It’s that time of year, the weird stretch between the Graduations and Back to School. If you’re looking for gifts for the gamer in your life (or even yourself) here are some of our top suggestions.
Classic USB controllers
If you play games on the computer, chances are pretty good you’ve played plenty that you wished you had a controller for. Now, the default response for most is to grab and Xbox or PS4 controller, but maybe you prefer the classic designs. If so, you can grab just about any old controller with a USB connector so that it’s all ready to plug into your modern PC. Available now for $12.90.
Razer Blade/ Blade Stealth
Razer once had something of a chintzy reputation. Back in the day, their products were pricier than they should have been for what they offered. But as the company has grown, that premium has all but evaporated. Both the Razer Blade and the Blade Stealth are stellar options for just about anyone based on their needs. If you’re in need for a lot of horsepower in a light, portable system, grab the Blade, but if you’re looking for a beefy ultrabook, you will do better with the Blade Stealth. Just a word of warning: stick to lower resolution screens for these systems if you want to maximize battery life. Currently $900.
Netgear Nighthawk Gaming Router
Most people have shitty routers. Chances are good that whatever you’re using came from your internet service provider. And that’s a problem. If you’re the statically average American, you’ll have a few people living in your home (be they roommates or family or whatever) and each of them will have two or three internet-capable devices. But most routers are only rated for five users, and so you get stuttering and buffering on games and videos when there really shouldn’t be. When you have guests over, the problem gets that much worse. It pays to get some better gear, and the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is one of the best options around — especially for gamers. Wi-fi, for the most part, is more than capable of supporting low-latency multiplayer gaming. You just probably haven’t had good Wi-fi.
Buy it here from $159.00
PlayStation 4 Pro*
The PS4 got a big update last month. It’s a big bigger and quite a bit beefier. That is, in part, part of Sony’s push into Virtual Reality. Rendering 3D scenes with all the details cranked up is a tall order for just about any machine, and the original PS4 is a couple of years old at this point. For the time being, at least, you won’t need the PS4 Pro to play any new or upcoming games, but many have already reported that some of the games coming out now run a bit better on the souped-up console. Get it now for $400.
If you’re not keen on dropping the $800 for an HTC Vive or the $600 for an Oculus + accessories, but you still want a solid VR experience, PSVR might be the add-on for you. It runs in tandem with a PS4, so you’ll at least need to have one of those to start, but if you do, it’s the cheapest option outside of smartphone-based systems. Plus, it’s got what is arguably the best library of any VR system out right now. Bring it home for $350.
Raspberry Pi 3
The Raspberry Pi is one of the most magical devices around, and it perfectly demonstrates the power of Moore’s Law. Essentially, the Pi is a tiny, all-in-one computer, usually for less than $80. It’s based on an open design principle, so one group sets up the minimum specs, and then lots of other companies will put together kits with different options and add-ons. But with a little bit of know-how, you can take a Raspberry Pi and load it up with basically every arcade game ever. Or every NES game ever. Or you can use it as a media player. Or anything. They’re so versatile precisely because they’re a power-packed miniaturized PC. Sure you can’t play the latest games on it, but you can do just about anything else without an issue. Available today for $70.
If you’re not keen on the whole DIY-approach to retro gaming (or you want something a bit more… legal), the NES Classic is a great option… If you can find one. It comes with 30 of the most popular NES games from way back when. These things are supposed to retail for about $60, but, due to supply shortages, they’ve been going for much higher. There several available now at the low-ish price of $168.
Pretty Much Anything from Fangamer
Fangamer is an online storefront that does exactly what you’d expect — caters to fans of games. The difference, though, is that most of their products are original designs, either from someone in-house, or another artist. And they’ve got plenty of great options, from apparel like this Viridian City t-shirt to a massive scroll with a stylized rendition of every area in Dark Souls and how they all connect to one another.
Cuphead 4xLP Deluxe Vinyl Soundtrack
If you’re a hipster like me, you like yourself some vinyl. And if you’re on this page, you also appreciate a great game soundtrack. In the same vein as fangamer, Iam8bit works to bring high-quality fan-made merchandise to the masses. So if you’ve ever wanted vinyl of say, the entire Cuphead soundtrack, you can get that. Seriously, they’ve got some great stuff, check them out. This one, in particular, is for pre-order but it’s four albums and brilliantly designed in the 1930’s theme. It is $115 but it so beautiful and sounds amazing you won’t regret it.
Game art is incredible. From concept to final release, there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into making your favorite games look just right. Game Art is a book that delves into that process with interviews and concept art from more than 40 games including Dragon Age: Inquisition, Never Alone, NaissaincE and plenty more. Get the hardcover version of this book now for $27.30.
Syntus 80 in 1 Precision Screwdriver Set
Finally, if your console breaks down, how do you plan to fix it? Sure, you could send it back to Nintendo or whoever, but they often don’t do repairs for older hardware, and you can save a lot of money doing it yourself. The folks at Syntus have you covered with a full-featured kit that will help you clean, maintain, and take apart just about any console ever made. Get it today for $20.