungeons and how the game went to the spa and had a mani-pedi and totally got a makeover. Guy gamers can appreciate these aspects just as much. Stop making pointless comparisons with stereotypes and get the gamer girl you know something any hardcore gamer will appreciate. Like Portal 2 or Just Dance 3.

                   Uncharted 3 Box Art                                      The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Box Art

                                    Available on PS3                                                                    Available on the 3DS

                     Portal 2 Box Art                                            Just Dance 3 Box Art

                      Available on Mac, PC, PS3, and 360                                            Available on PS3, Wii, and 360

The video game industry has grown up and this proves to be problematic when it comes to getting kids games. Most titles made for kids are crap and shovelware of the highest order. Luckily there are some titles that will appeal to your children that are legitimately good. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean continues the Lego-ization of popular movie franchises and your kids will love the toy graphics and grunt only retelling of the movies. Mario Kart 7 will also get the kids going as they play each other in the back of the SUV on your way to your wife's parents house. It'll keep them from bothering you since they'll be too busy throwing turtle shells and taking mushrooms. If you only have one kid though, get them Super Mario 3D Land. You won't hear your kid for a while as they will be glued to their 3DS for a long time. Just make sure they don't use the 3D effect or their eyes might fall out.

Mario Kart 7 Box Art                      Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Box Art                       Super Mario 3D Land Box Art

          Available on the 3DS                    Available on 3DSDSMacPCPS3PSPWii, and 360               Available on the 3DS

You might want to check the shelf of the hardcore gamer you know. Chances are they have the biggest titles of the year already. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it's all already there. For this person, you need to do a little digging. Find the kind of games those involved with the community would love to play but might not know about or forgot about or just didn't get yet. Chances are they didn't get that copy of Catherine. The quirky puzzle/dating sim probably didn't make it onto that person's shelf since they were too busy with the Summer of Arcade games like Bastion and Ms. Splosion Man. The strange puzzle gameplay coupled with the morality driven decisions will make it an interesting addition to their collection. Speaking of which, your same gamer friend was probably busy with Deus Ex: Human Revolution when this next game came around. El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron is a visually artistic game with an interesting battle system that tells the story of the Book of Enoch. No way was this a popular title. Just the kind of thing your hardcore enthusiast would love. They'll be surprised you even knew about these titles. Little do they know that PixlBit told you about these under-the-radar games.

  Catherine Box Art                            Deus Ex: Human Revolution Box Art                          El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron Box Art

      Available on PS3 and 360                                  Available on PC, PS3, and 360                           Available on PS3 and 360

And there you have it. Some choices for those special someones in your lives. So get in line, get your copy and bring a taser with you in case someone tries to rob you on your way back to the car.




11/21/2011 at 07:15 PM

all current-gen stuff....I expected a thoughtful list of games, a mix of last and current.

After all, most of your creative writing I've seen is based on last-gen titles!!!!

Jason Ross Senior Editor

11/21/2011 at 07:41 PM

I think generally Esteban (And the rest of the writers of holiday guides) wanted to pick things from the past year that were either marked down substantially or just not something you might have to find used. I can certainly say I made no consideration for the used gaming market when I started approaching holiday gift guides this year.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

11/21/2011 at 09:58 PM

I kept it full of stuff that came out this year for constructive purposes. If I hadn't done that, I would've just told everyone to go download Chrono Cross or tell everyone to go buy a Sega Saturn!

Kathrine Theidy Feature Writer

11/22/2011 at 12:48 AM

Chrono Chross would have been a terrible gift suggestion.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

11/22/2011 at 09:11 AM

Chrono Cross is an awesome game and it's underappreciated.

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