Wii Games Courtesy of Christmas

With the temperatures dropping and Thanksgiving right around the corner, the semester seems to have reached the home stretch. Students can finally take a deep breath and begin looking forward to the long Christmas break, at least until finals start. And what would thoughts of Christmas break be without thoughts of Christmas presents?

For those among the student body who look to video games to fill the void between classes and homework assignments, the Christmas season brings with it an entire collection of new games just waiting to be played.

Specifically, the Nintendo Wii, which has had the strongest following of any new video game console, offers longtime Nintendo fans and new players alike a lineup of fun and creative games to keep those long weeks after the holidays from becoming too unbearably boring.

The Wii already has a respectable library of games to draw those gamers who threw their lot in with Xbox or Playstation early on in the console wars or those who have yet to make up their minds. Nintendo flagship series, like Mario Galaxy and the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as well as new installments of fan favorites like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii, and Mario Party 8, were all excellent in their own right and deserve a look if missed.

However, the true excitement of Nintendo fans has been built up by the upcoming winter releases slated to hit the U.S. before and after the holidays.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is the much-anticipated sequel to cult classic Gamecube role-playing game, Tales of Symphonia. Like its predecessor, Dawn of the New World offers an engrossing storyline, eye-catching graphics, and unique gameplay. The battle system is a hybrid of standard RPG elements with some action-oriented button mashing. A solid RPG is a great addition to the Wii’s library of games, since games of that genre have been somewhat lacking since the Wii’s release. Dawn of the New World was released just last week, and should be on any RPG or Wii fan’s Christmas wish list.

Animal Crossing: City Folk is another return to familiar ground for Nintendo, as the second major console appearance of the Animal Crossing series was released on November 16. Along with the traditional features of collecting items to sell and buying furnishings for a player’s home within the confines of the town, City Folk features an entire city of shops and events that players can access through a quick bus ride out of the town.

In addition, the new installment allows players to visit their friends’ towns via WiFi. This online feature is also compatible with Wii Speak, a microphone accessory that has been released along with City Folk. For anyone wishing to return to the world of Animal Crossing or those looking for new ways to make use of the Wii friend codes they’ve been collecting, City Folk is the perfect game to check out.

Finally, for those gamers still hung up on the stigma of the Wii as a system that’s “just for kids,” it’s time to take a look at The Conduit. While this game is not technically going to be a holiday release (the game’s struggle to find a publisher forced it to be pushed back to March 2009), the prospect of the game should be enough to get gamers excited now. The game employs a new engine that really takes advantage of the Wii’s graphics capabilities.

The controls are designed to make the most of the Wii Remote’s versatility and freedom of movement. The game itself is a first person shooter with a dark storyline about government cover-ups. It takes place in modern-day Washington D.C. after an attack by extraterrestrial invaders. All of the initial screen shots show crisp graphics and previews for The Conduit have been extremely positive. This might just be a game to pre-order as a holiday gift to yourself.

For the time being, students must begin preparations, mental and emotional, for the fast-approaching finals week. However, in the back of everyone’s mind should also be the month of rest and relaxation that comes with the end of the semester. More importantly, as everyone is preparing for the holidays, we should all remember that this is a season of peace, love, and brand new Wii games just asking to be played.