Gaming Gifts

1. SMALL WONDERS Most multimedia speakers make audiophiles laugh, but the Spherex 5.1 Surround Sound System ($500) - based on Mirage's critically acclaimed Omnisat 6 home theater speakers (reviewed in "Thinking Outside the Box II," May 2003) - is worth a serious listen. Rather than firing directly at you, each Spherex satellite radiates all around, reflecting much of its sound off walls to create a more immersive gaming experience. The 8-inch sub houses all the necessary electronics, including a 300-watt amp, Dolby and DTS decoders, audio inputs, and a USB connection for your PC.

cordless controllers 2. CUTTING THE CORD Is there a gamer on your holiday shopping list who suffers from cable clutter? Logitech has the cure - the Cordless Action Controller for PS2 ($40) and the Cordless Precision Controller for Xbox ($50). Both operate for up to 100 hours on just two AA batteries (included), so they're lighter and less bulky than last year's four-battery models. And they're every bit as responsive as tethered controllers, delivering lag-free gameplay from up to 30 feet away.

max drive3. MAD MAX You've just spent countless hours playing Burnout 3, toiling away to unlock every vehicle, track, and trophy. Why not let your buddies share in the rewards? Treat yourself to Datel's pocket-size Max Drive, a USB flash drive that makes it quick and easy to transfer game saves between your PS2 or Xbox and your PC. Then you can e-mail those saves to your Max Drive-equipped friends, upload them to the Internet for everyone to enjoy, or simply store them on your computer's hard drive, eliminating the need for multiple memory cards. You can also download content (like cheat codes) and copy it to your console. Available in 16 MB ($30), 32 MB ($40), and 64 MB ($50 for PS2, $60 for Xbox).

ms. pacman 4. BLAST FROM THE PAST Give the gift that used to get the girls. Ms. Pac-Man TV Games ($20) has five built-in coin-op classics: Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Pole Position, Xevious, and Mappy. No console is required - simply plug the joystick into your TV and play. Each game is perfectly recreated right down to the last pixel. Even the patterns you memorized to beat the game and wow your friends still work - just don't think that'll impress the ladies like it did at your local arcade back in the '80s.