You can’t get a Nintendo 64 every year, but there’s still much to be excited about if you love videogames. From new hardware to great soundtracks to home-made fashion, Paste looks at the best gifts to give the diehard game fan in your life—even if that’s you.
Last year’s systems—the Wii U and the PlayStation Vita
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 might get most of the attention, but if you’re in the market for new hardware, the best bets both came out in 2012. The Wii U and the PlayStation Vita are both cheaper than ever, with software libraries that finally justify a purchase. The Wii U’s home to two of the best games of the year, Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3, and the year’s best remake, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker: HD. It’s also still the only console that plays games like Zombi U and Lego City Undercover. The handheld Vita finally got its killer app with Tearaway, the adorable new game from the makers of Little Big Planet. It’s also the most comfortable way to take indie hits like Spelunky, Lone Survivor and Hotline Miami on the road. Spelunky in bed at the end of the night made up my finest gaming memories of the year, and unless I wanted to drag a laptop into bed the Vita was the only way to do that. If you yearn for the promise and untapped potential of a new gaming system, look to the Wii U or the Vita.
Rather than endure more holiday carols, why not fill your speakers with 2013’s most striking game soundtracks? Electronic pop lovers might enjoy Isaac Schankler’s Hate Plus soundtrack, which bounces between catchy dance beats and slower, haunting synth melodies. If you’re more of a punk rock fan, the Gone Home Record Collection Bundle (featuring songs by such riot grrl acts as Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy) could be up your alley. If you need a playlist that will charm the whole family, try Bioshock: Infinite’s old time-y covers of ‘80s pop hits, like The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” done by a barbershop quartet. Irrational Games has yet to officially release these tracks, but all of them can be found via the Media Fire links in this fan-made playlist, which will do the trick until Irrational releases an official version of those songs.
The Oculus Rift development kit
Okay, there are some caveats about giving the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset thing to somebody this early in its development. It’s not entirely finished, for one. Also not many games are playable with it yet. Hell, the Oculus Rift folks themselves point out that the dev kit is not a consumer product, and the dev kit definitely isn’t the best way to experience it, as it’s not in HD like the prototype they were showing off at E3 this year. It is the only way to mess around with the Rift in your own home, though, at least for the time being. And even though it’s a dev kit, anybody can order one off the Oculus Rift website. Based on what we saw at E3 this summer, the Rift legitimately succeeds at making virtual reality into a viable way to play games.
Mass Effect earrings by LicketyCut
Licketycut makes relatively inexpensive yet durable jewelry and cookie cutters of game logos and shapes, from Portal friendship necklaces to Renegade and Paragon stud earrings from Mass Effect.
For the Mass Effect fan who wants to wear something less understated, consider Peachykiki’s N7 leggings, via her Etsy shop. Black Milk sells all of the officially licensed N7 attire, including a similar pair of leggings, but Peachykiki’s version costs $15 less and includes a custom sizing option. More fashion-conscious videogame fans (with, er, deeper pockets) might enjoy clothing from Volante Designs, the minds behind these Assassin’s Creed-inspired sweatshirts and jackets.
Story Bundle’s Videogame Bundle 2.0
For the next week and a half you can buy five eBooks and two issues of Kill Screen for a ridiculously low sum through Story Bundle’s Videogame Bundle 2.0 deal. It’s a great gift for your friends who like to read and talk about games as much as play them, and if you want you can easily give a cut of your price to charity. It’s good news all around.
Game controller switchplate cover from PaperMoonC
Can’t fit all of your videogame consoles, accessories and equipment in your TV stand? Why not build your own? Metro Studio shelves come in pieces and you decide how tall you want each shelf to be; these metal units are made for holding heavy equipment, and they’re grated on the bottom, so your console won’t overheat from lying down on an opaque surface. You can also buy attachments, like sliding drawers, hooks and baskets. For a less dramatic living room upgrade, try this subtle decoupaged light switch cover, or perhaps this candle version of a Lon Lon Ranch milk bottle from The Legend of Zelda.
Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity characters
If you have a kid you know about these games. Or perhaps you are a kid, in which case your holiday list is probably pages deep with Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures. These games are perfect for gift giving, because you have to get a bunch of extra toys on the side to get the most out of the game. Whether that means new Skylanders to swap out torsos with Wash Buckler and Blast Zone, or the new Toy Story play set with Buzz and Jessie for Disney Infinity, these games are like a perpetual gift machine.