Thanksgiving is over, which means it's almost time for that bearded fat guy in red to break into our homes. So, with that in mind, here are the annual Bermie Awards, designed to help you get the perfect gift for the computer geek on your Christmas list.
The 2001 Computer Game of the Year: Max Payne from GOD Games gives you a great story and superb graphics, and is one of the more innovative games on the market. One of its greatest features is the ability for our hero to leap through the air (in slow motion) while blowing away the bad guys -sort of like a poor man's Matrix.
The 2001 Civilization Clone: Usually this award goes to the game that most closely emulates - or builds off - Sid Meier's Civilization, which has set the standard for empire-building games. This year it was an easy choice, because the master is back with Civilization III from Infogrames. Packed with tons of new options and great graphics, this edition of Civilization raises the bar for all that will come after it.
Best War Game: Every year, the Command & Conquer series from Westwood Studios improves upon the past, and this year is no different. Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge continues with this tradition as the battle for domination of Earth continues.
Best Dungeons & Dragons Game: Interplay again leads the pack with two games - IceWind Dale: The Heart of Winter and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Both build upon a strong library of Dungeons & Dragons games produced by Interplay during the past few years. But there is a caveat here. You need to own Baldur's Gate II to play the Throne of Bhaal, because it's one of an annoying series of add-ons that seem to be the trend these days.
Best Sim for the Serious Gamer: Microsoft's Train Simulator is the runaway winner in this category. Loaded with new features, this game has replaced electric trains on my Christmas list.
Best Sim Not to be Played After Eating a Big Meal: Sim Coaster from Electronic Arts. This game builds upon the tradition set by Roller Coaster Tycoon last year, where you try to build the ultimate ride.
Best Sim Add-on: Hot Date from Electronic Arts is the new add-on for The Sims, which is one of the most addictive - and most fun - simulation games. This one builds upon its predecessors as your sim tries to pick up the perfect mate.
Best Sports Game: Again, this goes to anything from EA Sports, although Madden Football 2002 should be renamed Summerall Football, because we hardly hear from our favorite color commentator.
Best Space Game: Emperor: Battle for Dune from Westwood Studios closely follows the battle for spice, as detailed in the Sci-Fi classic "Dune," while weaving an intriguing tale of its own, with some of the best graphics I have ever seen in a space battle game.
Best Trivia Game: This one's a tie between Who Wants to be a Millionaire 3rd Edition Disney Interactive (Buena Vista Games) and The Weakest Link from Activision. Both faithfully follow the premises laid out by their television counterparts. One of the knocks that Millionaire has taken in the past was that the game developers had used a Regis imitator in their games. Not so with version three.
Next week: geek toys.