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Opinion: The CVG Memorial Christmas Rant

Steve Boxer on this year's number one

Annoyingly, I can't accuse you all of being idiots this Christmas. Even though, as you read this, you probably look more like idiots than at any other time of the year, what with your clothes a patchwork of gravy stains and melted Quality Street crumbs, bits of Brussels sprouts stuck between your teeth and indigestion contorting your facial expressions into a curious mixture of bewilderment and pain. But at least, for the first time in living memory, you haven't gone and made Need For Bleeding Speed the Christmas number one.

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Come this way sir

EA's bland, generic multi-platform driving franchise was right up there in the unaccountable popularity stakes with the likes of Susan Boyle, Jade Goody and Alan Carr. Oh, and before you accuse me of being an idiot, I'm aware that FIFA 09 pinched the Christmas 2008 top slot. But three slots below it lurked the glowering, barely polished (but heavily discounted) turd otherwise known as Need For Speed: Undercover. And in previous years, whatever tat EA chose to slap in a box with NFS on the cover would sneer at us from atop the Christmas charts with all the inevitably of Simon Cowell's latest ventriloquist's dummy.

This year, you could get odds of 33-1 on NFS: Shift topping the festive chart, and with Modern Warfare 2 at 1/6 all bets, quite literally, were off: if you backed it at those odds, you're an idiot. And if you backed anything else, you're an idiot.

The irony is that Shift is the first decent Need For Speed game since the franchise appeared on the 3DO. And I can't even accuse you of idiocy for not buying it when it has finally come good, as you have, instead, chosen to spend your hard-earned, credit-crunched cash on the mighty Modern Warfare 2 instead. Which is the first truly merited Christmas number one in living memory. Bah humbug.

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