Birthday Beatdown

My brother’s birthday was a couple days ago. I haven’t picked up a present for him yet, but that’s ok as I won’t to see him for another week anyway. Generally, I’m expected — and love! — to get him a video game for the occasion. Being the foremost expert on the medium in the family, I generally like to get him hidden gems he wouldn’t have played otherwise; in the past, he’s had me to thank for things like Beyond Good and Evil, Drill Dozer, and Trauma Center: Under the Knife.

One of my biggest “complaints” about the industry these days is the flood of good games; I realize how ridiculous it sounds to complain about too much of a good thing, but trying to keep up with all the big releases in a given year these days can quickly suck away all the free time I’d otherwise have — nevermind even trying to put a dent in the niche titles I know I’m missing out on. Nothing throws this fact into relief more than trying to pick out a videogame for someone else. The options are staggering, even considering I’ll avoid what he’d likely be able to pick up on his own and what he’d quickly lose interest in. (Sorry, Zack and Wiki. Maybe next time.)

This year’s challenge came with a twist: he’d used most of his birthday money to purchase an Xbox 360. Great! Having recently purchased one myself, I was pretty versed on the games he should be playing catch-up with. I figured he’d get Halo 3 and Gears of War on his own (and, having spoken with him yesterday, I was right), but the more I thought about it, the less obvious the answer was. Do I get him The Orange Box, so we can play together? How about Call of Duty 4, which I’m terrible at, but seems like something he’d like? And what about downloadable games? We could play Castle Crashers together, or he could try Braid or Rez HD or Bionic Commando: Rearmed. See what I mean? It’s great to have options, but that certainly doesn’t make my task any easier. If only I could pinpoint the reason I thought the 360 was worth owning….

[[image: cm_081708_crackdown_01.jpg:Crackdown:center:0]]
…ah, yes. Well, that was an easier choice than I thought it would be.

6 thoughts on “Birthday Beatdown

  1. Man, I hear on that. It is really hard to keep up with all the games in a given year – and I play primarily RPGs. I have to fulfill my obligations as a Square Enix fanboy, but then there’s all those niche titles from Atlus and the like (mostly on DS, the current haven for RPG enthusiasts). And with those small print runs, I feel it necessary to pick them up before their prices skyrocket on the secondhand market. And then my summer of solitude ends, and I remember that I have friends – gasp – and all these damn addictive music games seem to be multiplying like crazy. It’s rough.

    Depending on how much you’re willing to spend – get him Crackdown (which is cheap) and a Live Points card, with a note that says “Download [this] game!” Or can you send a virtual gift, like on Virtual Console? I dunno.

  2. I am with turkish101 on the Live Points card. Can’t you pick up portions of the Orange Box off of XBLA too?

  3. My fiancee just got me a 360 for my birthday and I’ve been agonizing over what games to get for it. I think this post is pushing me to Crackdown.

  4. A Live points card seems like the answer to me. A friend of mine’s birthday was in august, and I got him a card with explicit instructions to download Braid. Of course, I think he got GeoWars2 instead, but I think that’s also acceptable.

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