To help you shop for the geek in your life – or yourself – this holiday season, we’ve curated a selection of some of our favorite things from 2013.
Below, we highlight board games perfect for any game night, video games great for campaigns and co-operative play, and apps that will suck many hours from your life – in a good way.
The Last of Us (PS3)
Quite simply, probably the best-acted video game that’s ever been released. When I say that, I’m not referring to the voice acting (although that is great, as well); I mean the acting of the actual characters. The articulation in the faces and of the characters’ bodies is phenomenal. That’s somewhat of a by-product of how well current consoles perform, sure, but it also takes a team of talented animation directors and crew to make something with the level of artistry you get with The Last of Us. It feels very much like an elongated episode of The Walking Dead, so definitely expect any fans of that series to love this game. – ProFan John
Gone Home (PC)
In Gone Home, you’re a woman who returns home to an unexpectedly empty house; through a first-person view, you have to point-and-click your way through an exploration of everything to figure out what’s going on. Gone Home does a fantastic job of creating an eerily engrossing environment that not only makes you believe you’re experiencing it but also tells you an entertaining story with several shocking twists and turns along the way. Any PC gamer who likes mysteries will love Gone Home’s expert use of storytelling through a 100% interactive environment and plot with real, human moments of emotion. – ProFan John
You can purchase Gone Home through Steam or direct sale here.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (XBOX 360/PS3)
The latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed series is, by far, the easiest to get lost in. Taking to the high seas of the golden age of piracy, you step into the memory of Edward Kenway. In his pursuit of riches, we learn that not everyone was on the hunt for gold. In the present day, you work in the Abstergo Entertainment offices, doing a little piracy of your own. This game makes up for where the third game fell short: The side quests and pirate raids are just too damn fun for words. You might find yourself spending more time on looting than the actual story. And that’s not a bad thing. – ProFan Matthew
Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game (Tabletop)
A cooperative LCG for 1 to 4 players. Choose between heroes like Aragorn, Frodo, or Gimli. Build your deck around these heroes to help you in your fight against Middle-earth’s most dangerous enemies. The core set comes with 3 adventures, a variety of heroes and allies, and you can purchase more adventure packs as they’re released. This game is excellent if you’re a fan of CCG such as Magic the Gathering or World of Warcraft. – ProFan Patti
Cards Against Humanity (Tabletop)
Whenever I explain how Cards Against Humanity works, the first response I get is always, “Oh, so it’s like Apples to Apples.” Yeah, but a very x-rated version of Apples to Apples. I have an extreme potty mouth and this game has been known to make me blush. Hard. I once posted on Facebook how one of the cards contained the word “queef” and my mother-in-law commented, “What’s a queef?” A part of my soul died a little that day. Read my review of the game here. Then buy it, invite over your most non-stick-up-the-butt having friends, and wait for the hilarity to ensue. – ProFan Nina
Bioshock Infinite (XBOX 360/PS3)
The spiritual successor to the original BioShock series, in Bioshock Infinite players take control of Booker Dewitt as he sets off to a flying city named Colombia. Buried deep in debt, his only chance to clear it is to rescue a girl named Elizabeth. But he learns she’s no ordinary girl and that Colombia is a place that is filled to the brim with danger. To keep the excitement going, two DLC packs have dropped since its initial release; Clash in the Clouds and Burial at Sea. Clash in the Clouds provides a Horde-Mode survival style of gameplay with all the weapons and powers at your fingertips. In Burial at Sea, we return to Rapture before the fall with Booker and Elizabet. It’s got some colorful language and all kinds of gore and violence. Therefore, it’s recommended as a 17 and up game. You can read my April game review for Bioshock Infinite here. – ProFan Matthew
Shadows Over Camelot (Tabletop)
The best board game i’ve played this year. If you like co-op games, then join up with your fellow Knights of the Round Table to keep the forces of evil from destroying Camelot. But watch out: The potential for there to be a traitor in your midst adds a twist to the game. – ProFan Patti
The Walking Dead by Telltale Games (App & Gaming Consoles)
At times, The Walking Dead game by Telltale Games is better written than the TV show, and I LOVE the TV show. The first “season” of the game is broken into “episodes” where you control Lee, a man on his way to prison for murder when the zombie apocalypse jumps off. He takes a young girl named Clementine under his protection with the faint hope of helping her find her parents. You will run into a few familiar characters from the show, like Glenn and Hershel, before the TV series introduced them on the show, but for the most part, it’s all new characters within the same universe created by Robert Kirkman. The storyline is tight, the tension high, and you’ll shed a tear or twenty by the time you get to the season’s finale. This game made me jump, scream, and laugh out loud many times. I played it on my iPad, but you can also buy it for gaming consoles. ProFan Tip: If you play it on your tablet, plug in the headphones. – ProFan Nina (Episode 1 of season 2 will be available for download before Christmas, with a new episode available every 4-6 weeks.)
Grand Theft Auto V (XBOX 360/PS3)
In the latest installment in the GTA Saga, this game follows not one, but three different playable characters. You have Micheal, a retired criminal soaking up the sun in Los Santos. Trevor, Micheal’s old friend who, in spite of his insanity, is terribly productive. Finally we have Franklin, the ambitious young guy of the group looking to get rich quick. The Online Play has improved greatly with all kinds of new things, including using your headset to interact with the world around you. As with any GTA game, it’s meant for those 17 and over, for violence, sexual references, and drug usage. – ProFan Matthew