What’s something a gamer can never have too many of? Games! We’re talking video games, board games, card games, tabletop RPGs — all of ’em! Games make the perfect gift, but there’s plenty of gaming-adjacent gifts as well we recommend. Read on for AIPT’s gaming picks for this holiday shopping season.
Nintendo’s Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda is a perfect gift for any retro gamers on your list. The specially made handheld comes packed with three Zelda games — The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: Adventure of Link, and the Game Boy version of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening — and a version of Vermin featuring Link as the playable character. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate both Christmas and the 35th anniversary of Zelda. But act fast, because chances are high the Game & Watch ceases production sooner rather than later and might not be around for 2022’s holiday season.
Mass Effect: Legendary Trilogy Lithograph and Puzzles
2021 has been a fantastic year for Mass Effects fans. Not only did the Legendary Edition, which collects remastered versions of the first three Mass Effect games, hit store shelves, but plenty of great ME merch released too! Fans can show off their love for the trilogy with some amazing wall art in the form of the open edition Legendary Trilogy Lithograph from Bioware. The three sections of the lithograph were also used to make three different 1000-piece puzzles, the legends puzzle, outcasts puzzle, and heroes puzzle. Take it from someone who works retail — people love them some puzzles as gifts.
Did the Pokemon fan in your life already pick up the latest games, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl? Don’t fret because there’s plenty of pocket monster merch to go around. You can get Christmas ornaments, backpacks, cute sweaters, or — maybe most importantly — a Pokeball-shaped waffle maker. Take after everyone’s favorite CGI Donkey and give the gift of waffles in the morning. Box Lunch also always (and I mean always) runs some sort of sale, so you’ll easily be able to pick this up for less than its $39.99 price tag.
Video Game Soundtracks on Vinyl
A video game’s music can ramp up the tension of a boss fight, create a relaxing atmosphere, or amplify emotional moments. Some soundtracks complement the story of a video game, like this year’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in which Peter Quill’s love of music makes up a large part of his character, so much so that the developers wrote and recorded an original rock album specifically for the game. What better way to listen to it, or any game’s soundtrack, than on vinyl? Some of my favorite video game soundtracks belong to The Last of Us series and I especially love Mondo’s Covers and Rarities EP that includes songs sung by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. I also recommend this Mass Effect box set, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the beats of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Sable’s soundtrack, composed by Japanese Breakfast, which is equal parts beautiful and relaxing.
Tap into nostalgia this Christmas and gift The Princess Bride Adventure Book Board Game. This game takes 1-4 players through six chapters detailing the events of the book/film. You’ll traverse the Fire Swamp, scale the Cliffs of Insanity, and survive those pesky interruptions from a certain grandson. The next time you and your friends want to watch the classic film, you can do the inconceivable and experience the adventure yourselves!
Elegant Dice from Misty Mountain Gaming
Dungeons & Dragons saw a resurgence during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, assisted by platforms like Zoom and specifically Roll20. With vaccination rates on the rise, people are feeling more comfortable being around others, meaning those virtual DnD sessions are moving from virtual to in-person. For all the clerics, avengers, druids, and rogues in your life, consider gifting a set of exceptionally made dice for them to show off to their DnD group. Misty Mountain Gaming has beautiful sets of glass dice, metal dice, and stone dice in addition to dice trays and dice bags. Or you can do what my Dungeons and Dragons group did and gift your DM an exquisite 100-sided die for Christmas.
Critical Role, featuring voice actors like Matt Mercer, Ashley Johnson, and Travis Willingham, has become a gaming empire in recent years. The group has begun parlaying the success of their streaming series into other ventures, most notably an animated series to premiere next year. The prequel novel Critical Role: Vox Machina–Kith & Kin releases just in time for the holiday season and makes for a great gift for fans of the series. It follows half-elf twins Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan on a “brand-new adventure that delves into the twin’s unexplored history.” The series also has comics and art books that would make great gifts as well.
Speaking of tabletop RPGs, consider gifting the The Witcher RPG this holiday season. Inspired by the best-selling novel series and award-winning games, Talsorian Games (makers of the Cyberpunk tabletop games) created a table-top RPG set in the same world Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer live in. Their RPG allows you to go on your own adventure during the 3rd Nilfgaardian War. “Adventure across the Continent, interacting with living legends and influencing the politics of the land! Fight in the brutal and horrific Third Nilfgaardian War. Or play out your own adventure as you avoid death and dismemberment!” they write on their site. The Witcher RPG book contains rules, tools, and adventures for you to play the game.
Video Game Comics and Manga
Video games may not make for great films nine times out of ten, but they can certainly make for great comics. For the From Software fan, the recently released Dark Souls: The Complete Collection from Titan Comics is a must have. I’m also very partial to their Bloodborne box set, collecting the first three volumes. The Witcher, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect are also all RPGs with graphic novels that tell stories set in the worlds of their games. On the manga side, Nintendo has gotten in on the action with various Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon manga.
Digital Gift Cards
If you’re not sure what game to get for someone, or the gamer in your life only plays digital indie games, you can always give the best gift of all — cash. Or, in this case, cash for specific online stores. Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and Steam all have gift cards available that can be purchased digitally or as a physical gift card containing a redeemable code. This way your giftee can download a game not physically available in stores, take advantage of post-XMas digital marketplace sales, or both!
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