So I was told recently that Christmas is more than just eating a huge amount of turkey and pumpkin pie before slipping into a food coma minutes later. I know, crazy notion right? Of course the festive season is fundamentally about enjoying the time you get to spend with family and friends over summer, but that doesn’t mean that the gift-giving side of Christmas isn’t important as well. If you are a frequent reader there is a good chance that you enjoy gaming (that is just a hunch) and furthermore you probably know a few like-minded people that would be super thankful to receive a gaming related gift.
‘But Adam’, I hear you ask, ‘there are so many possible gifts, how will I ever will I choose one?’ Never fear, I am here to help you in your present purchasing quest with my Christmas gifting guide. Now I know that there are many different ways that Christmas gifting takes place. From Secret Santa to all-out, no gift is too expensive mayhem, I will do my best to provide options for every occasion.
I would have my money on the idea that you know someone who owned one of these bad boys back in the day. Hatching, raising and caring for your own virtual pet was awesome and the effort was rewarded when you finally got to battle your Mon against a friend’s. Setting aside my own childhood trauma of failing to keep my Digimon alive, these new, revised Digi Devises are a great blast from the past for anyone who grew up in the 90s. They come in four different colours and are attached to a key chain, so you can be an adult and hook your digi-pal onto your keys so it doesn’t get lost, so why not get one for yourself while buying another as a gift (they will need someone to battle right?). These pocket rockets will set you back around $35 and can be found over at The Gamesmen.
Alright alright, so this one might not sound super flashy, but it is incredibly handy for those that don’t already own one. If you play online games with friends, live at home/live with housemates that don’t appreciate loud gaming audio late at night or just prefer to be fully immersed in what you are playing, then chances are good that you own a gaming headset. If you do in fact own/use a headset, you have probably run into an issue with where exactly to store it when it isn’t in use. Sure you can drape it over your console, chuck it on the couch or stash it in a drawer, but I tell you what, life is made just that little bit easier if you have a headset stand. It minimizes the chance of damage to your headset, clears up clutter and just generally looks nice. This is an easy and cheap suggestion that will run you around $20 from EB Games.
Controller Charging Dock
Another idea that might not be sparkly and exciting, but is practical and endlessly useful. I don’t know about you, but I can’t count the amount of times that a controller of mine has gone flat, only for me to pick up a secondary with the same level of charge because I forgot (or was too lazy) to plug it in for some R&R when I last used it. The easy fix is a charging dock that can support more than one controller. This way, as soon as you are done playing you can whack it on the dock and let electrical magic do the rest. If you are getting someone a console as a gift, this could be a brilliant additional item to throw in, although it works as a standalone present as well, due to its universal appeal among gamers. There are a bunch of different variations, but for my money I would go with the Energizer-branded dock whether their poison is PS4, which will run you $28, or Xbox One for $36 (this does include the battery packs), both of which are from EB Games.
Controller Phone Mount
With mobile phones becoming more and more powerful, mobile gaming is able to provide gamers on-the-go with high quality experiences.
Apple Arcade has become a leader in the mobile gaming, with a slew of high quality games and cultivated experiences, it is aiming to bridge the gap between console and mobile gaming, at least somewhat.
One boon of Apple’s mobile gaming offering is that its devices are now compatible with either DualShock 4 or Xbox One controllers, making gaming on a phone that much easier. A device that helps make mobile gaming a whole lot easier is a controller phone mount. With one of these little legends you can have the entire size of your phone’s screen dedicated to the image and you can ditch the on-screen controls, all while making sure you aren’t leaning your phone up against a water bottle on a table just so you can use a controller. There are a few different versions around, but the one we suggest is the Power Wave-branded mount. Easy to attach and does the job exactly how you would want it to.
Main Event Items
New Release Games
What do you buy someone who enjoys video games? This one is a no brainer. Maybe 2019 hasn’t been as stacked with huge titles as years gone by, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been a good number of banger games nonetheless. Obviously the key here is to know what your recipient has in their collection already, as having two of the same game won’t do them much good.
Is your gift receiver into an experience first and foremost? Perhaps grab them a copy of Death Stranding (which we gave an 8) so they can get lost in its intriguing world and bizarre story. Maybe they are looking for something they can jump into quickly after a long day of work? If so, Need for Speed Heat’s (which we gave an 8) fast and fun gameplay, or Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s multiplayer suite (which we gave a 7) might be the ticket. Nintendo fans would likely be happy to unwrap Luigi’s Mansion 3 (which we gave am 8.5) or Pokemon Sword/Shield (which we gave a 7).
I also have two personal picks that are 100% not bias at all. Firstly there is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (which we gave a 9), which is perfect for a fan of the franchise or anyone who is keen on action-adventure games. Secondly, a crowd-pleasing party game that has been out digitally for a while but only recently got a physical launch: the ever hilarious Gang Beasts.
All of these titles have links for purchasing and range from $39.95 to $69.
Gaming Subscriptions And Credit
Now gift cards are often seen as the ‘easy way out’ of gifting, but sometimes they are just what the doctor ordered. Rather than just grabbing a generic voucher from a retailer, why not make it slightly more personalised by hooking up your person with a PSN, Xbox Live, Nintendo eShop or Steam gift card. Think about it, it is more than likely that the person you are buying for has a sizable list of games they wish to play but don’t have, so why not help shorten that list for them. If they use Steam you could even have a squiz at their wishlist and pluck them a game from there.
Not huge on the idea of a monetary present? Then maybe think about grabbing a top-up to a subscription that they use. Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus and Nintendo Online all have physical redemption slips that are perfectly suited for slipping into a card. PlayStation Plus increments are as follows: 1 month $11.95, 3 months $33.95 and 12 months $79.95, Xbox Live: 1 month $10.95, 3 months $29.95 and 12 months $79.95. Nintendo is the most affordable with 1 month $5.95, 3 months $11.95 and 12 months $29.95. The true beauty of gifting a year long subscription is that it can easily become tradition. Getting a notification to say that your subscription is running out is not a fun time, so if you were able to alleviate that entirely I’m sure that you would be popular.
Pop Culture/Gaming Loot
Giving a functional gift is great, as you know that the person needs what you are giving them, but giving them something that isn’t practical, but is just plain awesome is even better. Seeing someone smile because your present is fun and exciting is a blast, so I thought I would include some straight up cool stuff that I have seen about here.
Firstly are some squishy and adorable, ahem, I mean very interesting plushies. Know someone that beats you in Mario Kart more that you would like to admit? Well if they are in the lead you should cop them with a plush red or blue shell, or if they are lagging behind, keep it that way with a banana. These will run you $48 each at EB Games which will sound pricey to some, but you really need to feel one of these cloud-like projectiles, they are so damn soft.
How about something for the Pokemon fan that you undoubtedly know? Christmas often ends in a food coma, so give that person that goes a little too ham on the…ham, a pal that can relate. This 24” beast of a Snorlax plushie is round enough to squeeze or use as a pillow, either way he is large and in charge. This bad boy can also be found at EB Games for $88.
Being that the holidays are a good time to connect with the ones you love, it’s the perfect opportunity to lop the heads off trolls and draugr…as a family. If you know someone that enjoyed 2018’s God of War (which should be everyone as we gave it a 10), then they might want to jump back into Midgard in the form of the God of War Card Game. A 1-4 player, cooperative adventure that sees you and your fellow players staving off Ragnarok, this one has some great cross-medium appeal. Grab this one from the Gamesmen for $54.95.
Big Ticket Presents
Sure, the DualShock 4 controller has a light bar and a touch pad, of course the Xbox One Controller has some of the best triggers going, but they could be better. In step the cream of the crop, the controllers that would walk into your lounge room and tear off the thumbsticks from your other handsets if given the chance. Both PS4 and Xbox One have a third or first-party ‘deluxe’ controller that stands above the rest, but they do come with a hefty price. But we are at the portion of the guide that foregoes price tags and aims for spectacle so lets have a look.
One the green side of things we have the Xbox One Elite Controller Series 2. You are probably familiar with Elite Controller as it has been the Xbox One’s pinnacle of performance for a time now, but the Series 2 takes the next step. The thumbsticks now have adjustable tension and the triggers now have an even shorter, hair trigger-lock, giving you more ways to customise your play style. Wrap around grips and an inbuilt battery (with a charger built into the case) improve quality of life over the original Elite also. Whether they have had an Elite Controller previously, your recipient won’t pause for a second before tinkering with this beauty as soon as they lay eyes on it. $249 will grab you one of these from JB HiFi.
Swinging over to the blue house, Sony doesn’t mess with what they have created in the DualShock 4, but luckily Astro, the folks who make outstanding headsets such as the A50s, have no problem with expanding on the design. Their take on an elite-style PS4 controller is the C40. This fella has to be seen to be believed. Sure it has interchangeable thumbsticks, custom mapping profiles and wired and wireless options, but that isn’t the main attraction. No, that would be the crazy ability to remove the d-pad and thumbsticks and shuffle them around to your heart’s content. Have you ever wished that your PS4 controller’s stick layout was closer to the Xbox? Well wish no longer, just pop the faceplate off, swap those parts around and away you go. Ladies and gentleman we are officially living in the future. This mighty piece of technology will cost you $399.95 from EB Games. Side note: If anyone is strapped with ideas of what to get me/is feeling generous, this is where you should be looking.
Nintendo Switch Lite
As we are nearing the twilight of this console generation,the majority of video game savvy people already have a PS4, Xbox One or PC (maybe all three), but there are some that are still sleeping on the other powerhouse of this gen, the Switch. Whether they are a late adopter, a stubborn home console purist (or PC master race) or just haven’t kept up with Nintendo’s offerings, they are absolutely missing out. The Switch has a huge catalogue of amazing titles now that it has been around the block a few times, some of which we have already discussed. But if who you are buying for is stuck in their ways with the console they own, perhaps Nintendo’s portable-only solution will show them how excellent the hardware is. Small, compact, yet still able to run Breathe of the Wild, the Switch Lite is endearing enough to turn hearts of stone into mush. My only stipulation is this: if you are going to get them a Switch, Lite or otherwise, you better make damn sure that you get them Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as well. It should be illegal to own a Switch without that banger of a game. Go ahead and grab one from Amazon for $280.
Razer Nari Ultimate
If you have read any of my other gifting guides you will know that I am a fan of Astro headsets and usually suggest grabbing a pair of A50s. Though I still stand by that advice, I thought I would offer up something a little bit different this time around when it came to a headset. Razer are a trusted brand when it comes to PC accessories for a good reason, they have pretty lights. No no, it’s not just the lights, though that definitely doesn’t hurt. Time and time again Razer have provided peripherals that have a high standard of quality, from the mice and keyboards down to the excessive cord bungees. The Wireless PC Nari Ultimate has quality in spades, with huge, comfortable earcups, THX 360 degree audio and an aluminium frame, but it also boasts an intriguing feature: haptic feedback. That’s right, this headset vibrates. Using Razer HyperSense, the Nari provides ‘touch-sensory feedback’ based off the in-game audio. Think about how much more immersive it would be if the recoil from the gun you are firing could be felt, or the shuttering of a car as you are going 200 km/h. It’s an odd idea to say the least, but one that your perspective gift receiver would want to try for themselves I bet. Plus, if the image below is anything to go by, the experience of wearing this headset is something else. These guys can be picked up from JB HiFi for $279.
With any luck I have helped you out of a bind with present purchasing this year and no thanks is necessary, but the C40 controller will be sufficient payment if you really insist. In all seriousness, presents come second to having a good time with your loved ones at this time of year, so be safe, eat lots of food and have a wonderful Christmas.
Have you purchased anything from here as a gift this year? Are you hoping you might receive any? Let us know.