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Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: gaming kit

This year's best games and gadgets to give as presents

Top of many gaming fans' wishlists will be a Microsoft Kinect or Sony Move interactive module. But there are plenty of other gaming goodies to get your teeth into.

Football Manager 2011

Football Manager has been a mainstay of computer gaming for almost two decades now, and every year it just gets better. Sure, if you're cynical you could point out that it's the gaming equivalent of an Excel spreadsheet, but that doesn't prevent hundreds of thousands of people getting hooked every year. New features include real-time negotiations and a revamped media module.

• £29 inc VAT
Download Football Manager 2011 now

Fallout New Vegas

Fallout remains quite possibly one of the greatest games of the year, perhaps of all time. Taking place in the aftermath of a nuclear war (with a distinct 1950s theme running through it), Fallout enables you to explore a giant wasteland at leisure. The action in New Vegas ranges from the Mojave Desert wasteland to the bright lights of the city, as you fend for yourself in a world gone wrong.

• £34 inc VAT
Download Fallout New Vegas

Call of Duty: Black Ops

The superlative Call of Duty series shows little sign of letting up, with this latest instalment putting you at the heart of undercover secretive missions. Black Ops takes place during the cold war, and as such promises some good retro shooting action. It's being developed by Treyarch – the team behind Call of Duty 2 and World at War – so our hopes are high for this one.

• £39 inc VAT
Call of Duty: Black Ops review

Sharkoon X-Tatic headphones

Keen gamers looking to block out the world and feel full immersion might want to investigate a decent pair of headphones. Sharkoon's X-Tatics come in two editions: SP and SX. Both offer full stereo sound with 40mm speakers.

The SP unit is white, and designed to match the Xbox 360 with a built-in microphone that plugs directly into the controller. The slightly more expensive SP is aimed at PlayStation 3 owners, connecting directly to its USB port.

If you really want full-on surround-sound then the Sharkoon X-Tatic 5.1 2nd Revision models offer eight incorporated speakers and an audio control box.

• £129 inc VAT
sharkoon.com

Pandora

Like its predecessor the GP32, the Pandora is a handheld games console that enables you to run open-source, homebrew and emulation software. It's a console for hackers and geeks, and is unashamedly brilliant.

Design-wise the Pandora is somewhere between a high-end PDA and a low-end netbook, but small enough to fit in a pocket and equipped with built-in gaming controls. Don't expect an easy, Nintendo-like ride, but hackers will be in heaven. It's pre-order only and you may have to wait a while to get your hands on this beauty.

• €330 (about £288)
open-pandora.org

Blaze Sega MegaDrive Handheld: Streets of Rage

Sega fans will be over the moon with this handheld gaming console with 18 built-in games, featuring classics such as Golden Axe II, Sonic and Knuckles, Shadow Dancer, Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage III (hence the name). You can't add new games to this device, but for a few classics in your pocket this is hard to beat.

• £34 inc VAT
blazeeurope.com

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Christmas gift guide index:

PC Advisor's Christmas 2010 gift guide:

sponsored by Misco

  1. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: all-in-one PCs    
  2. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: laptops
  3. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: cameras    
  4. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: satnavs and GPS    
  5. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: photo printers    
  6. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: media players    
  7. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: audio accessories
  8. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: keyboards & mice
  9. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: gaming kit

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