Electronic Gamers Magazine (Issue 002)

Letter from the Editor

Ho Ho Ho!

Welcome to the first edition of our annual Holiday Gift Guide!

As a kid I always looked forward to holiday guides from various video game magazines, and of course things like the Sears Wish Book.

Of course, as an adult I see how those publications were simply giant advertisements, encouraging kids to ask their parents for the hottest new toys for the holidays, but as a kid I thought they were the greatest things ever.

This issue is our take on those great holiday guides from back in the day.

I hope you find it both entertaining and useful.

– Gamatroid


Kevin Conroy, the famous voice of Batman, passed away at the age of 66

Kevin Conroy is one of the most recognizable voice actors in both animation and games, having portrayed the iconic Batman in the long-running 90s animated series, plus voicing the Dark Knight in the Arkham series, among many other roles over the years.

Kevin passed away on November 10, 2022, just a short time after being diagnosed with cancer.

Sonic Co-Creator Arrested

Yuji Naka, co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights Into Dreams, has been arrested for alleged insider trading as part of a larger insider trading investigation into two former Square-Enix employees.

New Sonic Animated Series Coming to Netflix

Sonic Prime will debut on December 15 and follow Sonic as he races through parallel dimensions to save the world after an explosive battle with Dr. Eggman shatters the universe.


If you care at all about video game history, Atari, or feel nostalgic for your childhood gaming experiences, Atari 50 is money well spent.

Atari is the seminal video game company, and its journey over time, seen from the perspective of 2022, is down right memorizing.

Atari was able to dig up a lot of historical videos, flyers and images from its history, along with a ton of its great games and put it all in a package that’s easily consumable by modern gamers.

The collection has games from the entire span of Atari’s history, from its earliest arcade games, to the 2600, 5200, 7800, computers, Lynx and Jaguar. Of course not every game is included, but the selection includes some of the best, and also some of the rarest. For example, if you’ve never gotten the chance to play the cult classic Ninja Golf on the Atari 7800, you definitely need to give it a try. It also includes some “reimagined” games, created in 2022, based on some of Atari’s most popular games from its earliest years.

In addition, the entire Atari Swordquest series is included. The first two games in the series, Earthworld and Fireworld, are still pretty easy to buy used, but the third game in the series, Waterworld, is rare and goes for about $400, and this collection even includes the final, unreleased, game in the series: Airworld. The story behind the Swordquest games and contest is fascinating and included in the collection as well.

While the Atari Collection may not be for everyone, it is a very well produced package, reasonably priced, and the perfect way to relive (or discover) Atari’s rich history in 2022.




The visuals in the Atari 50 Celebration are incredible, for what it is.

The emulation of its arcade games and 8-bit catalog are some of the best available, and while they are still very old games that look primitive, you won’t see them looking this good on original hardware in 2022 (heresy I know).

The historical timeline and collection of photos, videos and artifacts look great as well. I was surprised at how good they were able to get some of the old video footage to look, and this is a much better way to enjoy them than endlessly scrolling bad quality YouTube videos.

The new interview videos look great as well, and are very well produced. In line with the latest Netflix documentaries, which is a complete compliment.

And the new reimagined games look really great, bringing new life to old games that have been remixed or remade dozens of times over the years.


The audio is in line with the graphics. The fx and music in the games sounds great, and the audio in the old videos is as good as it can possibly be, and much better than you would typically find outside of this collection. Overall a homerun.


The overall atmosphere of the Atari 50 celebration is perfect. The interfaces and UI fit the content really well and help make exploring the collection a pleasure.

The timeline is an interesting way to explore the various artifacts in chronological order, and it is divided into decade-like categories to make exploring 50 years of history more consumable and not feel overwhelming.

If you want to simply jump into the various games included in the collection, there is a UI for that as well that simply lays out all the playable games next to each other and lets you sort them in a variety of ways, including recently played and chronologically, among others.


Recreating the gameplay of 50 years of games surely isn’t easy, and anyone who played these games IRL back in the day, or has tried to play via emulation, knows it can be very challenging.

The Atari 50 Celebration does an admirable job making all the games playable and accessible, even though games that rely on paddles or trackballs sometimes seem too sensitive, but hey, just remember you’re using a digital pad or analog stick when are really nothing like the original controls.

The timeline UI controls are tight as well and generally make it easy to navigate through all the various types of media included in the collection.


Ok, fun can be quite subjective, but if you ever liked and played Atari over its 50 year history, there is likely something in the collection you will find super entertaining.

I think its great fun to be able to browse Atari’s history in the timeline view, watch a video about how a historic game was produced, and then go right into playing that game. The context around the games and history is wonderful and I spent many hours browsing and playing the collection.

The new reimagined versions of the game are really fun as well, especially when the original versions are presented right along side them so you can truly appreciate just how far gaming as come.


Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum is the perfect gift for old school gaming veterans in 2022.

It was a previously unreleased game, based on the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, which were hugely popular in the 80s.

Even though it is technically a NES game, it has a ton of quality-of-life improvements, typical of games in 2022. it isn’t so hard that you’ll want to throw your controller, and it is fun enough to keep you playing throughout.

It’s also budget priced as a digital download on all the major platforms, so if it sounds interesting at all, just pick up a copy. It’s worth the nostalgia alone.




GPK: Mad Mike was originally built to be an NES game, and it’s visuals faithfully reflect that. Even as a NES game, however, Mad Mike’s graphics are generally of good quality and some of the visuals, especially the bosses, represent some of the better games originally available on the NES.


GPK: Mad Mike has fairly standard NES-style audio, but the music is quite catchy and fits the action well. While it isn’t an audio masterpiece like Silver Surfer, Castlevania or Mega Man 2, it’s audio and sound are quite good, and the music never gets annoying.


GPK: Mad Mike’s overall atmosphere faithfully looks and feels like a vintage NES game, so from that aspect it totally nails it, but each of its six stages is themed (like Stone Age, Hell, Transylvania, etc) and the graphics for each level adequately represent the theme, meaning you would know the level was Hell or the Stone Age without knowing that was the name of the level you are on.


GPK: Mad Mike has tight and varied gameplay like some of the best of the NES era. You can switch between characters using the Select button, access the various playing cards using the Start button, and attack and jump using B and A, just like any other NES game.

My only slight complaint is with the edge detection on platforms is a little unforgiving, so just make sure to jump a split second before you think you might need to, in order to avoid falling off. Once you make a few jumps you get used to the timing, but it may catch you off guard at first.


GPK: Mad Mike is lots of fun.

The game itself is great and the bonus content packed into the game makes it even better.

You have multiple Garbage Pail Kids to play as, each with unique powers, and all of the enemies and set pieces are also from the GPK universe, really pulling you into the world and tugging on the heart strings of nostalgia.

While there are certainly better NES games, GPK totally holds its own, and is a lot of fun in 2022.


In addition to the current gen releases of Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum, at the moment you can also pre-order a physical release of the game for NES that’s playable on original hardware.

Of course you wouldn’t have the extra content or quality of life improvements on original hardware, but it’s very cool that you could play the game as it was originally intended to be experienced.

You can see a mockup of the physical release below:

The physical NES release comes with:

  • fully illustrated box
  • either a pink or blue cartridge
  • full color instruction manual (you can read a digital version of the manual in the current-gen version of the game).

All this nostalgic awesomeness doesn’t come cheap though.

Pre-orders for the NES version are $79.99 USD, and with tax and shipping, can push it over $100.

If you want to learn more about the game and pre-order opportunity, click the button below to visit the developer’s website.


Sonic Frontiers is a new semi-open world game in the long-running Sonic series from Sega that promised to take the series in a new direction, but the results are…mixed.

While the new open world hub shows promise, the majority of the gameplay is very similar to the other recent 3D entries in the Sonic series, the visuals aren’t great on next gen hardware and the story and overall world feel kind of generic.

If you liked the other recent 3D Sonic games, then Frontiers is a marked improvement and you should go ahead and pick it up.

However, if you were hoping this game would take the series in a revolutionary new direction, a la Breath of the Wild or Elden Ring, you may be disappointed. In this case you should try it first if you can, or wait for it to go on sale.




Sonic Frontiers’ graphics look good at first glance, but certainly don’t give you a sense that it is representative of the capabilities of the PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Frontiers looks more like a last gen Sonic game with some fancy FX thrown in. The fact that Sonic Frontiers is available on last gen consoles, like the Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, seems to have really held back its graphic fidelity.

If you watch a side-by-side comparison on YouTube, between the Switch and PS5 versions, you’ll see there isn’t a huge difference.

The PS5 version has shinier metal and grass sticking out of the ground instead of the flat looking textures on the Switch, but overall the character models and landscape are practically identical.

This leads to Frontiers mostly looking like a last gen game, and puts it well behind some of the other new releases this year.


Sonic Frontiers contains a few different musical styles, but none of them are particularly memorable (but none are particularly annoying either).

The overworld background music is faint and pleasant, and each “Cyber Space” level has some variation of generic techno music. Not bad, but not great either. You certainly won’t find any Chemical Plant Zone masterpieces here.

The sound fx are standard Sonic-fare, but that’s actually a good thing. Collecting rings sounds exactly like it should, and so does pretty much every other sound effect. Nothing to write home about, but Sonic Team did exactly what you’d expect them to do, which is fine with me.

Sonic’s voice in the cutscenes though is…different. I’m sure some people will really like it, but I prefer the voice acting in Sonic Adventure to this deeper variation.


One of my biggest problems with Sonic Frontiers is just how forgettable it all seems. The overworld looks and feels very generic, with only the occasional boss fight livening things up (some of the bosses do look pretty cool, but they all look very similar). The story narrative has never been a huge part of Sonic games, and unfortunately Frontiers continues this tradition.


Sonic games have always been more about the gameplay itself, and a pure sense of speed, than incredible graphics (except, I would argue, Sonic Adventure for its time) and a strong compelling narrative.

Even though the open world area feels kind of generic, it does have a more evolved style of gameplay than the more traditional Cyber Space levels, which play much like past 3D Sonic games. While its doesn’t have Breath of the Wild or Elden Ring’s level of openness, it is a nice departure from the more linear action focused Cyber Space levels.

Just don’t expect a huge evolution in gameplay from past Sonic games.


The most important thing, though, is whether Sonic Frontiers is fun, and the answer to that is…mixed.

Most of the time I spent in the overworld and in each Cyber Space stage was quite enjoyable, but the camera (THE CAMERA!!!) and the lock-on system can sometimes be a worse enemy than Eggman himself.

I often found the camera and it’s enemy lock-on system lead to a great many deaths that could have been avoided otherwise. Hopefully Sega will continue to release patches to tweak the camera settings, but as it is the camera can be a primary source of frustration.

Overall I do think Sonic Frontiers is fun, and if you liked the other recent 3D Sonic games, you will likely like this one as well.

The holidays are rapidly approaching, which means its time to start shopping for those special gamers in your life, whether they be big or small, but with so many choices it can become overwhelming to find the right gifts.

But no fear, the Electronic Gamers’ 2022 Holiday Gift Guide is here!

The following guide is broken down into sections, to help make finding the perfect gift even easier, and you can quickly jump to a specific section using the buttons below:

Please keep in mind that any external links in this Holiday Guide are simply there for the reader’s convenience. Neither Gamatroid nor Electronic Gamers endorse these sites, nor receive any kind of commission from external sites.

You should always read reviews and consult multiple trusted sources when shopping online.


Recommended Gifts
for Nintendo Switch Gamers

Recommended Online Game SUBSCRIPTION

Nintendo Switch Online – Base Tier

Nintendo Switch Online has two primary tiers with individual and family subscription options for each.

The base Nintendo Switch Online tier costs $3.99 per month (or $19.99 per year) for an individual subscription and includes online play, cloud saves and access to a great catalog of classic NES and SNES hits.

The higher tier costs $49.99 per year (no monthly option) and includes Nintendo Switch Online plus an Expansion Pack that includes access to a select catalog of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games, plus access to select DLC.

Unfortunately the features included in the Expansion Pack have been underwhelming. While the NES and SNES games in the base tier are emulated almost perfectly, the Nintendo 64 emulation is buggy and can be distracting to the point where it takes away from the experience. Furthermore, while the Sega Genesis games are a nice addition, there are several collections available with more Genesis games to play, which make it less than compelling.

Our recommendation is to sign up for the Base Tier and then check back to see whether Nintendo has improved the emulation and features in the Expansion Pass before you upgrade.

Recommended Blockbuster

The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild

Now there is a very good chance Nintendo Switch gamers already have Breath of the Wild.

Why? Because not only is it the greatest game on the Nintendo Switch, but it’s also one of the greatest games of all time.

That being said, there are new Nintendo Switch gamers being made everyday, and if your gamer doesn’t have this masterpiece in their collection, it’s a must buy.

NOTE: The version pictured above and linked below is the European release, but unlike the days of old, the Nintendo Switch does not have any region lock out, meaning you can play European releases on a North American Switch. The cover art for the game is different between the North American and European releases, but the game itself is the same, and the European cover art is pretty cool. Check other online stores, like Walmart or Gamestop, if you want the North American version.

Recommended New Release

Sonic Frontiers
(available on Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5)

There have been a few new releases of late for the Nintendo Switch, but Sonic Frontiers is one of the best and has the broadest appeal across many different kinds of gamers.

For nostalgic gamers who grew up with Sonic, this may not be exactly the same kind of game they used to play back in the day (for that look to Sonic Mania) but it is a new evolution of Sonic that is positioned to guide the direction of the series for years to come.

While Sonic Frontiers may have its flaws (see the review in this issue), it’s still a great addition to the Nintendo Switch library.

Recommended VALUE GAME ($20 or Less)

Lego Harry Potter Collection
(available on Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5)

Lego Harry Potter Collection on the Nintendo Switch brings together two games in the long running Lego series: Harry Potter Years 1-4 and Harry Potter Years 5-7, and remasters them to look their best for Switch.

To be fair these games are a bit older at this point, but Lego games age very gracefully and if your gamer is either new to the Harry Potter franchise or a long time veteran, these family friendly versions of the Potter story are an excellent value.

Recommended RETRO Collection / Re-release

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Cowabunga Collection
(available on Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were very popular back in the 90s, and any old school gamer or retro enthusiast is probably familiar with the games in this collection.

The Turtles had some of the most loved (and notorious) games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), GameBoy, Super NES and Sega Genesis. This collection brings all the classic Turtle games together, plus adds in the beloved arcade versions.

There are thirteen games included:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of The Foot Clan (GameBoy)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Back From The Sewers (GameBoy)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Radical Rescue (GameBoy)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game (NES)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project (NES)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (NES)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (Sega Genesis)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (Sega Genesis)

In addition to providing accurate versions of the classic games, this collection also adds several quality of life upgrades and bonus features. Several of the games are known to be very difficult but now you can save your progress and rewind to help make it through particularly difficult sections.

Plus you can remove the flicker and slowdown from some of the older games, providing an even better experience than the original, without losing key aspects that make those games great.

Recommended RETRO-STYLED New Release

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Shredder’s Revenge
(available on Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5)

Ok I know you’re probably thinking…wait, ANOTHER Turtles game!?!

Well 2022 was the year of the Ninja Turtles, from a gaming perspective, and Shredder’s Revenge was one of the most surprising and well received games of the year.

While not a retro-game in the truest sense, Shredder’s Revenge follows in a pattern of excellent retro-styled games where it uses pixel art and is a side-scrolling brawler in the classic style of the old TMNT arcade and console games.

With great animation and killer action, and is an excellent sequel to the classic games.

Recommended Switch Accessory

NexiGo Wireless Controller
Cosmic Nebula

If you aren’t already aware, Nintendo Switch accessories and controllers can be quite expensive, especially the offiical accessories from Nintendo itself.

While controllers and other accessories made by third part companies can be much less expensive, you definitely need to be wary of shody manufacturing and poor quality.

Luckily the Cosmic Nebula wireless controller by NexiGo is both reasonably priced and really great looking, with overwhelmingly positive user reviews on Amazon.

Recommended Gifts
for PlayStation Gamers

Recommended Online Game Subscription

PlayStation Plus Premium

PlayStation Plus offers multiple tiers of service with varying features and price points:

Essential is the entry tier at $9.99 per month and it includes the same features as the original PlayStation Plus service with access to online gameplay and a couple of free games each month.

Extra is the middle tier at $14.99 per month and includes everything from the Essential tier plus an online game catalog and access to Ubisoft+ classics.

Premium is the highest tier at $17.99 per month and includes everything from the Extra tier plus a catalog of classic games, cloud streaming and access to game trials.

Our recommendation is to sign up for Premium, as it includes the most features and is a great value at $119.99 (each new PS4 game is about $60 and PS5 games are $70).

Even though it’s the most expensive tier, you get access to a catalog of more than 100 games, access to game trials for newer games, access to a Classics Catalog of PS1 and PS2 games, and Cloud Streaming on both PS4 and PS5, plus PC! (which works surprisingly well)

While you can’t directly gift the subscription to someone, you can buy them a $100 and a $25 PlayStation gift card that they can use to buy a 12-month subscription online. A three-month subscription is $49.99, and a one-month subscription is $17.99.

Recommended Blockbuster

Horizon Forbidden West
(available on PS5 or PS4)

If your PlayStation gamer has a PS5, and you want to get the best game to showcase the power of the newest generation of PlayStation, then make sure to get God of War: Ragnarok, our recommended new release (detailed below). It’s a serious contender for Game of the Year and a Blockbuster for sure.

However, if your gamer already has God of War: Ragnarok, then look to the next best AAA PlayStation-exclusive blockbuster in Sony’s PS5 catalog: Horizon Forbidden West.

Available on PS5 and PS4 (but they are different versions – make sure to buy the right one), Horizon Forbidden West is an outstanding sequel to 2017’s critically acclaimed Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4, and an excellent addition to any PlayStation gamer’s library.

(A 5-Hour full game trial is available for both PS4 and PS5 as part of PlayStation Plus Premium.)

Recommended New Release

God of War: Ragnarok
(available on PS4 or PS5)

God of War: Ragnarok should be in every PlayStation gamer’s collection; no question.

Building upon the outstanding God of War (2018), Ragnarok continues Kratos and his son Atreus’s adventure. God of War: Ragnarok showcases the best visuals, audio, gameplay and story that PlayStation has to offer, and is a likely contender for Game of the Year.

Just keep in mind that the game is rated M for Mature gamers 17 and up, and may not be suitable for younger gamers.

See more about God of War: Ragnarok on PlayStation.com’s outstanding website (it is truly stunning). Link below.

Recommended VALUE GAME ($20 or Less)

God of War (2018)
(available on PS4)

God of War on PS4 was an epic reimagining of the popular God of War game series, which began on PS2 back in 2005.

In the original 2005 God of War, Kratos is a Spartan warrior in ancient Greece seeking revenge against the god Ares for killing his wife and daughter. The revenge story in the first game was good enough to make the experience compelling, and the action-oriented gameplay was excellent.

The 2018 reimagining of God of War changed its setting from ancient Greece to the frozen lands of Norse-mythology’s Midgard, gave Kratos a son, and embraced a new emotionally mature story along with outstanding visuals and gameplay.

It may be unlikely that any PlayStation gamer would still be without God of War in their collection, but if that is the case then this is an excellent addition.

Just keep in mind that the game is rated M for Mature gamers 17 and up, and may not be suitable for younger gamers.

Recommended RETRO Collection / Re-release

Sega Genesis Classics
(available on PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S)

The Sega Genesis had some of the best games back in the 90s, and this collection captures many of Sega’s biggest hits from that time.

The game interfact is presented as a virtual 90s bedroom, complete with CRT television and game posters on the walls. The games are presented as if arranged on a bookshelf, and it’s all done well and adds to the retro atmosphere.

Sega Genesis Classics includes the following hits, plus more:

  • Altered Beast
  • Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Decap Attack
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • ESWAT: City Under Siege
  • Golden Axe (I, II and III)
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Phantasy Star II, III & IV
  • Shining Force I & II
  • Sonic the Hedgehog I & II
  • Streets of Rage I, II and III
  • The Revenge of Shinobi
  • ToeJam & Earl 1 & 2
  • Vectorman 1 & 2
  • Wonder Boy III & Monster World

If you are looking to get something for a 90s gamer, or a gamer who is interested in gaming history, this collection is a great buy.

Recommended RETRO-STYLED New Release

Streets of Rage 4
Anniversary Edition
(available on PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S)

Streets of Rage 4 is a modern retro-styled direct sequel to Streets of Rage 3 on Sega Genesis.

Streets of Rage 4 is more than just a sequel though; it’s a love letter to fans of the original series with tons of unlockables, including 16-bit characters, and the ability to swap the soundtrack for either the classic Streets of Rage 1 or 2 soundtrack. and music tracks by original series composer, Yuzo Koshiro, among others.

In 2021, the Mr. X Nightmare DLC was released that added several additional playable characters, a new survival mode, and additional music tracks.

The Anniversary Edition combines the original release of Streets of Rage 4 along with the Mr. X Nightmare DLC.

Recommended PlayStation Accessory

PlayStation PULSE 3D Wireless Headset

The PlayStation PULSE 3D wireless headphones are compatible with PS4, PS5 and PC, but specifically designed for 3D audio on PS5. The headphones also include hidden noise-cancelling microphones for chatting.

Not only do the headphones look great, and compliment the design of the PS5, but they help bring out the best of the PS5’s audio.

Games for Xbox Gamers

Recommended Online Game SUBSCRIPTION

GamePass offers multiple tiers with varying levels of benefits to appeal to console gamers and PC gamers, but the best value is GamePass Ultimate.

For $14.99 a month, GamePass Ultimate subscribers get access to Xbox Live, included monthly games and discounts with Xbox Gold, more than 100 games across Xbox and PC, exclusive GamePass discounts, access to EA Play’s online service, and access to Xbox Cloud Gaming.

GamePass itself is very similar to how Netflix works, with new games being added regularly, but games are also removed from the service. While there are a lot of games to play at any given time, the fact that games can be removed gives a greater sense of urgency to play.

Xbox Gold, which comes as part of GamePass Ultimate, provides subscribers with 2-4 “free” games per month. The games stay in your collection as long as you are an Xbox Gold subscriber, whether through GamePass Ultimate or a different subscritpion tier.

Xbox Gold games generally aren’t as new or high value as the biggest hits in the GamePass catalog, but you don’t have to worry about them being removed the same way you do with GamePass games.

PC GamePass, Cloud Gaming and EA Play are also great benefits, even for someone who primarily plays on console. There are PC GamePass exclusive games that don’t come to Xbox, and the abilty to just pick up and play Cloub Gaming can be very enticing, especially to try out larger blockbuster games that would take hours to install. Just try them on Cloud Gaming first then install if you want to keep playing – your game progress carries over.

If your Xbox gamer doesn’t have GamePass already then a GamePass Ultimate 3-Month Gift Card could make the perfect gift.

Recommended Blockbuster

Elden Ring
(available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5)

Elden Ring is a serious Game of the Year award contender, and with good reason. This open world epic brings the killer boss fights, beautiful visuals and precision gameplay from the Souls series, and combines it with a compelling world created in partnership with fantasy writer George R. R. Martin (of A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones fame).

While Elden Ring certainly isn’t an easy game, its open world gives players more freedom to take on challenges and battle enemies in different ways than ever before.

If your gamer doesn’t already have Elden Ring, then it would be a great addition to their collection, and the digital crossover version provides access to both the last gen version on Xbox One and the next gen version on Xbox Series X/S. They can play either version or play both with cloud saves transferring their saved data between consoles. Also, if they own an Xbox Series S, they can’t use physical game discs anyways, so the digital version is the safest bet.

Just keep in mind that the game is rated M for Mature gamers 17 and up, and may not be suitable for younger gamers.

And if the game proves too difficult, don’t worry. Just tell them the secret is… Git Gud.

Recommended New Release

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II | Cross-Gen Bundle (available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5)

Call of Duty games typically get released in November, which makes them the perfect holiday games, and Modern Warfare II is the latest and greatest in the long running and uber popular series.

Now some fair warning, if your gamer already likes Call of Duty, there is a chance they already own this game. However, the series has been so popular that many gamers used to play Call of Duty at some point in the past, and while they may not rush out immediately to buy the newest game in the series, they would still appreciate diving back into it (I would qualify as one of those gamers).

The Cross-Gen digital bundle is a safe bet since it ensures whether a gamer has an Xbox One, Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X, they can play the newest entry in the Call of Duty series.

Just keep in mind that the game is rated M for Mature gamers 17 and up, and may not be suitable for younger gamers.

Recommended VALUE GAME ($20 or Less)

Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades Edition
(available on Xbox One and PS4)

The breakthrough popularity of Elden Ring has introduced the Souls series to a lot of new gamers in 2022, but before Elden Ring the crown jewel in the Souls series on Xbox was Dark Souls 3.

While Dark Souls 3 may not have the open world nature of Elden Ring, it is by far the most beautiful and accessible entry in the Souls series (it was the first game in the Dark Souls series I played, and I ended up playing through it seven times in a row).

The First Fades Edition includes the core game plus all of the DLC that was released for it, and it’s a great value since you can typically find it for less than $20. Just keep in mind that this version only works on Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

If your gamer has an Xbox Series S, which is digital only, you may want to get them an equivalent dollar value gift card instead and suggest this is the game they should buy with it. It’s also typically $20 or less on the digital Xbox store.

Just keep in mind that the game is rated M for Mature gamers 17 and up, and may not be suitable for younger gamers.

Recommended RETRO Collection / Re-release

Atari 50 Celebration
(available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and Switch)

The Atari 50 Celebration is an amazing collection of Atari games and history, starting all the way back with Pong and including hits from the arcade, 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx and Jaguar. For the full rundown, checkout our review in this issue.

The bottom line is that the Atari 50 Celebration is one of the greatest retro game collections available, and anyone who is interested in one of the founding companies of gaming, or who lived through that time and would love a stroll down memory lane, should get this game.

The Atari 50 Celebration is rated T for Teen, and that is probably because of the more mature Jaguar games and some of the interviews that mention drug use at Atari back in the day.

Note: if your gamer has the Xbox Series S, then buy an Xbox gift card with at least $40 on it instead, as they will need to purchase and download the game digitally.

Recommended RETRO-STYLED New Release

Sonic Mania Plus
(available on Xbox One and PS4)

Sonic Mania is a modern game, first released in 2018, but created in the style of the 90’s Sonic games on the Sega Genesis. Sonic Mania Plus includes the base game, plus includes the Encore DLC which added two new playable characters and a new Encore mode.

Sonic Mania includes some of the most popular stages from Sonic 1, 2 and 3, plus adds new stages created just for this game.

Sonic Mania received glowing reviews from both critics and users alike and would be a great addition to any gamer’s collection.

Recommended Xbox Accessory

Officially Licensed Hyperkin Duke Wired Controller

“The Duke” was the nickname for Xbox’s legendary original controller, due to its extremely large size, purposely made for larger American gamer hands (ignoring that gamers had been raised on “Japanese” controllers for years).

It didn’t go over well with gamers and was replaced with the smaller controller Xbox had designed for the Japanese market.

Despite those early design missteps, some gamers preferred the larger size of The Duke, and its design has become the stuff of gaming legends.

In honor of the original Duke, Hyperkin worked with Xbox to design and release a modern version of The Duke controller for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

The Duke controller isn’t cheap, but it is an interesting addition to any Xbox gamer’s collection.

CAREFULLY SELECTED gaming tips, tricks and cheats to GIVE YOU THE BEST POSSIBLE advantage

Atari 50 Celebration

Unlock Hidden Game – Basic Math

There are a few Atari 2600 games which are locked and inaccessible at first. To unlock Basic Math you need to play the reimagined Haunted House training level.

Near the key there is a dead end and you will see a boarded up door. Make sure your torch is equipped and stand in front of the door for a few seconds. The torch will then go out and you will be standing inside a classroom.

Take the test paper on the ground and set it in front of the teachers desk to unlock Basic Math.

Sonic Mania Plus

Level Select

First you have to unlock and enable Debug Mode. Then on the save selection screen of Mania Mode, highlight the No Save option on the far right, then enter the appropriate button combination (the button combination differs by console):

For Xbox: Press and hold Y and X together.

For PlayStation: Press and hold Square and X together.

For Switch: Press and hold Minus and Y buttons together.

Streets of Rage 1
(included in the Sega Genesis Collection)

Level and Lives Select

Go to the main menu.

Hold down the equivalent of (A) + (B) + (C) + RIGHT on controller 2 while selecting Options on controller 1 (best if done with two people).

You can now select how many lives you start with and which stage to start on.

Comix Zone
(included in the Sega Genesis Collection)

Unlimited Health

Comix Zone is known as being one of the hardest games of the 90s generation, so getting a little help is much appreciated.

To get unlimited health go to the options menu and select the jukebox. Now press the equivalent of (C) on the following track numbers: 3, 12, 17, 2, 2, 10, 2, 7, 7, and 11. If you do it properly you’ll hear a voice say “oh yeah”.

Now you can breeze through most battles, but don’t fall down any holes or it’s still instant death.


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