Holidays are part rest and relaxation, and part fun and games – and so are these gift ideas!
Check out these last minute buys for everyone on your Christmas list who loves remote control whatsits, video games and foam-firing faux weaponry.
Angry Birds Talking Plush
Angry Birds is a mobile entertainment phenomenon, and everyone who’s followed the game’s trajectory through every iteration – Rio, Star Wars, Seasons, Space – is sure to be on board with these talking plushies. A perfect gift for anyone with a giant slingshot and a dislike for green pigs.
Super Mario Remote Control Karts
Remember Mario Kart? We sure do, and with these remote control cars the franchise escapes Nintendo gaming systems and enters the real world.
Nerf N Strike Elite Hailfire Blaster
Toy guns never really go out of style, and Nerf’s high-speed soft-foam shooters are popular with boys and girls of all ages. The Elite Hailfire takes up to eight clips worth of foam darts and uses a semi-automatic design to discharge up to 144 of them as a single round. This 30 seconds of noisy excitement is followed by a much longer and quieter interlude, as the sproglets search for their scattered projectiles!
We were never really sure what exactly Furby was when he first appeared in the late ’90s (a ferret, a bird, or maybe a tribble?) and now he’s been revived – and injected with some more robot smarts – by toymaker Hasbro.
Cuter than ever, Furby now creates a personality based on how you treat him, communicates (in Furbish) with other Furbies, and can be fed and loved via an iOS app.
Swann Air Duel 2
Swann’s remote control helicopters just became a whole lot more competitive, with this twin pack of RC choppers able to fly for up to eight minutes at a time. Kids of any age can joust in the air, motoring up, down, forward, back and performing turning motions throughout the house… and terrifing the pets until the batteries run out.
Games on the go
Oregon Scientific Meep!
The Meep is a neat edutainment option for the little ones, providing a customised learning-focused gaming tablet with loads of accessories, such as a flat rollable piano or a drum kit.
We went hands on with the Meep! earlier in the year and found that it had some pretty cool games for kids. And with parental controls, mum and dad decide how much time the kids can spend on it.
Sony PS Vita
Price: from $249
Sony’s next-gen portable gaming system offers up a 5 inch OLED screen and some of Sony’s most reputable franchises, including the ever-cute LittleBigPlanet.
The console is more than just your run-of-the-mill portable gaming device, packing in WiFi, web support and the ability to play games using touchscreen controls and little touch panels on the rear of the device.
Nintendo 3DS XL
Nintendo’s most recent foray in the world of portable gaming hasn’t been its most successful, but does bring something no other company has: 3D.
The screen on the extra large Nintendo 3DS is one of those glasses-less 3D types, so when you spin out in Mario Kart, or if Pokemon jump out of a Pokeball, they do it as if they’re coming right out of the screen and into your hands.
Apple iPad Mini
Launched this year as the smaller model iPad, we reckon the Mini is a better option for portable gaming than the iPod Touch.
While the Touch is small and friendly, the iPad Mini costs barely $40 more, and offers up a 7 inch screen over a 4 inch display. Many of the games are the same on each, but if you prefer a bigger screen, this is the one to get.
Games at home
Sony PlayStation 3
Still an awesome gaming console six years after launch, the PlayStation 3 is also one of the best Blu-ray players you can own, throwing in Smart TV applications with games, web connectivity, DLNA access, and more.
In fact, if you’re after a high quality Blu-ray player, the PS3 is one of the only models out there that is constantly updated. This makes it one of the few future proof set-tops… at least until Sony shows its hand with a new PlayStation.
Microsoft Xbox 360 with Kinect
While Microsoft’s gaming console is due for an upgrade next year, it is easily one of the best gaming platforms on the planet right now.
Together with Microsoft’s motion-controlled Kinect platform, you can play all manner of games with just hand movements and gestures, or pick up a controller and get thrown into some hardcore gaming.
Nintendo Wii U
The latest video game console, the Wii U takes everything we loved about the motion-gaming Wii and gives it an update, throwing in a new type of controller that features 6.2 inch touchscreen, Near-Field Communication, cameras, and more.
Older Wii controllers can still be used, as can the games, but there is also a new range of new games designed to take advantage of the Wii U’s more advanced technology. All of which adds up to an even more interesting and fun experience.
The classic way to play games, the Arcade Table Classic is video gaming the way you remember it: sitting down, looking at an old screen, and pumping coins in without thinking that these would have to last you an entire week, or worse, month.
These days, you can own these machines, playing retro games on a retro machine, as if time had never changed for the golden age of video games.