You ever buy someone a gift for Christmas and while they are mercilessly ravaging the gift wrap you see a feigned sense of appreciation? They stare blankly at what lies beneath and in the same breath they turn to you and say “Thanks (insert whoever you are to that person), I love it”, but you know that’s not the case. You ask yourself why this person could be so callous in receiving a gift—well — it’s because you bought them a shitty gift. Everyone says it’s the thought that counts, but not if you didn’t put any thought into it. Most sites will tell you what to buy someone, but will seldom tell you what to avoid. So let this list be your warning for what you should be averse to this year when you are doing your holiday shopping. You’ll be a better person for it, trust me.
Ride To Hell: Retribution (Xbox 360, PS3)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Unsuspecting shoppers might stroll by this game and think it might be good time because it looks like the popular TV show Sons of Anarchy, but trust me when I tell you that Charlie Hunnam wouldn’t even wipe his ass with this game. Messy controls, horrible story and abysmal voice acting firmly cement this as one of 2013’s worst titles.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Knack isn’t necessarily a bad game, but sporting a $60 price tag poses an issue. It has the flair and charm reminiscent of older Sony platformers like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter, but this game is only next-gen in the graphics department and even saying that is a stretch. With a multitude of other next-gen games that will actually make you think you own a next-gen system you’d do best to avoid Knack—at least for the time being.
NBA Live 14 (Xbox One, PS4)
OUYA (Android game console)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Alright I know the list says games, but the OUYA is a device that plays games so hear me out. The OUYA had everyone’s attention when it was first announced because it was supposed to change the landscape of living room gaming, well it didn’t. What we have now is a device that is poorly supported and to my standards is overpriced. This device is primarily for the gamer that needs to have every device no matter what it does making it a very niche collective of people. If you are really clamoring to buy someone an android device get them a tablet or MADCATZ’s MOJO that supports stock android, already making it a better alternative.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Xbox 360, PS3)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: It’s no secret that The Walking Dead has transcended its cult comic book status and became an entertainment phenomenon, but with that distinction comes the poor use of creative licenses like this game. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is no more than a cash grab and if you had the displeasure of playing this game you’d probably feel robbed as well. This is a Walking Dead property in namesake alone and if you care about the future of this franchise you won’t buy this game.
Aliens: Colonial Marines (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Aliens is no doubt one of the largest and most beloved science fiction properties out there and Colonial Marines was on pace to propel it to greater heights. After numerous delays and studio swaps what was left was a soiled shell of a game equipped with poor controls and horrifyingly inconsistent AI. If you want to make that Aliens’ fan in your life happy, start by not buying them this.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Kinect 2.0 promised a lot of things for the Xbox One, one of them being a viable option for gaming. Unfortunately for early adopters they are stuck with what is another haphazardly designed and aimless motion game—Fighter Within. Combining awful gesture recognition with a completely pointless story you have Ubisoft’s sophomore effort missing the mark. Kinect 2.0 is an impressive piece of tech—don’t sully your view of it or your living room for that matter with this garbage.
Star Trek (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Remember when I was talking about the poor use creative licenses? The Star Trek game that came out a month prior to Into Darkness was a disastrous lead up to the summer blockbuster. The game was ridden with a myriad of tech issues on top of an incoherent narrative. This is one trip on the Enterprise you should overlook.
Fast and Furious: Showdown (Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU, 3DS, PC)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: The Fast and Furious movies are the mainstream representation of the tuning sub-culture. They have ridiculous over-the-top stories, but at each film’s core it’s about racing cars dangerously. Showdown fails at that in every conceivable category, making it possibly of the worst racing games ever made and something that you shouldn’t even entertain as a Christmas gift, unless you are a terrible person.
Dark (Xbox 360, PC)
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Vampires are still kind of the rage these days, but like the deluge of TV shows and Movies based on Vampires—most—not all video games don’t do them right and Dark is no exception. Poor controls, inconsistent AI and just bland gameplay make this game garlic to the Vampire genre. Do yourself a favor and don’t let this game suck a dime out of your wallet.
This is but a small taste of things you should avoid when doing your holiday shopping. Be wary of bargain bins and flash deals because more often than not—it’s something shitty. Share the list with grandma and grandpa, hell your whole family for that matter. I’ve given you the means to at least prevent one terrible gift, but only you can prevent the rest.
Sound off in the comments with your advice to uninformed holiday shoppers or even tell me if you disagree with a selection on this list by telling me why someone should buy it.