You have to buy a gift for someone, and the one thing you know is that they’re into video games. But what the hell are you meant to buy them without looking like a fool? Sam Brooks has you covered with the gaming gift guide for non-gamers.
Christmas is hard if you’ve got people to buy for. There are gifts that work for anybody (socks! Lush!) and gifts that work for nobody (skip to the bottom of this piece to find out what that is). The hardest thing is getting gifts for that one person who’s into that thing you know nothing about.
If you clicked on the link, chances are that’s gaming! Welcome. We don’t bite here.
I’m here to help you out if you absolutely have to buy a gamer a gift, and you’re not quite sure what to buy. There are literally hundreds of games and it’s hard to know what to choose (and if you’re freaking out wondering what the hell Fortnite is, you don’t need to worry: Fortnite is free and your kid is probably already addicted to it). But that’s why I’m here — to help you buy for someone you don’t know well enough to know what their specific gaming interests are.
You can get pretty much all of these online or at your local retailer. Prices can vary wildly, but I’ve put a general guideline here for you. I’m here to tell you what to look up, not where to buy what you look up. Go with your various retail Gods — I won’t judge you, because I won’t know.
Without further adieu!
For your inner child: Playstation Classic ($150).The reviews have been a little bit mixed for this, but I still maintain that this is the only way you’re going to be able to play Tekken 3 this Christmas (and sure, Tekken 7 exists but Tekken 7 doesn’t have Gon).
Additionally, if you’re going away this Christmas, this thing is a whole lot easier to plug-and-play than your mammoth Playstation 4.
For your actual real-life child that lives in your house: Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PS4, $89). It might be the purest, most unadulterated and mindless joy I’ve had playing a game all this year. This trilogy gives you a solid thirty or so hours of bright colours, wholesome platforming and it’s not too difficult. It’s a game that’s very much intended for children, but you won’t get bored while you’re watching your kid play it.
If you’re more a Nintendo family than a Sony family, swap out Spyro for Super Mario Odyssey (no relation to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, sadly) and you’re covered.
For your actual real-life teenager that lives in your house: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (PS4, XB1, $72). This is a pretty cheap option for a recent game, and the bonus point it’s huge. So if you’ve got a teenager who’s vaguely into Classics, or just likes to stab people in Ancient Greece, this is a good one. It’s fun as hell, it’s a bit dumb, and it’ll keep them out of your hair while you wait for them to turn 18 and leave home.
For the actual real-life child that is an adult that lives in your house that maybe needs a clue: Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu or Eevee (Nintendo Switch,$94). The newest Pokemon game is set up to be a companion game to Pokemon Go and features many of the same features of that game, and what better way to remind your child that they’re an adult than reminding them of their childhood! Which was many years ago — please get a job.
For the adult relative you barely know: Spider-Man (PS4). Not only is this one of my favourite games of the year, it’s a crowdpleasing time-dump. By which I mean anybody can pick this game up, spend fifty hours on it, and feel better. No one you get this game for is going to be disappointed by it — it’s designed for both casual gamers and serious gamers alike — and it’s charming as hell.
For the gamer you don’t want to see for approximately one hundred non-consecutive hours: Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, XB1). Your dude (and let’s be real, you’re buying this game for the broody dude in your life) will spend two hundred hours on this minimum, which leaves you time to do more productive things with your own life, like reconsidering your relationship, be it familial or romantic, while this man spends two hundred hours playing a video game.
For the family: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (WiiU and Nintendo Switch, $99). It didn’t come out this year, but I’m a firm believer that there’s no better universal crowdpleaser than a silly racing game where you can shoot Koopa shells at each other.
For the family who needs to get their aggression out in cartoonish fights: Super Smash Bros Brawl (Nintendo Switch, $99) isn’t out yet, but based on the series thus far, I can tell you that this is going to be the best and most emotionally healthy way to get our your family aggression. It’s super fun, super colourful, and the barrier to entry is so beautifully low that even if you’ve never played a video game before you’ll be able to pick this one up, no stress.
Sure, your kid might end up in therapy in 20 years time crying about how ‘Daddy never yelled at me, he would just clutch the controller and make Peach beat up Mario’, but therapists need an income too!
For the child inside you that still believes that the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is happening before we all burn/freeze to death: You can still pre-order the Final Fantasy 7 remake at your local retailer, and they’ll let you spend real, human money on it.
If you genuinely have no idea what the gaming person in your life requires/desires: Find out what platform they have (Playstation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo), then find a gift card associated with that and go wild. All of these platforms have online stores that let you spend money on anything your heart might desire.
If they have a Playstation, get them a Playstation Plus subscription (roughly $90 for a year, and they get a whole bunch of free games every month) or a Playstation Network gift card (anywhere from $20-$100).
If they play games on Steam, get them a Steam gift-card (ditto).
If they play games on an Xbox, get them an Xbox Gold subscription (roughly $80 for a year, or you can get them a monthly one, and why would you do that!) or a Xbox gift card (ditto gift card rules).
Finally, if they have a Nintendo Switch, you can get them a Nintendo eShop card (gift card rules, of course, apply).
If you’re freaking out, want to spend heaps of money, and get your relative an entirely new console: Look, we’ve all been there. You want to splash out, because you believe wholeheartedly that material goods can be exchanged for love. I get it!
My rule of thumb with consoles, which has not been approved or verified by anybody, is this:
- If you want a good general purpose console that gets most of the most popular games, you can stream things easily on, and has a tonne of apps and is easy to use: Playstation 4. A new one will set you back about $520, and they’ll probably throw in a new game.
- If you want a console that’s both portable and goes with the television, has an increasingly strong looking library of indie games and great exclusives, and is probably the most kid and family friendly console: Nintendo Switch, which will set you back around $520 as well, without the new game!
- If you want something that’s more geared towards hardcore gamers with a great classic library, but can still do streaming platforms and such: Xbox One. It’ll set you back anywhere from $420-$700, depending on your bundle.
- If you want to get a PC, I have no goddamned idea. Go ask your retailer.
If you hate the person you’re buying a gift for: Maybe buy them a drink and nut out your differences! Or, buy them a mousepad, the gift you get for the person you truly wish would stop converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.