Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the parade! Delight in your dinner! Prepare for tomorrow's battle.
There are two types of people in the world. Those of us who want nothing to do with the bedlam, the insanity, the ferocity of Black Friday's plentiful, big deals. And those of you who live for the moment.
This survival guide is for the latter. In it we detail not only how to get through the day and it's crush of humanity, but also where to go for the best deals by console and how, if you hate going out on Black Friday, to still get some pretty great deals.
Deal shopping is serious business. And Black Friday, Black Friday is like the Olympics of deal finding. If you're really going to go brave the human tempest that are the masses awaiting you at Best Buy, Toys R Us, any mart, then you better go prepared.
1. Eyes on the Prize: Pick a deal and stick to it and get there early. It might help to look over our Black Friday deals story and flip through our gift guides. If you're looking for one of the better deals, like a "door buster", expect to be in stiff competition. Get to the store before it opens, hours before.
2. Come Prepared: That means comfy shoes, maybe a bottle of water, loose fitting clothes. This isn't pleasure shopping, this is big game shopping.
3. If Things Go Bad: It's unlikely that things will, but if they do, if you get sucked into the vortex of a milling, screaming, shoving crowd, you can still come out unscathed. Make sure to stay calm. Work your way toward the outside of the flash riot by moving with the flow of bodies. Watch your footing, the last thing you want to do is go down. If you fall, pull yourself into a ball, protecting your face. Forget the deal, no amount of savings is worth being trampled for.
If you're in the market for a new Nintendo handheld, than Meijer has the best deal, offering a Limited Edition DSi holiday bundle, which comes with Mario Party and a red or green DSi, and a $30 coupon for $150. Amazon and Kmart also have the deal, but with a $25 coupon. Do keep in mind that the 3DS is coming to the U.S. early next year.
Game deals for the DS are pretty slim this year, with none of our suggested gift ideas for the platform popping up on sale. Instead there's a strong selection of old, often unwanted titles, at discount prices.
The most common, and perhaps the best, deal out there right now seems to be for World of Warcraft Battlechest, which is running for $10 at quite a few stores. Of course online stores are offering plenty of deals for download as well. More on that in a bit.
There is quite a variety of bundles available for the PS3 this year. The best deal is pretty subjective, depending on whether you want movies, coupons or games with your console. Most of the deals are for the 160GB console and come with Uncharted 2, a fantastic game. Then you can decide between bundles like Dell's which also includes LittleBigPlanet, Tron: Evolution and The Karate Kid BluRay or Meijjer which includes Karate Kid and a $50 coupon. Another strong option is The GameStop deal which offers both the God of War Collection and God of War III discs. The one commonality among a majority of the bundles this year? They'll run you $299.99.
There are also plenty of good gaming deals to pick up for your PS3 this holiday. Some of our favorites include Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which seems to be down to $35 at most stores, Fallout: New Vegas for $35 Kmart and Red Dead Redemption which is selling for $30 at Walmart. Another great deal? Call of Duty: Black Ops with a $30 coupon for $60 at Meijer.
We found that the Playstation Portable has quite a few good bundles available this year. The best seems to be at Meijer which has a PSP 3000 core holiday bundle with LittleBigPlanet, The Karate Kid UMD, a 1GB Memory Stick and a $30 coupon for $129.99. Do keep in mind that a new PSP seems to be looming, when considering buying the handheld.
There really aren't that many PSP games with deep discounts this year, it appears.
Meijer takes the Wii hardware category too, offering shoppers a chance to pick up the console for $149.99 Best Buy has the next best deal, offering the console with Wii Sports Resort for $169.99.
The best game deals for the Wii include Amazon and Target's $35 price for Super Mario Galaxy 2, GoldenEye for $39.99 and NBA Jam for $29.99 at Kmart and Toys R Us.
I'm not a fan of the Xbox 360 that sports a mere 4GB of storage. You're going to quickly need to pick up an overpriced harddrive for it if you intend to do any serious gaming. So the best deal I've spotted this holiday is Toys R Us' $299.99 price tag for a 250GB console with a $50 Toys R Us gift card. If you're looking for a 4GB console, despite my warnings, quite a few stores are offering it for $199.99 plus a $50 gift card.
There are plenty of great gaming deals out there this holiday for the 360. You can pick up Fable III and Halo: Reach for $35 each at Target. Meijer has Call of Duty: Black Ops with a $30 coupon for $59.99. Assassins's Creed Brotherhood is on sale for $39.99 at Kmart, which also has Fallout New Vegas for $34.99. And my favorite racer of the year, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, can be picked up for $34.99 at Best Buy or Kmart.
The best way to deal with the glut of special, deals and sales and the violent, ham-handed folks they attract? Stay home! And with the always increasing popularity of online shopping you can still find some pretty sweet deals.
Here are some Black Friday digital deals worth checking out.
Fable III $29.99
Fall out: New Vegas $34.99
Medal of Honor $29.99
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit $34.99
Halo Reach $39.99
FlingSmash with Wii Remote Plus $29.99
Infamous, PS3, $9.99
Killzone 2, PS3, $9.99
Red Dead Redemption, PS3 and X360, $28.99
4GB Xbox + $60 GC, X360 $199.99
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, PS3 and X360, $34.99
The Sims 3, PS3 and X360, $34.99
NBA JAM, Wii, $26.99
Madden NFL 11, Wii, PS3, and X360, $28.99
FIFA Soccer 11, PS3, and X360, $34.99
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011, X360, $29.99
EA SPORTS MMA,PS3, and X360, $34.99
Super Mario Galaxy 2, Wii, $34.99
NCAA Football 11, PS3, $34.99
NHL 11, PS3 and X360, $34.99
God of War III, PS3, $39.99
Game download store Gamersgate has 52 offers up on their site including some great gets like Torchlight for $9.99, Devil May Cry 4 for $9.95 and the Deus Ex Collection for $4.99
Online store steam has major daily deals through till Nov. 29. The deals change daily, but past ones have included Alpha Protocol for $7.50, The Deus Ex Collection for $4.99 and Borderlands for $9.99. They also have packs of games, letting you pick up multiple copies of the same game at deep discounts so you can hand them out to friends... electronically.
Of course all deals are incredibly subjective. What one person thinks is a great deal, another might think is horrible. And most of the ones you find on Black Friday are limited, so go into this knowing you may not come home with what you left seeking.
What are you planning on going out for?
Photo: Getty Images