Buying a gift for someone who plays video games is generally a simple task. It usually goes something like, “Hey, if you want to buy me a gift, get me [this particular title],” so there’s little risk of getting it wrong.
Video games are an easy gift because, for the most part, they are widely available and almost always in stock. Plus they’re guaranteed to provide hours and hours of entertainment.
Below are three different categories of video games to consider: the obvious (and most expensive) option, the not-so obvious portable option and the creative interpretation.
The obvious choice
Nintendo’s Wii U was released in late November and is quickly becoming a hot holiday item. The new console packs powerful hardware along with innovative gameplay using the new touch-screen gamepad included with every system. The gamepad, which boasts a 6.2-inch touch screen along with traditional buttons, allows for a unique experience that is so far best demonstrated with the included title Nintendoland.
Nintendoland is a collection of Nintendo-themed “attractions” (think mini-games) that support up to five players simultaneously, each with a different use of the new gamepad. Most of these games pit four of the players — each using Wiimotes from Nintendo’s previous console, which are compatible with the new system, as controllers — against the one player using the gamepad.
Playing with the gamepad generally puts the player at some sort of advantage and requires the four other players to work together against the single player to win. The “attractions” follow simple rules that allow anyone at any skill level to compete, which is one of the most important features of the Wii U: It is accessible and fun for everyone.
The portable choice
Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time is a pretty well-loved show — yes, even by adults — and because its creator is a big gaming fan, it’s no surprise that the series’ first title, Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! has been a huge hit. The Nintendo 3DS title plays similar to older installments of The Legend of Zelda series mixed with gameplay from sidescrolling games that dominated video games pre-3D.
Most important, the game’s story and dialogue was written by Pendleton Ward and his Cartoon Network writing team. The writing, along with the excellent soundtrack composed by Jake Kaufman, do a great job of capturing the feel and style of the cartoon, adding up to a thoroughly enjoyable experience for fans of the show.
The out-of-the-box choice
If you’re looking to avoid the routine video game gift giving, take a look at the web store to one of the best video game cover bands put together: Descendants of Erdrick, based in Austin.
DoE is a well-known act within the video game music scene — and for good reason. They re-create gaming tracks with highly skilled instrumentation, focusing on less obvious selections (T&C Surf Designs and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest) and exploring their diverse taste in video game music.
Online they sell their newest album, Down Right Heavy, along with T-shirts. If you get the chance, they are fantastic live and a real treat for anyone who appreciates not only video game tunes, but watching skilled musicians play technically complicated music.