Holiday Games: The GigaOM Gift Guide

 The holidays and Black Friday are rapidly approaching. If you’re looking for video games to give your friends and loved ones, here’s a cheat sheet of must-have titles, categorized by giftee: for the hardcore gamers you know, for your family, and of course, for your high-tech industry colleagues:10 For High-Tech Execs (And Other Grown-Up Gamers)
Age of Empires: Mythologies
Available Platforms: Nintendo DS
MSRP: $29.99
The beloved resource-management strategy franchise (one of Om’s favorites!) is a turn-based strategy title for Nintendo’s handheld, with Egyptian, Greek and Norse civilizations to rule over.
rock-band-2Rock Band 2
Available Platforms: Wii, PS3, Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99
This sequel to the smash hit game comes with a set of simulated instruments, so up to four friends can jam on hits from the Grateful Dead to Interpol.
Available Platforms: PC
MSRP: $49.99
The long-awaited game from SimCity creator Will Wright may require a time commitment, but the pleasure of evolving an entire civilization from a single-celled organism can’t be underestimated. (Featured on GigaOM here.)
populous-dsPopulous DS
Available Platforms: Nintendo DS
MSRP: $29.00
Originally a PC classic from the ’80s, the original “god game,” now revived for Nintendo’s handheld. Become a god with different elemental powers, perform miracles, control your minions and unleash Biblical wrath on your friends in multiplayer mode.
tetris-partyTetris Party
Available Platforms: Wii
MSRP: $12.00
Russia’s most popular export returns with a Wii game that takes the classic Tetris puzzle to new dimensions, allowing up to four people to play at once, either competitively or cooperatively.
tiger-woods-pgaTiger Woods PGA Tour 09
Available Platforms: PS3, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360
MSRP: $29.95-$59.95
The latest installment in the best-selling, ultra-realistic golf simulation is especially appealing with the Wii’s motion sensor control.
top-chefTop Chef: The Game
Available Platforms: PC, Mac
MSRP: $19.99
Bravo’s hit cooking show now has a spin-off game that puts players in the kitchen with Tom and Padma, mixing ingredients to create thousands of unique dishes in multiple culinary challenges.
wiispeak_cs_0715Wii Speak
Available Platforms: Wii
MSRP: $29.99
Not really a game, but a Skype-style VoIP interface used to communicate with other Wii owners (previously featured in GigaOM.) Also comes bundled with Animal Crossing: City Folk (see below)
zengaTexas Hold ‘Em Poker for iPhone
Available Platforms: iPhone
MSRP: $9.99 for 40,000 playing chips
Zynga’s popular cross-platform poker game gets an iPhone version, so you can challenge folks on Facebook and other social networks while on the go; offers intuitive gameplay with fun multiplayer elements, like chat and drink buying for table mates, all nicely optimized for Apple’s phone.
world-of-gooWorld of Goo
Available Platforms: Wii, PC
MSRP: $15.00 / $19.99
Part executive desk toy, part fiendishly clever puzzle, this unique game entirely created by just two guys has you constructing towers of malleable blobs; gameplay features realistic physics and a clever sense of humor.

10 For Your Family

animal-crossingAnimal Crossing: City Folk
Available Platforms: Wii
MSRP: $49.99
The latest in Nintendo’s bucolic, goal-free series lets Wii owners move into Animal Crossing, interact with the residents, and furnish their virtual homes with all kinds of collectibles
banjo-kazooie-nuts-and-boltsBanjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
MSRP: $39.99
The newest iteration of British developer Rare’s long-running series sees the funny animal mascots
using an Erector set of parts to build and pilot hundreds of comical vehicles.
cooking-mama-world-kitchen1Cooking Mama World Kitchen
Available Platforms: Wii
MSRP: $49.99
Utterly wacky with irresistible graphics, think Guitar Hero for chefs: use your Wii remote to slice, dice and prepare meals in time with minimal mess.
img-wii-screenshot2-lgJillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009
Available Platforms: Wii (with Balance Board)
MSRP: $39.99
Getting bored with Wii Fit? The gym bunny/Biggest Loser star coaches you through a new regime of exercise mini-games for the Balance Board.
high_school_musical_3-_senior_year_danceHigh School Musical 3: Senior Year Dance!
Available Platforms: Wii, PS2, PS3, PC, Xbox 360
MSRP: $69.99
The insanely popular teen franchise gets a Dance Dance Revolution-style rhythm game, but made easier for kids, so they can control the feet and hands of their movies’ favorite characters in various choreography challenges.
karaoke-revolutionKaraoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore 2
Available Platforms: Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
MSRP: $49.99 (mic peripheral required)
The immensely popular karaoke rhythm game franchise once again links up with the mammoth TV hit; comes with co-op mode and dozens of pop classics for impressing virtual Paula Abdul.
singstar-legendsSingStar Legends
Available Platforms: PS2 (requires mic peripheral)
MSRP: $29.99
The Playstation 2 remains the world’s most popular consoles, largely due to games like this: a singing game franchise that challenges you to hit the right pitch, tone and rhythm to win.
skate-itSkate It
Available Platforms: Wii
MSRP: $49.99
The user-friendly version of Electronic Arts’ skateboarding hit lets gamers use the Wii remote and Wii Fit balance board to grind and ollie all over a realistic, interactive city.
sonic-unleashedSonic Unleashed
Available Platforms: Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
MSRP: $49.99
Sega’s furry blue hedgehog returns in an adventure suited for both new gamers and experienced ones, featuring the dazzling speed and beautiful environments for which the series is known.
youre-in-the-moviesYou’re In The Movies
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
MSRP: $69.99
Use the Xbox 360’s included camera to put yourself and your family in one of multiple B-movie scenarios, share them over the Internet with friends, and have the game console judge you on your performance.

5 For The Hardcore Gamer On Your List

mirrors-edgeMirror’s Edge
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
MSRP: $59.99
This much-praised action game takes place entirely in the first-person view, with your character, an acrobatic assassin, nimbly jumping and running across the rooftops of a futuristic city.
gears-of-war-2Gears Of War 2
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99
The sequel to one of the most popular action games of 2007 promises bigger battles, more dangerous enemies and of the “destroyed beauty” that made the first so fantastic.
left-4-deadLeft 4 Dead
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
MSRP: $49.99
Valve follows up its hit puzzle game, Portal, with this innovative cooperative zombie survival game, where players (either in multiplayer or solo, assisted with AI-controlled characters) must work together to outwit and outlast the hordes of very clever undead.
little-big-planetLittle Big Planet
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3
MSRP: $59.99
One of the most charming and creative games to come out in some time, Little Big Planet lets gamers not only run, jump and climb through captivating worlds, but also create them with simple tools.
nerf-n-strikeNerf N-Strike
Available Platforms: Wii
MSRP: $59.95
A rare non-violent first-person shooter from EA (you only fight robots armed with foam darts) comes with an actual fuzzy dart-shooting Nerf gun that doubles as a Wii remote peripheral.