It's that time of year again. On Thanksgiving, we celebrate togetherness with family and friends. But the next day (or even that night) brings an everyone-for-themselves mad dash for Black Friday (and later, Cyber Monday) deals.
Video gaming will be fully in the fray. With new systems like the Nintendo Wii U and PlayStation Vita, and markdowns on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and older game titles, there are plenty of great deals.
Before you jump in, check this handy little guide that points out the best deals, some of which you can purchase online. Happy shopping!
Microsoft has various bundles, including ones with the motion-sensing Kinect device and stand-alone systems with premium games.
On Black Friday only, Best Buy will be selling the 250 GB model with a game bundle that includes a physical copy of "Forza Motorsport" and a digital download of "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" for $200.
GameStop will offer a pair of bundles. The " Kinect Star Wars " package, which comes with a limited-edition R2-D2/C-3PO designed console, a copy of the game, and a Kinect, will be $350. The same "Forza"/"Skyrim" bundle mentioned above, along with a copy of "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2," will be $250.
Finally, the 4 GB Xbox and Kinect system bundle, along with "Disneyland Adventures" and "Kinect Adventures," will be $200 in a number of places, including the Microsoft Store, Sam's Club and Amazon, but only through this weekend. Buy it at Sears and you can also get 50 percent off " Assassin's Creed III " or "Epic Mickey 2" with the purchase.
Sony's main console deal includes a 250 GB PlayStation 3 Super Slim system, along with five games — three from the "Infamous" series (including the downloadable "Festival of Blood") and the first two "Uncharted" games. Retailers including GameStop, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Best Buy will have it for $200 for a limited time starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday. For the same price, you can also get it at Toys "R" Us throughout the weekend with an additional AirFlo game controller thrown in.
The Wii U system doesn't have any discounts — it's in limited supply already. But you can score a deal on the Nintendo 3DS holiday bundle, which includes "Super Mario 3D Land" preinstalled. The system will be on sale for $150 at Best Buy starting Friday morning, and $170 at K-Mart and Sears, with $20 to $30 in coupons toward other game purchases.
Sony has marked down bundles across the board, but the best is easily the "Assassin's Creed III: Liberation" pack. It includes a limited edition white system and a copy of Ubisoft's action game. While supplies last, Amazon and GameStop will sell the bundles for $200 starting Friday. If you prefer first-person shooting, try the "Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified" pack at Toys "R" Us for $200 throughout Saturday, with a free 10-in-1 accessory pack, including a system case and wipe cloth. [See also: Top 5 Upcoming Games for the PlayStation Vita ]
The big box retailer has tons of markdowns, with games like "Assassin's Creed III," "Forza Horizon," "Borderlands 2" and "FIFA Soccer 13" going for $35 apiece. "Medal of Honor: Warfighter," "Need For Speed: Most Wanted," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Darksiders II" are cheaper at $30.
For $15 each, you can get "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Saga," "Halo: Reach" and the PS Vita edition of "Mortal Kombat." Several titles will also be sold for $8 each, including "Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition" and "Just Dance 3." Keep in mind, these Best Buy deals are so-called "doorbusters," and most will go quickly once stores open at midnight.
Popular titles "Borderlands 2," "Battlefield 3: Premium Edition," "Dishonored," "Assassin's Creed III" and "FIFA Soccer 13" will be going for $25 apiece, starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday. A lot of games will also be a supercheap $15, including " Angry Birds Trilogy," "Forza Horizon," "Ratchet and Clank HD Collection" and "Dance Central 3." [See also: 'Dance Central 3' vs. 'Just Dance 4' ]
Walmart will also have $10 games available, including "Batman: Arkham City," "The Sly Cooper Collection," "LittleBigPlanet 2," "Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One" and "Darksiders," among others.
Toys "R" Us
Finally, the kids' shop is offering a "buy one, get one for $1" promotion for dozens of titles ranging from $20 to $60. A lot of "bargain" games are included, such as "Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga" and "Disney Universe" for Wii, but premium titles are also on hand, such as "Need For Speed: Most Wanted" for Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as the PlayStation 3 racer "LittleBigPlanet Karting."