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The Wishlist: Gamer’s Holiday Gift Guide

Photo: Razer Phone 2

The holidays are fast approaching and that means we are right smack-dab in the middle of the gift-buying season. And while that can certainly be a stressful prospect for some, we find hunting for the perfect present an exhilarating experience, as there are few things quite as rewarding as seeing the grateful faces of those we care about the most.

One of our favorite categories of gifts during the holiday season, both to give and receive, is gaming gear. Whether it’s the latest and greatest peripherals, new games, video game consoles or even just gift certificates, there is never a shortage of cool tech-forward gaming-focused stuff out there to buy. We’ve narrowed it down for you on the following wishlist — these are the best gifts for the gamer in your life.

Gaming Gift Cards

Especially if you’re not a gamer yourself, a gift card can be one of the best options, as it gives the recipient the ability to choose a gift for themselves. For some, this might be thought of as a faux pas, but it’s a far better option than buying a game that’s not compatible with the end-user’s home console. If you’re not sure exactly what to get, this is probably your best option. Plus, you can choose exactly how much you want to spend.

Purchase: Xbox Purchase: PlayStation

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels Book

Sometimes, we forget that video games are the product of some very long man hours and lots of really hard work. But, if you look a little closer at the history of video games, you can see the real humanity and struggle behind it, and that makes playing those games all the more enjoyable. This book delves into what it took to make some of the best video games of all time and it’s an excellent and essential read for anyone interested in the subject.

Purchase: $11

8Bitdo Wireless Bluetooth Controller Adapter

In this day and age, many people play video games on multiple platforms. But, if given the choice, most gamers have a controller they prefer — regardless of the platform. Well, with the 8BitDo Wireless Bluetooth Adapter, you can use your favorite controller on all your consoles, your PC, etc. You can even use a PS4 controller on an Xbox One (or vice versa). The brand even brags that it’s a lag-free add-on, so you don’t even have to worry about input issues.

Purchase: $20

Shadow Game Streaming Service

Game streaming as an industry standard is just over the horizon. In fact, it’s grown increasingly closer with Microsoft having announced their own version of the service just recently. Of course, if you want to try it out now, you can with the Shadow game streaming service. For $35 a month and no contract, you can trade in those annoying hardware purchases and, instead, opt for the processing power of a full server house. Games are smooth as butter, beautiful as can be, and you don’t even need a console — just a computer or compatible device to act as a transceiver.

Purchase: $35+

The Gift Of Good Games

As always, as long as you’re careful as to which console you buy for, picking up the latest video game is always a safe bet. Just make sure whoever you’re buying for doesn’t already have the one you’re thinking of getting them. As of right now, these three juicy titles are certainly worth consideration. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a redux of the original PlayStation classic series, Red Dead Redemption II is an insanely well-reviewed follow-up to one of the absolute best open-world single player games of all time, and Fallout 76 is Bethesda’s first foray into a console-based MMORPG based on their post-apocalyptic franchise.

Purchase: Spyro Purchase: RDR2
Purchase: Fallout 76

Logitech G502 Proteus Gaming Mouse

When you get into the upper echelon of PC gaming, every minuscule customization tweak can mean the difference between being a top-performer and failing embarrassingly. And that’s exactly where the Logitech G502 Proteus Gaming Mouse comes in — this device is as precise as they come but it also comes with customizable weights you can add or remove to improve your performance, reaction time, and more. It’s the PC gaming equivalent of bringing a gun to a knife fight, in a manner of speaking.

Purchase: $50

Nintendo Labo

When it was unveiled about a year ago, Nintendo’s unique and innovative Labo project was one of the most interesting things in gaming. And, truth be told, that hasn’t changed a bit. If you know someone with a Nintendo Switch — especially if they have kids — these remarkable DIY cardboard gaming-integrated sets are a must-have. And they’re a great way to illustrate that gaming in today’s world is about much more than just what’s happening on-screen.

Purchase: $60+

Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam

Video game streaming on platforms like Twitch has become a normal form of entertainment for a lot of people. They also help built community, as they give average gamers the ability to interact with one another in more meaningful and personal ways. If you know anyone who’s wanted to get into it but just hasn’t had the means, you should gift them the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam. It offers 1080p HD video at up to 60fps, has integrated background replacement technology, and even has autofocus and adapts to the lighting in any room.

Purchase: $70

CORSAIR K68 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

If you’re not a gamer, you probably don’t think too much about your computer’s keyboard. However, for those who play video games on their PC, it’s one of the most important accessories they have. This fully-programable one from Corsair offers up insanely responsive CHERRY MX Red key switches, 100% anti-ghosting, and (as the biggest added bonus) is dust- and water-resistant — so you don’t have to stress out about keeping your water bottle (or other drink of choice) out of arm’s reach.

Purchase: $88

WD My Passport External Hard Drive

With the increasing digitization of the world, physical copies of games are beginning to trend downward. The good news is, games downloaded directly onto your hard drive offer faster load times and smoother imagery by comparison. The bad news: larger hard drives are required to store everything. That’s hardly a problem, however, if you have the WD My Passport External Hard Drive you see here. With four terabytes of space, you’ll have a tough time filling this bad boy up, even if you never buy a physical gaming disc again. And while this one is compatible with PlayStation consoles, there are others that work with the Xbox, as well.

Purchase: $100

PlayStation Classic

Like Nintendo before them, Sony has finally gotten onboard the retro gaming trend with the announcement of their PlayStation Classic. This beautiful and compact plug-and-play device is styled just like the original Sony console while being 45% smaller, boasts 20 onboard games (which include the likes of FFVII, Metal Gear Solid, Twisted Metal, Tekken 3, etc.), HDMI output, and even works with classic corded controllers. For gamers who miss the titles of the late ’90s, this is a must-have holiday gift.

Purchase: $100

CORSAIR Void PRO Wireless Gaming Headset

Especially when it comes to competitive online gaming, a headset is of the utmost importance. And they don’t get much better than the Corsair Void Pro Wireless Gaming Headset. This PC-focused headset boasts hi-fi audio quality, no cords to get in the way, 16 hours of battery life, a 40-foot range, and an excellent microphone to keep you in communication with your teammates.

Purchase: $100

Scuf Vantage Pro PS4 Controller

Since their launch, Scuf has made some of the best high-end gaming controllers ever available on the free market. This year, they came out with their first officially-licensed PS4 controller. And let us tell you, it’s a thing of beauty. With replaceable triggers, joysticks and facades, this is the most customizable PS4 remote of all time. It’s also ultra-responsive, works both wired and wireless (via Bluetooth), has completely mappable buttons, includes a secondary touchpad for single-swipe audio, and so much more.

Purchase: $170

Analogue Mega SG

For some years now, Analogue has been making excellent and versatile retro gaming consoles. Until this year, however, they’ve never had an entry that could play Sega games. That’s all changed now, thanks to the Mega SG. This beautiful console can play thousands of cartridges from across Sega’s history — including those from the Genesis, Master System, and Mega Drive (2,180+ games, all told). It also has 1080p HD output, zero lag, compatibility with wireless controllers (like those from 8Bitdo), and high-fidelity audio.

Purchase: $190

TP-Link AC5400 Wireless Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router

Ideally, your gaming rig should be plugged directly into a router. But with roommates, family, and cable outlets that are inconvenient to stretch a LAN cable to — sometimes that’s impossible. Thankfully, there are other options like the TP-Link AC5400 Wireless Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router. This monstrous device can deliver up to 5400Mbps Wi-Fi speeds over one 2.4GHz (1000Mbps) and two 5GHz (2167Mbps) bands. It also offers excellent multi-user support, the ability to set up your own unpaid VPN server (a nice, but unnecessary security feature), and even works with Amazon Alexa. If you’re gonna go wireless for your router, this is the one to get.

Purchase: $245

HTC Vive Pro VR Headset

It’s only a matter of time before VR becomes the industry standard gaming style. And with offerings like the HTC Vive Pro VR Headset, it’s easy to see just how immersive and incredible virtual reality gaming can truly be. With no screen door effect, dual ultra-crisp 2880 x 1600 resolution displays, built-in hi-fi audio, dual onboard microphones, and the ability to turn entire rooms into your play space, this is one of the top options available today. And did we mention it’s completely wireless? Well, it is.

Purchase: $799+

Razer Phone 2

You might not realize it but there is a massive number of gamers that play exclusively on their mobile devices. In fact, some figures report more than half of all gamers are those who use smartphones. If you or someone you love falls into that category, the Razer Phone 2 is probably the most drool-worthy piece of hardware on the market. With its 5.7” screen boasting a 120Hz 1440×2560 IGZO display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, a specialized vapor chamber cooling system, 8GB of RAM, and more — no other gaming phones really come close. And that’s to say nothing of all the other regular impressive phone features.

Purchase: $800

Samsung CHG90 QLED Gaming Monitor

If you’re not yet onboard with virtual reality, there are other means of acquiring a more-immersive gaming experience. One of them is by playing through the Samsung CHG90 QLED Gaming Monitor. With its ultra-wide 49″ curved display — with a 144hz refresh rate, motion blur reduction technology, HDR support, and the ability to display a literal billion color shades — this might just be the most beautiful monitor ever conceived. At the very least, it’s helping set the pace.

Purchase: $1,100

iBuyPower Revolt 2 VR Custom PC

Buying a pre-built gaming machine is a pretty simple prospect. But if you really want to make something formidable, you’re going to have to customize it yourself. Luckily, the folks at iBuyPower make that process lightning quick and remarkably easy. And one of their best options as of now is their Revolt 2 VR. The VR, as you might imagine, implies that this rig is equipped to support virtual reality. Everything else, however, is pretty much up to your discretion. Just remember, the more you add on, the more expensive it gets.

Purchase: $1,829+

Love Hulten OriginX Retro Arcade

For many fans of old-school gaming, the holy grail is having an actual arcade cabinet in their house. Of course, they can be a bit cumbersome and take up a whole lot of room. But Love Hulten’s OriginX Retro Arcade (styled to mimic the original Pong cabinet) offers all the classic styling in a package that’s a fraction of the size and can hang on just about any wall. And, since it’s got a modern emulator inside it, it can store and play up to 10,000 games from all across the video game spectrum — from Pong to Metal Slug and everything in between.

Purchase: $3,307

15 Best Retro Gaming Consoles

Retro video gaming has seen a huge resurgence in popularity over the last few years. As such, the devices used to play them are certainly worth considering for your holiday haul. You can find the cream of the crop on our list of the 15 best retro gaming consoles.