These days anyone can be a video game junkie. Senior centers use Wii play stations to get the over-50 group moving by playing virtual tennis or dance-focused games such as Zumba. The 30-somethings were born in the video game age. And the under-20s have handheld games in their hip pockets.
To help you with your video game purchases this holiday season, think about the personality of the recipient:
If your Explorer-type owns a framed poster of Christopher Columbus and dreams of exploring unspoiled lands and dank caves, then The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the perfect game.
It's a role-playing game where you can be anyone you want and do anything you want. Freedom is a core value of the game as the entire world is accessible to the player from the start. Packed into the game are hundreds of hours of content that include simple tasks such as chopping wood to epic quests like choosing a side in a bloody civil war.
It's a truly universal game where anyone can get into it. Be warned, however, for once the Explorer is lost in the province of Skyrim, it may be next year’s holiday party before you see him. ($59.99 at Target or GameStop)
The War Junkie
Why watch when you can play? If your War Junkie has an extensive DVD collection of war movies, here are two games suggestions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3.
Both are outstanding first-person shooters that sport amazing multiplayer competition. Modern Warfare's maps are smaller, and therefore the action is fast-paced. Battlefield has huge maps, which slows down the pace, but with tanks, helicopters and fighter jets, a battlefield is simulated like never before. (Both games are $59.99 at Target or GameStop)
Halloween has passed, but the spirit always lives on. For those looking to lace a bit of fear into their holidays should look no further than Dead Space 2 and Amnesia: Dark Descent. Dead Space 2 is a white-knuckling, adrenaline-pumping survivor horror game. The player has to survive a night on an alien infested space station whose hostile inhabitants can only be killed by dismembering their arms and legs.
Amnesia's pace is considerably slower than Dead Space, but it's even more terrifying due to the inability to fight back. Both games have creepy atmospheres that could make anyone's skin crawl and the best part is the price—Dead Space 2 is available for $29.99 on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and Amnesia is available for $19.99 on the PC.
The Booty Shaker
Hey, parents (shhh, keep this to yourself) this may be your greatest weapon in your arsenal of threats for embarrassing your child in front of his friends.
Buy a dance game such as Dance Central 2 for Kinect (Just Dance 3 for the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii) and when Junior refuses to do his homework when his friends are over, break out the dance game and watch the kids scatter.
Dance Central 2 is also a wonderful party game for the holidays. Up to two people can groove to the beat of 44 songs, most of which are recent releases. The family will be able to burn calories while having a great time with this game. (Dance Central 2 is $49.99 at both Target and GameStop; Just Dance 3 is $29.99 at Target, $39.99 at GameStop.)
—Written by Hung Tran