These days, you don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy video games. The casual gamer has taken over the industry, changing the demographics to include people of all ages, races & social economic groups. However, this is a dad blog so we don’t really give a shit what the chicks want. You want to know what you want. You want the latest FPS. You want a laptop powerful enough to handle WoW and your checkbook. You want headphones that deliver every minute detail of gaming surround sound, you want a controller that makes you feel like a gaming god.
The holiday shopping season has just gotten started and although Chanukah came early this year, the gentiles still have plenty of shopping days left until Christmas. So check out some of these great gaming gifts, and start begging the wife. Or, do what I do and just agree that I’ll buy my own present – if she buys hers. Trust me, clears up a lot of guesswork.
Lenovo Ideapad Y560d
We’re going to start big here with the Lenovo Ideapad Y560d. This laptop is near the top of the heap when it comes to entertainment. I don’t personally have one, but my friends at Microsoft suggested that I mention it. Really, if you’ve got the scratch (and it’s really not that expensive for a laptop) and love gaming and entertainment – this is the laptop for you.
First off, it’s rollin’ with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics card with 1 GB DDR3 graphics memory. That’s wicked fast HD rendering. Tack on a 500 GB 7200RPM HDD, Windows 7 (which makes start-up and shut down take about as long as it takes you to flick a booger) and freaking Dolby Home Theater surround sound with JBL designed speakers – this makes for a seriously awesome gaming machine. You can get it from Lenovo, or a seriously pimped out one at Amazon.
Logitech F540 Wireless Headset
You know those nights where you want to rock the Xbox or Playstation but you don’t have a game room, and everyone is in bed except for you, so you have to keep the sound way down? Well, that’s when you need a pair of these bad boys. Logitech was nice enough to send me a pair for review, and they did not disappoint. I slapped these babies on, turned them up and enjoyed the surround sound. I was hearing things in games for the very first time.
Open world games like Just Cause 2 literally opened up in the aural sense. I could hear plants rustling, the deep bass of explosions and gunfire and bullets whizzing by my characters head. Aside from gaming, the headphones made movie watching at night another great auditory experience. Not having to worry about how loud you are watching an action movie while your family is sleeping is a good thing. Mostly though, these headphones are perfect for late night gaming. Give you wife an ultimatum, “get me the Logitech headphones or I’ll turn the speakers on at night.” Good luck with that.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
What? You haven’t gotten the latest Call of Duty game yet? What the hell man? This amazing series of FPS games has taken us from WWII on multiple fronts, to modern warfare and now to the Cold War. Sure, why not? I bought this game two days after it came out and I was already way outranked in the massive online community. Which is where it’s at for these games. There is nothing like getting online with a bunch of friends and having a knives only match. The chaos, the smash-talking, the displaced aggression… what are you waiting for? Get it!
This one is a gimmie. I had to mention it. Not because I’m a shill for Microsoft, but because it’s a freaking awesome piece of technology. The Kinect uses full-body tracking to make you the controller. It’ll get your ass off the couch for sure, and is an easy sell to the family because it’s intended for multi-player use so you can get the whole family involved.
Of course, you could also use the Kinect as an excuse to get a brand new Xbox as well, since they are selling it as a bundle. If you’ve experience the red ring of death, you know that you could always use a new Xbox. The Kinect, in my opinion, put the Wii and the Playstation Move to shame for one major reason – there are no controllers. This is the future of gaming technology, don’t you want to be part of it?
Nintendo DSi XL Special Edition Bundle
Every gaming dad, even as our eyesight fails us, needs a portable gaming system. While our smart phones offer a semblance of gaming more reminiscent of cheap flash gaming, the Nintendo DSi (or as we like to still call it – the Gameboy) offers a full set of games that we still love. This special 25th Anniversary Super Mario Bros. edition bundle is the one to get for that long train ride into work in the morning.
The bundle comes with Mario Kart and several DSiWire titles, but the fact remains that the game library for the DSi is pretty robust. Yes, there is a lot in there that is clearly aimed at children, but for the discernible gaming dad there are still a slate of titles that will not disappoint in their playability. Personally, I like the DSi XL because well – it’s XL. This makes it much, much easier to see.
That’s right. The whole website. If you are a gaming dad and are still young enough to consider gaming wear stylish and fitting, then you need to head over to Jinx.com and put some of these awesome shirts on your wishlist. The premier website for gaming & geek related clothing, from World of Warcraft shirts to Call of Duty shirts, to just plain ‘ol inside gamer joke shirts. I personally like the Portal Potty one. There are a-lot of t-shirt sites on the internet, every Tom, Dick & Harry makes their own sites with custom made shirts but Jinx.com has always had the edge as far as I’m concerned, focusing on the hardcore & casual gamers with a pointed vengeance. Shirts from Jinx.com will also make great gifts for the younger gamers in your house as well.
Gunnar Optiks Digital Gaming Glasses
I was going to get a pair of these courtesy of Jennifer Michelson, co-founder of Gunnar Optiks. However, even though they offer many styles of these groundbreaking frames in prescription form – my script is so terrible that it would actually ruin the effect and experience of the glasses. The deal with Gunnar glasses is that they are specially designed for those of us who sit in front of a monitor or television screen all day long. Whether working or gaming, the i-Amp technology reduces eye strain by messing with the color spectrum and kills glare from the screens.
If you are really hardcore, you can go for the Call of Duty: Black Ops frames. Frankly, I like the MLG Phantom series because they are pretty damn stylish. I may just get them anyway, regardless of how thick my left eye lens is going to be. And oh yeah, if that brand new 3D TV is on your holiday wish list, you might want to check out Gunnar Optiks 3D frames.