Beginner's Guide: What to Do With Your New Video Gaming System

582672974_b255c79fa4.jpgSo you got a video game console for Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever it is that you celebrate. Chances are that it was a Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, a Nintendo Wii, or, for those on-the-go, a Nintendo DS. Given that all of those systems were first released about five years ago, you're probably not an early video game adopter. Plenty of games and accessories have been released for each of these systems over the years. If you're just getting started, here's a beginner's guide to your must-have games and accessories for your shiny new toy.

XBOX 360

This year Microsoft rolled out the Xbox 360S, a quieter, sleeker console, with built in Wi-Fi. The new model comes in both 250GB and 450GB versions. If you got the 250 GB Xbox holiday bundle, then you already have two games: Forza Motorsport 3, a racing game, and Alan Wake, a psychological thriller. Here are our some other options for Xbox users:

PLAYSTATION 3

Like the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 comes in various models with hard drives of different sizes: 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, and 360GB. Whichever model you choose, they all contain a Blue-Ray disc drive, BlueTooth technology, Wi-Fi, and the set comes with a wireless controller. Check out these games and accessories for PS3:

NINTENDO WII

Unlike the XBox and PlayStation, the Wii remote -- a wireless device that detects movement in three directions -- is the defining feature of the console. The console also has Wi-Fi and provides a venue for streaming online video through your TV. Here are some good starter games and accessories for the Wii:

NINTENDO DS

The Nintendo DS, a portable hand-held touch-screen gaming device, comes in three varieties: DSi, DS lite, and DSi XL. Each has a different weight and battery life, and the DS lite lacks some of the added features that the other two have, like the camera and recorder. They all have dual LCD screens, the bottom of which is a touch screen. Here are some Nintendo DS games and accessories to get your started:

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Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

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