Holiday Buyers' Guide 2006 - PS2

For the music lover… Guitar Hero II (read ourreview)

Everyone wants to be a rock star. Everyone. Even people who hate rock. Even people who've never heard of rock. So what could be better than a song that enables players to strap on a plastic guitar and "play" a huge selection of guitar-heavy hits culled from the last few decades? Nothing, that's what.

Guitar Hero II keeps it pretty simple; you use the included guitar to choose a song and play its "notes" as they cascade down the screen, all while your chosen avatar rocks out. Play the notes right, and the song continues. Miss them, and the song stops dead until you hit the next one. It might not sound like much, but it's amazingly addictive. And if you can spring for two guitars, Guitar Hero II's expanded multiplayer mode will enable two would-be shredders to compete or collaborate in a duet, making it perfect for parties. The $80-with-guitar price tag might be a little daunting, but trust us - it's worth every penny.

Second choice: SingStar Rocks

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.