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Check out our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, win some awesome gadgets!
I was nine years old and I was a huge Star Wars fan. I was looking forward to Christmas like every kid and I hoped to get a ton of Star Wars stuff.
Christmas morning finally came and back then I would try to sneak out of bed at four or five in the morning so I could start playing. Sometimes I would get caught and I was told to go back to bed, but I always came out later after the coast was clear.
That Christmas I woke up early and quickly ran to the living room to start opening my presents. Every gift I opened was a toy. I don’t remember all of the stuff I got, but as I said it was all toys!
I went searching to the back of the tree to see if there was anything I missed and I found a present in the shape of a rectangle. This meant it was shirt box – clothes! Ugh. I tossed it back and buried it under some of my sibling’s presents.
Once again, Elmo is here to take over the holiday, causing parking lot brawls between otherwise-normal parents. Back in 1996, Tickle Me Elmo flew off store shelves. 12 years later, Elmo Live tells jokes, sings songs, plays games, and tells stories. Oh, and he still laughs too. The biggest change, though, is thatElmo’s mouth actually moves when he talks, along with the rest of his body. He also moves his arms, nods his head, stands up, sits down, among other things, all with a squeeze of his foot. I was at Target the other day, and almost every shopping cart with a kid in it had one, and at one moment, I literally heard 7 of these things going at once, simply due to the carts being in close proximity. This is one of the big toy gifts this year. Elmo Live sells for $65.99, but we found it on Amazon for 9% off, at $59.88.
Here’s the cool thing about Hasbro’s Lazer Tag Multiplayer Battle System - you can play and shoot each other in a group, running around as you normally would during a game of Laser Tag, which is always fun - or you can go it along with the television attachment, which turns the system into a one-player video game where you shoot the bad guys on the TV. The set includes the TV attachment, two tag guns, and two pump-action shot blast attachments. When your hit, a rumble pack makes it obvious, you’ve got a manual reload button to refill your shots after every ten that you fire, and a shield button. The set retails for $79.99, but we found it for 13% less on Amazon, at $69.96.
If your children are anything like my three-year old son, then chances are that they are just as familiar with your gadgets as you are. They want to hold them, use them, mimicking you every step of the way. The thing is, gadgets aren’t the most affordable things in the world, and children don’t seem to understand that. This is where the SanDisk Sansa Shaker comes in - it’s a fully-functional flash MP3 player that is meant for little kids. SanDisk did a good job with this one too - just holding it you can tell it’s durable. It has two built-in headphone jacks for tandem enjoyment, as well as a speaker if you prefer your children not put on headphones. It’s called the Shaker because, when you sake it, you advance it to another track, shuffle-style. It is shaped perfectly for little hands, and has a couple of job wheels for volume and track selection. The device runs on one AAA battery, which will last for about 8 hours of playback. You can pick one up for $30, which holds 512 MB of content (about 120 songs) or opt for the $40 1 GB player, which will hold about 240 tracks. They are available in pink and blue.
Read More | SanDisk Sansa Shaker on Amazon
The Nintendo DS Lite is all about improving the whole Nintendo DS experience. The original was a bit clunky (although some preferred it’s size) and had a fairly dim screen. Not so with the DS Lite. The new model looks great, featuring the same touchscreen gameplay with 33% less bulk. While you get the same in-game functionality as the original DS, we still think it’s worth the upgrade. Forget the fact that the graphics aren’t on par with the PSP - the Nintendo DS blows it away in terms of the selection of games available in it’s vast library. Add in online gaming through the Nintendo WiFi connection, and this one is a winner.
With Wii, Nintendo seems to be poised to be the talk of the videogame town once again. Wii (pronounced “wee”) doesn’t match up to the PLAYSTATION 3 or Xbox 360 in terms of processing power, but makes up for it by boasting the best library of classic games on the planet, along with what many consider to be the most user-friendly controller ever to grace a home console. The Wii Remote (or Wiimote as it’s affectionately known) has a built-in accelerometer that works with a sensor bar that sits above or below your television. It senses movement and tilt in three dimensions, and even has a speaker for audible feedback directly out of the controller itself along with force feedback. Throw in built-in WiFi, and you have a console that is ready to download classic games from the 80s and 90s, as well as interacting with other Wii owners around the globe.