From a Gamer’s Basement

First I guess we’ll make a few announcements regarding future content from me. Not to worry these announcements are pretty minor, and one if actually pretty damn cool. So let’s get to those first and then we’ll progress into the actual content portion of today’s column.

The first announcement is that this is my finals week, and thusly a few things had to be changed around. Namely my review for Donkey Kong Country 2 for the GBA. Suffice to say it won’t be appearing soon. However that’s the beauty of having my own column. Whenever I want I can bust out a review of it and post it here, and then call it a retro-review without any guilt. So eventually I’ll have to get that up here, because that game is too much of a blast from the past for me to ignore forever. For this month since its finals and holidays I’ll be cutting back to just my previews plus one review towards the latter days of December, and of course this weekly column that I write for my own personal sanity. For all three of you out there that care you have my thanks from the bottom of whatever. Oh did I mention my wisdom teeth come out on the 27th? Twenty one years old and they come out now. Not exactly the Christmas gift I was expecting, but whatever, at least when it’s over with I won’t have to worry about that noise anymore.

The second announcement doesn’t quite fill me with so much dread as finals and oral surgery. I bought my girlfriend of two and a half years an engagement ring recently and plan to ask her to marry me on Christmas Eve. So with planning a dinner and getting pretty everything in order for the perfect night, I have another built in reason for the cut back in content this month. On a scale of one to ten, I am about a 206 in terms of nervousness. Anyone out there with any advice? I would be grateful to here from any guys or girls who have been through this before, since I want to make sure I don’t screw up anywhere. I think I need to rent just about every romance movie as well just to see proposal after proposal. I figure if I watch enough of them, I can’t possibly be lame when the time comes and I actually have to say heartfelt, meaningful words. Ok, I need to move on to another topic, because even writing about marriage already has me nervous. Need to breath.

Ok, I feel a bit better now. So, yeah, with the holidays coming up I think I’ll write about holiday gifts. In fact why not make this is a two week thing, and do a list ala the ten most guilty pleasure games I did last week. If you wondering: Yes, this is nothing more than a shameless way for me to not think of content for next week, and instead just carry over this topic and milk it for all it’s worth before Christmas comes and goes. So, basically the question for this week comes down to this: What do you get for the gamer come Christmas? I know my girlfriend struggles with this one every holiday, with Christmas being the hardest of them all. This year she got off a bit lucky with the Nintendo DS. Just pick me up a few games I told her. Easy as pie. But what about those gamer who (GASP!) don’t like handhelds? (I am told such heathen creatures actually exist) Or what about the gift for the gamer who loves every system equally? Parents, significant others, and whomever always struggle with those kinds of choices. So I figured I would compile a top ten list of the 2004 products I think would make the best gift for the average gamer out there. This week we’ll do the 10-6 thing, and next week we’ll get to the better (and, of course, more expensive) 5-1 list. So without further babbling by me, let’s just get right into it.

10. Super Mario 64 DS

Of course this choice requires the gamer in question to either own a DS, or is receiving one for Christmas. So, why Super Mario 64 DS? The average gamer out there doesn’t get their rocks off to Metal Gear Solid, or sixty hour long RPG’s for the PS2. The average gamer, my friends, relates to a fat Italian Plumber who talks like he has spent one too many days in the Mushroom Kingdom. This is a classic, and a lot of gamers out there are going to remember this from the Nintendo 64 days. Plus, you really CAN’T go wrong with Mario. This game is good for ALL ages, which is exactly why it made this list. If you don’t know what the hell to get with that DS you know your kid is getting then do yourself a favor and pick up Mario. Sure, Feel the Magic may look cooler, but you can’t beat the classics. Whoever you give this to will thank you and then probably disappear for a few days as they play the hell out of this addicting title.

9. Video Game Renting Card of Choice

Who ever said you had to get super specific with your gift? Check out any local rental place these days and you’ll find that every damn one of them has a new promotion where you can rent as many games as you want for as long as you want for a flat price. So here’s the plan. Go to Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery, or wherever, then sign up for a decent plan (like a month or so if you’re not humping them at night) and then you’re set. Pick up a nice greeting card and throw your gift inside of it, and just like that you’re done. This gift insures that you don’t have to search for anything, and the best part is the person who gets this can rent any game they want. So if your person owns all three major console systems then they can rent for all three till their hands fall right off from too much gaming. I got this kind of a gift for my brother this year and I think it is by far the best gift I could have gotten since he has both a PS2 and the Xbox. So instead of just settling on one title to get him, I got him a month of as many games as he wants. No one loses with that kind of deal.

8. Midway Arcade Treasures Volume 2 (Any Platform)

Cheapasses apply right here. Many casual gamers have still been gaming for quite some time, probably off and on throughout the years. Chances are pretty good they’ll remember many of the titles off of MAT: 2. For twenty bucks you get them twenty games. The winner here is the best winner of all: your wallet. Personally I know how expensive holiday shopping can be when you’re shopping for a gamer, and anytime you can get away with only spending twenty dollars and still get them a great gift then you should count your blessings. This year MAT: 2 is the perfect value game out there for any of the three major console systems. Still need to be sold on it? Then check out our review and tribunal on it.

7. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal or Jak 3 (PS2)

Maybe you’re dealing with someone who loves platformers, but only has a PS2. This year you are in luck then because Jack 3 and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal are the best of the best when it comes to the PS2 this holiday season. No matter which one you pick, you really can’t go wrong, and at the end of the day you’ll have a happy person who will be getting a very amazing game. Both games have their different points, and picking one may be a bit hard. Naturally we have you covered there. Need a few outside opinions to make up your mind? Look no further than right here at Inside Pulse Games. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal and Jak 3 reviews are right here for your viewing pleasure. Bebito and Yeager got the goods for you. In the end, like I said, either game is almost a sure thing and the perfect gift for the PS2 users of the world. (Don’t worry X-Box and Gamecube people, I’ll have you covered too)

6. X-box Live Subscription/Renewal

X-box owners do have one thing PS2 and Gamecube people don’t: quality online play. I hear nothing but bad things about the PS2 online capabilities and the Gamecube simply doesn’t have any. But X-box does it right, and for the X-box gamer out there then this is where it’s at. If they already have it, help them renew it, or if they don’t have it get them started with it. With many X-box titles supporting X-box live in some manner of speaking this is just a no-brainer for the X-box gamer out there, which means that this is a can’t miss gift for anyone in the market. Online gaming is big right now, and it really doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

That’s it for this week kids. Next week we’ll have the top five. I’m out until the next edition of From a Gamer’s Basement.