From a Gamer’s Basement

Last week we started the holiday countdown with ten through six. This week we’ll get into my top five holiday gifts for the average gamer out there. Next week we’ll get back to regular content with a little mailbag and whatever else I can think of. Now; however, we have a list to complete.

5. Sleeker and smaller PS2

Even I, the rampant Nintendo diehard, have to admit these things are pretty damn cool. Although I have to say, its obvious Sony makes shitty consoles that break easily just so they can replace them with different versions time and again. It actually makes a lot of business sense even if it is some of the dirtiest tactics I’ve ever seen. Regardless of my personal feelings I still have to stand by this as being one of this holiday seasons best buys. If you don’t own a PS2 then this is a great buy, and even if you do chances are that hunk of junk is ready to be put out to pasture thanks to the lovely way Sony makes these fragile machines. This price is very decent and the library of games is unparalleled excluding the GBA’s. Throw in the fact that this thing is just slightly bigger than a DVD case then you have a deal that is very economic in terms of price and size it takes up in your entertainment area. For two hundred bucks you can pick this up plus a few greatest hits titles and have the perfect gaming package for the holiday season. Not too bad of a deal in my book.

4. Gameboy Advance

Now I know there are still people out there who don’t have this. Or so statistics would tell me. The big argument here is this, “The DS plays GBA games.” Yes it does, and it is a hell of a good machine. But for the average gamer, whose significant other, parents, or family are on a budget than then the GBA is the solution. Eighty bucks and you have a system that has a library of the cheapest games, can go with you anywhere, and is still being utilized by Nintendo in terms of support and new games (Minish Cap anyone?). So say you only have a hundred and fifty to spend, but you don’t want to just get a system. You want to, obviously, add some games in. Go out get a GBA and get anywhere from two to five games depending on what kind of games you buy. If you’re buying for a retrogamer then why not get him some Classic NES titles? Or if you’re buying for the RPG nut pick up Shining Force: RotDD and Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls for one complete RPG package. The point is, regardless of genre, you can put together an affordable gaming bundle for your special someone and still save yourself some cash while getting bang for you buck.

3. Xbox or Gamecube Bundles

The reason the PS2 is below this is because there is no game involved within its purchase. With the Cube and Xbox you do; however, get a little more for the money. The Cube’s bundle is the more publicized, but if you check out any gaming site that sells games and what not you’ll see that Microsoft has a decent holiday bundle together as well. The Cube’s probably has the better game with Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, but both bundles are great for a gamer who needs a new console. The prices aren’t too bad, and the libraries are pretty deep with impressive greatest hits for each at great prices. The reason I think a gift like this is great though is simply because no one likes getting a console with nothing to play on it. A console without a game is nothing more then a glorified paperweight.

2. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Halo 2, or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

It doesn’t matter what kind of gamer you’re buying for: each console has a marquee title out this time around. It thought about giving them all their own slot, but that would just make me repeat the same message three times over. The average gamer isn’t an RPG nut that spends 80 hours enjoying a rich story. The average gamer will get their rocks off to an hour burst of one of these three games and then come back later and pick it up without having to remember much of anything beyond the basics. I am a bit biased here, but I consider Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to be the best of these three, and if you own a Cube you owe it to yourself to have this title in your console at this very moment. However; judging by the reviews of my fellow Game staff then the same can be said for the other two games. What it comes down to is that no matter what you end up picking there is no way you lose with any of these games. Each one has its own charms and excels in areas that the others don’t. If you’re looking for online play and multi-player goodness than Halo 2 is it. Need mindless mayhem and brutal fun? Look no that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. And if you’re looking for a very well balanced package then Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is there for you as well. Any which way you look at it, you’ll have a happy gamer at the end of the day.

1. The Nintendo DS

As if anything else could have possibly gone here. If you already got one then congratulations, because everything I hear around my parts is filled with complaints about how hard the DS is to find. The local radio station is giving some of these away and the people who win are absolutely ecstatic because they had given up hope of finding one in time for Christmas. I’m sure if you try hard enough one can be found easily enough, especially through online ordering, but there will probably be some hassle involved. The facts are like this: Anytime Nintendo makes a new handheld system people are going to want it. The track record is there, regardless of whatever bullshit you hear on certain award shows. The best part is there are some great games out there for you to pick up with this, as evidenced by Super Mario 64 DS being number ten on this list of mine. But Feel the Magic: XY/XX and Asphalt: Urban GT also make great pick ups for the DS. If you’re giving this to someone, be rest assured you pretty much made any gamer’s Christmas.

That’s it for this week folks. Next week I’ll have another dose of From a Gamer’s Basement for you. Until then enjoy the content we got coming your way, and make sure you get your shopping done before the last second if you want to stay sane.