Posted by John on December 18, 2011

Tilley’s gamer gift guide

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” (HO)

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Every year as the holiday season draws nigh, it falls to me to make last-minute recommendations for folks looking to buy gifts for the video gamers on their shopping lists. And I do not take this responsibility lightly.

While you might think you know how to pick a game for your giftee, the harsh truth is that no one wants a copy of Barbie Horse Adventures under the tree/menorah/altar to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Not even people who love Barbie and horses. I know this because I am one.

This year, I’m trying something a little different. I’m asking you to match your potential giftee with the character from a classic Christmas TV special that he or she most resembles. Then, I’ll recommend some games based on what would be appropriate for that character. Got that?

(A shout-out to my buddies Justin and Sully for brainstorming this rather silly and oblique way of approaching the annual gamers’ gift guide. It seemed to make way more sense earlier, over a pint or three of holiday cheer.)

THE GRINCH - Selfish and solitary way up in his mountain cave, the Grinch doesn’t want to play with others. Skip games with any sort of social or multiplayer component and go with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; rated Mature) or The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii; rated Everyone 10+), as either of these games will provide dozens upon dozens of hours of solo entertainment for Mr. Grinch. Skyrim will let the him play as a bad guy if he wants, but the uplifting Zelda might just cause his heart to grow three sizes.

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN - Always optimistic and cheerful - even in the face of death by melting - Frosty wants games that let him play alongside his friends and share the fun. He’d probably love to be a protector of the galaxy with thousands of other online players in Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC; rated Teen), or perhaps he’d like to put on his magic (thinking) hat and solve puzzles with a partner in the awesome co-operative component of Portal 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; rated Everyone 10+.) Happy birthday!

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER - Despite being bullied by the other reindeer and running away from home, Rudolph proved himself in the end and was hailed as a hero for his bravery and resourcefulness. Brave and resourceful? Sounds a lot like the Caped Crusader in the fantastic Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; rated Mature.) Or if Gotham is too dark and gritty, Rudolph might like Kirby’s Return to Dream Land (Wii; rated Everyone). Kirby may be a squishy pink ball that people make fun of, but he’s a hero in his own right.

EMMET OTTER - It’s been years since I’ve seen Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas on TV, yet the songs are still firmly wedged in the folds of my brain. Good ol’ Emmet would love to bust a move with Dance Central 2 (Xbox 360; rated Teen) or Just Dance 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii; rated Everyone 10+), or maybe he could learn how to shred a real electric guitar with Rocksmith (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; rated Teen). That’ll show the Riverbottom Nightmare Band a thing or two!

JOHN McCLANE - What’s that? Die Hard isn’t a Christmas TV special? Of course it is! It’s frequently on TV, and it takes place during Christmas - if not for the wrapping tape that allowed McClane to stick a pistol to his back, he’d never have got the drop on terrorist Hans Gruber. Our gun-lovin’ hero would surely love to blow off steam with the cinematic shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; rated Mature), but he’d probably get an even bigger kick out of the crazy, lewd and frequently funny blast-em-up Saints Row: The Third (Xbox 360, PS3, PC; rated Mature.) Yippy ki-yay, mother… may I have more gravy with my turkey?

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