Many gamers, the ones that are super committed to their hobby, are notoriously hard to shop for. If you as the gift-giver are coming from an outside perspective, the huge array of potential gifts might seem overwhelming, and anyway, your game-loving loved one has probably bought a lot of things for themselves already. Never fear, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of great gift ideas for the discerning gamer, ideas that might otherwise have slipped under the radar. Let’s dive in.
Beyond simply playing games, many hardcore gamers like to surround themselves with items that remind them of their favorite pastime. There’s never been a better time to be a collector of memorabilia in the video game arena, and sites like ThinkGeek make it easier than ever to choose the perfect gift for your loved one. ThinkGeek even breaks out its inventory by game, so you can easily find the light-up Pikachu slippers your Pokemon-loving friend needs.
They also carry some vinyl game soundtracks for the audiophile in your life, though you’ll find a much bigger selection over at iam8bit. They also have a good variety of other game memorabilia, so between these two websites, you’re sure to find the perfect gift.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy LP
No Man’s Sky Launch Day Poster
Owlboy Boguin Plush
The Legend of Zelda Hylian Shield Backpack
Assassin’s Creed Origins Hidden Blade Cosplay
Super Mario Bros. Holiday Sweater
The Super NES Classic Edition
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: The SNES Classic Edition is impossible to find, right? It’s everybody’s must-have gift this year, so what are the chances of snagging one?
It turns out, Nintendo learned a lesson from last year’s NES Classic Edition fiasco, and stock of the SNES Classic has been more regularly replenished, in more places. Your best bet is to create a Google News alert that will email you when it picks up keywords like “SNES Classic” and “restocked.”
Also, if you’re a Twitter user, you owe it to yourself to follow Wario 64. He keeps his finger on the pulse of great gaming deals, and has consistently reported when various outlets get the SNES Classic back in stock.
Let’s face it: There are too many games nowadays. That’s both a blessing and a curse. We’re in a sort of Renaissance for fantastic gaming experiences, but the sheer number of them means it’s impossible for one person to play them all. Not to mention the fiscal irresponsibility that would be required to purchase every single worthy game.
That’s where GameFly comes in. For a monthly fee, gamers can “rent” up to two games at a time, and keep them as long as they want. When they return the game, GameFly sends the next one in their queue. Think the early days of physical Netflix rentals and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Getting your loved on a GameFly subscription will let them try out (or play to completion) as many games as they want with no additional cost. It’s a great solution to the glut of games we’re experiencing lately.
8bitdo SN30 Pro Controller
For the classic game-lover in your life, give them the gift of practical nostalgia. The 8bitdo SN30 Pro Controller looks like a classic SNES controller, but it has all the buttons and joysticks you’ll need to play modern games. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android, as well as Nintendo Switch (so when the inevitable Virtual Console launches on Nintendo’s newest console, they’ll be able to play some classic games in style).
The design is drool-worthy, and 8bitdo makes some very high-quality products. Check out their site for even more ideas.
Gaming Gift Cards
Many of the coolest games you can get nowadays are digital-only. That means you can’t wrap them up and drop them under the tree for your favorite gamer to open. Your best bet is to grab a gift card for their platform of choice and include a list of games you think they’d love.
Axiom Verge: Inspired by classic 8- and 16-bit games like the Metroid series, Axiom Verge is a new classic that tasks you with using a variety of weapons and tools to unlock the mysteries of a strange, 2D world. It’s available on Switch, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, and Steam.
Stardew Valley: Like the Harvest Moon games from which it takes inspiration, Stardew Valley drops you into a new town as the sole proprietor of an overgrown farm and asks you to make a living. The farming simulation is fun, but the real joy comes from interacting with (and maybe even romancing) the townspeople you meet along the way. It’s available to download on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade, from veteran developer Ninja Theory, has all the trappings of a AAA game. However, it was made by a small team and could more accurately be described as an indie. It’s frankly amazing the level of detail they were able to cram into this game’s world. Not to mention the heart-wrenching performance by Melina Juergens as Senua (which won her the Best Performance award at this year’s Game Awards). Check it out on PS4, GOG, and Steam.
What Remains of Edith Finch: A game that is really a series of haunting, funny, strange, and terrifying short stories, What Remains of Edith Finch is the rare title that almost transcends the descriptor “video game” and becomes something else entirely. It’s high art. While not the lengthiest title, the affecting story about the unlucky Finch family will keep you hooked from the very beginning. It’s available digitally on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but you can also preorder a stylish physical copy from iam8bit.
Hopefully, this article sparked a few ideas, and you’ll be able to surprise and delight the gamer in your life. Happy Holidays!