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Joystiq presents

Five games to buy for people you hate

Gaming sites are inundated with holiday gift guides at the end of the year, listing the best and most popular games that everyone pretty much already has (or knows about). Well, we're not going in for that this year. Our gift guide will help you find the best gifts in categories the other sites won't cover -- because we just made them up.

Do you just love handing out the most horrific holiday gifts? If you're the kind of person who actually tucks sticks and coal into the stocking of a loved one on Christmas Eve, then this list is for you. It's all about the worst of the worst, the bottom of the barrel -- the games you would shudder to find on your own shelf, or worse, tainting your DS.

Before you ask -- yes, we do love to see you cringe and suffer at the horrors we spring on you. Aren't we sweet?

Hannah Montana Music Jam

Oh, Hannah Montana. You actually had us fooled, you little minx. We thought you might be worthwhile. In fact, we thought you might even out-jam Jam Sessions, but in the clinch, you offered only disappointment and ridiculously elaborate music video creation minigames that focused on out-dressing the competition. In short? We're through, Hannah. It's over.

So how can you spin this as a totally awesome gift for someone you're pranking? Easy -- if they haven't seen the reviews on the game, show them that video above. Hype the game to the heavens as the best thing in music gaming. Just, y'know, forget to mention the rest ... and watch the bewilderment and frustration as your "friend," convinced that there may be something wrong with them, tries to wade through candy-coated crap. High fives all around.

Various Petz games (and a tip of the hat for Imagine Babyz)

This was the year of "game titles what end in 'z'" for the DS. They were everywhere, with their Catz and their Horsez and their Babyz. Which one of these is not like the other? It should be babies babyz, but when a game takes the same approach, what can you do? That's easy: make fun of the people who actually like them. Sure, sure, that may be mean, but when we're talking about giving someone a gift you know they'll hate just so that you can laugh, can you really quibble over the details?

This one is a two-step process out of necessity, and you'll thank us for adding in the little DIY element when you see the looks of disgust (mixed with lulz) on the faces of your victims. Select the pet-sim-ending-in-z of your choice (we recommend an animal they hate, just to keep with the theme), and then find some of the ridiculous customer reviews/quotes on the title. Print them out and paste them all over the box! Look, you put effort in ... how can the recipient be upset? It's your mom and the lopsided clay ashtray gifts all over again.

Baby Pals

And speaking of sims, this one is really a no-brainer. If we have to explain to you why buying this for someone else (or giving it away if you happen to come into a copy) is funny, then you're probably in the wrong place, reading the wrong article. Look, we've got nothing against babies. They're soft and snuggly and only occasionally do they scream and vomit on your favorite sweater.

But not only are we unsure about the idea of raising babies as a game -- and look, we know baby dolls have been a reality for eons -- in this particular instance, the babies in question, even without a "z" are just creepy. But we're not the target audience, so let's take a look at the customer reviews on Gamestop's site, shall we? According to those lovely consumers, this game is clearly better than Imagine Babyz because you get to keep the babies, not just babysit. So just tell your friends you always knew they wanted a baby of their very own, and try not to giggle until after you've left the room.

However, this probably doesn't work if your target is a girl under the age of ten.

Godzilla: Unleashed

And here we have an old standby -- the horrifically ugly game. This one makes Baby Pals look ... well, a little better, anyway. Do we need to remind you of just how bad Godzilla: Unleashed is? Just tell your friend that you know how very much they love giant reptiles and destruction, and you couldn't help but think that they would love this one. Bonus points if you can be totally sincere about it. We recommend practicing in front of the mirror. Work on those wide, sincere puppydog eyes, and this one is in the bag.

Elf Bowling 1&2

And finally, the classic. Really, when it comes to bad DS games, Elf Bowling remains the pinnacle. We can get behind ports of some games that are available elsewhere either freely or for less than their DS counterparts, so long as there's something worthwhile thrown into the mix. And therein lies the rub -- there is nothing worthwhile about Elf Bowling 1&2. It remains one of the most poorly reviewed games ever. In fact, we can't even recommend that you actually buy it for a friend for the laugh factor, since you will probably pay through the nose to actually get your hands on a copy. But if you just happen to have one lying around (maybe someone tortured you last year), this could be the perfect stealth gift. C'mon, it's Elf Bowling! You knock down elves! Hilarity should ensue, right?

Oh, if only the reality reflected things that should be. As an aside -- it looks like Amazon reviewers are with us in the spirit of anti-guides, since this horror of a DS game manages a pretty decent score there!

So there you have it. Sure, even crappy DS games are more expensive than scooping up rocks, dirt, and debris from the backyard for that special someone (you love to prank), but they don't have to pretend to like things that are obviously bad. When you give the gift of a truly horrible game, however, your friends are nearly forced to put on a smile and offer thanks. So go forth and torture someone. You'll thank us later!

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