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Gaming: Xmas gift guide

Food for thought for Christmas gaming presents

If you're struggling to find that perfect gift for someone special then you're in luck (if that aforementioned "special someone" is into their gaming, that is).

Below we have rounded up five great gadgets that would make a perfect gift for any gamer.

ION iCade
£79 inc VAT

ION iCadeWe couldn’t resist including the iCade in our suggestions for Christmas gadgetry. Available through Firebox.com, it’s a mini arcade console that works with an iPad or iPad 2 and the free Atari app.

Atari’s Greatest Hits app can be downloaded from the App Store, and comes with Missile Commander as a base pack, plus the option to buy packs of other classic Atari titles such as Centipede and Space Invaders. The whole Atari back catalogue costs a mere £6.99. The iCade pairs with your iPad via Bluetooth, so you can use its oversized buttons and joystick to fire, fire, fire!

High scores can be recorded locally, but there’s also the option to post them to an online leaderboard. You’re not just limited to playing retro games either: Angry Birds and other classics of the iPhone age can also be played on this fun console.

The iCade has proved very popular in the PC Advisor office. The only complaint we’ve heard is that the coin slot to pay per play isn’t real (if only to save us from our chronic gaming habit).


Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360
£69 inc VAT

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360It was a hit last Christmas and we think it will be a hit this time, too. The Kinect for Xbox 360 is a motion controller for Microsoft’s games console and now has an impressive selection of titles designed to take advantage of its body swerve-sensing features. You duck to duck, turn around to turn around, and jump to jump.

By speaking a couple of words you can launch a navigational hub and access games and Kinect-enhanced applications. By the power of gesticulation, you can move through menus and select a film to watch or a game to play. Games work with the Xbox Live online portal, so you can show off your best moves to your online gaming buddies. The Kinect also has a selection of Wii Fit-like fitness apps and dance moves.

Adrenaline junkies will no doubt have their sights on the high octane racing game Forza Motorsport, with vehicles primed with up to 670bhp. Microsoft’s gaming wheel for Xbox 360 Kinect adds to the realism and costs £79 inc VAT.


Griffin Helo TC
£34 inc VAT

Griffin Helo TCThis tiny remote-control helicopter can be flown from your iPhone or iPad. Helo TC features a row of four infrared controllers – presumably to adjust each of the axes through which the helicopter flies. The remote-control unit clips over the rear of an iPhone or iPod or on to the back of an iPad.

In use, the Helo TC has multicoloured flashing lights, twin-rotor wings and two types of flying mode. It can take its control cues from the accelerometer of an iPhone or iPad in Tilt To Fly mode.

The six-gear transmission aids flight stability, while a multitouch display mode can be used to control the Helo TC’s throttle and flight-controlled joystick. Its battery is recharged via USB.


Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
£200 inc VAT (SIM-free)

Sony Ericsson Xperia PlayIf you’re after both a phone and a portable gaming option, you could do worse than the Xperia Play. Unofficially known as the PlayStation phone, it has a 4in touchscreen. Its chunky 15mm frame is explained by the slide-out keypad hiding underneath; this sports gaming navipads for the left and right hand.

The Xperia Play runs Android 2.3 off a 1GHz processor. An 8GB MicroSD card is supplied to supplement the parsimonious 400MB of onboard storage. Some of this is taken up by the six games Sony preinstalls. Classic PlayStation games can be downloaded from Google’s Android Market.


Sony Tablet P
£499 inc VAT

Sony Tablet PWe’re torn between the Xperia Play and the Sony Tablet P split-screen gaming tablet. The latter will be onsale from mid-November and allows you to play PlayStation Portable games on its dual 5.5in touchscreens. The lower half of the tablet acts as a gaming controller. ?As well as standard Android apps there’s DLNA tech for bouncing content from tablet to large-screen TV, support for the Sony Reader Store, plus access to the Sony Unlimited Music library.

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