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Whether you need a Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle, a PS3 Move Bundle, a Nintendo Wii or 3DS, our 2011 Holiday Buyers Guide will give you the best advice on what to buy this season.

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: What To Get Your Gamer Girlfriend

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Posted November 23, 2011 - By Guest Writer








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Holiday Buyer's Guide: Girlfriends

So you have a gamer girlfriend/wife/”special lady” – lucky you! Chances are, you’re the subject of envy among gamers whose better halves don’t "get" the hobby. Holiday shopping should be a breeze – unless, of course, it turns into a minefield. To avoid the worst of the holiday explosions, we present a holiday gift guide full of suggestions for the best gifts for your gamer girlfriend.

One quick word of advice – listen to her, and you can’t go wrong. Take note of the types of games she plays, the themes she enjoys, and the stuff she’s not into. If she’s a hardcore shooter fan with an aversion to pastels, she may not appreciate it if you wrap up Kirby’s latest with a pink bow. Likewise, a smart lady who enjoys her puzzle-platformers may not be thrilled with Duke Nukem Forever. Keep your eyes open, and you’re bound to make your gaming goddess very happy this season.

Saints Row: The Third Launch Guide -- It's Time To Strap It On

If she likes to play together

A fabulous co-op game can be the very key to co-dependent gaming (and domestic) bliss. It’s a great way to spend time together, work on those teamwork skills, and get to know your special lady a little bit better.

You cannot go wrong with Saints Row: The Third (360 and PS3) – which is a satirical open-world game set on the mean streets of fictional Steelport. All of the story missions and “diversion” activities can be done with a partner, and the title gives you a wide swath of diverse gameplay – driving, shooting, beating down bad guys with giant purple “adult toys”, the works. This is among the best, most off-the-wall co-op experiences you can have with a 2011 game.

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland (Wii) is a good bet if your girlfriend is into platformers. It features wonderfully chaotic co-op (you can play the whole game this way) across several worlds worth of stages and boss encounters, with an absolute ton of secret and challenge levels to unlock, and two full “sub-games” to while away the hours.

Of course, if she’s into hardcore alien busting, Gears of War 3 (360) is a no-brainer, and nothing says “we have a healthy relationship” like taking on a horde of beasts together. A couple that slays together, stays together.

Portal 2 (360, PS3, PC) is another sure bet, especially for ladies who enjoy a good puzzle (and have a sense of humor). The co-op is top-notch, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another game that lets two people feel this smart together.

GoldenEye 007 Reloaded

If she likes to get her gun on

For ladies who like to wield their hardware proudly, there’s a fine crop of shooters to choose from this year.

Modern Warfare 3, BattleField 3 and the aforementioned Gears of War 3 – not only are they all third editions of highly respected series, they’re also no-brainers for shooter fans. Gears is cover-based, of course, so if your lady prefers the old “floating gun” perspective, go with one of the first two.

One slightly under-the-radar title you may want to consider is Goldeneye 007 Reloaded, especially if she harbors fond memories of the Nintendo 64 classic. With a fun story campaign that effectively updates the Goldeneye plot (and de-cheeses it, offering a nice thriller narrative), and a seriously robust multiplayer mode (including old school splitscreen action), it’s definitely worth a look.

Rayman Origins

If she wants to hop and bop

It’s been another good year for platformers, so you’re in luck if that’s your belle’s genre of choice. Alongside the aforementioned Kirby’s Return To Dreamland, the beautiful, chaotic Rayman Origins (multiplatform) also offers 1-4 player madness through cartoon stages. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) blends new school (think Super Mario Galaxy) and old school (Think Super Mario Bros. 3) action for a very creative take on Mario. If she’s a Sonic fan, Sonic Generations (multiplatform) offers up re-created (and remixed) stages from all of the blue hedgehog’s history.

Driver: San Francisco

If she likes things fast and furious

Get her behind the wheel of Driver: San Francisco (360, PS3, PC) for the ultimate funky car-chase. One of the relatively few racing games to take a genuinely fresh approach to the genre (in the form of hopping among different characters/storylines), this is one of 2011’s best “arcade” racers. Of course, if she prefers a sim environment, Forza Motorsport 4 (360) is the way to go.

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If she kicks it old school

The downloadable platforms have been busy serving up old-school style action, and if you’ve got a girl who likes her action fast and her fingers twitchy, you cannot go wrong with Bit.Trip.Complete(Wii) or Bit.Trip.Saga (DS). A compilation of Gaijin Games’ awesome, super-retro styled games, it’s an addictive and maddeningly tough little package.

She may also dig PixelJunk Sidescroller (PSN), especially if she cut her teeth on the great shoot-em-ups of yore.

New Batman: Arkham City Screenshot And Artwork

If she craves ass-kicking action

Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3) scored deliciously well earlier this season – and as an added bonus, the Catwoman missions allow your main squeeze to take on a more active girl power role when she dons the stiletto heels of the Cat herself.

If she’s more into silent kills than superheroes, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3) may be more up her alley. Perhaps she’s not into the historical thing? Try the thoughtful, futuristic Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Dance Central 2

If she likes to boogie down

If she doesn’t already have a Kinect, go ahead and nab one – and definitely get her Dance Central 2. It’s by far and away the best representation of dancing in a videogame ever, and definitely one of the best party games of the last year. It’s fun, colorful, utterly vibrant, and you actually learn dance moves from it.

One word of caution – for the right kind of person, this game is dangerously addictive. My girlfriend played “Maneater” about 18 times in a row in the first Dance Central one day, and she’s never been the same since. You have been warned.

Skyrim

If she’s into saving the world

If you’re dating a girl who likes western-style RPG’s, you pretty much have to consider grabbing her a copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PC, PS3). Epic in every sense of the word, you may not see her for a couple of weeks after you give this gift. Dragon Age 2 (360, PC, PS3), while less universally praised, is also worth a look if she prefers her RPG’s heavier on character and personal interaction.

For Japanese RPG lovers, Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) offers truly gorgeous landscapes and a nice blend of genre innovation in its mission structure and battle system. The addictive gameplay and verdant visuals should prove a nice cure for those post-holiday winter blues.

If she wants to wear her (gamer) heart on her sleeve

Geek is chic, and there are plenty of places to find attractive, appropriately sized t-shirts and hoodies these days. One of the best (and most high-end in terms of quality) companies is Insert Coin Clothing, with its selection of clever (and sometimes even subtle) tees with game references. AfterLife Gentlemen’s Club shirt has got to be the best pieces of Mass Effect 2 paraphernalia ever released, for example. ThinkGeek always has good stuff as well, like this Portrait of Chell tee, and NerdyShirts also has a nice selection of ladies fit gaming shirts. Stocking stuffer, confirmed!

Danielle Riendeau is a freelance writer, digital media professor, and nonprofit web ninja from Boston. You should follow her on twitter for all of the relevant links and details: @danielleri

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