Knowing what game to buy for whom is a job all in itself, especially for out of touch parents. If reading review after review of technical mumbo jumbo sounds like too much work, the videolamer Holiday Shopping Guide is for you. Simply identify which grouping best fits the lucky recipient of your gifts then follow every word of advice to the letter and Christmas/ Chanukah/ Kwanza / Ramadan/ Festivus/ Dhanvantari Trayodashi will be saved.
The Indiscriminate Eye
Who they are: We all have that friend or relative who seems to have had their taste assigned to them by pop radio, Howard Stern and MTV. While it would seem these people should be easy to shop for, they actually react quite violently to anything that is unpopular. These people are the “mass” in “mass appeal.”
What they want: Any Madden Game — Don’t worry about what year it says on the box. The indiscriminate gamer has been playing this series so long that he can’t tell the difference between Madden 95 and Madden 2005.
The Sopranos — While most indiscriminate gamers are, in fact, literate, the vast majority refuse to allow that to influence their lives. They have not read about how bad this game is, not that that would change anything. They will like whatever they believe they are supposed to like so they will like the Sopranos game.
Who they are: Are you shopping for a homeless man or woman who has a soft spot for cheap whiskey, pizza crust and video games? Welcome to Hobo GameZone USA.
What they want: Game.com — For a mere 100 quarters, you can buy that special hobo a Game.com handheld system. Sure the port of the seminal RPG Shadow Madness was canceled, but it still plays Jeopardy, Monopoly, Wheel of Fortune, and best of all, Scrabble.
GameStop Universal Cleaning Cloth — Two dollars, or about half an hours begging, can get you this lovely piece of fabric for your beloved homeless. It is perfect for cleaning off Game.com carts as well as removing dirt and vomit stains from the human body. What better way to say, “Enjoy your games and take a shower”
Spoiled Rich Kid
Who they are: The only way to shop for a little rich kid is to top all gifts he has been given in the past. He will not tolerate any less, and frankly, he shouldn’t. His money is currently trickling down the chutes and ladders of the economy, giving us middle class failures decent jobs. Doesn’t he at least deserve the most expensive gift you’ve ever bought?
What they want: Wii and PS3 — This is the bottom of the barrel, “hope the kid isn’t in a bad mood or you’re dead” gift. Any rich kid worth his solid gold copy of Suikoden 2 already has a dozen Wiis and 17 PS3s (they’re harder to get and thus he wants more of them just to demonstrate how much better he is than everyone else).
PS3 development kit supported by skulls of hobos — A spoiled rich kid likely already has a few transient’s skulls laying around the house, so make sure to polish yours to get them their whitest before gifting them. He also may already have a PS3 dev kit. Even if he has all of these separate ingredients, only the richest, most spoiled child won’t be impressed with how you’ve combined the items into such a tasteful gift. Including a recently enslaved hobo who knows C++ would be a very nice touch. Someone’s gotta work the dev kit.
Dude, we’re totally in a frat
Who they are: The frat guy in the family is hoping for a game that will not only be fun to play, but make him look cool. It’s important to keep in mind that the frat guy’s version of fun entails always having a hand available for a beer or joint. Also, gameplay should not be deep enough to require thought.
What they want: Family Guy — This game is so awesome. Did you see that episode where Peter farts but then says he didn’t? Dude, that was so awesome. Almost as good as that time they make fun of Jewish people. Awesome.
The Guy Game — Is there anything cooler than getting a massive erection with your frat brothers? The Guy Game is a gang bang minus the woman. The frat guy in your life will appreciate the break. The constant expectation to commit date rape puts a lot of pressure on a young man.
The Budding Sociopath
Who they are: Know anyone who collects knives? Then these games would be bloody perfect.
What they want: Doom 3 — If your dangerous friend or family member has any shred of sanity left, this game will fix that. Paranoia inducing darkness? Check. Claustrophobia inducing environments? Check. Hellish demon spawn? Check. Blood and guts? A little, yes. A fixation on enormous destructive weapons? Check. Focus on violence to solve all problems? Well, that’s every game.
Left Behind: Eternal Forces — Does your insane relative insist the rapture is coming? Does he stand in an open field, arms wide open, looking up to the sky waiting for Jesus to teleport his soul into heaven? Does he believe everyone who doesn’t believe exactly what he believes is not only damned eternally, but should be converted or destroyed? Does he say the reason he does all this is because God loves us? I think I know the game for him.
The Absentee Father
Who they are: Raising a child can be an arduous task. Avoiding raising a child can be even more difficult, what with Child Protection Services breathing down a father’s neck. Shouldn’t we give these parent’s a good excuse for not parenting? The gift of neglect is the gift that keeps on giving.
What they want: Cabela’s Alaskan Adventures — Deer hunting in Eastern coastal states was for yesterday’s absentee father. Today’s deadbeat dads hunt deer and bear in Alaska. Like the frat boy, the neglectful parent enjoys games that leave a hand free to hold a beer. This is where the fishing missions come in.
World Championship Poker Featuring Howard Lederer: All In — It’s important to buy something for a bad father that will go down smoothly with his 10AM cocktail, and nothing mixes with alcohol quite like gambling (besides sex, drugs, or domestic violence). No self respecting abusive parent will play for fake money when they can gamble real college funds away, but a poker video game is a nice last resort after the coffers are empty.
Totally Sweet Tweens
Who they are: Can’t afford a new car for the 12 year olds on your holiday list? That’s ok, because young girls adore video games almost as much as Cadillacs and diamonds.
What they want: Bratz: Forever Diamondz — Bratz is a positive influence in any girl’s life. They teach our children that the clothing people wear are the only important difference between one person and another, that prepubescent girls who do not embrace their nonexistent sexuality will be left dateless, and the age old fact that nothing beats mall shopping.
Sprung — For those young girls who have already engaged in a steamy prepubescent roll in the hay, a more mature game is in order. Sprung combines the awesomeness of zero interactivity with the hotness of cartoon characters hooking up to create your little girl’s wet dream. Any responsible parent needs to buy their daughter this game.
The Xtreme Gamerz
Who they are: Extreme people need something to do between snowboarding and drinking Mountain Dew. Give them the gift of extreme video games, because nothing is more extreme than sitting on the couch.
What they want: Marc Ecko’s Getting Up — You, poor reader, are not extreme. If you were, you’d simply buy random gifts then air drop them via helicopter (that you pilot blindfolded). It’s ok, I’m not extreme either, but I have learned a lot about extreme culture. The first thing you need to know is it’s impossible to be extreme without designer clothing. Marc Ecko, game designer extraordinaire, knows this. Not only does his game let you wear hip clothes, it also focuses on the extreme sport of vandalism. Illegal to the maxxx.
Antz Extreme Racing — I don’t really know anything about this game but one look at its name says enough. The “z” in place of an “s” in the word Antz is a subtle, yet clear wink to those in the extreme underground. If this isn’t enough, the focus of the game is presumably on racing, which, if done fast enough and on a sufficiently circular track, is extreme. And finally, the title just comes out and calls itself extreme. This one is a no brainer.
Who they are: Do you have parents or grandparents who have trouble remembering your face? New studies made up by Nintendo have proven that video games can stimulate brain growth and stave off mental decline. Those of you who answered yes to my earlier question should continue to be emotionally devastated that those you love have no idea who you are. But this game study is good news for people on the brink of Alzheimers.
What they want: Brain Boost — If you have a grandparent who could use some mental stimulation but also fought in WWII and would, “rather eat his left testicle than give a single cent to those goddamned Japs,” this game should be at the top of your list. It takes everything that was good about Nintendo’s Brain Training and lobotomizes it. But it was removed by an American company, and that’s the important part.
Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties — It is well documented that the Garfield comic sucks and is only enjoyed by stupid people. Studies show that old people are stupid, so it only makes sense to conclude that old people like Garfield. Giving your parent or grandparent A Tale of Two Kitties will both satisfy their desire for stupid crap and your desire to punish them for liking stupid crap by giving them stupid crap.
Alone in His Room Every Friday Night
Who they are: You may know him as your son or brother. He frequently talks about anime and Linux and seldom grooms himself. He spends a lot of time day dreaming about which super power he’d like to have and is utterly convinced that if Tifa Lockheart were only a real human, she would see something special in him. He probably already has any video game you can buy, but if you give him one of the following he will at least respect you while he waits in the Customer Service line to return it.
What they want: Tokobot Plus: Mysteries of the Karakuri — This game is cute, strange and very Japanese. Just don’t be surprised if the recipient of this gift dresses up as a Tokobot for his next Live Action Roleplaying session. Assuming he has enough friends to LARP.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner – Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army — Any game with eleven words, two languages, and fictional names in the title is a must have for the hardcore gamer. Add paranormal detectives, demons, and set it in the early 20th century and stand back for the immanent ejaculation.