Here is my Holiday Video Game Guide for 2011:
Buy Skyrim, Bastion, and Minecraft.
Nailed it. However, I accept that I have not nailed it for everyone, and that you may require detailed and genre-specific help from game journalism professionals. (Also, you may have already completed these three games, if you are a monstrous addict of some kind.)
PC gamers should head to Rock, Paper, Shotgun's advent calendar, which reveals a new pick each day until Christmas. The selections so far includeTerraria, a side-scrolling explore 'n' build game perfect for Minecraft burnouts; Saints Row: The Third, a game "dedicated to fun"; and Orcs Must Die, a genre mashup that involves a lot of orc-slaughtering.
Destructoid's Chad Concelmo lists the site's nominees for game of the year. Two of its picks, Dead Space 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, are perfect for scratching the dark sci-fi thriller itch.
In Quarter To Three's roundup, Tom Chick points to the year's most interesting MMO, Rift; RPG sequel Rift, and Total War: Shogun 2.
The Atlantic's Megan McArdle recommends Modern Warfare 3, an explosion-filled action game that requires a powerful computer and a willingness to indulge its Michael Bayesque vision of a contemporary war between Russia and Europe. She also recomments Portal 2, a hilarious and family-friendly science-fiction game from earlier this year with excellent voice acting, mindbending puzzles and a great co-op mode. Other suggestions include vast open-world fighting game Batman: Arkham City and L.A. Noire, a detective game set in the 1940s, whose filmic aspirations make up for other shortcomings.
At G4 TV, Leah Jackson catches up with the best controllers, recommending Hori's Fighting Stick's for traditional 2D brawlers, and the DAS S Professional Keyboard.
G4 also has a roundup of family-friendly titles, by Stephen Johnson, for those with young children. IGN offers guides for each individual system and platform, and its look at the top mobile games of 2011 is particularly good for youngsters, too.
Traditional gamers should check out 2011's batch of picks from Board Game Geek, which suggests hit strategy game Blokus among many others, organized by genre.
Finally, and most importantly, remember that whatever else you do, don't get the wrong type of lightsaber this holiday season. io9's Esther Inglis-Arkell's guide to lightsaber shopping will put you on the right track.
Photo: Prototype Gemini controller, 1968, by Steve Jurvetson.
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