Video Game Holiday Buying Guide

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Game Core is a weekly column by's William Vitka and Chad Chamberlain that brings you news on the latest and greatest in video games.

With so many games recently released, how can you pick the best? Press releases from video game companies are no help, written solely with an, "Our Game Is The Best Ever!" slant. Most gaming sites aren't much help, either, because if a game is hyped enough, it will get a good score, even if it doesn't deserve it.

But we're here to help -- responsible gamers advising you on your purchases.

With the assistance of our friends at XS Games, we've chosen our top five picks for Xbox, GameCube, Playstation 2 and PCs. We did the grunt work for you and created this wondrous list of wondrousness. These are the games that deserve your money and, better still, will make your loved gamer squeal and bounce like kids jacked up on Red Bull and Reese's.

  • Top 5 Xbox Picks
  • Top 5 Playstation 2 Picks
  • Top 5 GameCube Picks
  • Top 5 PC Picks

    A note about games with the "Mature" rating:

    It's hard for parents to know if they should buy their children a game rated Mature. It can be confusing, if only because people don't know how far the violence, sexuality or language go. On the box, there is usually a brief description of what offensive material is in the software, but allow us to offer a guideline.

    Parents should consider "Mature" or "M"-rated games on about the same level as an R-rated movies or MA-rated television shows. If you, as a parent, do not allow your young ones to watch such films or programs, certainly do not buy them an M-rated game.

    However, it is ultimately up to you to be involved in what your children are playing, to see the game for yourself and make up your own mind. Nobody can really claim any kind of "moral authority" and tell you what is or isn't right for your kids.
    By William Vitka
    (c)MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved