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Which gaming system is right for you?

December 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Long gone are the days when playing a video game meant having to push buttons and use a joystick. Experts believe the top-selling electronics gift this year will be one of the new hands-free video games. But the two other popular gaming systems have improved quite a bit, making the competition for these types of games very intense. Motion-based video games are hot. They detect your movements, letting you be part of the action.

Wii was the first to get into motion-based gaming. Consumer Reports just checked out the updated, enhanced controller option.

"Nintendo has created the Wii Motion Plus, which is an accessory that attaches to the Wii remote, which basically helps the Nintendo Wii detect the motion of the Wii remote controller," said Consumer Reports' Matt Ferretti.

But you still need a remote to play Wii's games and a platform for activities like yoga. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports says Wii's graphics aren't great. But it costs about a $100 less than the Sony PlayStation's Move and the Kinect from Xbox 360, making the Wii a good choice for entry-level gamers.

The Move and Kinect will run you about $300, but Consumer Reports says they have more to offer. Testers note that the PlayStation Move has great graphics, and you only need controllers - no platform necessary. Another plus is the PlayStation system comes with a Blu-ray player, an Internet browser, and the ability to play some games in 3D.

The new Kinect is unique because you don't need to hold anything while you're playing.

"You stand in front of a camera and it basically picks up everything your body does," said Ferretti.

Whatever moves you make, your avatar will do the same thing on the screen, so you don't need a controller. What you will need though is a lot of space - ideally six feet from the TV set and plenty of elbow room for two players. But if you've got the room, Consumer Reports says the Kinect is worth the money.

All three motion-based gaming systems come bundled with at least one game. But additional games will run you about $50 each.