Christmas is a time to reflect on life, to be with loved ones and to unwrap some really cool new games and gadgets.

This year there is no end to the choice of gifts for tech lovers. While this guide will only scratch the surface, hopefully it will give you some ideas for your own wish-list or some inspiration if you’re buying presents for people in your life who always have game controllers or other gizmos in their hands.

Console wars

This year Sony and Microsoft are going head to head with their brand new next-generation consoles.

You’ll need to be feeling flush to purchase either of them for yourself or treat the kids to one for Christmas as the Xbox One will set you back £430 including the Kinect motion-tracking system and the PlayStation 4 will cost £350.

However, it could be a good outlay as both machines look hugely impressive and offer players a whole new level of entertainment.

The general consensus seems to be the PS4 is the right choice if you’re looking for raw gaming capability while the Xbox One could be the better machine if what you want is a more all-round media system owing to its greater integration with TV, movie, music and web services.

I’ve rounded up some expert opinions on the two consoles and also given my verdict on PS4 v Xbox One, which you can read here

Top 10 games

Here are my recommendations for the best video games to buy this Christmas, not just on consoles but also PC and handheld.

In the case of console games, these suggestions are based on the current-gen versions – some but not all the games will also be getting PS4 and Xbox One releases in due course. Also, this isn’t a top 10 games of the year – it only goes back to September as earlier titles such as Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us have probably been played (and finished) by most self-respecting gamers. This list isn't in any particular order by the way.

1. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar's epic open-world crime adventure was far and away this year's most hotly anticipated game - and fortunately it turned out to be just as good as everyone hoped. For anyone who doesn't yet own it, GTAV is an essential purchase - or present.

News Shopper: Grand Theft Auto V

Peppered with the usual gratuitous violence and outrageous characters, the game features a huge world to explore and a massive variety of missions and activities to do.

As I stated in my Grand Theft Auto V review: "The culmination of Rockstar’s finest work to date, this is a remarkable game for so many reasons. It’s an incredible technical accomplishment for what it squeezes out of current-gen consoles as well as a creative triumph for the way it takes sandbox gaming to another level."

Available for PS3 and Xbox 360.

2. Fifa 14

While Fifa 14 isn't a huge leap forward from the previous year, it still contains enough improvements to the physics and AI along with other new features to make it "the best the series has ever been" as I wrote in my review.

News Shopper: Fifa 14

It's a better game overall than the latest Pro Evolution Soccer again, in my opinion at least, and is the most realistic and authentic footy sim to date.

Since I reviewed Fifa 14 a new ultimate edition, available exclusively at Game, has been released. It comes in a nicer Steelbook case with EA Sports unlockables and Fifa Ultimate Teams packs all included.

Available across multiple platforms.

3. F1 2013

Featuring all the real teams and drivers from this season, along with the magnificent classic mode which allow players to experience a selection of cars and tracks from the 80s and 90s, F1 2013 is the game of the year for racing fans, so far at least.

News Shopper: F1 2013

I loved being able to live out some F1 fantasies as I gushed in my F1 2013 review: “Tearing around Brands in Nigel Mansell’s old Williams cars has given me moments of unbridled joy. It’s one of the most enjoyable things I’ve been able to do in a video game for a long time."

Hugely challenging and impressive looking with great depth and a fantastic sense of speed, this game from Codemasters will keep fans going long after the season draws to a close.

Available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Pirates of the Caribbean meets Grand Theft Auto was how I described the latest instalment in the long-running Assassin’s Creed saga from Ubisoft.

News Shopper: Assassin's Creed IV

I also said: "The open-world action on land and intense naval battles at sea, taking place within an outlaw-ridden Caribbean of the 18th century, combine to form an enthralling and impressive game."

It’s got an interesting story about pirates and sci-fi conspiracies, with numerous land and sea-based missions woven in along with loads of locations to explore. One of the best adventure games of 2013. Click here for my full Assassin's Creed IV review

Available for PS3, Xbox 360, PC and WiiU.

5. Battlefield 4

I found Battlefield 4 (review here) to be “another accomplished instalment in the series” created by Dice and easy to recommend to fans of first-person shooters.

News Shopper: Battlefield 4

It features an action-packed and explosive single-player campaign full of spectacular set-pieces plus a range of multiplayer options for those who want to compete against others. It’s in the online play where the series’ destructible scenery and new dynamic landscape feature really come to the fore.

This game can be favourably compared to summer blockbuster movies that come along every year – “not particularly clever, deep or original” but they deliver excitement and entertainment.

Available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

6. Gran Turismo 6

The latest game in the long-running hardcore driving simulation series by Polyphony Digital arrives on December 6, handily in time for Christmas.

News Shopper: Gran Turismo 6

The game promises to be the biggest and best in the series’ history, with more than 1,200 cars including the latest supercars from the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti.

There will be 33 locations to race around, and you’ll be able to create your own custom cars and tracks.

I had some hands-on time behind the wheel of GT6 during the summer and was very impressed with how it was looking and handling.

Available on PS3.

7. Need For Speed Rivals

If arcade racing is more your thing than serious simulations, cops vs racers games Need for Speed Rivals from EA’s new Ghost Games studio is the one to go for this year.

News Shopper: Need for Speed Rivals

Playing as an increasingly infamous street racer or a police officer rising through the ranks by busting up street races, you’ll find thrilling race action aplenty taking place in a “stunning open road environment”.

Following on from the very well received Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted editions, fast and furious fun awaits in Rivals’ adrenaline-pumping car chases.

Available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

8. Football Manager 2014

The latest annual release in Sports Interactive’s unrivalled Football Manager series is even more feature-rich and deep than previous years.

News Shopper: Football Manager 2014

Take over the hotseat at a leading club and prove your managerial mettle or turn a minor club from minnows into champions – the choice is yours. This is the closest most people will get to experiencing life in the dugout.

It’s a hugely complex game but also a thoroughly absorbing one for any serious football fans. Just don’t expect to see them again any time soon if you give this as a gift as Football Manager is addictive enough to take lives over completely.

Available on PC and Mac.

9. Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I haven’t been a fan of Nintendo since the days of Nintendo 64 and Gameboy. This is mainly due to how it’s been well and truly left behind by Sony and Microsoft when it comes to games, in my humble opinion at least, and how its Wii consoles and DS handheld devices appear to have been aimed squarely at women and kids.

News Shopper: Zelda A Link Between Worlds

One of the few things which may yet pull me back towards Nintendo is the Zelda series.

Fans of Link’s puzzle-solving adventures will be delighted to know there’s a new game out for this Christmas.

Nintendo describes it as “a follow-up to the 1991 Super NES classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” and tells players to “get ready to conquer new dungeons, fresh puzzles, and experience new gameplay mechanics which open up the way Link explores Hyrule and the foreign land of Lorule, a corrupted, parallel version of Hyrule.”

Available for 3DS.

10. Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Warner Bros seems to have been releasing themed Lego games left, right and center for the past few years. The latest one sees it move from the DC Comics world of Batman to the Marvel universe of Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor and co.

News Shopper: Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Featuring a huge array of characters and storylines portrayed in the witty and loving style the Lego brand of games has become known for, this should delight fans of the Marvel creations and brick-based gaming in equal measure.

Available across multiple formats.

Top gadgets

Tablet computers are going to be massive sellers again this Christmas. In the 7in field there are many options, including the iPad Mini from Apple and the Kindle Fire HD from Amazon.

News Shopper: Google Nexus 7 32GB, £169.99, from

Coming in at under £200, the one widely regarded to offer the best value is the Google Nexus 7, made by Asus.

You can read my full review of the Nexus 7 here, in which I describe how “with such a low cost the amount of features, the design, the build quality, the specs and that incredible screen are even more impressive.”

It’s a great bit of kit for portable entertainment, including TV and movies, music, games and books.

News Shopper: Infinity remote control

If you know someone who’s sick of having multiple remotes around their living room, the One For All Infinity universal controller could be the answer.

The device’s SmartScreen interface adjusts to the activity the user wants to control, with groups of keys lighting up to make each command easy to perform.

The remote is compatible with more than 300,000 home-entertainment devices covering more than 6,000 brands. It can be used to control up to six different devices including TV, satellite or cable receivers, home theatre equipment, consoles and media players.

Priced £89.99 and available from Amazon, Currys and

News Shopper: Sphero V2 robotic ball

The Sphero V2 robotic ball hooks up to your handset over Bluetooth and you control it on-screen to move it about, as it phases through its multi colours.

That'll keep most occupied enough, but there's also a load of app-based games to play with it too. If you have any free time left after all that, you can take it out on the water too.

£99.95 from

News Shopper: Selfie remote control

Selfies might be all the rage, but taking a decent photo of yourself with a smartphone isn't actually all that easy. Your gaze is diverted, or there'll be a digit in the frame, or you just can't stretch your arm far enough.

This mini remote solves everything. Download the app, use the removable mini-stand to set up your handset, then just stand back (up to three metres back) and click your remote. All you have to think about is your smile.

The smartphone camera remote is £14.99 from

News Shopper: Basketball mug

Make some time to shoot hoops and dunk some digestives with this code-driven augmented reality mug.

Download the dedicated app, hold it over your drinking vessel and watch out for minutes turning into hours. Of course you can justify your spend simply on a mug that can hold 500ml of tea.

A fun stocking-filler, £9.95 from

News Shopper: Battroborgs Battle Arena

Inside each Battroborgs Battle Arena set are two battling bots, controlled by you, via nunchuck-style devices which mimic your movements onto the 'borgs.

The aim of the game is to land five strikes on your opponent, rendering their robot motionless and leaving you victorious in this fast and frantic face-off. You can pit up to 20 Battroborgs together in battle at any one time - the more the messier.

£69.99 from

News Shopper: Tetris Bop-It

The ever-frustrating, ever-addictive and ever-hectic plaything that is Bop It! has now joined forces with one of the top gaming brands of all time, Tetris.

This light-up based game challenges you to match the iconic Tetris blocks with increasing speed in several challenges. Play solo or with friends, and there are hundreds of puzzles to provide near endless fun (and a little bit of frustration).

£24.99 from