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Games Entertainment

Shacknews Holiday Game Guide 135

rosewood writes "Shacknews' Jason Bergman, aka loonyboi has his 'Holiday Buying Guide 2002' up and ready to read. PC, Gamecube, PS2, Xbox, and Gameboy Advance and over 70 games are covered! You can also look up how other games have rated each game at Shackreviews." Not every game is touched on in-depth, but it's a great resource to narrow down the choices for that special gamer in your life.
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Shacknews Holiday Game Guide

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  • by natron 2.0 ( 615149 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:18AM (#4783778) Homepage Journal
    I have forwarded the link to Santa.

  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:26AM (#4783790)
    In other news....
    - Wired released their holiday gift guide.
    - ThinkGeek releases their holiday gift guide
    - Tom's Hardware releases their holiday gift guide
    - Scientific American releases their holiday gift guide
    - Popular Mechanics releases their holiday gift guide
    - Business 2.0 releases their holiday gift guide
    - Anime Weekly releases their holiday gift guide
    - Hello Kitty World magazine releases their holiday gift guide
    and finally....
    - Slashdot releases their holiday gift guide
  • Nethack? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Yes, but do they have a review of nethack or moria or any other rogue-like?

    Does this mean that Nethack nor nogue was ever ported to the Gameboy? ...
  • "You can also look up how other games have rated each game at Shackreviews."

    if'in we can get tha games to compare each other with themselves, why cant we get OSs to do that??

    P ;)
    • Because some companies seem to think games are more important than OSs. I for example never had as much problems with MS Age of Empires then I had with MS Windows
  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:36AM (#4783827)
    Macintosh owners play games, too. In fact, a guide like this would be of more value to Mac gamers. Mac games are harder to find, so if you want to buy a game for a Mac user, you probably can't rely on your local CompUseless sales droid to know what's hot and what's not.
  • MOO 3 (Score:2, Funny)

    by [cx] ( 181186 )
    If this game is a let down I'm never playing another computer game again. Well I am joking, but seriously, this is like botching the Final Fantasy series erm.. or the Civilization series...hmmm

    Well lets hope they dont fuck it up!

    • I so wish I had gotten to be one of the Beta testers, but I didn't win the random drawing part of the contest. :( Ah well, it looks VERY good to me so far, from the screenies and other released material.
    • Re:MOO 3 (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...Medal Of Onor 3? ...some sort of cow-simulator?

      Why is it that games are always referred to by initials?
  • by wobedraggled ( 549225 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:41AM (#4783840) Homepage
    I'll probably get yelled at from the ps2/xbox fan base but screw it, both systems are lacking in any real innovation. I only need so many fps and run-n-gun games. The cube has one of the best and original video game lineups in years, and I hope people can see that.

    • by peculiarmethod ( 301094 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:49AM (#4783862) Journal
      i hate you for saying it, but I agree.. I only invested in a ps2 thinking it would take the great lead with its year head start (and lot more titles).. alas.. it's starting to look like the same mistake pc games had back when vesa drivers exploded and simple 3d walk-around mazes flurried the download screens.. made me sick of them, and almost kept me from checking out doom (THANK GOD I reconsidered.. this was after castle wolfenstein).. in my opinion the PC games market didnt really pull itself out either.. the platform wars did that .. and it seems ps2 is killing itself off with the unfortunate release of DOZENS of clonish games.. I'll still be hanging on to sony until the ps/3 specs come out.. if they seem weird, I'll look to other platforms.

    • I'd probably agree and get a gamecube myself, if 90% of their lineup wasn't geared toward age 13 and under. They need to expand and get more complex adult-oriented games (no not porno, you dirty minded...)
      • They are, Resident Evil is an example of that.
        But anyway just because some of their games are targeted at the young, does not make them any less fun to play.
        I have sonic adventure 2, and as long as tails voice dont make you too homicidal (I know ppl who switch the lang to jap because of it) It is fun to play (but not too challenging). I wish it had more of what the game calls action levels, ie the ones where you run around as fast as you can (which is what made sonic famous in the first place)

        Games I look forward to: Metriod Prime (and Fusion (GBA)), Zelda and some others.
        I was waiting for Perfect Dark Zero (was a main reason for buying a cube) but alas it is not to be, PD0 will go to the X-Box (which I will not buy)
      • I'd probably agree and get a gamecube myself, if 90% of their lineup wasn't geared toward age 13 and under.
        This argument has always boggled my mind. I don't know about you, but I have a GC and about 8 games for it. If only 10% of a systems games appeal to me, that leaves me with 8% of the titles left that I haven't even taken a look at yet. Few ever comes close to aquiring 10% of any systems lineup.
    • Well what exactly do you need? I have an XBox and I don't play FPS games, except for Ghost Recon if you count that as an FPS.

      I have Deathrow, NHL 2K3, Splinter Cell, Fatal Frame, Outlaw Golf, Blinx, Project Gotham Racing and Totaled!

      I'm considering getting a GC for Christmas to but only to get my hands on Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 4 and Resident Evil. Metroid is as overhyped as Halo.
    • I agree, go with the GameCube.

      Now that the GameCube is really getting its base together over the last two months, it looks like it's going to be a great system. The controller is great and perfectly responsive, the sound is top-notch and the graphics..the graphics is really the debating point.

      Some people think that the X-Box has better graphics than the GameCube. It certainly can push out more polygonss...but is it just me or do X-Box games lack a certain charm? Most of the ones I've seen have looked pretty..but not amazing. Lots of polygons but no light sourcing, reflections, etc. The type of little effects that make you go ooooohhhh. Mere polygons don't do that for me:(. The GameCube and its Flipper chip pump out the lighting effects in shades..and it makes a wonderful difference. Check out Mario Sunshine if you don't believe me. The reflective effects and shadows in it are so nice. Especially when you start getting some shines and the cloud cover starts leaving. It feels too natural.

      If all three game consoles are maxed's all about gameplay. Unfortunately, the X-Box is being left behind in that catagory. Splinter Cell looks good but that's about it.
      • About the Graphics. Yes, technically, the XBox is superior. And I will probably be mocked untill your throats are sore for saying this, but, to my mind, the best graphics award on any console goes to Super Smash Brothers melee. Just pause the game from time to time and move the camera around. You'll see what I mean.
    • If your a kid yes, but for the older crowd PS2 and Xbox are better choices. GC may now have a game like RE and even Electronic Arts is on board, but really GC panders to the younger crowd. I also happen to think PS2 has the best lineup of all systems.

      "both systems are lacking in any real innovation."

      You'll have to substantiate more. Last time I checked the biggest game GC fans are creaming themselves about this year Metroid IS a fps in which you run-n-gun. So while I get that you think people shouldn't overlook GC, saying PS2 and Xbox only has fps and run-n-gun is like saying GC only has Super Fun Happy Hour type games. You can't complain about stereo typing and than turn around and streotype yourself.
      • by newsdee ( 629448 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @02:15PM (#4784346) Homepage Journal
        Chances are that most trigger-happy fps players will hate Metroid Prime. It's not hyped because it's a standard FPS, but because it's a new game of the Metroid series (and actually succeeds in conveying a similar gameplay to the older 2D version).

        Also to pretend that GC games are only appropiate to kids is a major fallacy. A game does not need a rating of Mature to be enjoyable.

        Besides, if what most people call "adult games" are in fact new instances of "Quake3 nth-clone" or "Famous Name's Hyped Sport", then I'm very happy playing kiddie games, thank you.

      • by Sludge ( 1234 ) <slashdot&tossed,org> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @02:53PM (#4784482) Homepage
        Metroid is hardly a run and gun. When you leave a room, enemies reappear. Holding down the L button locks on to the nearest enemy to your crosshair. You then press the fire button as fast as you care to, to destroy the creature.

        It's hardly linear, and it's hardly an FPS in the conventional sense. It's more an adventure game with non linear exploration. For example, when I was five hours (17%) into the game, I was brought full circle to the initial place of my dropship. I then spent the next hour exploring the places I had already been, trying out my new suit powerups in old circumstances and finding new secrets and even the way to go.

        Sure, you use guns to immobilize threats, but that does not make this a conventional FPS.

    • What do you call innovative games?

      I like games where some new idea is brought up. Like Fantavision, an early PS2 puzzle game where you built your own fireworks displays and watched them go off. Or that Mosquito game, where you fly around sucking blood. Lets not forget Ico, it redefined the puzzler to add incredible ambience.

      Coming up on the RPG end is .hack (also ps2), which is set in a multiplayer online world, without actually being online. According to what I've heard, it actually works well. Xenosaga will be coming out next year as well, while I haven't heard much about the Japanese release, if its anything like Xenogears, by the end you'll be caught actually thinking about the role of humanity.

      Gamecube has its innovation too, I've been thinking of getting a gamecube for Animal Crossing, and maybe Evolution Worlds (ok, that one might not be a good example of "innovation" but I thought the first two Evolution games on dreamcast were cute, and this looks exactly like those did) . Other than that, super monkey ball is pretty innovative. Nintendo more-or-less created the idea of "party games" (at least for parties not wanting to play football all day).

      The biggest problem with "innovation" is that its unwelcome in the markets. Take a look in the history on slashdot and read the Unfinished Adventures article. Face it, the sad truth is that things that blow up with blood and guts sell well. Being able to beat up hookers is an added bonus. Bucking the trend results in product cancellation, or in the case of console games from Japan, just not showing up on this side of the ocean.

      Personally I'm hoping that the upcoming PS2 release of the Sakura Taisen games will mean we will finally get to play Sakura Taisen/Sakura Wars here in English. That would be great innovation, at least in our market.
    • one of the things i enjoy about my gamecube is that my girlfriend plays games with me. in fact there are a lot of games she likes a lot. part of the problem with the xbox lineup is that for her, there isn't much that she would like to play. the ps2 is the only real competition to the gamecube for games she enjoys playing (both as a team/competition or single player).

      this is a general problem with the gaming industry, that is, ignoring girls, who i see as a huge untapped market potential. i know a LOT of girls who dig games. it is unfortunate there aren't more interesting titles targeting girls (and i don't mean barbie titles) and women gamers as the gaming audience is expanding in age range. i'll bet you know a few girl gamers too (or am i underestimated the /. crowd's ability to socialize beyond their computer?).
  • Other resources (Score:5, Informative)

    by Omkar ( 618823 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:43AM (#4783844) Homepage Journal
    Check out Game Rankings [] for some overviews of scores only. This can help weed out the trash on each system, and highlight some great buys.

    I'm a Nintendo fan myself so here are some resoucres I have found helpful:

    Planet Gamecube [] - Great news, reviews, and info
    IGN Cube [] - lots of Insider-only material, but decent reviews.
    N-Sider [] - They update very infrequently, but their reviews and editorials are insightful and some of the best I have seen.

    My own GC picks (in no order):

    Metroid Prime
    Timesplitters 2
    Super Mario Sunshine (you should have this already!)
    Super Smash Brothers: Melee (same here)
    Super Monkey Ball 2
    Eternal Darkness (although it was released a while ago)
    Pikmin (this one as well)
    Animal Crossing
    Sonic Mega Collection

    But if you don't have one yet, buy a Gamboy Advance! It has many, many excellent titles, and is portable!
    • My GBA Picks (Score:3, Informative)

      by Twister002 ( 537605 )
      Advance Wars
      Metroid Fusion
      Golden Sun
      Tactics Ogre

      Eye of the Beholder - if you like throwback games, it's really similar to the old D&D Gold Box game.

      The GBA is a great system, IF you can get enough light to it. On a plane, the little overhead lights work great for lighting up the screen. If you're willing to modify your GBA you can install the Afterburner [] backlight mod.
    • If you liked those cool "Game and Watch" games from the 80s, like Cement Factory, and Octopus, and the rest, you may want to get a GBA.

      When I was at E3 this year, Nintendo was showing off this cool card-reader thing which hooks into your GBA, which reads entire games off of trading cards and stores them in memory. So you can buy a pack of trading cards, and get the G&W version of Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, etc.

      They also offer Pokemon cards, but Slashdotters are *way* too cool for that crap, right?
      • When I was at E3 this year, Nintendo was showing off this cool card-reader thing which hooks into your GBA, which reads entire games off of trading cards and stores them in memory. So you can buy a pack of trading cards, and get the G&W version of Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, etc.
        E-Reader, 39.99 - where ever you want to buy it from.
        They also offer Pokemon cards, but Slashdotters are *way* too cool for that crap, right?
        And what's wrong with Pokemon? What do you mean it's not cool? What do I do with the closet full of cards*traded*...for??
    • Super Mario Sunshine is a blast to play. I played it for about a week straight when I first got it. I also really like Pikmin. When I first got that game... I thought it was extremely boring. But then I gave it one more chance before I was going to sell it on Ebay... and I got addicted. I ended up playing it for about a week straight as well. Those games are well worth it (but you probably already have them).

      As for the Game Boy Advance... I already sold mine on Ebay. I couldn't stand it. It gave me a terrible headache.

    • Check out metacritic, it's similar to Game Rankings, and it has a really nice interface. In addition, it provides "meta-reviews" of other things like music, videos, etc.
  • by octalgirl ( 580949 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:49AM (#4783864) Journal
    I'm glad there's something for me on the list. Adventure games Syberia and The Longest Journey ring a bell so maybe I'll try them out this year. I started with Wolfenstien and Doom, went through Quake etc, but then games just got too violent for me. I remember a Game mag edition where every ad was for a violent game, bragging about 'exit wounds' and 'blood and gore'. All I could think was what a waste of good graphic programming talent.

    Although I never cared for MYST (that flat screen, jump forward thing gave me a headache) I'll take the clones. I really liked Riven. The gaming was a bit weak, but some of the puzzles were pretty good, and the scenery was amazing for it's time. And what ever happend to 7th Guest? That's more my kind of game, although I could do without the raunchy videos which really spoil it as a family game. I just got Harry Potter for my niece, and after setting it up for her, I wanted one for myself. More my style. You get the levels, the graphics, the secrets and the puzzles. Harry can climb and jump and swim, etc, but he sort of runs around with magic wand and makes the monsters disappear. Def more my style.
    • The whole game sets itself up in a big way for a sequel.

      There isn't one.

      There probably isn't ever going to be one.

      I played the whole way through without knowing that, and it set me up for a major disappointment. It was a lovely game, though.
  • Is it just me, or does there seem to be a lack of quality PC games lately. I used to go into my local Software Ect. and instantly find half a dozen games that I just had to have. And now when I head in I'm lucky if I find one. Maybe I'm just getting old. Kind of sucks... graduate college, get good job, can pay for more games than before, and don't want to.

    The funny thing is... my Fiance who *doesn't like video games* has found several in the past year that are good for her.

    Have there been any real good stratedgy / tactical games out lately?
    • I've been playing a strategic FPS game for the last couple of months.... America's Army []. Unlike most FPS games, this one requires team strategy to win. And another cool factor: It's totally free! (You can pay to order the CD, but you can download the full game online). And roughly on a monthly basis they release new maps and new weapons and such. It's an amazingly fun game.
      • America's Army is one of the best FPS games I've played (Doom, DoomII, Quake, QII, QIII, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, etc). The movement and other aspects of the game (heavier gun, you move slower), make it more realistic, and more fun to play.

    • If you want an Oustanding Strategy/Tactical games check out
        • and their just released Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin WWII game. It is the best Strategy game I have ever found. It uses a WEGO system where you plot your moves the computer or other human oppenent plots theirs then the AI takes these movement orders and calculates the outcome and you then watch the outcome. Each "turn" is 60 seconds. This game was created by Grognards and is a serious WWII combat simulation, including extremely detailed armor penetration tables. Did I mention this game is available for both PCs and Macs!!
  • Is there anything that truly catches your imagination? It used to be EQ, or Quake 3. I just tried UT3K, and well, it is nice.

    That is all I can say about it. It is nice.

    The last game I bought and was into was RTCW. Is this the end of PC gaming as we know it? Is our road that of being console unit's bitch?

    The problem, as I see it, is that there is no game that caters to the PC's strengths. Nothing that makes me want to play, for lack of a better phrase, addicts me.

    What would bring PC gaming back to the heady days of Doome, Civ2, Quake 3 and UT, when we ruled the roost? What would make something interesting?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What would bring PC gaming back to the heady days of Doome, Civ2, Quake 3 and UT, when we ruled the roost? What would make something interesting?

      This attitude seems prevalent among people who had a PC as their first computer, but actually the game market was already deep into creative decline at that time. That decline started somewhere during the 16-bit age when the creative individuals were being replaced by development-by-committee, and when presentation became more important than content.

      Apart from the refreshing newness of being 3D, games like Doom or Quake or UT were not really that interesting. Try playing them again if you disagree...
    • It seems like for PC games there's a huge upgrade race, and every time you buy a brand new game, you're always worried about how well it will run with your year-old hardware. With console games, it's pretty much gauranteed to run well.

    • I've been saying the same thing for months, but every once in a while I find a game that makes me glad I still have a windows partition (no os holy wars here please...). As much as SoF2 was pretty much "every other fps" it won huge points with me for great multi player. And I've recently discovered Gothic, which is a great rpg. You just need to look harder for good pc games. The good ones usually don't get the hype.
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by fleener ( 140714 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @01:34PM (#4784167)
    I'm getting "that special gamer in my life" a basketball, football, soccer ball and tub of Slim Fast.
  • Okay, I know they're not required to mention every game that is coming out, but gee, you'd think they would mention Shrouded Isles, the first expansion to Dark Age of Camelot.... I mean, EQ is basically releasing the super-mega-LotR size-gotta have it-wanker version of their game, and it gets a plug....


  • by tigertigr ( 610853 ) <tigertigr@ya h o o . ca> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @02:11PM (#4784322) Journal
    Look for an old Dreamcast if you don't have one. I just bought one myself a few weeks ago and I can't stop playing it. There's tons of fun games for it and they are dirt cheap. Most of the games I've found have been around $15CDN.

    I highly recommend it.
    • How about a Game list?

      I have a DC and can't find any good lists that mention anything new I missed.

      My list of must have DC games is:

      Crazy Taxi
      GrandiaII (the first RPG I really got into in a looong time)
      Soul Caliber
      Wacky Races (the best cart racer I have played since the original Mario Cart)
      JoJo's Bizarre adventure (great 2-d fighter)
      Power Stone (Perhaps the funnest fighter ever)
      download and burn an NES emulator with a bunch of games (there is a snes emulator too, but it is not full speed, and skips a lot of frames)

      If you like classic games, the Sega and Midway classics are great
      If you like really classic games the atari classic is good too, though you suffer badly from resolution change or something, I found most games to be unplayable

      There are plenty of other good games, but, I can't think of any other must haves off the top of my head.

      My dreamcast and pretty big game library was under 200.00 dollors, well worht every penny.

      This was a year ago, so the graphics weren't even dated (Resident evil was the same as PS2, Sonic adventure was amazingly detailed, and AFAIN Grandia 2 was exactly the same.)

      One of the coolest things about the dreamcast was the web-browser, you could go and download saved games with everything unlocked. If you like to play games with people, but not waste hours unlocking everything, this was a spectacular feature.
  • Consume! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nfotxn ( 519715 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @02:26PM (#4784380) Journal
    I love how holidays are synonymous with buying now.


    • Re:Consume! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @04:00PM (#4784672)
      I love how holidays are synonymous with buying now.

      Not just buying, but buying things that distract everybody from the real show playing live right outside our 'windows'.

      -Fantastic Lad

    • Actually, I think that it is "holiday buying guides" that are synonymous with buying. Day-after-Thanksgiving sales are synonymous with buying. There's no reason you can't ignore all of it and enjoy your holidays without the crazy side of consumption - just stop by a store or two to get meaningful things for those you care about, or if you're handy make something for them, or if you really hate the whole idea don't buy anything.

      What it comes down to is that the hype doesn't have to take over your holiday...unless you let it.

    • Now??

      In my 30 years on earth, I've never witnessed an xmas season that WASN'T synonymous with buying. For that matter, neither have my 60+ year old parents.

      Oddly enough, they heard the exact same complaints when they were kids - "holidays aren't about presents, blah blah blah".

      Oh yeah, all new music sucks too, but what our parents listened to is always bland "establishment" stuff.

      We were the only generation to find ourselves different than the past.
  • by Isldeur ( 125133 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @02:27PM (#4784386)
    Why buy new games when you can play old ones (Neverwinter Nights) in a new way [].??
  • is Mario Party 4 []. Yes, it recieved ho-hum reviews, but man is it a blast to play with friends (and family)... the kind of game anyone can play, because the controls are simple.

    I went to a house party last night and the main entertainment among us mid-twenty year old's was Mario Party.

    The "Domination" mini-game is a blast for rapid fire button mashers. I watched someone last night score 142!
  • ...Is ancient! Why don't they make a Kirby PC game? Cute little guy! Simply cute! I just wanna HUG him! (Who'd want to hug a "modern" game character?)
    • Why don't they make a Kirby PC game?

      Nintendo doesn't make PC games. If you want to play Kirby on your PC, then buy a GBA, an MBV2 cable, and Kirby for GBA. Then space-shift the game to your PC (mb -1 kirby.gba -w 300) and enjoy in VBA [].

  • Check out the community for a list of what's hot...

    I have found that one of the best resources is GameFAQs []

    They carry "Top 10 FAQ Pages" and "Top 10 Message Boards" for the site, including individual "Top 10" pages for each platform. Not to mention FAQs that can give you an idea as to the story line (more FAQs generally means a larger fan base)...

    The problem with the "Top Selling Games of the Month/Week" is that if everyone has already bought a game (i.e. everything they are releasing is crap), then the top selling game might be mediocre at best.

    If you want to know what games ppl are playing, this is the source. There are also reviews from real ppl that actually played the games (not some "reviewer")... If you're interested in a title, check here first.
    • by Scrag ( 137843 )
      I hate it when they use fake people as reviewers...
      • You laugh, but Sony admitted [] to doing just that with more than a few of their movies. And not just total crap like "The Animal", but "ok" movies like "Hollow Man" and "Vertical Limit"...

        Likewise, to assume that a magazine published by Time-Warner wouldn't give the new James Bond film a top rating is ignoring the obvious...

        And as well, if a website/magazine featured advertisements for UT2k3 do you think that magazine/site is going to give it a bad review?

        This happenes all of the time...hardware, music, movie, video game reviews, etc...anyone who labels themself as a "reviewer" is courted by big companies...and is offered everything short of free sex to give a good review...
  • Are there any good 2 player games?

    I have the ps/2. I got baldur's gate dark alliance and my gf and I had alot of fun playing it together. I finally got her hooked on a game. great, something we can both enjoy. But I can't find any other good 2 player games. there are sports games and fighting games, neither of which appeal to her.

    rpg style works, adventure style works.... I havent had any luck. am i just on the wrong platform? do some of teh other platforms have better options? After reading through some of the other posts the gamecube sounds pretty good (i LOVE zelda and metroid sounds good). Do they have any good 2 player games?

    any ideas?
    • Halo for X-Box has a co-op mode which is really awesome. Warthog jumping in normal multiplayer provided me with hours of halo physics goodness.
    • The are some good racing games for the ps2, check out ATV:Offroad and GT3.

      Virtua Tennis 2 and tony hawk 3/4 are also good. I hate sports games but i love those.

      There's also DDR... haven't played that but everyone tells me its good.

  • The hieroglyphics are all unreadable except for a notation on the back,
    which reads "Genuine authentic Egyptian papyrus. Guaranteed to be at
    least 5000 years old."

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.