There is no better time to be shopping for a video game console as Black Friday; after all, gaming companies are eager to introduce new combinations of hot titles and hardware to help move units before the end of the year. Games, especially recently released titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, just don't seem to be given as significant discounts because you would pay the stick price as long as you really want to play the game -- assuming you already have the system, of course. So which four systems you should zero in on this Black Friday (which is apparently today, even though it's technically a Thursday)? Here are the deals that standout to me:
Microsoft Xbox 360 250GB bundle with Halo: Reach & Fable 3, $199
There are a number of Xbox 360 bundles on the market this Black Friday but this one with Halo: Reach and Fable 3 offer the best games, for the best sized hard drive, and for the best price. The similarly priced Xbox "Slim" Kinect bundle's hard drive is a tiny 4GB and doesn't even include any games! Of course, serious gamers this is the bundle to get; when Sam's Club Black Friday sale got a head start yesterday, this was the first bundle to sell out. Your remaining retail options: Newegg.com, Best Buy (not sure if it's still available).
Nintendo 3DS "Zelda" Bundle with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, $179.99 or less
Not only is this limited edition bundle (pictured right) making its American debut this Thanksgiving/Black Friday (it was originally only for Europe), it also celebrates the silver anniversary of Nintendo's Zelda franchise. That is why this 3DS bears golden markings, and includes an updated version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, considered by many to be the best video ever made. For a reasonable $179.99 from Best Buy (or for less if you trade in your last-gen DS at GameStop), this box set is bound to become a collector's item so grab one while you still can -- I doubt it will be re-stocked beyond 2011.
Nintendo Wii Console in Blue, $99
Like the 3DS "Zelda" bundle, the Blue Nintendo Wii was originally intended for Europe but is now coming to our shores this Black Friday. Although it is just a standalone system with one Motion Plus controller but no games, at $99, you will have plenty of cash leftover to buy the titles you really want to play (you can probably get most second-hand by now). One thing to note is that this discounted version is not backwards compatible with Game Cube games so it could be a dealbreaker for some. Now that Sam's Club is all out of this console, you better hope Walmart,com doesn't run out as well.
Honorable Mention: Atari Flashback 3 with 60 classic games for $24.99
Available from Toys "R" Us and Hastings, the Atari Flashback 3 is a plug-and-play console system complete with two old school joysticks and 60 classic games. According to PriceGrabber, the Atari Flashback 3 was the "Top Toy" for consumers over 30 yesterday so you may just find one under your tree this year.
Note: You'll notice I did not include a Sony PlayStation 3 bundle in my list because there seems to only be one choice this year -- the box set with a 160GB hard drive and Little Big Planet 2 Special Edition and Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One for approximately $199.
Please keep let us know if these deals no long exist or better prices pop up elsewhere in the comments below!
- ZDNet's Ultimate Black Friday 2011 guide to deals and steals
- Nintendo makes Zelda 3DS bundle official, $199.99
- Photo Gallery: 25 years of Zelda and Nintendo systems
- Nintendo Wii launches Zelda bundle with gold controller, $69.99
- Top five Black Friday digital camera deals (some up to 50% off)
- Best 5 Black Friday 2011 tablet and e-reader finds
- Pre-Black Friday deals worth getting now