There was a time when gaming was looked at as a hobby solely for pimpled dweebs and computer geeks. It has since entered the mainstream in a major way. A pastime that was once relegated to dingy arcades is now commonplace in living rooms the world-round. And that means that there’s probably someone in your life that likes to spend their free time with their hands wrapped around a controller. In that case, it’s a safe bet to get them something gaming related as a gift this holiday season.
But you can’t just meander on down to your local department store and grab the first thing you see in the electronics section. That is, not if you want to snag something that’ll excite them. You see, gamers can be pretty picky with their gear – a fact that the major chains still have a tough time grasping. So, rather than trusting some random salesman’s endcap selection, we’ve gathered up some truly noteworthy gear for your favorite virtual vanguard. Choose something from the following list and it’s sure to be a hit – so long as it’s compatible with their system of choice.
Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics
Most adult gamers grew up with, at the very least, a fondness for Nintendo. After all, it was the brand that really put video games on the map. This hardcover coffee table book, which is designed to look like a classic NES cartridge, follows the history of the brand and its consoles in beautiful full color. For anyone that has even a mild affinity for Super Mario and his peers, this is a killer gift.
The Gift Of Good Games
At the very least, a surefire hit for any gamer is a new game or two. Sure, Blizzard’s Overwatch isn’t necessarily brand spanking new, but it’s definitely one of the best games we’ve played in a long time. Bethesda has just released Dishonored 2, a stellar follow-up to their wildly successful stealthy steampunk FPS. And EA and Dice’s Battlefield 1 is a shoe-in for at least one game of the year award. Just do us and the gamer in your life a favor and make sure they don’t already have whatever game you choose for them. And be absolutely positive that it’s for the proper system. There’s nothing worse than opening up a brand new game and realizing it’s for the wrong console.
8bitdo NES30 Pro Game Controller
For anybody that likes to play on their phone, tablet, or computer, having a controller is often a more preferable way to game. Especially if they’re running an old-school console emulator. This wireless controller’s styling is inspired by Nintendo’s classic remotes, but is compatible with iOS, Windows, Android, and more. And it’s buttons are custom programmable, as well.
Valve Steam Controller
Valve hit a home run with their Steam game streaming service. Not only is it a wildly popular platform, but there are some gamers who exclusively play through the Steam system. If you know someone like that and they don’t already have the brand’s proprietary controller, this is the gift for them. Made specifically for Steam by the company that created it, you can’t do better.
PlayStation VR Charge & Display Stand
If you know anyone lucky enough to have gotten their hands on a PlayStation VR, this officially-licensed station is an excellent gift option. Not only will it keep your recipient’s gear safe and in order, it also doubles as a charger for the headset, up to two PlayStation Move controllers, and a single Dualshock controller.
Console Multiplayer Membership
If you absolutely can’t decide what else to get, a membership to either Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus is a solid last resort gift. While we think it’s a little ridiculous that the console giants charge their users to play online, we understand that it’s a necessary evil to maintain functional networks and offer support to the users. The best part of using a multiplayer membership as a gift is that, even if your gamer friend or family member already has one, they can just tack the months onto the end of their preexisting account – giving them months of play that they’d otherwise have to pay for.
Logitech G502 Proteus Gaming Mouse
For computer gaming, mouse responsiveness and accuracy is one of the most important aspects. This one, from trusted brand Logitech, features a tunable weight and balance system, taking its customization to the nth degree. It also features the brand’s best rated optical sensor, features 11 programmable buttons, and can be set up for on-the-fly DPI switching across up to 5 different settings.
Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Portable Game Player
This handheld gaming device comes with 80 preloaded games out-of-box. And the list of games include Sonic 1, 2, and 3; Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3; and more. It even has an HDMI output slot which can be hooked up directly to your TV. You know, if you don’t want to strain looking at the 3.2″ LCD screen. This is a stellar gift for anyone who appreciates retro gaming.
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
While most people don’t think of physical maintenance as a necessity when it comes to their computers, hardcore gamers know better. From bad wires, to graphics card upgrades, to the eradication of dust, there are plenty of reasons to open up your computer’s case and take a gander inside. And this formidable tool set is the best set for the job. In fact, it’s the same one used by both the FBI and the CIA.
Vans Nintendo Sk8-Hi Reissue
Vans is responsible for a number of really killer collaborations, but the one they did with Nintendo really stands out. Give the gamer in your life a pair of these classic sneakers – which have the phrase “Game Over!” printed on the brand’s signature waffle soles – and they can display their affinity for the virtual in both style and comfort.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Hard Drive
Fact: even the 500 gig hard drives of next-gen consoles fill up pretty quickly for even the most casual gamer. Hook the one you know up with one of these portable hard drives and save them the heartbreak and hassle of deleting old save files to make room for their newer games. It also comes in a number of different drive sizes and finishes, so purchase accordingly.
Razer Ornata Expert Gaming Keyboard
Second not even to the mouse, keyboards are probably the most across-the-board important computer gaming tool. For starters, some games don’t even require a mouse for usage. Also, hotkeys are an indispensable part of many hardcore gamers’ experience. This mechanical keyboard from Razer offers superb response and an ergonomic design. It also offers anti-ghosting capabilities for up to 10 simultaneous keystrokes.
Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam
Whether you understand and appreciate it or not, live game streaming (like the kind you might see on Twitch) is growing quickly. Maybe you know someone that does it. Maybe you know someone who wants to give it a shot. In any case, this computer webcam is specifically optimized for it. It even has a handy feature that allows the user to integrate their live image and any background scene right onto their stream.
Scuf Custom Gaming Controllers
Factory controllers are alright for casual gamers. But anyone that’s serious about winning and perhaps even considering a foray into the competitive scene should absolutely have one of Scuf’s high-end after market custom controllers. They’re not just for looks, either. Each of these controllers offers better button and trigger response, electro-magnetic remapping, and grip that’s far superior to factory standards.
Elgato Game Capture HD60
If your game-streaming buddy is more of a console player than a PC one, this handy little device will do just fine. Optimized for PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U, it allows for the capture of full-HD video at up to 60 frames per second and can stream it directly or save it to a computer for later. It even features a built-in live commentary feature and one-click sharing.
ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Gaming Headset
For anyone that’s serious about squad-based gaming or just likes to talk smack to trolls, a good headset is a necessity. And this one from ASTRO Gaming is about as good as they come. Offering both superior sound and a precision swappable omnidirectional mic, this modification-ready headset can’t be beat.
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Router
It doesn’t matter how good your computer or console is, if you don’t have a reliable high quality router, you’re not going to get the best out of your gaming experience. This dual-band router will ensure that whomever’s using it will receive the full capabilities of their connection over WiFi and never suffer lag.
If you know anybody that games, but they have yet to get on board with either the PS4 or the Xbox One, now is a pretty good time to get them up to date. Hell, even if they already have one or the other, their newer, slimmer versions have been released and certainly outshine the bulky (and slower) originals.
iBUYPOWER Custom Gaming PC
It used to be that, if you wanted a custom gaming computer, you had to build it by hand on your own. Thankfully those days are long gone. Now, with a company like iBUYPOWER, you can have a superb gaming PC built to top-end specifications without having to get your hands dirty. Goodbye frustration, hello frags.
Acer Predator UltraWide Monitor
Just as curvature has entered the world of TV manufacturing, so to has it crept into computer gaming. And it’s with good reason – a curved monitor offers a more immersive experience. Well, this one is also incredibly quick (with a refresh rate of 60Hz) and features a resolution of 3440 x 1440 (a 21:9 ratio).