Special Report

21 of the Most Popular Gifts of the Century

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Made by: Microsoft

Microsoft’s XBox was eagerly awaited by gamers during the holiday season in 2005. At that time, Microsoft had the lead in console technology. There were some hardware problems at first, but even so, the Xbox 360 came to be well regarded for its slim, streamlined look. Its gamepad was hailed for its controller design. The 360s are also credited with popularizing online multiplayer for console gaming. According to livingly.com, the XBox 360 is the highest-selling console made by an American company.

Source: mariusFM77 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Nintendo Wii
> Made by: Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo Wii targeted a broader demographic through novel gameplay. The primary controller for the Wii is the Wii Remote, a wireless controller with motion sensing and traditional controls that can be used as a pointing device toward the television screen. Wii won a host of awards, including an Emmy for game controller innovation. As of 2022, the Wii is the fifth-best-selling home console ever.

Source: David Greedy / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Guitar Hero
> Made by: Activision

Guitar Hero is a series of music video games in which players use a controller shaped like a guitar to simulate playing songs on lead guitar, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar. Players try to match notes that scroll on-screen to buttons on the controller, strumming the controller in time to the music to score points. The success of Guitar Hero helped boost sales of music by artists who lent their music to the game.

Source: Courtesy of Walmart.com

Zhu Zhu Pets
> Made by: Cepia Inc.

Zhu Zhu Pets was created by Russell Hornsby, who ran a family-owned toy company out of the basement of his St. Louis home. Zhu Zhu, loosely translated from the Chinese word for little piglet, are programmable toy hamsters that imitate the unpredictable behavior of the real critters. The toy became a sensation, like Furby or Cabbage Patch dolls. It was among the top five toys with the biggest sales growth in 2009. According to Zhu Zhu pets maker Cepia Inc., more than seven million U.S. households owned Zhu Zhu hamsters by February 2010. Bruce Katz, vice-president of the company, said worldwide sales had reached about $70 million at that point.

Angry Birds
> Made by: Rovio Entertainment Corporation

Angry Birds is a puzzle video game developed by a Finnish computer game developer, in which the aforementioned birds try to save their eggs from green-colored pigs. The game led to a video game, a TV series, a full-length movie, and various plush toys.

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