VGBlogger Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Need some ideas for your holiday wish list or still trying to find the perfect gift for the gamer and/or techie in your life? VGBlogger is here to help with a list of the various gadgets, gizmos and miscellaneous oddities we’ve been able to test out over the course of the year. Read along to see if anything catches your eye, and, of course, happy shopping!

Super Mario Galaxy Collector’s Puzzle – Buy from eStarland for $11.95:

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Nintendo fans will surely smile from ear to ear should they find this little prize tucked under the Christmas tree. I had a blast putting this jigsaw puzzle together, and with its heavy gauge Wii-shaped box and high quality artwork, it’s the perfect gift for a gaming memorabilia collector.

QwikShower Wipes – Buy from www.Qwikshower.com for $1 for 1 wipe, $7 for 10, $29 for 50 and $49 for 100:

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Common stereotypes peg gamers as nerdy males who sit in the basement glued to their TV or computer monitor for hours at a time, in many instances to the detriment of their personal hygiene. If that in any way describes you or someone you know, the QwikShower Wipes should make for a fun stocking stuffer oddity. These oversized wet naps were created to help teens freshen up after gym class, but as I’ve found out, they are also great for anyone in need of a quick clean when there isn’t time to jump in a hot shower. I shower every morning during the week, but on the weekends I generally laze about the house in my pajamas, cleanliness and productivity be damned. So I used one of these lazy, sweaty weekends to try out one of these wipes, and after wiping down my arms, pits, face and legs I was surprised to find that I did feel clean and refreshed, enough so to feel comfortable leaving the house without fear of smelling sweaty and funky. Color me surprised!

PlayStation Move Shooting Attachment – Buy from Amazon for $19.16:

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Own a PlayStation Move motion controller for your PS3 or plan to ask for one for Christmas? Then I also suggest grabbing the Move Shooting Attachment – along with copies of The Shoot and Time Crisis: Razing Storm, too, of course! Like the Wii Zapper, this handy little gizmo turns the Move wand into a futuristic laser gun suitable for hours of light gun style fun. Don’t forget to make your own ‘pew pew pew’ noises to complete the effect!

snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ — Buy from Sunflex USA for $34.99 (currently on sale for $21):

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If you’re in the market for a new controller to eliminate the hassle of dealing with the MotionPlus and changing batteries, or perhaps you just need another remote to have on hand for multiplayer purposes, the snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ is a great all-in-one solution to consider. It’s the cheapest remote with built-in MotionPlus you’re going to find, and with features like USB charging functionality, it does things no other Wii controller can match.

Wii Remote Plus – Buy from Amazon for $38.99 or with FlingSmash for $32:

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For gamers who just don’t trust third-party accessories, Nintendo has you covered with a built-in MotionPlus Wii-mote of its own. The Wii Remote Plus, while slightly more expensive than its competitors, has the sturdy polish and reliability expected of a first-party product, and it even comes in a bundle deal with a full game titled FlingSmash (regular price is $50, but Amazon has it for only $40). I’ve only played a few levels, but so far the game is good, clean Nintendo fun, and worth getting as a pack-in freebie. Two gifts in one!

CM4 Catalyst Wii Remote Covers – Buy from CM4 in a 1-pack for $9.99 or a 2-pack for $14.99:

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CM4’s Catalyst Wii Remote covers are very much a luxury product for a specific audience of gamer interested in getting maximum performance out of their gaming experience. They don’t fulfill any great service the free rubber remote cover doesn’t already provide, and therefore they don’t demand a purchase. But they do achieve the same goal, and they do so with greater comfort, convenience and style. You don’t have to break the bank to get one either. Single Catalyst covers are only $9.99, and you can also get a two-pack for only $14.99. Four color options are also available, including Black Onyx, Slate Gray, Coral Red and Pink Sapphire. These make for a great gaming stocking stuffer!

Memorex Wii Wireless Sensor Bar – Buy from Amazon for $14.66:

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If you’d like to clean up the wire clutter around your gaming setup and enhance your Wii motion gaming at the same time, the Memorex Wii Wireless Sensor Bar is a solid upgrade over the existing sensor bar and a great buy at only $15. The taller unit size and curved ends provide extended sensing range, and that equates to broader motion-control tracking and fewer dropped signals. Just be sure to add in a pack of four AA batteries, or better yet, pick up a set of rechargeable batteries.

PowerGenix Nickel-Zinc Rechargeable Batteries – Buy from Amazon for $14.19:

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Speaking of rechargeable batteries…PowerGenix’s NiZn batteries are the best around, offering more power and longer battery life than the usual NiMH and mAh rechargeable batteries, while at the same time being even more eco-friendly thanks to the recyclable nature of nickel and zinc and the lack of toxic chemicals. A pack of four batteries with a charger (NiZn batteries do need a specific charger) is incredibly cheap, so instead of buying packs and packs of Alkaline batteries to accompany your various tech and toy gifts, pick up a set or two of these.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Bundle for PS3/Wii/Xbox 360 — Buy from Amazon for $64.99-$95.99:

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Rock Band 3 got all the hype and press accolades, but for my money Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is this year’s top music game, and the new guitar controller it comes with is definitely worth the upgrade (my reviews are here and here). A super bundle with guitar, drums and microphone is also available at a considerably higher price if you’d like the complete band experience, but Warriors of Rock is a shredder’s game, so the cheaper guitar bundle should do.

DJ Hero 2 Party Bundle for PS3/Wii/Xbox 360 — Buy from Amazon for $99.99:

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Last year’s DJ rhythm game, DJ Hero, was good for a first effort, but it was definitely too niche and too pricey of an investment compared to the Guitar Hero franchise it spawned from. This year, DJ Hero 2 spins along with more finely tuned gameplay offering greater creative mixing control, a more structured single-player career experience, expanded online functionality, Guitar Hero’s excellent Party Play mode, an even better collection of song mixes to play along to, new karaoke elements, and less demanding pricing that should make it appeal to a broader audience of players who may not be familiar with the DJ scene. $100 gets you the Party Bundle, which includes two turntable controllers and a microphone. That’s everything you need to scratch away for hours of fun, by yourself or with a friend.

Easy Piano for Nintendo DS – Buy from Walmart for $29.96:

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Another peripheral-based music game to consider, particularly for young piano prodigies, is Easy Piano for the DS, a full-featured rhythm game in the style of Rock Band and Guitar Hero designed to teach users how to play the piano. The game comes with a 13-note, full-octave external keyboard peripheral which attaches to the base of the DS through the GBA slot (an in-game soft keyboard allows for stylus play, but that’s not as fun) and allows players to key along to a wide range of songs, from classic tunes like Moonlight Sonata to anthems like The Star Spangled Banner to pop jams like the Jackson Five’s ABC to themed songs like Happy Birthday, Jingle Bells and The Wedding March. There are also mini-games to teach piano terms and musical composition, as well as a basic creation studio where you can compose and save up to three of your own songs. The gameplay is very simple, and since the keyboard controller is barely large enough to fit one full hand of fingers, I don’t see anyone actually learning how to play the piano using it. However, the game itself is a fun experience for the young casual gamer, and overall I see Easy Piano as a good gateway game to get children interested in the musical arts.

The Art of God of War III Art Book – Buy from Ballistic Publishing for $65 for the paperback edition, $129 for the special edition, and $300 for the Limited Folio Edition:

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The Art of God of War III really is a spectacular compilation of artwork, as well as a brisk, intriguing read if you are at all interested in learning about the art design process behind your favorite mythological action-adventure epic. Perhaps the most flattering comment I can pay to this book is that, as soon as I flipped past the last page, I was immediately inspired to play the game again. And as I’ve continued to replay it I’ve found myself appreciating it as a true work of art more than I ever did before. The massive environments and subtle character design elements tell an unspoken story that you just can’t grasp until you fully understand the thought and attention to detail the artists poured into the game. That alone makes The Art of God of War III a must read if you ask me.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker W-Series Walkman – Buy from Sony Style for $59.95:

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While it won’t topple the iPod as the go-to media player any time soon, the W-Series Walkman — Metal Gear Solid theme or not – is a remarkable little device. As an all-in-one MP3 player, it delivers rich audio quality and intuitive ergonomics, and for only $60 it is an outstanding low-cost music player for consumers on a budget, a must-have for active bodies who like to listen to music while working out, and an essential iPod backup for on-the-go audiophiles. If you want to make this an even better gift, check out the special bundle Sony has available containing the Walkman MP3 player, a PSP traveler case, a UMD travel case, and the full Peace Walker PSP Entertainment Pack which itself includes the “Spirited Green” PSP-3000 system, a copy of the Peace Walker game on UMD, a 2GB Memory Stick and a and PSN movie voucher for $284.92.

Astro Gaming Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker A30 Headset – Buy from Astro Gaming for $129.95:

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Astro Gaming offers some of the best gaming headsets money can buy, and that includes the A30 series. While certainly not cheap at over a hundred buckaroos for the headset alone (and double the price to get a MixAmp for voice chat functionality over PSN and/or Xbox Live), you get what you pay for with the A30 headsets (and the even pricier A40s). And what you pay for is a high-end gaming headset delivering incredible audio quality, comfortable ear pieces that hug your ears with a spongy embrace and also twist sideways for easy storage in the included carrying case, a ‘speaker tag’ design allowing you to customize the headset’s appearance with interchangeable faceplates, and premium packaging that will let whomever you gift this item to know that you spent a pretty penny to put a smile on their face.

Beamz Music Player – Buy from The Beamz Music Store for $199.95:

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If you are shopping for a serious technophile who already seems to have all the latest tech gadgets and are having trouble finding that special something to really knock his or her socks off, take a moment to consider the Beamz music player. The Beamz player is a laser-based interactive music system that hooks up to a Windows PC and allows anyone, no matter how much or how little experience they may have, to create beautiful music with the tips of their fingers. A series of four lasers shoot between the pillars on each side of the device, and each laser is assigned to a different instrument. By passing your hand through the lasers, the player and accompanying software generate the appropriate instrumental sounds accordingly. There isn’t any practical use for the Beamz player, and it is rather pricey for something that I don’t see offering any long-term playability. But the included software comes with 50 pre-loaded songs to pull instrument sounds, beats and rhythms from, and the technology alone is cool enough to impress any techie. If — and only if — money is no object, this is the gift to get the techie who already owns everything.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!