Get your gaming gear on Black Friday

For many gamers, Black Friday is like Christmas come early! On Black Friday, the year's hottest new games as well as classic titles go on sale for deeply discounted prices, but you can also score a bargain on a new console or gaming computer. No matter what gaming goods you're shopping for, Black Friday is the best time of year to find them.

If you're in the market for a new console, start by considering these popular systems:

  • Xbox 360. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is generally considered the consensus choice as the top gaming console available. In addition to hundreds of exclusive game titles, the Xbox 360 also offers access to Netflix, Hulu and YouTube access, as well as a direct link to its own video store.
  • PlayStation 3. Considered by most to be a close second behind the Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 has millions of loyal followers and offers the same bells and whistles as its Microsoft counterpart. Basically, your choice between the two systems comes down to preference -- which one has more games you want to play?
  • Nintendo Wii U. The Nintendo Wii revolutionized home gaming by pioneering active physical participation in the game landscape. The second-generation Wii system, the Wii U, offers enhanced features and a broader range of games and extras.
  • Gaming

Build Your Gaming Computer

While today's laptops are quicker and more powerful than ever before, many avid gamers still prefer desktop computers because they offer enhanced customization and are easier to upgrade. In essence, a gaming computer differs from a regular computer in two key ways.

First, a gaming computer needs a top-of-the-line processor, particularly if you plan to play online games with or against other players in real-time. A high-quality processor will provide a smooth, uninterrupted gaming experience, even in the most media-rich virtual environments.

Second, the more random access memory (RAM) you have, the better. This will ensure that you can run multiple programs and applications simultaneously while you game. For example, it's common for players participating in multi-player games to be chatting with other players during their virtual adventures. Having lots of RAM will ensure smooth transitions from application to application.

As mentioned, you may need to upgrade your gaming computer in the future, and that is easiest to do with a desktop machine. However, you can also custom-build a gaming laptop if machine portability is a crucial consideration for you.

New and Used Games

Black Friday is also a great time to find bargains on both new and used games. If you're going to be shopping for someone on your list, though, you should be aware of the ratings system used to classify games according to age suitability. In North America, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) administers six different game ratings. They are:

  • EC -- Early Childhood. These games are suitable for children aged 3 or older. They contain absolutely no questionable or offensive material whatsoever, and are typically educational in nature.
  • E -- Everyone. Games with the E rating may contain some very mild combat or mischief-related themes, but do not contain any graphic material.
  • E 10+ -- Everyone 10 and up. These games are intended for children aged 10 years and older. While there may be some violence or combat, it is still relatively mild in nature.
  • T -- Teen. Games in this category contain stronger elements of violence, mischief or language, but are still considered suitable for players aged 13 and older.
  • M -- Mature. Teens aged 17 and up can play M-rated games, which typically contain more graphic violence or sexual content. These games should be played at parental discretion.
  • AO -- Adults Only. AO-rated games are intended for adult players only. They contain strong sexual and/or violent material.

Look for ESRB ratings on the game's exterior packaging. It will be prominently displayed, typically on the front cover side.