ATX Divine Presents 2012
hours of entertainment

Happy virtual holidays: A guide to video game gifting

Happy virtual holidays: A guide to video game gifting

Wii U
Luigi's Mansion
descendants of Erdrick
descendants of Erdrick
Adventure TIme
Adventure TIme

Buying a gift for someone who plays video games is generally a simple task. It usually goes something like, “Hey, if you want to buy me a gift, get me [this particular title],” so there’s little risk of accidentally purchasing something completely wrong.

They're are an easy gift because, for the most part, video games are widely available and almost always in stock. Plus they’re guaranteed to literally provide hours and hours of entertainment.

Below are three different categories of video games to consider: the obvious (and most expensive) option, the not-so obvious portable option and the creative interpretation.

The obvious choice

Nintendo’s Wii U was released in late November and is quickly becoming a hot holiday item. The new console packs powerful hardware along with innovative gameplay using the new touch-screen gamepad included with every system. The gamepad, which boasts a 6.2-inch touch-screen along with traditional buttons, allows for a unique experience that is so-far best demonstrated with the included title Nintendoland.

Nintendoland is a collection of Nintendo-themed “attractions” (think minigames) that support up to five players simultaneously, each with a different use of the new gamepad. Most of these games pit four of the players— each using Wiimotes from Nintendo’s previous console, which are backwards compatible with the new system, as controllers — against the one player using the gamepad.

Playing with the gamepad generally puts the player at some sort of advantage and requires the four other players to work together against the single player to win. The “attractions” follow simple rules that allow anyone at any skill level to compete, which is one of the most important features of the Wii U: It is accessible and fun for everyone.

The portable choice

Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time is a pretty well-loved show — yes, even by adults — and seeing as how its creator is a big gaming fan, it’s no surprise that the series’ first title, Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! has been a huge hit. The Nintendo 3DS title plays similar to older installments of The Legend of Zelda series mixed with gameplay from sidescrolling games which dominated video games pre-3D.

Most importantly, the game’s story and dialogue was written by Pendleton Ward and his Cartoon Network writing team. The writing, along with the excellent soundtrack composed by Jake Kaufman, do a great job of capturing the feel and style of the cartoon, adding up to a thoroughly enjoyable experience for fans of the show.

The out-of-the-box choice

If you’re looking to avoid the routine video game gift giving, take a look at the web store to one of the best video game cover bands put together: Descendants of Erdrick, based here in Austin.

DoE is a well-known act within the video game music scene — and for good reason. They recreate gaming tracks with highly skilled instrumentation, focusing on less obvious selections (T&C Surf Designs and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest) and exploring their diverse taste in video game music.

Online they sell their newest album, Down Right Heavy, along with T-shirts and tickets to their next show at The Red Eyed Fly. They are fantastic live and a real treat for anyone who appreciates not only video game tunes, but watching skilled musicians play technically complicated music.