It's a banner year for video games with three next generation consoles on the market. SI.com's Game Room takes a look at Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360, and recommends the best games for each system.<br><br>PlayStation3<br><br>Why we like it: The PS3 sports a Blu-ray player (that's Sony's high-def DVD standard), has built-in Wifi and can output 1080p via HDMI. Very nice. The PS3 also has a free online service that allows you to play multiplayer games and download original games, games demos and movie trailers. The PS3 game library is small right now but you can count on it developing nicely in 2007. <br><br>Need to know: The PS3 doesn't come with HDMI or component cables out of the box. If you have an HDTV or a newer TV you'll want them big-time.
2 of 19Nintendo
Will Wii rock you?<br><br>Why we like it: The Wii wasn't designed to compete with the processing power and graphical capabilities of the PS3 or 360. Instead the Wii puts aside high-def visuals in favor of gaming that relies on Nintendo's highly innovative controller that translates physical movement into on-screen action. It sounds weird, we know, but it works in a very visceral and fun way. The Wii takes the crown for the best system to play with folks in the same room. And don't forget to always wear your wrist strap (see link below).<br><br>Need to know: The Wii doesn't have component cables out of the box, just composite. For now you can order the cable directly from Nintendo -- and you'll want to if you have a newer TV.
3 of 19Microsoft
Is Bill Gates' box tops?<br><br>Why we like it: The 360 is probably the best buy right now thanks to the one-year head start it has on the competition. The payoff is a library of 150-plus games. The 360 is also the clear champion of online gaming and its $50-per-year online service is extremely robust with video chat, gamer achievements and myriad downloads including games, game demos, movies, movie trailers and TV programming.<br><br>Need to know: The 360's hard drive is only 20GB so if you download a lot of content you'll hit the wall sooner or later, and there's not a larger drive available. You can also buy an HD DVD add-on drive ($200) -- which is a pretty sweet way to enter the world of high-def movies.
4 of 19EA
Fight Night Round 3 (PS3, Xbox 360)
EA's Fight Night franchise has pumped new life into the Sweet Science over the years -- and the latest version for the PS3 never looked better. Fighting the computer is OK, but Fight Night shines when you play other humans. This works equally well with a buddy on the couch and against other players online. Fight Night has some of the most obvious commercial placements we've ever seen in a game. Don't be surprised if you come away from a long session of pugilistic glory wanting to pound some Burger King.
5 of 19Nintendo
Wii Sports (Wii)
In a return to the good old days when you got a game with a console -- the Wii comes with Wii Sports. Crammed onto the disc are mini-games for bowling, golf, tennis, baseball and boxing. These games do an excellent job demonstrating the mechanics and entertainment potential of the console. Our runaway favorite is bowling as it offers the best feel and control -- and because there's no way we're getting kicked out for bad behavior.
6 of 19Microsoft Studios
Gears of War (Xbox 360)
You're on a simple mission to fend off invading aliens and save the planet. A familiar premise to be sure. Gears however manages to take the first-person shooter genre and redefine it with a truly excellent shoot-and-cover dynamic. Fighting entrenched enemy positions is the bread and butter of this instant classic. This is the must-have game of the season for the 360.<br><br>Parental alert: Blood, guts and violence ahoy. Yep, this game is rated M for Mature.
7 of 192K Sports
NBA 2K7 (PS3, Xbox 360)
If you love the NBA then your search is over. NBA 2K7 is the best basketball game available on any system thanks to fantastic game mechanics, great AI and a ton of options. We especially love the signature shooting for each player: a system that makes you learn the timing for the real-life shot releases for everyone on your team. And even though Shaq looks pretty skinny in this game don't expect a healthy improvement is his bricktacular free-throw shooting.
8 of 19Sega
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)
A big monkey in a flying boat stole your bananas and naturally you're not too happy about it. So you encase yourself in a translucent ball and set about rolling around a world of 3D mazes in a furious effort to get back your nanas. Still with us? You should be because Banana Blitz is among the very best Wii games thanks to a simple but engaging game mechanic where you essentially tilt the maze environment to move your monkey ball around.
9 of 19Activision
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3, Xbox 360)
A big monkey in a flying boat stole your skateboard... kidding. Skateboard master Tony Hawk returns for a wheels-up ride that offers a solid array of addictive game modes. The coolest addition is the "nail the trick" mode when you enter a matrix-like slowdown to work your feet to perform new moves and combos. This game is rad, man.
10 of 19EA
Tiger Woods 2007 (Xbox 360)
Tiger Woods 2007 is a return to form for this storied franchise. The aim-and-swing dynamic is tight and taking your created golfer through the career mode is addictive and rewarding. Tiger has one of the best create-a-player features we've seen anywhere. (And after seeing virtual versions of ourselves we won't be sneaking peeks in the mirror anytime soon.)
11 of 192K Sports
NHL 2K7 (PS3, Xbox 360)
2K once again ices the competition with an excellent hockey game. The action in 2K7 is more arcade than simulation but the brilliant game play camera angles and graphics makes this one of our favorite sports games to play against other humans. Now if only the real NHL was this compelling...
12 of 19EA
Madden NFL 2007 (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3)
Madden 2007 for the Wii is a physical football experience. The sensation of passing the ball works really well (you flip your arm forward in a throwing motion and tap the directional pad to pass) but we're still learning how to deflect a pass (you have to raise both your arms) without falling off the couch. We recommend playing this one standing up. This game is one of the most complicated Wii games so expect to log plenty of games before you get good on both sides of the ball.
13 of 19Sony
Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3)
Resistance is probably the best and coolest PS3 title out there. This fast-paced first-person shooter pits you against some nasty aliens in a post-World War II universe. The premise doesn't really make sense but the execution of that story is first rate. Resistance really shows off the graphics of the PS3 and serves as one of its best online PS3 experiences as well.
14 of 19Activision
Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)
Ultimate Alliance is a great smash-and-dash game that allows you to build a team of four super heroes to fight a collective of super villains. Comic book fans will love the rich tapestry of classic Marvel characters that you get to fight with -- or against -- throughout this game. We think the 360 version of this game looks better than the others, though shooting Spider-man's webs with the Wii controller is pretty cool.
15 of 19Nintendo
Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess (Wii)
Nintendo's history of first-party games is legendary. Thankfully Nintendo didn't launch the Wii without one of its standout franchises. Legend of Zelda is an engrossing and challenging game that we're not going to pretend we've finished yet. Using the Nintendo controller to swing Link's sword is awesome.
16 of 19Ubisoft
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Vegas, baby! Clancy's storied franchise returns for a showdown with terrorists in Sin City. The excellent visuals and sharp character control dynamics make this one of the best squad-based shooters out there. If you've ever wanted to rappel upside-down off the top of casino roof then this is your game. Rainbow Six is a no-brainer if you like to mix it up online.<br><br>Parental alert: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but that doesn't mean we'd forget to mention the M for Mature rating here.
17 of 19Nintendo
Excite Truck (Wii)
If you like driving off-road vehicles like a maniac then Excite Truck is calling you. This game is one of the first racing games for the Wii so learning to steer with a remote is a new and entertaining experience. Once you master the mid-air turns -- that often take place a few hundred feet above the race courses -- you'll be well on your way.
18 of 192K Sports
College Hoops 2K7 (Xbox 360)
It's not quite time for March Madness, heck it's not even 2007, but with 2K's latest college basketball game you won't want to wait to string up your laces and be the big man on campus. College Hoops caps an excellent year for 2K with a very solid simulation game that's easy to play but extremely nuanced for fans looking for a deeper experience. The create-a-chant feature is awesome, baby, with a capital A.
19 of 19EA
Need for Speed: Carbon (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)
The latest chapter in the venerable Need for Speed franchise plays like "The Fast and the Furious" crossed with Risk with a dash of "West Side Story." As the game begins, a race gone bad has sent you packing, and you've come back home to win back your cred, your turf and your girlfriend by outracing your enemies and Johnny Law. Aside from the ludicrous story and janky framerate, the production values are generally top-notch and the online mode is frenetic cops-and-tuners fun.
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