The Holidays are upon us; Chanukah is underway, Christmas is almost here, and it's time to get those last-minute gifts. We've given you ideas for people who already have all the games they want, for people who like science and other thinky pursuits, and for your teenage son who seems pretty normal but who you don't talk to. All those lists, and so many more.
But what about that person you just can't stand? What do you get for the nemesis in your life, that jerky brother-in-law, that horrible passive aggressive co-worker? What are some good gifts that subtly (or not so subtly) say "Here, I got you this because I was required to get you something, but actually, fuck off."
Never fear! I have polled the staff at Kotaku and come up with a list of spectacularly terrible gaming gifts for people you hate.
We've been over this before: the prices for in-store HDMI cables are insane and offensive. So what better way to say "I don't give a crap about you" than giving an obviously online-ordered HDMI cable? The one pictured to the side will set you back a whopping three dollars and one cent, and sends a clear message: "I don't care if you need an HDMI cable; in fact, I don't care if you live or die. I had to get you something, and so I got you this. Enjoy, arsehole."
($3.01 from Amazon. Why break the bank?)
You knew this one was going to be on here. Duke Nukem Forever was easily the most flatly bad game I played this year; a blandly offensive, dispiritingly dull, boring game. Hype up the giftee on it — "It's finally here! It's for hardcore manly men only! Prove your mettle and beat it!"
Then, they'll be forced to sit through hour after hour of terrible combat, infuriating puzzles, bland dialogue, and soul-crushingly unfunny jokes, all the while wondering when it will get good. Which it will not, not ever.
($9.99 at Newegg.com.)
"Hey, I bet you like video games! What about a guide for this game… you don't even own?" There are few more worthless gifts than the gift of unnecessary information — a strategy guide for an old Game Cube game, maybe a complete walkthrough of Final Fantasy XIII or the like… or you could go insidious and find a first-edition copy of Prima's Mortal Kombat guide, which contains a bunch of incorrect fighting moves.
Imagine your frenemy mashing the controller in frustration, trying to figure out why Cyber Sub-Zero's finishing move won't work, even though they're doing the exact right button combination. Imagine that, and smile.
(Most guides around $US15, Mortal Kombat $US13.59 from Amazon. Appears corrected.)
In a near-unanimous nomination from our other editors, Ubisoft's follow-up to the surprisingly good Bound in Blood is one of the worst, most sloppy games of the year. We didn't actually review it, but our friend Justin McElroy at Joystiq summed it up thusly:
"The Cartel heartbreakingly not only fails to build upon Bound in Blood's momentum, it spits in the face of everything that made it worthwhile. It doesn't feel like a misstep for the series, it feels like an epitaph."
Give this game, and maybe it'll be an epitaph for your already doomed relationship.
($21.95 from Amazon)
If you looked at our list of gifts for the guy who only plays sports games and decided you didn't like this person enough to get him or her any of those, then try the EA Sports season pass. It sure didn't fare well upon launch, and with good reason: as our own resident sports-game expert Owen Good puts it:
"Give your frenemy the gift of five games that they have to download (at at least 6GB each) and can only enjoy for three days."
(24.99 Online from EA)
Imagine the contempt conveyed by giving not one but two Green Lantern gifts. Not only are you gifting one of the worst superhero movies in the history of forever, you're also gifting its wretched video game tie-in. "Here," you are saying, "This is the kind of thing I think you would like."
Honestly, this gift is worth giving just for the looks on everyone else's faces. "Oh, what a… nice gift! Aren't those based on comics? Comics are cool, right?"
($14.99 for the Blu-Ray, $US28.99 for the Game)
Gaaah! Just look at it! Behold the incredible ugliness of the USB Fire Dragon Gamepad. This shit has got to be the ugliest gamepad ever created by a human; it's like it was focus-tested to be as aesthetically offensive and physically revolting as possible. It's worse than the Samurai, it's worse than the Ninja (though not by much).
There is no space in a person's house for something this ugly. It cannot be hidden away, it cannot be put in a box. Its ugliness will radiate outwards and infect the world around it. It is so ugly it will make you worse at whatever game you're playing, if only because the laser-lights that shine from it are so distracting. Truly, the USB Fire Dragon Gamepad is the Cadillac of hideous gaming peripherals.
Now, let's be clear: I'm not talking about gifting the super-fun music game Rock Band 2 or the all-encompassing, best-in-class experience of Rock Band 3. I'm talking about the original 2007 game Rock Band. More specifically, I'm talking about giving an entire living room's worth of crappy, now-obsolete plastic music-game peripherals.
Forget about the re-padded, wireless Rock Band 2 drum set — give your hated friend the clacky, wired, prone-to-malfunction Rock Band 1 kit. They don't deserve the smooth, wireless guitar controllers that came with later games; give 'em the wired, tangly, weak-whammy-barred Rock Band 1 controller. As all of us who bought, retired, and eventually junk-heaped our Rock Band peripherals know, it can be very difficult to get rid of the damn things once they've invaded your house.
For bonus nastiness points, just re-gift your own old set.
($219 from Amazon. This is A) ridiculous that it's still on sale and B) an intensely expensive way to say "fuck you.")
I feel certain that there are plenty of terrible gifts that we've left off, and would love to hear more suggestions in the comments.