(For the inaugural Geek Outlaw guest blog, I’ve tapped fellow Outlaw uberfan and video game aficionado Terris Harned to provide us with his thoughts on the latest and greatest games for the holiday season. If you are an avid gamer or know one that needs a gift, this post is a MUST READ! Take it away Terris…)
by Terris Harned
Greetings outlaws, and Happy Holidays! Fellow G.O. fan Terris here. The man himself asked me to put together a little list of some holiday shopping ideas for your favorite gamer, which I was more than happy to do.
It’s been an interesting year for gamers in general. There have been quite a few ups and downs with several hits and misses along the way. The much anticipated 3rd installment of the Mass Effect franchise was a let down – for most gaming gurus – with an ending that seemed largely to disappoint. The graphics of the game were astounding, but it seems that BioWare (who failed to dazzle with their MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic as well) is leaning towards all flash and no bang.
On the upside, a lot of popular franchises have released some awesome titles. Bethesda (Makers of the Elder Scrolls series, with familiar titles such as Oblivion and Skyrim) released a new title in the stealth genre by the name of Dishonored.
Players take on the role of Corvo Attano, who has been framed for the murder of the Empress (whom he was bodyguard for). Granted special abilities by an entity called ‘The Outsider,’ Attano seeks to clear his name and exact revenge for those responsible for slaying the Empress. All in all, this is a great title for anyone who was a fan of Tenchu: Stealth Assassin or the Assassin’s Creed line of games.
And speaking of Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft has delivered another in this series as well. This time, you take on the role of a Native American assassin during the time of the Revolutionary war.
Farcry 3 is your standard first-person shooter, albeit with a much faster pace and more modern weapons. However, this game has a much more open-world sandbox feel than many of the other titles in the first person shooter genre, with the exception of titles such as Mercenaries: World at War.
There are a number of games based on popular TV shows that have been recently released as well. Immediately coming to mind are the interactive versions of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. What better way to enjoy your favorite series than to jump right into that world, and alter the course of events on your terms.
My favorite release of the year, however, has to be Gearbox 2K Games’ sequel to the popular Borderlands game. This series puts the player in the role of one of several “Vault Hunters” on the far off world of Pandora. The game combines a world with the feel of Fallout (dilapidated, toxic spills, strange alien creatures) with a ‘loot system’ that reminds one of Diablo. With 5 ‘new’ playable Vault Hunters, and varying levels of difficulty, this game has huge replay value, making it a great gift.
Here’s the problem, though gamers tend to know what they like, and chances are they probably already have the latest and greatest releases! So what to do? Well, barring signing your gift recipient up for an online dating site in hopes of helping them re-establish a social life away from their gaming rig, there are a number of options. Maybe the following shirt could offer them a friendly hint:
Another idea is peripherals. Check out what kind of keyboard your favorite PC gamer is using. Many companies are now even designing keyboards specially for the games that people are playing, such as this model configured to support the popular Call of Duty 3: Modern Warfare:
Specialty mice, with extra programmable buttons (which make for ease of switching weapons, jumping, crouching, or other functions that require one to move their fingers away from movement keys) or gaming headphones that include microphones, so that when they scream at the TV, the people on the other side can actually hear them!
Worth noting, too, are that games are now releasing DLC’s (aka downloadable contents) shortly after production in an effort to squeeze another few pennies out of your gamer. Apparently paying upwards of $150 for collector’s edition video games is never enough.
However, this creates a unique opportunity for you, the gift giver! For example, maybe your giftee already has Borderlands 2, but they haven’t gotten the Mechromancer DLC just yet. Many stores (online and physical) now offer gift cards for Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, or Steam Wallets. This is also a more wallet forgiving present than a new game, while also avoiding purchases from the used game shelf.
Another great thing about gift cards, is that they typically only require the serial number on the card to activate, allowing one to shop online and avoid the malls. It also opens the door to sending the gift long distance, perhaps embedded via an online E-card.
So, whatever the platform your gamer enjoys (and whichever holiday they celebrate) there are lots of great potential gift option ideas floating around, even if you don’t know what specific game to get them. That said, don’t be afraid to put a little spin on it to find that unique and special gift that fits your recipient that just can’t get enough of playing with their pixels this holiday season.
(I like to think of Geek Outlaw as an open community and that means opening it up to other writers outside of myself. I think it provides diverse perspectives, a larger variety of topics, and most importantly gives everyone a much needed break from my constant – and often incoherent – musings about things, issues such as why Optimus Prime would make a great president.
If you’d like to try your hand at guest blogging for Geek Outlaw, don’t hesitate to contact me at GeekOutlaw@outlook.com)