GameZone's 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Consoles and Handhelds

Holiday Gift Guide 2012 Screenshot - holiday gift guide consoles main

As the holidays approach, the big three of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are going to offer you deals, bundles and special editions of their consoles/handhelds. Sony is going to want to push the PlayStation Vita hard to make up for poor sales. Nintendo recently released the 3DS XL and the Wii U is new to the market. And Microsoft continuously puts together bundles worth a look. So here's some of the best deals on consoles and handhelds this holiday season, and the places to buy them, like Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy. For Best Buy Black Friday Deals, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Nintendo 3DS

3ds xl

  • Nintendo 3DS XL - $199.99  GameStop:  If you're going to get a 3DS, the XL is the one that you want. The top screen of the handheld is 90% large than that of the original 3DS, it has a longer battery life, and it has a large SD card. When you get the handheld from GameStop, you get Steel Diver for free. While you can find deals on the older, smaller 3DS, the 3DS XL wins out with the big screen.
  • Nintendo 3DS XL - $179.99  Best Buy:  This might be for a limited time, but everything mentioned above can also be found on Bestbuy.com for $20 less than normal. Might want to jump on this as soon as possible.

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U

  • Nintendo Wii U 8GB Basic Set - $299.99:  Nintendo's Wii U console is the first console of the next generation of gaming. for the first time ever, Nintendo lets you experience their games in 1080p HD. It also uses the innovative Wii U GamePad controller, that changes the way you and your friends will play games. If you're going to find a Wii U system this holiday season (if you didn't pre-order one), it will be this one. The Wii U is perfect for gamers of all ages, with games like New Super Mario Bros. U to ZombiU. Comes with the GamePad controller and 8GB of internal memory for storage.
  • Nintendo Wii U 32GB Deluxe Set - $349.99:  Everything that the 8GB Wii U offers, plus more. Not only do you get 32GB of internal memory and the GamePad in black, but you also get the console in black, a GamePad Cradle, a GamePad Stand, a Wii U Console Stand, and a copy of Nintendo Land. Nintendo Land by itself is $60, so think of it like this: you're getting a Wii U with more memory and all of those stands for free, and then  you're getting Nintendo Land for $50 instead of $60. This is the console you want, unless you don't want Nintendo Land and can settle for less storage.

PlayStation 3

ps3 500gb ac3 bundle

  • PlayStation 3 500GB Assassin's Creed III Bundle - $299.99:  If you plan on getting a PS3, why not get Assassin's Creed III with it? It's the largest hard drive you can get in a PS3, with the new Assassin's Creed included. So you're basically getting a 500GB PS3 for $240... and it plays Blu-ray movies.

PlayStation Vita

vita ac3 liberation bundle

  • PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi Assassin's Creed III Liberation Bundle - $249.99:  If you're going to get a Vita this holiday season, look no further than the Assassin's Creed III Liberation Bundle. The Vita brings near-console graphics to handhelds for the first time, so you can experience the swamps of New Orleans and action of AC3 Liberation on its gorgeous 5" multi-touch OLED screen. Just so you know how good of a deal this is, when I bought my Wi-Fi Vita at launch, it was $250. So you're pretty much getting AC3 Liberation for free with the Vita. Oh, and the bundle gives you the white PlayStation Vita, not the typical black one that everyone has.

Xbox 360

halo 4 xbox 360 bundle

  • Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 Console - $349.99:  If you or the person you're buying for is a huge Halo fan (and hasn't bought Halo 4 yet), look no further. This is a custom Xbox 360 S with a 320GB hard drive. It embodies Halo. It comes with two wireless controllers that feature blue LED lights and rotating D-pad. The sound effects that emit from the console when you turn it on or off and hit the eject button are straight from the game. You also get a wired headset, a copy of Halo 4 (rated a 9.5 by GameZone) and Xbox LIVE DLC code.
  • Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Bundle - $249.99:  In this bundle, you're getting one of the newer Xbox 360 S consoles, with built-in Wi-Fi and a huge 250GB hard drive. In this bundle comes two games: Forza Motorsport 4 and The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, which we at GameZone rated a 9.0 and 9.5 respectively. They're two of the best games you can get for the Xbox 360. Skyrim on its own is $60 still, so you're getting a hell of a value in this bundle.
  • Xbox 360 4GB Kinect Holiday Bundle - $249.99While you're not getting the big 250GB hard drive in this bundle, you are getting the Kinect, which allows you to play Kinect-enabled games. The 4GB hard drive won't allow a ton of space, but you can always use a USB or get a bigger hard drive for more storage. In addition to this Xbox 360 S, you get two games: Kinect: Disneyland Adventures and Kinect Adventures, rated a 9.0 and 7.0 on GameZone respectively. They're two older games, but Disneyland Adventures is a ton of fun, and Disneyland is recreated immaculately. This is obviously geared more towards families and young children.

Best Buy Black Friday Deals

Here's some really good Black Friday deals on consoles from Best Buy. There's, of course, great deals from a ton of different stores, but I thought these were really good and worth a mention.

  • Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Bundle - $199.99:  It's the same holiday bundle as above, with Skyrim and Forza 4, but it's $50 cheaper. The value of this bundle is $407.96, so not only is this bundle a great deal, but Black Friday makes it even better.
  • PlayStation 3 250GB inFamous Collection Limited Edition Bundle:  In this bundle, you're getting a newer 250GB PS3 with a number of games. You get the Uncharted Dual Pack, which includes Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Greatest Hits and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Game of the Year Edition. It also comes with the inFAMOUS Collection, which include inFAMOUS, inFAMOUS 2, and inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood. With a value of $359.97, you save $160.

You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com

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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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