Sure, computers are the place to do work. We spend so much of our day chained to them, filling out spreadsheets, sending off e-mails, researching and writing reports, that we tend to forget about their utility as super powered game systems.
Granted, your PC is not plugged into a TV in the living room - though it could be - but the hours spent dallying with Farmville at the office or in wee-hour sessions of Warcraft on a school night actually make the PC the preferred games system of most so-called "gamers" - they just don't think of it that way.
Force an admission on your loved ones, because we've rounded up the top five PC games worthy of your holiday shopping dollars.StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
The long awaited sequel to the famously addictive real-time strategy game, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty tells the story of a disgruntled and hard drinking mercenary for hire. Like previous StarCraft adventures, players will command units on a battlefield in real time to complete missions. However, unlike previous StarCraft adventures, players will be able to pick and choose from different missions to earn money just like a real mercenary would. And while the storyline will remain consistent throughout, this sort of variety means that players could experience the same campaign over and over without having to repeat the same missions each time, so new every time.
The single player component of StarCraft II is a remarkable achievement unto itself, but the multiplayer modes of StarCraft II are truly out of this world. Offering a number of major improvements over its predecessor, gamers who relish in online battles of the strategic kind will no doubt fall head over heels for everything StarCraft II has to offer. Rated Teen (13+)Civilization V
Being a great leader has never been easy. Just ask the likes of Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, or - if she's ever played Civilization - your Aunt Gertie.
The fifth entry in Sid Meier's Civilization series, Civilization V completely revamps the nation building simulation that people have come to know and love over the past 20 years. Players will still spend turn after turn trying to head the greatest (self-created) civilization in the world through diplomacy, ingenuity, and war, but all of the bits and pieces have been tweaked to ensure players are getting the freshest Civ experience yet. Huge and interminable, fans of the series won't know what hit them. Rated Everyone (10+)World of WarCraft: Cataclysm
An evil dragon tears through a dimensional barrier and causes a worldwide disaster in Cataclysm, the latest expansion to the critically acclaimed World of WarCraft series.
Freakishly popular with more than 10 million active online players - each paying a monthly fee - "WoW" originally debuted back in 2004 and quickly rose through the ranks to become the premier "massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)" that all others have since tried to beat - and failed. However, as the king of the MMO hill, World of Warcraft is duty bound to provide fans with new content and new gameplay elements lest users wander off to some other game. To wit, Cataclysm delivers what is essentially an entire new game tacked on to the established one. Again.
Featuring new towns, new dungeons, two new playable races and roughly 3,500 new quests, this latest expansion shakes the world of Azeroth to its very foundations. Just remember, users need the original World of Warcraft game ($10) to play Cataclysm, but with that many millions playing it, there's a good chance they already do. Rated Teen (13+)Bejeweled 3
While casual games have been around in one form or another since the dawn of time, the casual industry as it pertains to video games all started with a crazy little crack-like gem called Bejeweled. More than half a billion people have played it in one form or another since its debut 10 years ago, and now it's back for its third official iteration.
The object of the game hasn't changed much over the last decade. Players will still need to "match 3" or more gems and make them disappear in order to score points, beat timers, and progress through levels. But in addition to the familiar, Bejeweled 3 promises a variety of new game modes, high definition eye-candy, and new twists on the formula that should make this gem-busting experience feel fresh all over again. Rated Everyone (6+)Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Survival horror games seem to have lost their way in recent years. Some games can pull off "scary," but few manage to get the atmosphere just right. Fewer still realize that players don't always need to be gun-blazing action heroes - sometimes it's perversely fun to play the victim.
A first person adventure at its core, Amnesia: The Dark Descent manages to illicit a sense of fear from its players like no game we've ever experienced. Waking up in a dark castle with no memory, players will explore their spooky surroundings to uncover the truth about their horrifying past. Unlike other games in the genre that give gamers the tools needed to fight the unholy creatures of the night, the only recourse here is to run and hide, praying the monsters give up their unrelenting pursuit.
Well written, well designed, and scary in a way that no other game has managed to accomplish, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is this year's must-play game for horror fans. Not Rated
Or just stick it to the PC
Did you know that the handy dandy custom skin maker at www.MyTegos.com
works for PCs, too? The site allows you to upload your own images or photos and have them placed on a form-fitting decal for just about every device known to man, including many types of desktop cases, laptops and monitors. The custom "skins" are then mailed to you or the recipient of your choice.