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Charge up your wish list

November 27, 2010

Electronics and video games are always popular holiday gift ideas and there is a plethora of new items and ways to play on store shelves. Motion gaming with the Nintendo Wii has been a staple since it's release, but now the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony Playstation 3 have joined the mix.

The recently released Xbox Kinect allows users to ditch their controllers and use their body to control the game. Gamers can use their body or their voice to control the console and interact with games.

There are several games to use with the Kinect including "DanceMasters," "Zumba Fitness," "DECA Sports Freedom" and "Fighters Uncaged." All the games allow the player to get off the couch and be active while they are playing.

The Kinect also allows users to control their Xbox 360 with voice commands to turn the console on and launch different applications. Another feature allows users with Microsoft Live accounts to "Video Kinect" with other users, where two users can see each other on screen and talk.

The PS3 Move also allows players to use motion controls during their gaming. The system uses a special controller with a lit sphere on the top that is detected by a camera. The controller looks very similar to the Wii controller minus the glowing sphere on top. The Move also has a ton of exclusive games.

Both the Kinect and Move require a certain amount of room to use properly. Potential buyers should ensure they have floor space available to use them.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops" is set to be one of the biggest holiday video games. The game has already shattered sales records for any entertainment release. The game sold more than 7 million copies during its first 24 hours on store shelves.

In the game, the player assumes the roll of a soldier taking on a variety of missions. Players can also go online and play against friends. The game was released for all three major gaming consoles and for computer gamers. It is rated for mature audiences.

There are also numerous games out this holiday season that are more traditionally played with a controller. One popular franchise, Guitar Hero, returns this holiday season with "Warriors of Rock." The sixth installment of the game features 93 songs on the disc with many more available for download.

The game is played with controllers that mirror actual instruments. The newest edition has a new guitar controller and was released in September. The game is available on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

Other than video games there are lots of other electronics that are perfect presents for the tech-savvy . One of the popular items this year are eReaders. The small electronic devices allow users to download thousands of books and carry them with them at any time.

There are many different devices out there this year, including the most popular Kindle and Nook.

Both the devices are around $150 for the most basic versions, but more expensive versions are available. There are also other brands of eReaders that offer different features.

Buyers should be careful and make sure they utilize online resources to read reviews to see what each device is capable of before making a purchase. With electronics the saying, "You get what you pay for," is usually correct.

Cameras and digital music players are usually hot items around the holidays and again consumers should do a little bit of research to make sure they are getting the proper items. Spending more on an item that has features that are never used is pointless when you can find a product that fits the individual's needs for a little less money.

One example is digital music players. iPods are wonderful devices for listening to music and have tons of other features, including games and other applications. If someone just wants a music player, there are less expensive alternatives.

The biggest piece of advice is to always to check out the requirements for electronics. Some devices need certain types of hardware and software to be properly used. Most devices come with the software to set up the device, but some may require a connection to the Internet for downloads.

Purchasing a device for someone who does not have Internet access could mean they have to return the product or wait until they can get a copy of the programs needed from the manufacturer.

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