No New Year's celebration would be complete without the proper stogie, bottle of bubbly, and midnight Frenchie-lip action. While you can't buy the latter (for a decent price, anyway), you can get it on with an Archive cigar from Gurkha for less than the price of four gallons of premium. Smooth, tasty and in commemoration of Gurkha's 20th anniversary, lighting this bad boy up might be the most action you'll see all NYE.
www.gurkhacigars.com / $10.00
Alright, we admit it: previously, we couldn't resist bagging on Sony's poor PlayStation 3 and its ludicrously overpriced hardware. But this newly revamped unit-smaller, lighter and less power-hungry, yet still rocking swank features like a Blu-ray player, built-in wireless networking and a 120gb hard drive for holding games, movies, music and photos-demands an apology. Capable of doubling as a premium gaming system and streaming multimedia hub, it's now one of the best high-tech values money can buy.
www.playstation.com / $299.99
Webcam Pro 9000
Skype's the shiznit, but thus far hasn't had much competition. Enter Logitech's rival "vid" service, which lets webcam owners videoconference for free online. Take advantage of opportunities to share your new tattoo or nipple ring with girlfriends nationwide (or better yet, check out theirs) using this fresh and fully-compatible model, which records 720p high-definition video or 8MP stills as needed. Given strong low-light performance, who knows: If you're lucky, you might even be able to make out more than a blurry elbow during late-night film sessions.
www.logitech.com / $99.99
Flash Voyager GT
Speed and girth-two essential traits ironically necessary for success as both an adult entertainment star, and a high-quality external data backup solution. Thankfully, awkward-looking as it is, this super-sized 128gb USB flash drive (capable of easily fitting in your pocket) falls into the latter camp, and wows with its brisk transfer times. You can easily move movies, music and photos of your pet parrot (we love you, Sha'Tanya!) between computers or retrieve for BitTorrent-deprived buddies as needed.
www.corsair.com / $399.99
Sound Blaster Wireless For Itunes
Why pay a fortune for streaming music? Simply cram this plug-and-play solution into a Mac/PC USB port and attach its receiver to a home audio system, pair of speakers or headphones and you can easily get the party started. Granted, enjoying a little Enya in the bathtub or Enrique Iglesias during early a.m. yoga sessions on the back porch won't cost mere peanuts. But let's be real: this intuitive option is infinitely more affordable than the high-end alternatives offered by rivals like Cisco or Sonos.
www.creativelabs.com / $149.99
Forget the cringe-inducing overtones. Minutes into said virtual thriller, you'll realize that shock and revulsion take a backseat to its stronger suits: moody storytelling and suspense so taught you could cut it with a feather. Set between the first and second flicks, you control Detective Tapp, forced to play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with desperate degenerates and lethal booby traps in an abandoned asylum. Aging visuals, clumsy combat and countless cheap deaths notwithstanding, the title's edge-of-your-seat atmosphere and constant, gore-drenched surprises make for a stomach-turning good time.
www.konami.com / PS3, Xbox 360
Finally, a guitar-slinging game that doesn't require pounding out the usual mind-numbing button sequences in time with on-screen prompts. Here, you instead play roadie hero Eddie (voiced by actor Jack Black), who uses might and sonic-powered magic to carve his way through a fantastical world ripped straight out of heavy metal album covers. Guest appearances by rock royalty including Lita Ford, Lemmy Kilmister and Rob Halford prove welcome bonuses, with the tale's thumb-numbing action and devil-may-care attitude striking just the right chord.
www.ea.com / PS3, Xbox 360
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Less blood, more boobs-that's this port of the acclaimed, sword-slinging Xbox 360 epic in a nutshell. Thank toned-down gore levels and the introduction of playable femme fatales Momiji and Ayane (including accompanying side stories), which, like fresh enemies and online co-op play options, number among the conversion's few upgrades. If you played it before, no need to do so again. However, those who missed the pajama-clad hijinks previously are encouraged to check them out now, with absurd ass-whupping antics the title's obvious forte.
www.tecmoinc.com / PS3
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Time to turn off your brain and crank up the endorphins: Albeit no revolution in interactive entertainment, there's much to love about this big, dumb action-adventure, the virtual equivalent of a summer Hollywood blockbuster. Controlling modern-day fortune hunter Nathan Drake, shadow Marco Polo's footsteps on the road to Shangri-la, engaging in gravity-defying leaps and nail-biting shootouts as the situation demands. Packing riveting solo and multiplayer options, plus solid handling and strikingly atmospheric set pieces, its low-maintenance, high-impact thrills won't disappoint.
www.playstation.com / PS3
10 OK, we get it: there's money to be made from milking the billion-dollar sci-fi splat 'em up franchise. But Halo Wars, its first foray into real-time strategy, wasn't half bad, and neither is this predictable spin-off, a frantic blaster more in keeping with the series' trigger-mashing roots. Assuming the role of rookie Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, wander the wartorn streets of New Mombasa, dispensing justice with an increasingly lethal array of high-tech weapons. Original? No. Mindlessly entertaining? Hell yes.
www.xbox.com / Xbox 360