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A gaming Christmas guide

There are options for all ages and price ranges

By: Derek Mitchell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 06:00 am

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  • ACTION AND WIT – Lego Marvel Super Heroes is sure to please gamers who like titles aimed at the young.
    ACTION AND WIT – Lego Marvel Super Heroes is sure to please gamers who like titles aimed at the young.
    Supplied image
  • SPEED OFFERING – Need for Speed Rivals is sure to capture the checkered flag for the racing gamer on your shopping list.
    SPEED OFFERING – Need for Speed Rivals is sure to capture the checkered flag for the racing gamer on your shopping list.

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A brief hiatus from blistering cold and icy streets means it's time to get out there, brave the equally-treacherous shopping centres of our fine city, and find the perfect gift for the gamer on your list.

Quick 'n cheap

Let's start on the fiscally-frugal side of things. First thing you need to know about gamers is that they aren't picky folk. Any trinket, accessory or accompaniment to our gaming passion is always received with a thankful, and understanding, smile. A novelization of a favourite franchise – be it Halo, Mass Effect, or Assassin’s Creed – is a relatively inexpensive gift that is easy to find and sure to please.

How about a figurine or ornament to decorate their gaming area? Head into EB Games to find something quick and easy that won't break the bank. If you're more of an online shopper, a unique gift such as a T-shirt from zazzle.ca or a novelty from videogamesplus.ca is only a click away. And if it's a last-minute thing, or if you’re not sure, a gift card for the Xbox Marketplace, the PlayStation Network or EB Games is always appreciated.

Consoles

This Christmas is particularly exciting because of the new consoles on the market. When deciding between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, the easiest way to choose is to go with the next generation of the console the gamer in your life already owns. If that isn't an option, it'll depend on what kind of gamer they are.

This early in the new generation, you won't see many mind-blowing differences between the two consoles. While the PlayStation 4's price difference and slightly more robust architecture may give it the edge in certain circles, the ability for the Xbox One to use voice commands when linking a home's various entertainment needs has wonderful appeal and practicality.

Perhaps you know someone who doesn't have a gaming system. Now’s a great time to make the leap into console gaming. With the release of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, prices have begun to drop on the last generation systems and you can often find a used console, usually with a cluster of games.

And though much attention is geared towards the two giants of the gaming world, we can't leave out the Wii U, which even a true devotee to Xbox or PlayStation would love to open come Christmas morning. And thanks to it being the first new console on the market for this new generation, it has a much more impressive lineup of games.

Games for the young

Whether the gamer on your list is young or young-at-heart, he's sure to be pleased with the games available this holiday season. The safest bet would be Lego Marvel Super Heroes. It is available across numerous platforms, has an impressive character list, and brings the iconic blend of action and wit to your living room.

Disney Infinity may be in the upper echelon when it comes to price, but its adaptability to different characters, open-world adventure, and its Skylander-like interface makes it a fun-filled game that has lots of potential for expansion.

One of the best reasons to purchase a Wii U is for Super Mario 3D World. It not only sees the return of our favourite characters in an exquisitely designed world of adventure, but adds multiplayer and co-op to the mix. This is the must-have, console-defining title that the Nintendo Wii has been waiting for.

Games for the adult

There is a flurry of games for the M-rated gamer in your life. When it comes to action games, it really depends on whether the gamer on your shopping list plays multiplayer. If not, then my recommendation would be either Grand Theft Auto V or Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. For the multiplayer aficionado, Call of Duty Ghosts has some unique features to it, while Battlefield 4 has the sheer size of combat that is sure to leave him or her sated for hours.

For the racing gamer, though each console has its own exclusives (Grand Turismo 6 and Forza Motorsport 5), I would go with Need for Speed Rivals. It’s available across multiple current-generation and next-gen consoles, and merges the arcade action of Hot Pursuit with new features and beautiful graphics.

This holiday season, there are many ideas roaming out there for the gamer in your life, from the quick and easy sliding of a gift card into a stocking, to the purchase of must-have titles, all the way up to having a shiny new console wrapped and ready to open come Christmas morning.

When he’s not teaching high school, St. Albert Catholic High School alumnus Derek Mitchell can be found attached to a video game console.


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