Gifts for gamers: Hot hardware to enhance the experience

You haven't played Halo 3 unless your tush has rumbled while firing at aliens.

Whether it's over-the-top vibrating chairs or more practical gaming accessories, such as the Wii remote charging station, hundreds of optional peripherals can enhance your interactive entertainment experience — regardless of your preferred gaming platform.

Here, a look at some of the year's best, and quirkiest.

Taking charge

While the Nintendo Wii's motion-sensing controller is one of the most exciting things to happen to the gaming industry in a long while, it's no secret the AA batteries in the Wii remote can drain faster than the pipes in a Mario Bros. game. Good news: the Nyko Wii Charge Station includes rechargeable batteries for two Wii remotes, a docking station to recharge them and rubber-lined controller backs for greater grip. It's $39.99 at, but it, and all the other products mentioned, can often be found for less by shopping around at other websites.

BlackBerry for gamers?

The Xbox 360 Messenger Kit ($29.99 at includes two separate products. One is a small backlit keyboard, called a Chatpad, that snaps into the bottom of the game controller; use it to chat with friends over the Xbox Live service (during games or beforehand). The other is an Xbox 360 wired headset to talk via voice instead of text, if you prefer. We also like the comfortable Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel ($129.99) and Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows ($59.95) which works with both the Xbox 360 and Windows PCs.

Band in a box

We love the wireless Gibson Les Paul you get with RedOctane's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, but you can't beat the entire band setup included with MTV Games' Rock Band bundle ($169.99 at The game lets you jam with the finest rock songs from yesterday and today. You get a guitar (which doubles as a bass), collapsible drum kit and microphone — so the whole family can rock out. It's available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2/3; the stand-alone game sells for $49.99 to $59.99.

Sit on this

The Renegade Game Chair ($299.99; features 12 vibrating motors, so you can feel every bump or zap in your favorite games. The headrest-mounted 3D-stereo speakers and coordinated lighting effects add to the fun. This comfortable recliner is compatible with Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Windows PCs, Macs and portable music players.

Big screen, small size

Enjoy your favorite games in the privacy of your own virtual movie theater with the Vuzix iWear AV920 ($349.95;, audio/video glasses that simulate a 62-inch big-screen television when plugged into a gaming console, portable DVD player or video iPod. The iWear creates this effect with its twin LCD displays. With supported games, players have the added benefit of 3-D "tilt" control by using simple head movements instead of button presses. Other features include a five-hour rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, removable and upgradeable speakers and a USB charging cord.

A breeze to use

Available for the PlayStation 3 or Windows PCs, the Logitech ChillStream ($29.99; is a clever gamepad that's perfect for heated game-play matches as it blows cool air through tiny pores on the handgrips to keep your hands from sweating. This USB-based controller, which features dual analog sticks and trigger buttons, lets you choose from one of three levels of air flow intensity (or none at all). Hardcore PC players should also check out the award-winning Microsoft SideWinder Mouse ($79.95;