The end of the year is fast approaching, meaning that I, like many others, will be preparing to slip into a food coma after Christmas dinner. Trees, baubles, pudding and stockings are all synonymous with the holiday, but spending quality time with your friends and family is, of course, the most important aspect of Christmas. With all of that soppy business out of the way, let’s talk presents. As celebratory and wholesome as Christmas is, gifting is also a large and fun part of the season. Receiving wrapped surprises is obviously a good time, but giving someone a present is rewarding in itself.
Gifting can be tricky though, especially with the new consoles being a rarity at the moment. Never fear though, I’ve scoured the internet in search of some festive inspiration to pass on to you fine folks. So whether you have a big old stack of cash to spend on your loved ones or a few bucks you found in your pocket, we’ve got you covered.
Do you know someone who streams or makes gameplay videos? Do you have a friend who’s gaming set-up is in dire need of some personality and life? Do you have a family member who considers themselves an Xbox General in the console wars? Well, might I suggest you snag them one of these decorative gaming lights? They’re affordable yet pretty damn cool, providing a little bit of pizzazz to anyone’s gaming station. EB Games tends to be the most reliable spot to nab these (with some being exclusive to the retailer). You can choose between the small PlayStation symbols for $48, the large PlayStation symbols for $68, the Xbox logo for $48 and you can even grab a light-up creeper head for $25. If you know someone who’s extra keen to play Cyberpunk 2077 EB also offers a Cyberpunk light, but it’s a bit pricier at $98.
Lizard Skins Controller Grips
Alright, real talk. As much as I despise the Cheeto dust and Mountain Dew-covered hands stereotype that gamers are strapped with, summer is rolling on, the temperature is rising and I’ll be the first to admit that my palms do get a big sweaty from time to time (my knees also get weak and my arms get heavy). So instead of losing grip and dropping a controller, a grip might be the best option. These Lizard Skins grips are affordable, but they’re also thin, easy to apply and quite handy. It doesn’t matter whether your gift receiver plays on PS4, Xbox One, Switch or PC, there’s a Lizard Skin available for all. Ranging from $20-35 depending on the platform and choice of colour, you can pick these up from JB Hi-Fi and The Gamesmen, though they are currently on sale at EB Games.
What’s the point of getting stocking stuffer gifts if you have no place to stuff them. It doesn’t matter if they have a mantle to hang them on or not, these Nintendo-themed stockings are wholesome and cool in equal measure and can be used to store chocolate or other presents that might be in this guide. These bad boys are exclusive to EB Games and they come in two styles; Super Mario and Animal Crossing. They’re big enough to fit in a fair bit of Christmas swag as well so prepare it can relieve you of wrapping duties. As I said, they can be found at EB Games and will set you back $25 a piece.
Main Event Items
Egon told us not to cross the streams, but video games and board games go together like my free time and a stick vacuum. Now there are enough board games to pick from that it might give you a headache, so I’ve collected a few of my favourites that would make for great Christmas gifts.
Wingspan might not immediately strike you as a board game that gamers would jump at, but looks can be deceiving. Yes, it can be a relaxing hour spent collecting and learning about birds, but it’s more likely that it will become a nest of furious feathers as you all plan three moves ahead to win the round. A healthy dose of strategy, a pinch of plotting and high replayability make this one an easy recommendation. You can grab it from The Board Gamer for $96 (including shipping), The Gamesmen for $99.95 or Popcultcha for $109.95.
Most of us have played Among Us and yelled SUSS at our friends by now and most of us would be able to agree that it’s a good time. Well, if you’re in the mood to recreate that feeling and yell at your friends in your living room then I have the game for you. Secret Hitler is brilliant and mentally demanding in equal measure. You’ll be trying to pass Liberal bills while trying to rat out the Fascists (and Hitler), or you’ll secretly be a Fascist trying to lie and cast doubt among the party. It might sound overly political and complex but trust me when I tell you that it isn’t, it’s just great fun. You can pick it up from The Gamesmen for $74.95 or Gameology for $68.95.
New Release Games
This wouldn’t be a gaming gift guide without, you know, some video games. This year has seen two console launches, meaning that there’s a monstrous amount of games to choose from, so we’ve wadded through the sea of titles and picked a few for you consideration. If in doubt though, checking Steam wishlists or grabbing some PSN, Xbox Live or Nintendo eShop Credit is never a bad option. Alright, let’s have a look.
Next-gen is a bit of a sore spot at the moment, with many folks yet to get there hands on a PS5 of Xbox Series X/S, but for those who do have a shiny new console, there are some games that are a must-have. One such game that’s exclusive to PS5 is Demon’s Souls. No Jordan isn’t threatening to break my vacuum if I don’t include this game, it’s just that good. Bluepoint continues to prove that they’re the masters of remakes by producing a visually stunning love letter to the original game while retaining the difficulty and tone that made it so great. If you have a friend or family member that owns a PS5, grab them Demon’s Souls for $109 from JB HiFi, $109 from Amazon, $124.95 from The Gamesmen or $124.95 from EB Games.
Regardless of whether or not your gift receiver has a PS5 or not, you’re still able to grab them a cute and fun platformer with Sackboy: A Big Adventure (which we gave an 8.5). Changing it up from the traditional 2.5D platforming on Little Big Planet, Sackboy goes full 3D and the charm definitely translates. A crafted world, full of adorable characters, combined with slick gameplay makes for a good time, not to mention that you can play co-op with up to three other people, making it perfect for Christmas day. You can grab Sackboy on either PS4 or PS5, which makes life a bit easier, so go ahead and snag it from JB HiFi for $79 on PS4 or $99 for PS5, Target for $89 on PS4 and PS5, The Gamesmen for $84 on PS4 or $109.95 on PS5 or from Amazon for $79 for PS4 or $99 for PS5. Keep in mind that this game has a free next-gen upgrade, so if your giftee doesn’t mind having a mismatched case then you can save some dollars.
Time for some cross-platform goodness that meets the needs for players on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. If you want your Christmas gift to be appreciated and used for more than a few measly hours, then Assassin’s Creed Valhalla might be your best option. The game not only sports a very lengthy story, but it’s also, in my opinion, the best Assassin’s Creed title to date (I gave it a 9). A huge, gorgeous map, brutal and satisfying combat and a world filled with character, Valhalla is a game that any action game fan should try on for size. Raid this one from JB HiFi for $79 across all platforms, Amazon for $75.99 on PS4 and Xbox or $79 on PS5 or Harvey Norman for $78 on PS4 or Xbox or $99 on PS5. This one also has a free upgrade, so keep that in mind when making your purchase.
Admittedly I haven’t played this one, but our resident Nintendo nut Eleanore has been going crazy for Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (she gave it a 10), so it’s well worth a mention. Blending together calming and relaxing farming mechanics with dynamic and engaging combat, Sakuna is a game that might not appeal to everyone, but for those interested, it will blow their socks off. Grab this one from JB Hifi for $69 on Switch or PS4 or EB Games for $69.95 on Switch or PS4.
Obviously, there are a massive amount of games that are worth getting your hands on for gifts, but we would be here all day if I listed them all, so I might suggest you jump on over to our review section of the website to find the perfect game for your giftee.
What’s something that you hate being without but also hate buying for myself? The answer is gaming subscriptions. There few things more irritating as a gamer than settling down for the night to enjoy a few rounds of your favourite online game with some friends to see the dreaded notification telling you that your PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live or Nintendo Online membership has expired. Worse still is the notification telling you that your direct debit for the said subscription has been taken out of your bank account. Don’t lie to me and tell me that you were prepared for it to charge you, you know that’s not true. So if you’ve experienced these pains before, why not alleviate them for someone else. It might not be the flashiest of presents, but you can be damn sure that it’s appreciated. You can grab these from just about everywhere from JB and EB through to your local supermarket.
Xbox Live Gold will set you back $13 for one month, $34 for three months or $89 for a full year, or you could get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which includes Live Gold and a Game Pass subscription for $15.95 for one month or $47.95 for three months.
PlayStation Plus will cost you $11.95 for one month, $33.95 for three months or $79.95 for the full year.
Nintendo Online Membership is $5.95 for one month, $11.95 for three months or $29.95 for a full year. You can also grab a family membership (which activates across 8 accounts) for $54.95 for a year.
Big Ticket Items
Playing Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Overwatch or just about any other competitive online shooter can be enhanced with a decent headset. Being able to hear enemy footsteps and distinguish where they’re coming from is a clear advantage. It’s likely that your giftee already owns a headset, but maybe they’re just making do with a cheap chat mic for the sake of saving dollars. Let’s fix that, shall we? I’ve got two suggests for gaming headsets that will induce a Christmas smile, so let’s take a look.
Let’s first take a look at a headset for the console gaming crowd. The last generation (PS4 and Xbox One) made wired headsets a non-issue, seeing as though they only needed to reach the controller you were holding, but wireless is still very much the way to go for many. The main things you’re likely looking for in a wireless headset is battery life and audio quality. The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 headset has those two criteria sorted. With 15-hour battery life, 50mm speakers, 3D audio compatibility, a flip-to-mute mic and rotating earcups, this is a good place to look for quality that won’t destroy your wallet. All of the audio controllers can be found on the headset itself, so you won’t need to play around with any menus. Sporting a USB dongle for wireless use, these guys can be purchased for Xbox One/Xbox Series X/S and PS4/PS5/Switch. If these sound like the go-to, you can grab them at EB Games for $169.95, JB HiFi for $169, Amazon from $140-$155 or Big W for $169.
Now let’s focus on the PC side of the equation. Sticking with wireless, we’re going to jump over to SteelSeries with their Arctis 7 headset. First and foremost, this piece of audio tech looks slick as a seal and despite the visual not being everything when it comes to headsets, it doesn’t hurt that it’s kind on the eyes. As for the important stuff, this sexy fella has incredibly low latency, 24-hour battery life between charges, surround sound audio, a clear bidirectional mic and a handy 12-metre range for when you want to make a cup of tea while chatting to your squad. Similar to the 600s, all of the audio controllers are on the unit, so no need for tinkering. You can grab a set of these from JB HiFi for $289, Amazon for $225.14 or Dick Smith for $239.
If your giftee is anything like me, they’ll need to have a good, long rest after eating far too much turkey on Christmas day. So if they’re going to sloth around all afternoon, they may as well do it in style with a gigantic Pokeball beanbag. Most of us will know a Nintendo superfan and even if you don’t, it’s likely that you know someone who is keen on Pokemon, so this will tick plenty of boxes. Best of all, this thing is large enough for two people to squeeze on, so you’ll be doing yourself a favour as well. This big fella is exclusive to EB Games and it’ll run you $249.
Xbox Series X/S Storage Expansion Card
Maybe you have a mate lucky enough to nab an Xbox Series X/S and they’ve been gushing to you about how smoothly games run and how crisp everything looks. ‘Good for them’, I’m sure you’re thinking, but don’t worry, as I’m sure they were complaining that their SSD was full a few days later. This is justice for you having to listen to them swoon over the console, but it’s also a great idea for a Christmas gift. As amazing as the new Xbox consoles are, their SSD size is, let’s say, limiting, especially on the diskless Series S. You could be an absolute hero in their eyes if you wrap up a Seagate storage expansion card for them. This little beauty gives the Series X/S an extra terabyte to play around with meaning they might be able to download Warzone (maybe). Swipe up one of these handy fellas at JB HiFi for $359, EB Games for $359.95 or Amazon for $331.91.
Streaming can be a tricky thing to jump into, particularly if you aren’t properly set up with the right equipment. High-end capture cards and production gadgets aren’t essential to be an entertaining streamer, but budding content creators would no doubt love to receive some loot that would make their lives a bit easier. In steps you, the thoughtful gift-giver who has decided that getting them some streaming gear is the way to go for a present.
It might be handy to them to not have to remember keyboard shortcuts for streaming actions like gifs and reactionary images. If that’s the case, the Stream Deck would be perfect. Whether you go with the standard or XL version, these clever keypads make engaging with your audience a whole lot smoother. Grab one from EB Games for $269.95 for the standard or $459.95 for the XL, Amazon for $235.66 for the standard or $382.30 for the XL or from JB HiFi for $112 for the mini (with only six buttons).
If your giftee already has the essentials and is looking for something to really spice up their streams, maybe think about grabbing them a collapsible green screen. This space-saving accessory gives you the green screen necessary for on-screen shenanigans but does so without taking up half of the room when not in use. As long as they have enough floor space you can’t go wrong with this one. Grab it from EB Games for $289.95, JB HiFi for $289 or Amazon for $279.
Personal visuals aren’t always a must for a stream, but more often than not you’ll need to have your voice heard. If your giftee is using their headset mic, do them a favour and hook them up with a more long-term solution. Mics can be a bit of a personal preference kind of thing, but for my money, I’d be looking at the Blue Yeti. If you’ve ever listened to my dulcet tones over on the WellPlayed DLC Podcast, you’ve heard the quality recording provided by the Yeti. It’s a good looking bit of hardware that has plenty of options for recording multiple people, mounting to a boom arm or just sitting on a desk. You can find the Yeti in plenty of different colours at EB Games for $239.95, JB HiFi for $198 or from Officeworks for $178-198 (depending on colour).
Some people are easy to buy for, others are hard, but sometimes you’ll run into that one person that seemingly has everything. You could go the gift card route, you could do cash or, or you could say goodbye to your savings and hit them with a collectable so huge and outrageous that it could be confused for a roommate. There are a decent amount expensive video game goodies, but these take the Christmas pudding for sure.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been hotly anticipated for a good long while now, so why not help your giftee celebrate its eventual launch with a 1/4 scale statue of Keanu Reeves himself, Mr Johnny Silverhand. This thing is insane, not only is it huge, measuring in at 13.3 inches tall, but it also sports speakers that play the Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack. The deluxe version (which is $100 more than the standard) also includes Johnny’s signature guitar as an interchangeable accessory. This beast will cost you a whopping $1399 form EB Games or $1499 from Popcultcha.
Next up is a collectable that makes me weak at the knees, not just from its cool factor, but also from the memories of hauling boxes around beautiful yet harsh landscapes. Death Stranding is a divisive game to say the very least, but for those who love Hideo Kojima’s latest venture, myself included this 1/2 scale Sam Porter Bridge statue is next level. This 42-inch behemoth (which the size of a six-year old child) has eight light-up LED parts to really bring the piece to life. It’s amazing to be sure, but you’ll just have to take out a small loan to grab it as it’ll set you back $4399.99 from Popcultcha.
Hopefully, this gifting guide has sparked some inspiration for your present purchasing, but regardless of what you give or get given, all of us here at WellPlayed hope that you beat your best time on Astro’s Playroom, finally decide to start working away at your pile of shame, eat far too much delicious food and most importantly, enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.