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12 Days of Xbox 360 Christmas Joy!

This year, get everyone to buy you...

It's been one hell of a year. And it's going to be one hell of a Christmas for Xbox 360 as, for the second year running, the console remains - by far - the most powerful games console available. Add on the fact that game developers are really getting to grips with the hardware resulting in some amazing-looking games - plus Microsoft's continued innovation of the console's dashboard and features - and you have a Christmas present that's going to last and last. And the wireless controller even includes batteries. They've thought of everything. These are the 12 hottest Xbox 360 purchases for Christmas 2006.

Day 12 - An Xbox 360

It was the hottest Christmas item last year, and thanks to the incompetence of the competition it's going to be 2006's Chrimbo smash as well. The Pro Evolution Soccer 6 bundle gives you a Premium Xbox 360 and a copy of the game for only an extra tenner. You just can't go wrong unwrapping that. Imagine your little face!

Day 11 - Wireless Communicator

Like the headset and microphone for talking on Xbox Live, but without wires to get stuck on your jumper. Not particularly essential, but incredibly handy if you want to look like a businessman talking on his Bluetooth headset while gaming.

Day 10 - A high-definition TV

Maybe rich Uncle Steve might get you one with his stockbroker bonus. The cheapest and sexiest option around right now is the 23-inch Samsung LE23R71W. It comes in white, which is probably what the 'W' means on the model number, looks very cool, has component input for Xbox 360 and an HDMI socket for 'future proofing' and plugging something else in. But not a PlayStation 3. Apparently doing that will make it break, or so we read on the internet. The white Samsung is yours for about £440. For people with rich relatives only.

Day 9 - Xbox Live Vision Camera

Share Christmas with lots of strangers on Xbox Live! See, visually, how much weight you've managed to put on! Then spend all of Boxing Day sitting there surrounded by Cadbury Heroes wrappers trying to work out what the rules are of Texas Hold 'em, while trying to do the sort of poker face Steve McQueen would do.

Day 7 - Halo 3 vouchers

Or, to put in another way, some money you can save and use to buy Halo 3 next year. Even if it's rubbish, it'll be all everyone's playing for six months after it comes out, so you sort of have to buy it. Even if you only like games that are about organising shapes to music.

Day 8 - Any of the following games

Fight Night Round 3, Test Drive Unlimited, Oblivion, Burnout Revenge, Tiger Woods 07, Just Cause, LEGO Star Wars II, Tomb Raider Legend, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Saints Row and Table Tennis. They're all good. Depending on what you're into.

Day 6 - Xbox Live Gold

Every Xbox 360 comes with Xbox Live Silver, which lets you make a Gamertag, browse the shops and, of course, give Microsoft more of your money by buying games and stuff in the Xbox Live Marketplace. But you need Gold if you want to play people online. Shop around - you can buy old annual Xbox Live subscriptions for around £20 and they work just fine on Xbox 360. A lot of this year's hottest games come with free 48-hour trial periods of Xbox Live in them too, so look out for those magical golden stickers when buying. Or when telling grandma what to buy you.

Day 5 - Five thousand points

Once you're on Xbox Live, the calling of the Marketplace and Live Arcade will have you wasting your money like you wouldn't believe. Not that awesome games like Geometry Wars and Lumines Live can be considered a waste. It's just going to get a bit expensive. So you might want to get a pre-paid card full of points as a present - spending other peoples' money is what Christmas is all about.

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