Holiday Buyer's Guide 2010

The Escapist Staff | 24 Nov 2010 22:40
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D&D Monster Vault
It's no secret that I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. Not only does it give me an excuse to hang out with some great people on a weeknight, rolling dice and killing orcs, but it allows me to exercise my creative fantasy muscles. I've been running two concurrent lunchtime campaigns here at The Escapist offices and the Monster Vault has given me so many beasties to throw at my groups that they've begun to groan every time I plop down an Ochre Jelly.

A vast improvement over the various Monster Manuals for D&D 4th Edition, the Monster Vault offers all kinds of background and information on many of the iconic monsters of the game. Want to know how Rust Monsters can decimate a settlement, devouring all metal implements and weapons? Or how a Drow transforms into a Drider (Think centaur but half Drow, half spider)? The Monster Vault has got you covered. Top that with the well-designed die-cut tokens for each monster and the Vault is a complete package.


USS Enterprise Pizza Cutter
What more can you say about the Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter than ThinkGeek's tagline? "Boldy cut pizza where no man has cut before." This stainless steel pizza cutter is fashioned to look exactly like the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 from the original television series. With all of the fandom surrounding Star Trek, it's a wonder that no one had devised a tool shaped like the U.S.S. Enterprise before now. But it's a genius idea once you think about it. Pizza cutters are round. The saucer of the iconic vessel is round. Duh.

I also love the fact that the Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter is an officially licensed piece of Star Trek memorabilia. That means someone at Paramount Pictures, the license holders, had to see the schematics for the Pizza Cutter and give ThinkGeek the greenlight on manufacturing it. I would have given anything to be there for that meeting. Do you think there was a prototype demonstration of the Cutter, complete with a pizza to be boldly cut? One can only hope.

NBA 2K11
Basketball is my one non-dorky obsession. I love to play as much as I can, but I don't always get the time to make it to the gym for some pickup games. I compensate by trying to rip down as many rebounds as I can playing NBA 2K11. The care and attention to detail that 2K Sports spent in crafting one of the greatest sports games that I've played is just staggering. From the opening where Michael Jordan looks back at you before his first NBA Finals game in 1991, to the subtle differences between defenders and playstyles of all of the NBA's players, this game nails what it feels like to play professional basketball.


But I think the real reason that I love NBA 2K11 is it's appreciation for the history of the game. Perhaps I'm influenced by having read Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball, but I really enjoyed the representation of the historical games in Jordan's career. Playing with the accurate rosters (for the most part) of the teams in contention, in addition to audio commentary appropriate for the game, giving color and background to the events, was really fun and even informative. I appreciated that a videogame was enriching my love of basketball. Now if only 2K would make a game focused on Larry Bird and not that showoff Jordan...

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