By Larry Frum
(CNN) — This holiday season, shopping for the gamer in your life is easier — and harder. Easier because there are so many great choices, you can’t go wrong. Harder because, with the release of the new Wii U console and the launch of the PlayStation Vita handheld console this year, there are so many choices, you won’t be able to pick.
Check out my handy gift guide to get ideas for each type of gamer on your list:
The PC gamer: The computer gamer is probably looking for one thing: more time to play. But in case you want to give them something else to distract them, “Guild Wars 2” is an online role-playing game that lets players dive deep into a fantasy world and have an impact with their actions. Unlike other MMORPGs, there is no monthly subscription fee, making it a great (one-time) purchase.
If they missed the craze this year, pick up “Diablo III.” Or opt for other also-on-consoles games like “Mass Effect 3” or “Max Payne 3.”
If it isn’t software they need, Logitech introduced a new G600 MMO gaming mouse this year, featuring three profiles, 20 programmable keys and a new sculpted shape to ease fatigue from hours of gaming.
The serious gamer: The serious gamer is ready to become one with the console and be challenged with action, adventure and good storytelling.
“Dishonored” offers a play-it-your-way style split between stealth and combat. Combining that style with a good story, this title will have players diving back in after finishing their first run, just to see how their actions change the story.
“Borderlands 2” is less about the story and more about the guns. There are tons of weapons to be discovered and used throughout Pandora. But pay attention to the dialogue — lots of laughs among the bloodshed. If they already have the game, think about getting the downloadable content offerings to let them continue their experiences.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops II” is another selection guaranteed to tap into your gamer’s aggressive side. The vehicle combat scenarios are particularly intense.
If it is mental stimulation they crave, “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” is a turn-based game that challenges players to plan, think and enact strategies to save the world. Balancing short-term gains for long-term goals is key to success.
The casual gamer: The casual gamer wants to drop into and out of games at their leisure.
“New Super Mario Bros. U” is the flagship title for the new Wii U console and brings Mario and friends to life in high-definition. The platforming action is bolder and brighter than ever as the intrepid plumber runs through worlds to save the Princess (once again).
Combining the two great franchises, “LEGO The Lord of the Rings” mixes the classic Tolkien tale, dialogue from the Peter Jackson movies and a dash of blocky fun to create an exciting game for all ages. Pay particular attention to the funny bits during some of the more dramatic scenes.
Maybe it’s racing they crave? “Little Big Planet Karting” puts Sackboy on the track to save the kingdom through a series of races across very non-NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. He and his racing machine can be customized so players can exercise their creativity while fulfilling their need for speed.
The kid gamer: The kid (or kid-at-heart) gamer is looking for fun, excitement and a touch of something extra.
Why not a physical toy that doubles as a gaming piece? “Skylanders Giants” extends the franchise this year with new collectable figures that connect with gaming consoles to create a sort of video game magic. The pieces are interchangeable for different gaming platforms. So if you have a PS3 version of the game, you can still take your figures over to your friend’s house to plan on an Xbox 360.
Plus, the toys can be enjoyed as action figures away from the consoles.
Tapping into the magic of Harry Potter, “Wonderbook” transforms your PlayStation 3 into an interactive storytelling machine. The first title, “Book of Spells,” is based on the Harry Potter universe and written by J.K. Rowling. Players control the action, creating spells, fighting battles and becoming part of the story.
Finally, Maxwell is back and has to travel the world to save his sister in the new “Scribblenauts Unlimited.” The puzzle game challenges kids to come up with creative solutions to problems Maxwell faces in his journeys. Write the word in his magical notebook, and it comes to life on the screen to allow him to progress and find the magic to stop his sister from turning to stone.
Still stuck? Still not sure what to get your gamer? Don’t worry. While it might seem like a cop-out to some, gift cards are sure to be a hit with players. This will allow them to explore their opportunities for new games, devices or downloadable content. Many shopping websites offer electronic gift certificates as well.
Gift cards also work well if they have their eye on some new titles coming out in 2013 like “BioShock Infinite,” “Dead Space 3” or “Pikmin 3.”
Gamers are always looking for the next big thing.
Happy holidays and happy gaming.
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