Holiday Help Desk 2010: Games, gaming gear, and Pillow PetsGamespot's Ricardo Torres shares his game gift list after checking it twice, plus Amazon reveals its top sellers. Of course, they include the Kindle but also Pillow Pets.
-Hello everyone and welcome. -Hello. I can hear you now. -Welcome to the kung fu movie edition of the CNET Holiday Help Desk. I'm Molly Wood. That's Brian Tong over there across the desk for me. And if you are not familiar with the Holiday Help Desk, and you ought to be by now, we are going to spend the next 30 to 100 minutes taking your calls-- -100! -talking to guests. I mean, it's the last one of the season, dude. -Yeah, I know. I know. -We gotta do it up right. -We're gonna take care of you guys. Now, we brought in a few special guests, some of the best in-house minds that we can grab: CNET's cheapskate champion, Rick Broida, in the house joining us all the way from Michigan and well lit as well. -Good to see you. -Hi, Rick. How are you doing? -You're such a pro now. -Hey, I'm pretty good. How are you doing? -Good. Also, we're gonna be joined by Craig Berman from Amazon.com. He's gonna fill us on some of the hottest shipping options and some of the latest things that we know Amazon has their crazy Lightning Deals, their Gold Box deals. He's gonna talk about what's happening and what's hot at Amazon.com. And also a little later, we're gonna be joined by editor-in-chief of CNET's sister site, GameSpot (all of the gaming goodness you need to know), Ricardo Torres in the house. He'll be talking Kinect, Move, some of the top games of this year, what you should get this season, what you shouldn't get this season. So, it works out to have him here. -That's gonna be good stuff. I know Brian Tong and Ricardo just spent like the last 20 minutes basically just confabbing, like, what are the-- what are the things? What should I get? -Like, what do you like? What do you like? What do you want? -Okay, what about this game? What are you playing now? -What about next year? -Alright. This is show number 5 of 5 of Holiday Help Desk that we've hosted since Thanksgiving week. If you're joining us live, you can call us with your questions, 1-888-900-CNET, 2638 is our number. Or join in the conversation at the chatroom. Watch the live stream, http://cnet.com/live or slash live-- -I haven't heard of the http in a long time. -Cnet.com/live-- I don't really know why I said that exactly. It's just-- I was having a throw back moment. -Oh! Well, you know we're gonna throw it to you now. -Ah! -Uh oh, look out. It's time for CNET's very own cheapskate, Rick Broida. He's gonna chime in. Rick, you are our deal guru. What's on the Cheapskate Blog today? -Thank you. Well, I like the sound of that guru. The deal of the day is something that I actually have been putting together for the last few weeks and I kinda did it with Cheapskate readers in mind. I worked with an outfit called AppSumo to put together software and services bundle, which has a total value of $220, and you can buy the bundle for just $19. -Woah! -Wow! -And yes, it's-- I know. It's-- it's the original sweet deal. -Sweet-- it's the OG sweet deal. -Sweet deal! I do. This is the OG sweet deal. I think this is the one that sparked the-- the song perhaps. -Yeah. -Can you tell what are some-- what-- what's in there? It looks like Plants vs. Zombies, which alone is already $20 right? -Yeah, Plants-- you get the full version of Plants vs. Zombies, which would normally run you $20. So you're already saving a buck right there. But then, you also get like a 6-month subscription to PlayOn, which is just a phenomenal video streaming service. -Yeah. -You get a year's worth of a service called Dial2Do, which is like a voice-based, you know, you call a number on your phone and you say, "Update my Facebook status" and then you update it, and it recognizes your voice and translates it and sends it where you wanna go--really, really cool service. And you also get the full version of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum that is, by itself-- -That alone-- -is again worth like $40. -Alone. -And that-- just-- just a fantastic bundle. And the icing on the cake is that 40% of all the proceeds go to charity. And, so, I really encourage everybody to-- to take advantage of this. It's-- it's win-win. -And this is the charity-- for this specific bundle, it's going to Charity: Water, correct? -Charity: Water. Yeah, fantastic organization. -Yeah. They provide clean drinking water to people around the world. They've been doing a lot in the tech space, actually. -A lot of Twitter stuff and everything. -Yeah, a lot of Twitter. This is pretty amazing actually. I got a little distracted just looking at the list-- -I can tell. -of things. And it-- well, seriously [unk] come up. -I know. -But it's $20. -No, it's an-- -That's amazing. That is a good-- and actually, Rick has been promising this deal all week long that he was gonna have like an amazing thing that dropped on Monday and I-- I-- I think this qualifies. I was skeptical at first but now, I'm feeling it. -To be honest, it's actually kind of cool to have a deal that some people that are listening can still get. -Yes. -Instead of it being instantly sucked up, not that it's not. -The heartbreak deal. -Like, do you know? I can feel like half the time, these deals are always scooped up before we even get to them, so. -I know. Well, so now, Rick-- -Yeah, that's true. -I-- I'm in-- -Yeah, but this one's good 'til the end of the month. -So now, I'm in lock down mode though for shopping 'cause now it's time to just like cook and clean and wrap presents. Well, are there good deals coming after the holidays 'cause it seems like between Christmas and New Year's, good shopping time? -Ah, you know, good deals all year round. So, you know, if you're-- you're tired of shopping now, just a wait a little while and, you know, the good stuff will be back, alright? -You promise? 'Cause I keep seeing those ads for like the Bloomingdales 40% off stuff until December 24th, I'm so really tempted. I know I don't have time to make those right now. I just-- can I trust you on this? -How many like-- how many Black Friday: The Sequel deals have you seen since Black Friday? -Sure. -There's one on every single week. So, they'll keep coming. -That's true. -Sure. -There's gotta be like Yellow December 28th and Fuchsia December 29th. -Yeah, Green Monday pass. -Okay, alright. -So, just-- just-- -All the colors of December. -I-- Hey, it's Green Monday. It's still Green Monday. -You're right. It's Green Monday every Monday. -[unk] Monday. -And also a question from the producers who might, may or may not be looking for a new TV, do you think the best time to buy a new TV is before the Super Bowl or after? -I think if [unk] playing. -That's-- that's true. -Very diplomatic. So, after then. -Yeah. -You know, I'm a Detroit Lions guy here. So, I-- I really can't talk about football right now. -You should give him a good advice 'cause he's mad. -I-- I apologize. I think we're sorry about that. -There's no bad time to buy an LCD TV lately. I mean, those things are just-- they're such a glut. -Uh huh. -It seems they're gonna be on sale until 2011. -Uh huh. -Yeah [unk]. -Alright. Well, thank you very much, Rick, as usual. Thanks for the whole season's worth of deals. -Absolutely! -I mean, obviously, they keep going on the blog at cnet.com/cheapskate, but you've given us some good stuff on the-- -Yeah. -on the holiday. -Guys, don't-- don't ignore his blog because it goes year round. -It does. -You can always check it. We're featuring it here on the Holiday Help Desk but you can always find something new and like-- -Yes. -you know, will save your wallet. -There's-- there are sweet deals. Sweet deals-- -Sweet deals! -all year long. Alright, let's give this guy a parade rolling 'cause now we have one of our favorites here on the Help Desk. Craig Berman from Amazon.com joining us from the Amazon bunker headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Hello, Craig. -One of your favorites? Wow, that's very flattering. -You're like a tradition on our show. This is like, what, the 5th year that you've been with us? I would be. -I like that. I like being in traditions. -Craig, we only see the truth. We've never told that to anyone else that's called in. -No, absolutely not. -Exactly. -More importantly, you know exactly what we're gonna ask, which is what is hot on Amazon 'cause it seems like it's all Kindle 3 all the time. -It is and, you know, when I look right now at best sellers, the top 3 are Kindles, both 3G and then the Wi-Fi. And-- And the 3G is what's available right now for immediate shipment. So, if-- if you're still looking to get something under the tree, go to the 3G. It's $189. You know, again, it's $189 with no contract, so there's no-- there's no monthly fee. All that's taken cared of. And it, you know, it's still number 1 best seller. It's the most gifted, most wished for, and it's a great product. I've got one right here in front of me. -And now, were you surprised that it was such a strong seller this year? I know you're not gonna say you were surprised. But it-- it kinda felt like there was so much competition from the iPad or the idea of the multi-purpose reader. Is this really validation of the kind of the stand-alone e-reader? -It's-- it's been, you know, one of the best-- it's been the best-selling and the most wished for and most gifted item for a long time. So, you know, reading is important and reading-- and when things are important, they-- they deserve their own dedicated device. And we worked very hard, you know, the-- e-ink screen is fantastic on this. It's really easy on the eyes. The battery life is amazing. It's light. It-- the experience of reading on a Kindle is-- is just fantastic, and I think it's generated a lot of word of mouth. It-- the Kindle was ranked the best e-reader by one of the leading consumer magazines. So-- -Us. -We also-- -And so-- so, you know, I think customers are responding with the convenience of being able to buy when they're on the go and to carry as much, you know, thousands of books with them. It's-- -Well, and let's be honest. The price-- the price is right now, too, right? -Yeah. -I mean, it seems like-- -It's at the sweet spot. -It's a very-- yeah. It's a very grab-able item now for a lot of people this year. -I agree. -Yeah. -I agree. So what else? What-- what are some of the other hottest selling items these days on Amazon? You can give us consumer electronics or otherwise 'cause it's always kinda interesting-- -Well-- -to hear if the furry vests are taking off. -I don't know about furry vests. Pillow pets, so, in terms of toys, I mean, we've been selling, you know, pillow pets have been huge. And in fact, we've got some-- I've got some outside that we've been-- that we've been playing around with. But, and as far as toys, you know, pillow pets have been. But in terms of CE beyond the Kindle, iPod Touches, both the 8 gig and the 32 gig-- -Uh huh. -are like number 4 and number 5 right now. And I think some of that is price. And we've got the 8 gig is in-stock at $205; 32 gig is at $279. And then, you know, we get into other the standard things, you know, digital cameras. The number 6 best seller right now is the Fujifilm FinePix J40. You guys probably know a lot about that. -Not a camerahead, but yes. -Yeah, if Lori Grunin was here. -And then-- -If Lori Grunin was here, we'd be all over that. -And then-- -Oh. -Oh, it looks like-- oh, there you go. -Oh, there you go. There you go. -Our popular Flip Video, again. I mean, this is like-- -Really. -how many years for Flip Video have been in the top 10. It-- it seems to always be there. And Roku boxes. We've got 2 Roku boxes here at 11 and 12. So, you know, I think this seems to be standard fare again. The-- the iPod, you know Kindles, and-- and iPod Touches and iPod products, GPSs and digital cameras. -Uh huh. And we seeing a ton of-- -We have a-- -Oh, go ahead. -We've got a great deal today. I mean, I was talking to you guys earlier about this unit. We've got these Monster Turbine in-ear headphones that are, you know, list priced at $179, is our Gold Box deal of the day for $58.99. -Wow! -These are in-ear headphones that get-- the ratings, it's got great ratings, a lot of-- I haven't dive deep into the customer reviews yet but apparently these are pretty good headphones. -Yeah. Those actually, they get a 4-star rating from-- from CNET, too. I gotta tell you, I ordered them while we were talking in the pre-show. -You straight up-- you straight up ordered them? -I did. Yeah, they're on the way. -Turbines. -Yeah. -I also ordered a pillow pet. I'm like the most susceptible human on earth apparently. -If you could see-- so you like those headphones then? -Well, I haven't tried them but I really in-ears and I was, you know, looking for a new pair. These do get, I mean, they have a 4-star excellent rating by CNET editors and a 3-1/2 user rating, 3-1/2 star user rating. So, it's a pretty-- pretty good. -Yeah, you have all those different little earbuds and everything, that's good. -Yeah. -Sounds like it's a great product. -Yeah. -And you know, within toys, if you guys played the-- the Scrabble Flash Cubes, the-- the new scrabble game with the-- with the 5 different cubes where the letters switch and you try to build-- build words out of the cubes? -No. -Have not. -But it sounds like a good-- a good holiday game. -I think so. -Let me order that. -It is good selling for kids. If you wanna get kids a little bit, you know, a-- a new take on an old game, something that's a little techie, I-- I'd go hard to the Scrabble Flash Cubes. -Hmm. -They've been very popular and they get great ratings, and it seems super fun. -So, any other deals that our viewers should be looking for today or in the weeks to come? Can you give us any, like, good hints on maybe TV deals? -I would definitely-- -Just-- it's for our producers who may or may not be shopping? -I would definitely look into TVs and if I look down into the television audio in terms of what the top sellers are, hold on. -Yeah, those TV deals keep on going. -Oh, I can-- I can definitely tell you just from a friend's and personal experience that getting a TV on Amazon.com is overlooked because you get free shipping. -Yeah. -Most of the times, there's no tax. And you also factor in Amazon's pricing, I mean, you can get some ridiculous deals on TVs. And people, you know, people might be worried like, oh, about the shipping or, you know, the coverage on it. -Uh huh. -But I've nothing but good responses and reports from everyone that I know that purchased, you know, a high-end TV-- -Yeah. -directly from Amazon.com. -Good to know. -Like-- -Yeah. I mean, we've got a Vizio 32-inch LCD. It's 720 but it's $299. -Uh huh. -Wow! You know, the 720p is-- that-- those-- the prices have dropped like a stone. -Yup. -And it's totally worth it for like a second TV or a bedroom TV or something like that. -Or for a workout TV, I mean, to just do your, you know, cycling videos, like, I should be doing more of. -It's December, buddy. Let yourself off the hook. I have. Can't you tell? Just kidding. -No, you look fine. Seriously. -Thanks. I went fishing for that one. -Yeah. You look beautiful. -Craig, thank you so much. Thank you for being with us as always. -No problem. Thanks for having me on again. Thank you. -Have a great holiday season. We'll see you next year. -You bet. -Alright. It's time to take a quick break. We'll be back in just a moment with Ricardo Torres, editor-in-chief of our sister site, GameSpot.com. -Can you really rid the world of terrorists? Why didn't the government prepare for the worst? Have you ever said to the president, "I think you're wrong?" This story is just breaking. I'm Katie Couric in the heart of New York City; in Kabul; in above the oil-drenched Gulf; here in Port-au-Prince. -A world of difference every evening, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. -Your TV may be beautiful, but it only does TV. -Thanks, man. -Sure. -What if you could control everything you love about TV and the internet all on one screen? Movies, shows, web videos, e-mails, social networks? What if the TV of tomorrow is here today? Say hello to Smart TV. Imagine the possibilities with the performance of Intel inside your TV. -There's a new way to watch 60 Minutes on the iPad. See our stories anytime anywhere, available in the App Store now. -Welcome back to Holiday Help Desk. You can call us. Call us at 1-888-900-CNET. We're gonna have, you know, someone in the house talking about gaming, Mr. Ricardo Torres. So you guys will wanna be able to call if you have any gaming questions. And also, you know, the holidays still aren't done. If you have any gift recommendations or just help that you want from us, maybe we'll do our best to Google searching and personal reference to find out what fits you guys the best. -Yeah. There's still plenty of shipping deals available to get stuff-- get your stuff by-- in time for having Christmas due. -Uh huh. -With that, let's talk to Ricardo Torres, our editor-in-chief of GameSpot.com. Thank you for being here. Please make the words go. -I can try. Merry Christmas! -Merry Christmas! -Yeah! -Okay. It seems like the one thing that everyone is talking about and buying droves is Kinect. Is the Kinect killing the Move? -The Kinect certainly is moving a ton of units, no pun intended. But yeah, they seem to be selling really, really well. You can't really find them in stores. -Uh huh. -And it's a little bit different because Microsoft was really smart. The Kinect is bundled together. So basically, if you just-- if you have an Xbox, you can just pick up a Kinect and you have everything you need. You've got the camera and you've got a game. The Move is actually a lot more complicated 'cause it's a couple of different pieces. There's a bundle. -Yeah. -But in some-- -Well, the hand of microphone guy. -Okay. -But in some cases, unfortunately, you already have a piece. You already have, like, the camera, let's say. -Uh huh. -And people don't wanna spend that. So, I think it's a lot more complicated for people to buy and then getting the wands as opposed to like this-- which you really need to play the games. -Yeah. -As opposed to the smaller sub-controller thing that's just kinda like the Wii Nunchuk, the-- the ratio is off. So, you see a ton of the little things that you don't actually need, and the wands are really hard to come by now. -See? -Oh really? -Yeah. -I'm glad I got one. -Even the description of it is so confusing. -Yes. -It's true. Like, I just wanna buy the box and then-- -Yeah. -throw my hands in the air and not have the little thing. -A lot of different components going on-- -Yeah. -with the Move, with the Move setup. -Were you surprised to see the Kinect take off the way it has? 'Cause I feel like that is, you know, when I ask people what are your number 1 gift-- what's your, you know, like, top 5, right, tech gifts? Kinect has been in there at 1 or 2 the whole time. -Yeah. I-- I think I have been, but I think it depends, 'cause if you're talking to the mainstream folks, yeah. But I know a lot of gamers were and still are extremely skeptical. So, they're not asking for it as much mainly because, you know, it-- it's-- there isn't core stuff on it yet, you know? I mean Kinectimals versus Call of Duty. -Uh, Kinectimals, Ricardo-- -True, Ricardo. Kinectimals-- -a true gamer will give you that answer every time. -It's a little bit complicated. I mean, the closest thing that gamers play that actually has animals in it is Cabella's Great Adventures, which you get to shoot all the animals not pet [unk] games. Sorry, it's true. -That's horrible! Okay, alright. Clearly though, you're in a whole different level. So what are some of your top picks for games and for gear? -Well, I get that a lot, and I always have to balance it out, right? -Right. -So when I've got people that have kids, I would say-- -Start with the people who want to shoot the critters, then move on to the-- those of us who love them. -If you want-- if you want critter shooting or other things-- -Like aliens. -you know, Xbox folks, there's Halo. There's Call of Duty. There's-- I mean, the perennial favorites, Rock Band, and actually DJ Hero, which is a new-- -Yes. -which is kind of like a new addition to the music game genre-- -Okay. -'cause Guitar Hero's pretty much dropped out of the running because they've just gone to crazy town in terms of, like, game play and all that stuff. -Yeah. How come? -It-- -What'd they do? -It's more of an adventure game now. -What? -Yeah. It's kinda like people have transformations into, like, different forms and stuff, and I'm like, I kinda just wanna play Highway To Hell. -Yeah. -Yeah. -Is that-- I thought that was the whole entire point. -Uh huh. It was. It used to be. -And then they made the guitar to look like a real guitar. And-- okay. -Yeah. -So now, DJ Hero's worth that? -Yeah. DJ Hero and-- -Heaven preserve us. -and Rock Band. And DJ Hero has-- has a microphone option. -It does. -So if you're not into the whole spinning, you can kinda creak along. -I can tell you, it-- it can be fun though because with DJ Hero, you're mixing 2 songs. But if you are singing like in the middle of the song, all of the sudden, the mix turns to another song. So, you're singing like 2 songs at one time and you don't know when they're gonna switch. It can be very interesting. It's fun though. It's fun. -Don't play with him. -No! Are you kidding me? No! -What? Seriously? Okay. -If there is winning in that game-- -Quick thing. -he will win. -Quick thing. I have the Rock Band Stage Kit, okay? That thing shoots smoke and has lights. You come over to my house to Rock Band out, your life will be completely different. You'll never feel the same way as a man. -I buy the different part. Moving on swiftly. -Yeah. -PS3. So, you've got Gran Turismo 5. You've got SingStar. You've obviously got the Move. Rock Band and DJ Hero are also out on that. And I was also gonna mention Fallout is out for all the systems, too. So, if you want to just kinda hang out an adventure for a hundred hours, go nuts. -Uh huh. -Uh huh. -And one of the surprising things that's turned out is kind of a win for Sony is these new bundles, the HD bundles. So, they have a The Sly Cooper Collection for the Play Station 3 and it's 3 Play Station 2 games bundled together on the PS3, you know, beefed up to high res. So, you may have the God of War Collection last year. -Uh huh. -Now, they've got this. It's a great game that kinda nobody bought on the PS2. So, it's new for everybody else. And it's got, you know, Move support in it as well. And then, on the Wii, you've got Kirby's Epic Yarn, which is-- -Right. -perfect for kids. -Right. -Absolutely perfect because you can't lose. -You really can't lose in that game? -No. Like, it just, either you have-- -That's what the kids like. -Yeah. It like either you have gems at the end of the level or you don't. It's no big deal. -And that was one of the highest rated games because of just it's creativity, just the visual look of that whole thing they had going on, right? -Uh huh. -It was so fantastically clever. -Uh huh. -And-- and we just loved it to bits. You got Donkey Dong Country Returns, which is awesome. If you wanna age up your stuff for the kids, you've got Batman: The Brave and The Bold, which is based on the cartoon, and it is awesome. -Really? -It's like they got all the voice accuracy in the cartoon-- -Oh yeah, look at that! -to do the all the voices. So, it sounds like the cartoon. They got the writers to work on it. It's super fun co-op. It's got a ton of heroes that you can, you know, swap between. And it's one of the few Wii games to do the neat stuff that Nintendo always said you could do with the Wii and the DS. -Uh huh. -There's a Batman DS game that actually talks to the Wii game. So if somebody playing on the DS can join in people playing on the Wii by, you know, he-- he basically, he controls Bat-Mite, which is the pest. -Right. -But it's great. -So, we-- I wanna come back to your list because we've had a caller on the line for a while. I wanna come back to your list of gear-- -Yes. -and any other games that you have. But let's sneak in 1 call. And then, of course, our phone lines are open, 888-900-CNET. So, if you have gaming questions for Ricardo, bring them on. But in the mean time, we wanna get to Sasha, Sasha500 from our chatroom. Hello? -Sasha? -Hello. How are you all? -Hey, good, how are you? -Good. Great. -I'm good. -What is your questions for the Holiday Help Desk brain trust? -I am wanting to try to find-- is there like any like holders or something for the iPhone or something that has the plunger thing? -No. -Sasha, is there any specific way you just want your phone just be able to stand up either vertically or horizontally? You're not really picky about it? Or is there something specific functionally that you're looking for? -Not real specific. -Which? -I just have a case on my-- on my phone. But-- -And which iPhone is it? Is it the iPhone 4 or a 3G or 3Gs? -It's a 3Gs. -Oh, then it seems like you're in luck. There's actually a lot of good options for the 3Gs from what I can tell. There's a company called-- this I just think looks really cool. Satechi, C-A-- S-A-T-E-C-H-I. They make the-- this is ludicrous. -There you go. -I can't even believe I'm saying these things out loud. -I got it. I got it. -The iCooly. The iCooly. But it's this aluminum stand and I don't know if you're watching the video right now. You can see it. -Nice! -But it's really pretty. It looks like a little TV set. -They make you look like an iMac basically. -Yeah. I think that one's actually pretty cool. And then it looks like there's a bunch of different portable stands. Gorilla makes one, the Joby. People make one that's like on top of their little Gorilla tripod thing. I like this one from Agent18, the StandHear Travel Stand. -One thing also, Sasha, I know you already have a case for your phone, but a lot of times, if you go into, you know, an Apple Store and buy a case for your phone, they have-- they'll come with like some sort of generic stand or like a little plastic insert that comes with it. So, you know, if you're just looking for something just to keep, you know, keep the phone standing upright, you might look at something like that as well. They just throw it in as part-- as part of the case, so. -Oh, okay. Well that's-- that's pretty cool. -Yeah. I know Incase has a stand built in. It's like a little plastic insert that comes with it, and a few of the other manufacturers, you just kinda take a look and ask them, like, "I just want a phone case that has a stand in it." It's part of the whole deal. And you can get, you know, around, I know $20 to $25 is kind of a lot for a case, but if yours is beat up and worn out, and you wanna have that stand also, that might be something to look at. -And then-- -Okay. -I put a-- I don't know if you're in the chatroom right now. I put a link in there. -Yeah, I'm in there. -But there's a site called iphoness.com, like, N-E-S-S.com, and they have a list of 7 cool iPhone stands and in fact, they are. They are really 7 cool ones in there. So, we'll try to-- we'll try to put that up on the blog and if you're in the chatroom now, you can see it there. And good luck, happy shopping. -Uh huh. -It looks like there are basically none for the iPhone 4, which is kinda interesting. -Yeah. -But-- but plenty for-- for the 3G and 3Gs. -One thing I just wanted to throw out there for the-- the people that are still buying stuff, I went online. I was trying to find a case for another phone and all the other sites like, I'd say at Amazon and some of the other sites that you can find cellphone cases on or whatever, they were like $24 and $25. I actually went to this site that makes the case and I got for a third-- about a third of the price plus free shipping, and they'll have it here in 2 days. -For real? -Well, there you go. -Good tip! -Yeah! So a lot of times-- -That's like one for the Cheapskate Blog. -Alright. -go on to the sites 'cause, you know, they're good, but, you know, I just-- I just went to the-- to the-- to the micro-site and they gave me a whole lot fair deal, and it was online, and-- and I'll get it really quick. So, maybe that will help some other people out. -Yeah, that's awesome. -Excellent. Thanks for the tip, Sasha. -Thank you, and thanks for calling, and thanks for hanging out in the chatroom all year. -Sure! All the time. -Yeah! Totally! Alright, have a good holiday season. -Yes, you guys-- -[unk] thank you. -Thanks, Sasha. -Now, we're gonna take a little break, everybody, to catch our breath because we've been talking so much. -We're working so hard talking about video games and iPhone cases. -So what we're gonna do is take a look at CNET's top gaming gear pick for 2011, a first look at the PS3 slim. Brian Tong here with CNET.com and we're shining the product spotlight bright on the Sony Play Station 3 Slim. Now, the PS3 claims it only does everything. So, we wanna dig in and see if that holds true. Now, cosmetically, this is a lot sleeker console from its predecessor. Gone is the shiny black piano finish, which I miss a lot, and it's replaced by the duller textured surface and a metal accent on the front. We like how they trimmed off the fat but it's lost some of its sex appeal at the same time. Under the hood, this current PS3 Slim is a beast. The standard $299 model is loaded with 160 gig hard drive. It's bringing a Blu-ray drive for movies and gaming. You'll have built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth support for accessories, and the 2 USB ports in the front. You'll also have easier access to the hard drive that user-upgradable without voiding the warranty. On the back, you'll see the same connections as before. There's an Ethernet port, ACMI video port, digital audio out, and Sony's AV cable connection for component or composite. Now, the PS3 flexes its technical muscle with exclusive titles like the action-adventure treasure-hunting exploits of Nathan Drake in Unchartered 2, or the over-the-top blood-soaked battles in God of War 3. Playing online games through the Play Station Network is absolutely free, and that's a price that you can't beat. Sony is also getting into the motion gaming market with their Play Station Move controllers and games. The tech is more accurate than Nintendo's Wii, but it remains to be seen how this will translate to more hardcore titles. Now, if you're not looking for a gaming system, it's still an excellent multimedia system. It's one of our top-rated Blu-ray players here at CNET. It upscales standard DVDs. You can purchase movies or rent them through the Play Station Store, and is currently the first device to support Netflix with 1080p streaming and 5.1 surround sound. Now, there are things the PS3 Slim doesn't have. There's no IR port to use universal remotes with it. You won't be able to play your old PS2 games on the console because they've removed the backwards compatibility. And Sony has broken the hearts of hackers by removing the ability to install another operating system like Linux on its box. But for $299, this is the best value in home entertainment that's also prepared for the future with software updates and a built-in Blu-ray player that separates it from any other console. I'm Brian Tong for CNET.com with your product spotlight on the Sony PS3 Slim. -Welcome back to the Holiday Help Desk. So as long as we have Ricardo here, what do you think? Do you agree with our top gaming pick or no? -I do. -Oh! -Oh! A few! -He was-- he was looking-- right when he came on, he's like, "I'm gonna look at this, Tong, and evaluate it." -Yeah. He was like, "Tong-- Tong could take me." -I was like, "What is the boy saying now?" He did okay. -Man, man, thank you. Sort of like that. -Well it seems-- -[unk] out there. -it seems like this is the year, though, that the PS3 went from being like the-- the console of choice for the hardcore gamer to the console of choice for the serious gamer plus the multimedia station that we've kinda all been expecting it to be. -It makes it so much easier to up-sell to like your parents and stuff if you're kid. It's like, it's for everybody. -Right. -Yeah. -As opposed to before, it was just games. -You could watch the TV on it. We don't just have to kill things. -There you go. -Yeah, totally. -Absolutely. -So now, during the break, it's like-- we just could-- we just could not help but wanna pick your brain for your personal choices. And then during the break, we were talking about this idea that-- that everybody is going into the holiday season. It's like a long break with a lot family, a lot of uncomfortable holiday parties. What are some of the games that, as you said, can save your party? -So, the last thing you wanna do is just have a party where people are standing around awkwardly making small talk. -Uh huh. -So, music games are usually, like, one of the-- the lifesavers for that stuff-- -Uh huh. -because, you know, you've got Rock Band and that thing supports I think up to like 8 or 9 players now-- -Yeah, yeah. -if you get all the microphones for the harmonies and stuff. -Yeah. -So, I mean, you can pretty much-- there's 4 vocalists then basically. So that, I mean, that'll-- that'll wipe out those aunts from out of town that nobody really wants to hang out. Just put a microphone. You could buy some songs. They can play. Then you've got keyboards and guitars. It's all great. -Let's do this. -So, the music games are good. The motion control games are good. The Kinect stuff's a little tricky because of what you have to do with the room and how finicky it is with what's behind. -Uh huh. -But the Play Station Move has a game called Start The Party and it, basically, it's just a bunch of little mini games. They're like super fast and you share a controller. Everybody passes it around. It's all good. -Yeah. -Then you've got SingStar, which has actually like vocal battles. They have like a-- they have a competitive team-based karaoke mode-- -Oh yeah. -where you have to like pass around that. -Really? -Yes. -You're going down. -You're going down. -You're going down. -You're going down. -You're going down. Seriously. -Sorry, we have-- -Don't mess with this lyrical machine. -Well then, should I mention Karaoke Revolution: Glee then? -Please! Glee edition? -Yeah. -Well. -It's for the Wii, sorry. -I would start singing but I'm gonna hold that. -Shut the front door! -Yes! So that's what you wanna go for because then-- and, I mean, Sports Champions, which comes bundled with the Move, has Bocce Ball which-- -Yeah. -Okay. -most of us know nothing about, but your relatives from-- from the old country, the old days, they're all about the Bocce Ball. -Well it seems like, actually, yeah. I mean, getting that, you know the Wii does seem it's like the party console of choice in some ways. -Uh huh. -And then not everybody is gonna be willing to kinda dance around those things. So, there's always Wii Bowling. There's always like-- -Yes. -Wario Ware, some of those old-school kinda sports games. -Uh huh. -That seems like a good plan. -Yeah. -Any other topics 'cause I know you have a nice long list, I don't know if you-- -Just a few of your personal ones, like, off the top of your head, like 3 of your like go play. -What's your favorites, favorites, favorites? -And then we're not talking about to anybody. We're talking about you specifically. -Okay. Me specifically, I have been playing a lot of the new Tron game just because I saw the movie, and they have a Light Cycle level, so I'm in. -It's all about that. -But, let's see, what else? Definitely I've been playing Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer. -Uh huh. -It's, you know, it's kind of-- it's a big equalizer because no matter how good you are at games, you're gonna log on and just be dropped in 2 steps. -Yeah, totally, by Chad Otchocinco from what I got. -Oh really, he's [unk] player. -From what I gather on Twitter. -And then, of course, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm; just came out, sucked me right back in. -Really? -Yes. -Okay. What are your thoughts on your big Blizzard leak, 'cause I was thinking to myself, like, "Does this matter?" -Oh, what, Titan? -No, just, yeah, Titan and then the dates and the blah, blah. Did the Blizzard leak rock your world? -No, I mean, we knew it was coming. -Yeah. Okay. -I mean, they know that that is just gonna be like an ATM that'll keep printing money and you'd be-- -Seriously. -dumb not to have a back-up plan and maybe even an alternate. -Yeah. -Yeah. -So, it's all good. -Maybe they're gonna activate the alternate. Now, we do have 1 user question actually that's perfect for as long as you're here. In the e-mail-- -Yeah. -Brett wrote in. He said, "My wife and I are trying to decide what mobile gaming system we should get our 5-year-old son." Luckiest boy ever. "We are considering a PSP, a Nintendo DSi or Excel, or some inexpensive Android tablet because he does love Angry Birds. We want something that will grow with him and let him play education games. By the way, we don't have any game system in the house now. This will be it, his first exposure to gaming besides the ones on PBS Kids and the like." -I'd probably go with the DS. -Yeah? -Nintendo builds those things like bricks and plus, it's the most affordable of the 3. -Uh huh. True. -I think the PSP's really cool and it definitely has like a range of software that would work with the kid. But, it'll also break. -Yeah. -Do you think they should-- should the hold out for the 3DS or do you think for a 5-year-old just go with the cheap one that's never gonna break? -Go with the cheap one. I'm sure they're probably gonna dig the-- whatever DS they get him, whether it's a DSi or a DS Light, whatever, or the big one that's like basically a notebook, that's huge, the Excel. -Excel. -Yeah, the Excel. -Yeah, yeah. -Oh. -And they'll probably wanna get one for themselves and then they can pick up the 3DS if they want. -Yeah. -But you don't-- 'cause, I mean, the 3DS, you have to assume it's gonna be a lot more expensive than the DS. -Oh yeah. -And, I mean, I know it's all about teaching kids how to take care of their stuff, but they will break it. -Oh, they can. You can't teach that. It's not-- -And also, I mean, it's-- it's for a 5-year-old. The touchscreen, I mean, he doesn't really have to fidget with too many buttons with some of those games. -Well, that's why I was actually wondering, like, would you-- would you maybe wanna go with an old-- an older iPod Touch, like a generation ago or something, you know? -If you wanna see it destroyed, go nuts. -I don't know. It's pretty tough with the, like, with the case. It depends on the kid. -I mean, I think the-- -I mean, my kid pretty much owns the iPad at our house. It's his. -How old is he? -He's 3-1/2. -Yeah. -Yeah. -Yeah, but he's yours. So, he's been-- he's been taught. -So you mean he's special? -Yes. -Oh, that's sweet. -He respects the tech. -Also, it's all about the Invisi-Shield. Like, honestly, that-- whatever that stuff is, you know, it's that clear cover-- -Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. -Yeah. -Yeah. -for the screens? Like that is the key to it all. -Yeah. -That is the reason that he can do whatever. It's got jelly on it. Like, it doesn't even matter. It's amazing, the Invisi-Shield! That is the number-- that is my number 1 kid recommendation for the entire holiday season. Put it in the Invisi-Shield on whatever you want, and then you can just give it to your kid. You can go crazy. Alright. Anything else we need to know? What-- like, what's coming out? Anything good coming out? -2011, there's a lot of cool stuff coming out. -2011 predictions? -Actually, 2 key things I'm gonna-- I'm gonna tell you: The first one is if you're a little unsure about what to pick out for the gamer in the-- in the house, we have a buyer's guide on our side. It's the Holiday Gift Guide. -Wow! -That's a [unk] the GameSpot. -Uh huh. -There's a plug. But also, if you still are kind of a little hazy on the details, don't be that relative that buys, like, the wrong thing. There's literally nothing wrong with getting a point card for a Play Station Network, Xbox LIVE Marketplace, or the Nintendo Store, because they can buy their own games on there. It's kind of like iTunes for those platforms for folks that really don't know about them. -Uh huh. -And so, each console has it's own, like, store and you just get them a points card and they can get games, they can get add-ons. They can get a bunch of stuff. So, if you don't want-- if you're hazy on the games, get those gift cards. They're totally fine. -Uh huh. -That's genius. -Uh huh. -That is a genius recommendation. -And also, don't be in such a-- if-- if you are the recipient of that stuff-- -Uh huh. -don't be in such a hurry. Or if you get like a gift certificate to, like, an Amazon or a Best Buy or a GameStop, don't be in a hurry to spend it because the first 2 months of 2011 are going to be nuts with big releases. -Yeah, off the charts. -Oh, okay, Game Extravaganza. -And you can probably also go to GameSpot's website to find out about some of those most anticipated games of 2011. -Perhaps we will have a feature of that nature in January. -I think you will. -Hey, hey! Good to know. I like that. It's good advice. Get gift certificates and if you receive them, don't spend them too fast. -Yes. -Uh huh. -Genius. -Alright. -And it is time to wrap our 5th and final Holiday Help Desk show of the year. It has been an awesome year as always with you guys. Thank you, Ricardo, for joining us. -Thank you. Thank you, Ricardo. -Thank you for having me. -And we hope that we not only helped our callers and our listeners find some awesome gift ideas at the best price but we hope we entertained you because-- -We hope. -frankly, that's-- that's all we wanna do. Sing and-- sing and dance for you. We are your hamsters. -So, we're gonna leave you guys now with a little send off from our editors here at CENT in what they call they're 12 Days of Christmas, produced and edited by our own Jamie as well. So, you know, have a little look. Thanks for hanging out with us all through the year-- -Yeah. -and just have a great happy holidays, everybody. -Merry Christmas. -Alright. -Happy new year. -See you! -On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Samsung SSD in a cup of tea. -On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 2 beating fists. -On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 Diddybeats. -Yeah. -On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, 4 Angry Birds. -On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 5 iPhone games. -On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 6 Android updates. -On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 7 Garmin nÃ?Â¼vis. -On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, 8 Droids-a-ringing. -Droid. -On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 9 mobile chargers. -On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 10 Bluetooth headsets. -On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 11 browser betas. -On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 electric cars. -On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 electric cars, 11 browser betas, 10 Bluetooth headsets, 9 mobile chargers, 8 Droids-a-ringing, 7 Garmin nÃ?Â¼vis, 6 Android updates. -5 iPhone games. -4 Angry Birds, 3 Diddybeats, 2 beating fists. -And a Samsung SSD in a cup of tea.