Kids love getting toys for Christmas - but so do we. And let's face it, there's no better toy to receive than a brand new games console.

So if you got an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii this year, Christmas dinner might come as a bit of an unwelcome intrusion into your afternoon.

To help you get started with your new favourite toy, we've put together a mini bible of our most popular tips and tricks that'll help you squeeze every ounce of functionality out of your console.

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Wii
7 Nintendo Wii tricks Nintendo doesn't tell you

1. Add a smooth, constant blue glow to your Wii

The blue lighting around the disc slot normally only glows when the Wii's got some sort of announcement for you, and disappears once you've read it. However, you can lend your lounge a sci-fi feel by making that tasteful glow permanent. Just email your own Wii - using the system in the tip above - but never read the message (which can take up to an hour to arrive, incidentally). As long as it stays unread, that cheeky light will keep on twinkling.

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xbox
10 Xbox 360 tricks Microsoft won't tell you

1. Play Xbox 360 games online for free - without a Live account

That you have to pay a subscription for online gaming, something that's free on other consoles and on the PC, is perhaps the 360's greatest bugbear. Stage your own form of peaceful process by playing online without paying a penny. You'll need XLink Kai, a free app you run from a PC on the same network as the console that tricks the 360 into thinking the internet is a LAN.

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xbox
7 more Xbox 360 secrets Microsoft doesn't tell you

1. Quieten the damn thing down

The 360's heat issues are well known, but they don't mean the box has to quite as noisy as it is. That's down to Microsoft using the cheapest fans it can get its hands on, which make an awful racket and are quite a distraction when you're watching a movie. If you're prepared to neuter your warranty, you can replace them with near-silent third-party jobs, such as the Talismoon WhisperFan. Go to real extremes with a complete replacement case, the Lian Li XB-01.

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ps3
10 PS3 tricks Sony doesn't tell you

1. The secret video reset

One of the most annoying aspects of the PS3 are its video settings. Take it up to the bedroom portable or round to a friend's house and there's a good chance that you won't be able to see anything on screen because your 'new' TV is running at a different resolution or using a different cable connection. And - because you can't see anything - you can't change it. Until now.

Shut down your PS3 then restart by pressing and holding the power button until it beeps twice. This will reset your PS3 to its most basic 480p graphics mode so you'll be able to see enough to choose RGB SCART, component, HDMI or whatever from here.

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ps3
8 more PS3 tricks Sony doesn't tell you

1. Customising your PS3

Try Googling 'PS3 .p3t theme' to find downloadable examples of PS3's new Themes - the alternative desktops, menus and fonts for your PS3 that were enabled in the now not-so-recent 2.0 firmware update. Read on through this article for our tips on how to transfer them to your PS3. You can even make your own themes. All you'll need is Sony's PC-only design software, which is available for free.

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Review: Sony PlayStation 3 80GB
Review: Microsoft Xbox 360 with NXE
Review: Nintendo Wii