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Buy What Now?

PS 3 Tops 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

November 29, 2010
By Doug Elfman, The Game Dork

I feel your pain. It's intimidating to stare at a zillion video game choices in stores, then choose the right gift for the right person.

So let me cut through the clutter for you, during this holiday shopping season.

Your question: Which game system is best?

Article Photos

Answer: If you have $300 to $400 burning a hole in your pocket, the PS 3 is beckoning.

The Xbox 360 used to have an edge in games, but no more. Most games come out for both Xbox 360 and PS 3.

There are some Xbox-only games, especially the "Halo" series, "Alan Wake," and downloadable gems, like "Limbo."

Fact Box

Top Ten New Games

Here are the Top 10 best-selling video games, according to Games are listed by title, company, gaming system, and rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Most games are priced $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for Wii; $40 for PSP; $30 for DS and PS 2.

1. "Call of Duty: Black Ops" (Activision) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3, Wii, PC; rated "M" (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)

2. "Call of Duty: Black Ops" for PS 3

3. "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood" (Ubisoft) for Xbox 360, PS 3; rated "M" (blood, sexual themes, strong language, violence)

4. "Gran Turismo 5" (Sony) Nov. 24 pre-order for PS 3; rated "E"

5. "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood" for PS 3

6. "Donkey Kong Country Returns" (Nintendo) for Wii; rated "E"

7. "Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition" (Nintendo) Dec. 12 pre-order for Wii; rated "E"

8. "World of Warcraft: Cataclysm" (Blizzard Entertainment) winter pre-order for PC; rated "T" (blood, gore, crude humor, mild language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol, violence)

9. "Call of Duty: Black Ops Hardened Edition" for Xbox 360

10. "Sonic Colors" (Nintendo) for Wii; rated "E"

(Ratings: "E" for "Everyone"; "T" for "Teen"; "M" for "Mature 17+")

But the PS 3 has its own exclusive games, especially the "God of War" and "Uncharted" series.

Meanwhile, only the PS 3 comes with free online gaming. (Xbox Live costs $50 a year). Only the PS 3 has a Blu-ray player and high-def Web surfing.

And you can use both Xbox 360 and PS 3 to watch movies instantly from Netflix online. (Wii has Netflix but not in high definition.)

Your question: But doesn't the Xbox 360 have a new Wii-esque add-on called Kinect?

Answer: Yes. Kinect is a $150 add-on. And Sony has its $100 Wii-esque add-on called Move. However, both are too new and expensive for me to take seriously. Plus, there are no must-have Kinect or Move games yet, so why bother?

Your question: I have little kids. Should I buy a Wii?

Answer: Sure. The Wii has far more kiddie games, especially starring Mario.

The Wii is also a good choice for new gamers, women and older people who want to own games for the first time, because Wii is easy to get a grip on, and its interactive games are fun for casual players.

Your question: Are handheld systems OK?

Answer: The Sony PSP is an amazing machine, but almost no new game disks are made for it anymore. So if you're buying for a child, go with Nintendo DSi. It's a kid magnet.

Your question: What games should I buy as gifts?

Answer: For Xbox 360 and PS 3, I'd want "Call of Duty: Black Ops" (war; rated "M"); "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood" (action-adventure; rated "M"); "Just Cause 2" (better than "GTA"; rated "M"); "Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit" (car racing; rated "E 10+"); "Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare" (Western zombies; rated "M"); "Fallout: New Vegas" (shooting role-player; rated "M"); "Alan Wake" (narrative-shooting; rated "T"); "Madden NFL '11" (rated "E"); or "Medal of Honor" (war; rated "M").

For Xbox only: "Halo: Reach" (shooting; rated "M"); "Mass Effect 2" (action/role-playing; rated "M"; though it comes out in January for PS 3); "Fable III" (adventure; rated "M").

For PS 3: "God of War III" (fantasy-slashing; rated "M"); "Uncharted 2" (Indiana Jones-esque; rated "T"); "Gran Turismo 5" (racing; rated "E"); "Heavy Rain" (narrative realism; rated "M").

For Wii: "Disney Epic Mickey" (adventure platform; rated "E"); "GoldenEye 007" (James Bond remake; rated "T"); "Donkey Kong Country Returns" (platform; rated "E").

For DS: "Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mini-Land Mayhem" (platform-puzzles; rated "E"); "Super Scribblenauts" (creation word game; rated "E").

(PlayStation 3 by Sony retails for $300-$400 - Plays a spectrum of available games; plays Netflix, Blu-ray and DVD; surfs online; holds video, music and photos; and it's a 1080p high-definition system.)

Doug Elfman is an award-winning entertainment columnist who lives in Las Vegas. He blogs at



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