Evergeek Gift Guide: Best sports games
As gamers and sports fans are often one and the same, a sports videogame gift is a pretty sure bet this holiday. Of course, not everyone is a fan of every sport, so here are five that cover the gambit. Not surprisingly, they're all from EA Sports. NBA Jam
(PlayStation3, Wii, Xbox 360 - $50)
Even ardent b-ball-buffs intent on realistic basketball will appreciate NBA Jam, the latest from EA sports that's more about o're-the-top fun than simulated, endorsed, licensed and "deep" NBA. Long time gamers will recognize NBA Jam as a remake of a Midway arcade game that harkens back some 17 years, brought to consoles 7 years ago when game systems couldn't do photo-realism and life-like animation so well, but could inject some Flubber and fire into just about anything, particularly sports games, even more particularly 2-on-2 variations of sports games that only required a couple of buttons to play and have a blast. Today's NBA Jam is all that, but with photo-realism and life-like animations added for good measure if not caricature comic effect. Rated Everyone (6+)NHL 11
(PS3, X360 - $60)
Residents of Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, 4 square blocks of Tampa Bay as well as all Canadians are morally obligated to own a hockey game. EA Sports has had the decency to offer a great one in NHL 11. As an annually released title, it includes updated rosters, as expected, but also some new life-like player animations, spit-polished graphics and other simulated niceties, like sticks that actually break, just like real life - and just as aggravating in all the right ways. Rated Everyone (10+)
(Wii - $70)
Under the presumption that the Nintendo Wii just doesn't have the processing muscle nor controller configuration to deliver the spectacular hockey simulation found on PS3 and Xbox 360, EA Sports instead delivers a kinder, gentler, Gretzky-faced hockey game for Wii called NHL Slapshot. It's bundled with a plastic hockey stick-shaped casing for the Wii Remote controller and Nunchuck attachment; an unexpectedly effective little interface for wristers and slappers, and well suited to this surprisingly fun hockey game exclusive to Wii. Rated Everyone (6+)FIFA Soccer 11
(PlayStation3, Xbox 360 - $60)
As there's no such thing as a "casual" soccer fan, EA Sports delivers a serious game of footy in FIFA Soccer 11. Like the NHL games, the long running FIFA franchise is verging on perfection this year, with surprisingly easy controls to invoke a slew of lifelike soccer subtleties, from pushing and shoving in the fight for possession to playing as the formerly automated goalkeeper - a first for the series, remarkably enough. Rated Everyone (6+)EA Sports Active 2
(PlayStation3, Wii, Xbox 360 - $100)
If the jolly old elf on your gift list wants to lose the bowl full of jelly, definitely consider EA Sports Active 2. While available for all three video game systems, Active 2 is specifically designed for each platform, playing to the strengths of the unique technology in each.
The Xbox 360 version, for example, requires the Kinect body tracking sensor and adds a special strap-on heart-rate monitor for the left arm. The PlayStation3 version includes the heart rate monitor plus two more strap on motion trackers, one for the other arm and one for leg, allowing for hands free exercising. The Wii version includes an arm and leg strap but also incorporates one motion-sensitive Wii Remote controller.
All versions come with a resistance band and feature the gambit of healthy lifestyle tools such as calorie intake monitors, progress charts, and online clubs/workout groups - telecommute to the gym!
All told, EA Sports Active 2 is not a game per se
, it's a fitness regimen that really will have you sweating up a storm and losing weight at a meted rate. Designed by certified fitness instructors, users can customize their own fitness routines with some 70 exercises built in - more available via download - or, more impressively, through a genuinely effective 9-week program with a virtual personal trainer. Rated Everyone (6+)