It is time, once more, for all of them holidays.
Whatever you and your loved ones celebrate, you probably need to buy them gifts. Tis the reason for every one of these seasons. Given that today is still currently a part of the 21st century, there’s a good chance at lease one person on your gift list likes videogames. If that’s the case, and you need some help finding the perfect gift for the precious game fan in your life, let us help by tossing out a few suggestions. Paste’s games team—me, Moises, Elijah—searched far and wide for a diverse selection of gifts that fit any and all videogaming needs. Need a handheld? We’ve got two. Love retro games? There are a few options for you below. Peripherals, hard drives, guide books, and more: our list will have you covered. If you’re still stuck on what to give this holiday season, hopefully this list will help. Good luck, and happy holidays!
Arcade1Up has offered affordable home facsimiles of the classic arcade experience for a few years now, and the quality of their machines has greatly improved in that time. Their latest machines, which include NFL Blitz Legends, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, the Capcom Legacy Arcade Game collection of classic Capcom games, and more, feature wi-fi multiplayer, light-up marquees, better sound, a greater amount of in-game options to play around with, more games than you’d find in earlier machines, and even cabinets that look more like the real thing. I have an Arcade1Up Marvel vs. Capcom 2 unit sitting next to a Street Fighter II that was one of the company’s very first releases in 2018, and the difference is significant. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 includes eight games from the long-running fighting series, whereas that original Street Fighter II only has three different versions of the same game. I can play the new one online, I can add scanlines to the screen to make it look like an actual arcade game CRT screen, the stereo sound is both louder and cleaner.. It’s just a much better product all around. If you’re interested in a home arcade but don’t have the budget or technical know-how to buy and maintain the real McCoys, Arcade1Up is an excellent option, either for yourself or for whatever retro game lover you need to buy a gift for.—Garrett Martin
Before the internet, there was a time when publishers would create in-depth strategy guides for their games that doubled as pseudo-art books. Future Press has been keeping this tradition alive, and their latest release, the Elden Ring Books of Knowledge, Volume 1, catalogs every nook and cranny of FromSoftware’s latest. Coming in at 512 pages, it includes over 100 maps, guidance for the convoluted side-quests, and even a small lore section that explains the world’s backstory. While it’s only the first volume of two (the second will include creatures and weapons), between its attractive hardcover, well-organized information, and beautiful layouts, it’s an excellent companion to one of the best games of 2022.—Elijah Gonzalez
Consoles are obvious best sellers during the holidays, and I imagine few will sell better than the Nintendo Switch, which has had a subdued but nonetheless great year. The thing about the Switch is that its controllers suck. Every few months, a drift seems to settle over the analog sticks and it can be maddening to deal with. I’ve gone through so many Joy-Cons and bought peripherals like in the years since first getting my Switch, I’ve practically Ship of Theseus’d that thing. However, you can be smarter than me and invest in a super cheap Joy-Con repair kit, that way you can easily fix up a busted controller and avoid eating the exorbitant cost of replacing them, even if those alternate colorways are incredible. These repair kits will rarely cost you more than $20, so paying for something of quality won’t hurt the wallet too much.—Moises Taveras
Sadly the coolest gaming handheld in years isn’t something you can just pick up at a store or get delivered to your doorstep a few days after ordering online. The Playdate, which comes to us from the longtime game publisher Panic, is a slim little square with a crank on the side and a collection of original games designed by some of the best independent developers in the industry. Its monochrome screen and tech limitations ensure that its games resemble the original Game Boy, whereas the crank and the artistic freedom afforded the developers ensure that these games don’t really play or feel like anything you’ve played before. It’ll feel instantly familiar but completely alien, which creates an electric tension for the player. They’re currently accepting pre-orders for the next batch, which are shipping in early 2023, and it’s well worth the wait.—Garrett Martin
If you’re looking for a low-cost ($20-40) gaming mouse that comes in a smaller form factor, the Razer Viper Mini is an excellent choice. It features an 8500 DPI optical sensor, meaning there is a decent range of sensitivity options, and it has a dedicated switch for quickly toggling through multiple DPI profiles. Its buttons and mouse wheel feel responsive, and while it only has two programmable keys, this is largely offset by the price and focus on a diminutive design. If you have smaller hands or want something more compact, this is by far the best cheap gaming mouse I’ve come across.—Elijah Gonzalez
The second Genesis (or Mega Drive, if you fancy) mini console includes a few legit hits that didn’t make the cut the first time, but largely digs deep into the Sega’s system robust library of great games. There’s a special focus on the Sega CD, the short-lived peripheral that brought full-motion video and high-quality sound to the 16-bit console halfway through its lifespan, and seven games that have never been released before. No classic gaming library has been better memorialized and consistently kept in print than the Genesis’s, which has seen a variety of compilations on almost every major system over the last two decades, but the Mini 2 is full of oddballs, obscurities, and third-party games that rarely get the love showered upon, say, the Sonic games. Fans of role-playing games and shoot-’em-ups will be especially impressed by it. It’s the perfect gift for old heads who lived through the 16-bit era, or anybody interested in gaming history.—Garrett Martin
Speaking of portable consoles, you should probably get a Steam Deck this holiday. Is it crazy to tell you to get one? Yes, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s undoubtedly a pricey gift, with the cheapest SKU running you about the same as a digital-only PlayStation 5, but it’s also a gift that tons of folks have seemingly gotten immense value out of over the course of the year. Essentially a portable gaming PC, the Steam Deck feels a bit like a miracle after years of being told that worthy gaming computers needed to be water-cooled towers sealed in plexiglass that took up a whole shelf in the corner of your office or bedroom. I played the Resident Evil 2 remake on one not too long ago and was in awe at how smoothly it played. Steam Decks are also highly customizable and flexible, and can play more than just Steam games with some modest effort. Mostly though, I’m telling you to get one because for the majority of 2022, they’ve largely been unavailable. Folks who get theirs this year all pre-ordered those units back in 2021. Recently, Steam announced that they caught up with demand and these bad boys are now just up on the store at all times. Something tells me that won’t always be the case, so better to jump in now while you still can. Personally, I’d go with the most affordable model that comes with 64 GB of internal memory, which is easily expandable via relatively affordable MicroSD cards.—Moises Taveras
The wired SteelSeries Arctis 1 has become a staple gaming headset thanks to its surprisingly good soundscape for the price. Their soft ear cushions make them comfortable over long periods, and they sport a simple but sleek design. While they don’t include a lot of bells and whistles, and if you’re an audiophile, you’ll likely want something more expensive with deeper bass, these punch well above their weight class, making them one of the best gaming headset purchases at the $50 price point.—Elijah Gonzalez
While we’re talking about memory, this is the year I became a guy who plays on PC and found how integral it is to the experience. I’m going to be working on a full-blown rig this coming year, but in the meantime I’ve made due with a surprisingly capable laptop with 512 GB that Valorant and the Riot Client handily chewed through. Suffice to say, one very affordably priced (and regularly discounted)
Western Digital 5TB Elements hard drive later, my laptop was saved from absolute ruin at the hands of Riot Games and Riot Games alone. While I mostly play smaller games on PC, I can’t say it isn’t a huge boon to know that installing Warhammer 40K: Darktide on top of all those games won’t significantly break the good ol’ memory bank anymore.—Moises Taveras