Gift Ideas: Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo is renowned as one of the world's greatest game creators, and this holiday season shows exactly why they're at the top of their game! We count no less than three must-have games from Mario's house, including one that will have you thinking long and hard about picking up a Nintendo 3DS.

These are our picks for the best buys this shopping season for Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS, and be sure to scroll to the bottom for some of the unbelievable Black Friday deals, including $99 Wii systems and great Nintendo 3DS bundles.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo Wii)
While 2012 looks to be the year of Nintendo's next-generation Wii U, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword shows that we're not even close to packing up our Nintendo Wii. The adventures of Link are almost as well known as those of Mario, and Skyward Sword brings the most innovative gameplay we've ever seen in the near-thirty year old series.

Using the Wii MotionPlus for enhanced controls, Skyward Sword features amazing swordplay that isn't just about swinging your arms wildly, hoping to stab at your opponents. Instead, you'll feel a unique rush the first time you meet an enemy who blocks your every sword swing -- the game forces you to think about the best way to level your enemies.

The different puzzles strewn throughout the game's dungeons are also very creative. We were greeted with a blocked gate with an eye that was looking at us from above, just staring at our sword. What to do? Eventually, we figured out we had to make the eye dizzy by waving our sword in a circular motion, thus clearing the way as we continued on our journey.

Skyward Sword has a touching story that centers around the growing romance of Link and Zelda, and it keeps the game engaging through over 50 hours of gameplay. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is easily one of the best games you can pick up this holiday season on any platform, and a must-have for any Wii library.

Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo 3DS)
The Nintendo 3DS may have had a bumpy start, and one of its main criticisms was the lack of great original games for the system. Super Mario 3D Land should silence those critics by giving the handheld its first must-have game.

The first thing you'll notice about Super Mario 3D Land is how gorgeous it looks in 3D. Super Mario 3D Land has vibrant colors, cute animation and the best 3D effects we've seen (and that includes Xbox 360 and PS3 games). The 3D effect is subtle but effective, allowing you to play for hours at a time without those headaches that we get from most 3D movies or games.

When you get past the visual beauty of the game, you're in for a real treat with a combination of the best elements of Mario games from years past. The familiar platforms and timed jumps of early games like Super Mario Bros. 3 are combined with deep levels reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy, making for a near-perfect Mario game.

Super Mario 3D Land is also a lengthy game, and if you think the usual eight worlds are far too easy, just wait until you save the princess. Once the credits roll, the real adventure begins with... well, we won't spoil it for you! If you have a Nintendo 3DS, this game is a guaranteed winner, and if you don't have one yet, Super Mario 3D Land is the reason to get it.

Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo 3DS)
The holidays bring not only one but two system-sellers for the Nintendo 3DS, with Mario Kart 7 bringing live online play that will allow players from around the world to compete against each other in races that happen on land, at sea and in the air.

If you've ever played Mario Kart before, the same frantic go kart racing that you're familiar with is back, along with all the turtle shell-throwing and banana peel-chucking action that makes this the perfect multiplayer game. The Nintendo 3DS super-charges the game's visuals with great 3D effects, but doesn't do anything too gimmicky to take away from the Mario Kart's fun factor.

If you're looking for the perfect game to get for a new Nintendo 3DS owner, that would be the aforementioned Super Mario 3D Land, but Mario Kart 7 places second in a photo finish. You can't go wrong with this one.

UDraw (Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
We have only had a short time with this creative accessory, but THQ is looking to bring a whole new level of game to your home console. uDraw is a drawing tablet accessory that connects with a whole library of separately-sold games that offer a level of artistic precision that isn't offered by your usual controller.

The included uDraw Studio Instant Artist pack-in is a great way to show off the drawing tablet, and it offers prospective artists the chance to create their own masterpieces with all the colors of the rainbow. Activities like coloring books and number drawings are also available, and there are even art lessons for those of us who need a little inspiration.

THQ is also offering other games to take advantage of the drawing tablet, with our favorite being the classic family-friendly Pictionary. If you're looking for a way to breathe in new life into your game, uDraw is the ticket.

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Another creative new game that's making waves is Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures. If you're shopping for someone who loves video games but also loves collectible toys, Skylanders brings both of these worlds together in a pretty compelling package.

The game comes packed in with collectible figurines that, through an included portal, bring those characters to life in the actual game. You're able to use these different characters to access parts of the world that would otherwise be unavailable to you, and separately-sold adventure packs adds even more levels and characters to the mix.

Skylanders is available for all systems, including the Nintendo 3DS, and is the perfect game for anyone looking for something different than your run-of-the-mill video game.

Holiday Nintendo Wii Bundles
If you're looking for a Nintendo Wii, Black Friday is going to be the perfect time to buy one at a great discount. Here are some of the deals you should be on the lookout for, courtesy of our friends at CAG:

- Blue Wii console $99.96 at Walmart - Thursday 10PM to Friday
- Blue Wii console $99 at Sam's Club - Friday 12:01AM & Saturday
- Wii console $99.99 at Meijer - Friday 4AM to 12PM
- Black Wii bundle + $35 gaming coupon $149.99 at Kmart - Thursday 6AM-9PM (SYW members only)
- Black Wii bundle $134.99 - Friday 4AM to Saturday

Holiday Nintendo 3DS Bundles
Of course, now that the Nintendo 3DS has some major buzz, you're going to be looking for a great deal on a system and at least one of the game's we mentioned. Here are the best Nintendo 3DS system deals that we could find, thanks to CAG:

- 3DS Zelda Edition: Ocarina of Time 3D $179.99 at Best Buy - Friday 12:01AM
- 3DS Flame Red with Super Mario 3D Land $179.99 at Best Buy - Friday 12:01AM
- 3DS Flame Red with Super Mario 3D Land $179.99 at Target - Friday 12:01AM & Saturday
- 3DS Flame Red with Super Mario 3D Land + $25 gaming coupon $199.99 at Kmart - Friday 5AM-11AM (SYW members only)
- 3DS or DSi XL + $25 gaming coupon $169.99 at Kmart - Thursday 6AM-9PM (SYW members only)
- 3DS Flame Red with Super Mario 3D Land + $10 award card $199.99 at Sears - Friday 4AM-1PM
- 3DS Zelda Edition with Ocarina of Time 3D $199.99 at GameStop

Other Gift Ideas

PlayStation 3 Gift Ideas
Xbox 360 Gift Ideas
Video Game Accessories Gift Ideas