It's holiday crunch time. If you don't already know what you're getting the gamer in your life, then maybe you could use a gift-giving hint guide, or a video game Christmas walkthrough, if you will. We're here to help. We snatched these gift ideas right off our own staffers' wish lists. Some of these items are at bargain-bin prices, while others have astronomical price tags. (We all can dream, right?) Happy holidays from all of us here at Gaming Nexus.
Class of Heroes 2
Retail: good luck. Online price: starting at about $75.00 on eBay
For those who didn't play the first Class of Heroes title, you missed out on a fantastic and traditional JRPG. The second title was a kickstarter project that had a fairly limited release in North America, complete with certificates of authenticity being sent out to those who supported the game. The regular retail on this title was $29.99, but that has skyrocketed due to the limited copies available. I was lucky enough to grab a copy for a friend for his birthday, and he hasn't been able to put it down. If you can get your hands on it, get it, but expect to pay a premium.
There are all sorts of choices on this website for various games, so it's easy to lose a lot of time on this site. Most of the shirts are around $20 with hoodies being a little more expensive. To be a gaming nerd, you need to have at least one overly nerdy gaming shirt if you ask me.
I like finding rare gaming items and attempt to collect the ones that are easily found, but this would be one of the holy grails, so to speak. The Panasonic Q was released towards the back half of the Gamecube lifespan and was designed to be an entertainment device, something that Nintendo wanted nothing to do except for gaming. Panasonic created this as both a Gamecube and a DVD player with a slick silver casing and a display screen. Is it overpriced? Probably. Would it be damn cool to have in your entertainment console? Absolutely.
Grand Theft Auto V
I'm sure this item will be on a lot of wish lists and you really can't go wrong with GTA V. In my opinion, it is probably the best open world game ever created. It just blows my mind how much attention to detail there is in this game and how huge the world is. It truly feels like a living breathing state in the fictional United States instead of just being a backdrop. See those mountains in the background? Sure you can go to those and why not hike up them and base jump off? That is what I love most about these games. I can spend hundreds of hours just driving around finding ways to make my own fun. The changes they made this time around by adding three playable characters was a welcome change of pace as well. GTA V is currently my game of the year and I had a pleasure playing every second of it
Mad Catz Killer Instinct Fight Stick
Just because it has Killer Instinct plastered all over it doesn't mean it can only be used for Killer Instinct. I'm sure a plethora of fighting games will be released for the Xbox One this generation and I'm sure a large majority of those fighting game fans, myself included, will need a Fight Stick. The special Killer Instinct fight stick comes with built in LED's and will include eight different settings you can choose from. It also appears that it can easily be modded if you want to swap out the stick or the buttons.
Nintendo World Championships Gold Card
Why would you want a $27,000 Nintendo cartridge? Well there is the fact that it's one of the rarest Nintendo cartridges ever made hence the nearly $30,000 asking price. It is often considered the "holy grail" of video game collectibles. Only 26 were made and given out as prizes in a contest from Nintendo Power magazine. Only about half of those are knows to be around today. Most people who seek the Nintendo World Championships won't play it, but your video game collection will be considered the creme of the crop if you own one of these. Be careful next time you sell a lot of games on Ebay or in a yard sale. You may be in possession of a rare game worth thousands of dollars.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I just reviewed this so if you want a more in-depth breakdown, feel free to check out my review. But in a nutshell, Eiji Aonuma and his team have taken the best elements from the entire Zelda series, grafted them onto a sequel to one of the best Zelda games in that series, and added some great new ideas that really open up the formula. Link's new ability to transform into a painting opens up a ton of new puzzle and dungeon designs, and being able to rent every major item after the first dungeon gives the game an incredible sense of freedom and non-linearity. To top it all off the 3D effect is actually used really well, lending a subtle depth that makes the multi-leveled dungeons more intuitive and fun to explore. A Link Between Worlds is reason enough to own a 3DS and provides a tantalizing glimpse of the future of the Zelda series.
Figma Samus and Link Action Figures
Retail: $49.99 each
Figma's superbly detailed Link and Samus collectible figures released in Japan last year and quickly sold out, both domestically and on import. Due to the popularity of the figures, Good Smile Company is producing a second run. You can still pre-order them at Gamestop (they're scheduled for release on 12/13/13 and 1/16/14, respectively as of this writing) but if you want them sooner you can order from Amazon, where they cost a little more and are running out quickly. Both figures are gorgeously detailed and come with a number of interchangeable pieces and accessories. I've been waiting forever for a decent Samus figure and it's about time we got a really good Link figure too. For the discerning Nintendo fan in your life, these would make excellent gifts.
Earthbound original boxed cartridge with player's guide
Retail: starting at $600
Sure, Earthbound finally came out on the Wii U Virtual Console, but why pay $10 for a wimpy digital copy when you can pay upwards of a grand for the real deal? This notoriously obscure, rare (and possibly overrated) Nintendo-exclusive JRPG has been a collector's holy grail almost since it came out. Its original release happened toward the end of the SNES's lifespan and was very limited, so as a result even bare cartridges run in the $250-$300 range on Ebay these days. If you want the game as it was released though, in the original box with the bundled player's guide still packed in...well, you're probably already live-action role-playing Super Mario on the weekends with real 24 karat gold coins, in your diamond-encrusted recreation of the mushroom kingdom. Happy holidays!
Battlefield 4 is guaranteed to put a smile on any gamer's face this holiday season with its improved gameplay, visuals, and best of all, its even larger return of massive level destruction. Even after large holiday meals and marathons of cheerful holiday movies, Battlefield 4 will welcome you back with open arms to its online playground of destruction and death. I personally recommend the game on PC if the gamer on your shopping list has a capable enough gaming desktop or laptop.
Steam Gift Cards
Retail: $20, $50
Shopping for a PC gamer is often difficult for determining which games they own through services such as Steam. Fortunately, Steam sells gift cards through various retailers including GameStop, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and CVS Pharmacy in a variety of sizes. With continual digital game sales throughout the year, a Steam gift card is perfect for any PC gamer on your holiday shopping list.
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Superclocked
Another great gift for PC gamers on your shopping list should include the recently released Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 Ti that is available from a wide range of brands, my personal recommendation being EVGA. While the price is a bit high for a fellow coworker or cousin, it's the perfect gift for either your own gaming desktop or that special (and very lucky) someone on your shopping list. The Geforce GTX 780 is a massive improvement from its normal 780 predecessor and even is said to outperform the Geforce GTX Titan in certain areas. Overall, a guaranteed gift to please any PC gamer over a pair of boring socks.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Legendary Edition
I’m not sure I’ve gotten more replay value out of any game -- ever -- including other Elder Scrolls. Here I am, celebrating Skyrim, a title that launched two years ago, and talking about it like it was just yesterday. Because, in all honesty, I was probably playing it yesterday, too. And the Legendary Edition comes with the three expansions, so you’ll have all the DIY home building, vampires of the north, and Lovecraftian rivals you can stand, in addition to the phenomenal campaign.
EVE Online Concord OPS Jacket
If you’re into that cozy-but-militant look, this EVE Online jacket by Musterbrand looks like the most comfy thing you could wear while extorting Interstellar Kredits from tearful players with your spaceship lasers. I actually wish my U.S. Navy uniform sweater had looked this good.
Virgin Galactic Commercial Flight into Spaaaace
Let’s just extract the coolest part of the $1 million Saints Row IV: Super Dangerous Wad Wad Edition -- the commercial flight into space. Potentially rub elbows with the likes of Katy Perry and Stephen Hawking during a two-and-a-half-hour flight with six minutes of weightlessness. Just ask for a different seat if you got stuck on Justin Bieber’s flight. If he survived the G-force training, that is.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Legendary Edition
As much as I don’t want to copy from my fellow Gaming Nexus members, I am still playing through Skyrim now two years after launch. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about just losing yourself in the world and working to build your character while you work your way through the various quests. The ability to play it again and again, making different choices in how you approach quests and battles gives it this uniqueness that draws you in. As a bonus, the Legendary Edition adds in all the DLC content for the price of a new game, so those that bailed after one play-through can get back into the game and play some more.
Polk Audio SurroundBar IHT 5000
My “gaming related” item happens to be a partnership between Microsoft’s Xbox 360 brand and Polk Audio and also toes the line with the “fantasy purchase”. For years, Sean and I have been reviewing A/V gear that makes your gaming experience just that much better, but after reading up on Sean’s review (and experiencing it at the 2013 CES) of the Polk Audio 5000 IHT earlier in the year (http://www.gamingnexus.com/Article/Polk-Audio-Surroundbar-5000-IHT/Item3930.aspx), I knew that I and found one of my items for the annual Holiday Buying guide. This is Polk’s first co-branded console gaming product, and the 5000 IHT delivers on four+ years of development to bring to the table one of the best overall surround bar experiences that gamers will find. The combination of price (less than $400), quality and audio range will add a certain level of immersive play to your games that anything other than a true 5.1 or greater home theater cannot replicate.
Galaxy 60 in 1 Cocktail Video Game Cabinet
It easy with today’s next-gen consoles to forget the past and what brought us to where we are today. However, one simple way to honor those that paved the way for today’s realistic graphics and action would be to pick up the Galaxy 60 in 1 Cocktail Arcade cabinet. This little beauty isn’t hi-def, it doesn’t have dual analog sticks and it most certainly doesn’t have voice or motion control. But what it does have is a huge shot of nostalgia, with 60 of the best coin-op games ever to grace arcades. Included in the 60 titles you will find the likes of the Pac-Man family of games, Donkey Kong titles (including Jr.), Galaga, Mappy, Burger Time and one of my all-time favorites, QIX. For those that played these games by feeding them quarters (and not as digital download on your console), this would be an awesome addition to any man-cave or gaming room.
Age of Empires II HD and The Forgotten DLC
What's the easiest gift you can give your gaming buddies this holiday season? Well, probably a Best Buy giftcard- but for twenty seven bucks, you can give the slightly less lazy gift of HD retro gaming! Get a copy for yourself and your friends and relive all of the real-time strategy battles you loved at the turn of the millennium- but with better graphics and new content.
Okay, this isn't a video game, but Dominion is probably the best strategy card game out there. It's a 1-4 player deck-building game where you play a monarch looking to build the biggest kingdom by grabbing as much land as possible and attacking your neighbors. The best part is that it has infinite replayability, especially if you get one of the expansion games involved. It won the 2009 Mensa Select Award- and if anyone knows how to have a good time, it's those Mensa eggheads.
Do you have an obscene amount of money and have a loved one that collects retro SNES games? Then you should consider getting them the fairly rare Megaman X3! It received mixed reviews- some believe it to be the best of the SNES Megaman X games, some think it's the worst. But if you're willing to pay this much for a game released in 1995, you probably care less about how good it is and more about how it will round out your collection.
2013's best SimCity game didn't offer flashy graphics and onerous DRM. In fact, the game didn't even come from Electronic Arts. That's because the best SimCity game wasn't SimCity at all, but rather a small independent game called Arcadecraft. This $3 Xbox Live Indie Games title puts you in charge of a local arcade in the 1980s. It's up to you to not only buy the most popular arcade machines, but also arrange them in a way that will keep gamers happy. Hire workers, invest in vending machines, put up mood lighting and weather the great game crash of 1983. Arcadecraft is a surprisingly deep experience that works as both a simulator and a history lesson of a time we'll likely never see again. Even if you are too young to remember the 1980s, Arcadecraft is one of the best games of 2013.
Believe it or not, there's a strong case to be made for Sony's PS Vita. Although it has struggled out of the gate, you wouldn't know that based on a strong library of titles. With games like Persona 4 Golden, Tearaway, Killzone: Mercenary, The Walking Dead and Dragon's Crown, the Vita is teaming with big titles for every type of gamer. What's more, it has a large library of great indie games. Titles like Knytt Underground, Hotline Miami, Guacamelee, Lone Survivor, CastleStorm, Sound Shapes, and Zen Pinball are best on Sony's handheld. If a wide variety of Vita games isn't enough of a reason to buy the handheld, then consider the hundreds of PSP games you missed out on the first time around. And don't forget about the PSone Classics, including major releases from Final Fantasy, Tekken, Resident Evil and more. And if that's still not enough for you, the PS Vita gives players the opportunity to enjoy all of their PlayStation 4 games away from the television. Seeing is believing, and the PlayStation 4 isn't complete without a PS Vita.
OMG HD Zombies
Laughing Jackal strikes again with an HD update to one of the PSP's best games. OMG HD Zombies is the only game that combines the mayhem of the walking dead with the explosive fun of chain reactions. It's all about taking out 100+ zombies with only two or three bullets. An impossible task? Not when you use the eight different types of zombies to create a deadly chain reaction. With 100 stages and dozens of upgrades, OMG HD Zombies will keep you going for quite a few hours. Although simple, there's an addictive quality that is hard to resist. This is my third time through the campaign, and I still get a thrill every time I am able to kill a large room of zombies with one well-placed bullet. OMG HD Zombies is not to be missed.
Muramasa Rebirth Blessing of Amitabha - Limited Edition
This is actually a tough choice for me because there were so many excellent titles that came out this year. But out of everything I played this year, I'd have to recommend Muramasa: Rebirth on the Playstation Vita. It's been a pretty solid year for the handheld, but it's probably been at the back of most gamers' minds, so why not get them something to remember that they have the system? It's a pretty fun game that fixed a lot of issues that plagued the Wii release and has incoming DLC that features all new characters! You can even get the limited edition version at Amazon still!
You don't really want to just pick up any old gaming clothing, that's like wearing the band's t-shirt to the band's show. It's just kind of bad form. If you want something a little more subdued but still awesome, go check out the line-up over at FanGamer. They're a little bit on the expensive side but everything they make is of the utmost quality. Not like those NES controller shirts you find at Old Navy with the faux-faded silk screen.
EVGA 780 Ti and GTX 770 Video Cards
Retail: $699.99 GTX 780Ti, $349.99 GTX 770
Well, I got back into PC gaming lately, so maybe this one will come off as a hint to someone I know. But a new video card is always appreciated. While it's no Titan, the NVidia GTX780Ti is a monster of a card. All those CUDA cores! A texture fill rate that destroys ATI's R290X! Unfathomable cosmic power! Itty bitty PC space. Okay that last one is a bit of a lie. And if you find that the 780Ti is a bit too much for your wallet to handle for a loved one, the GTX770 isn't a shabby follow-up.
Super Mario 3D World
There's a reason Super Mario 3D Land is one of my favorite games of all time. It took the idea of short unique levels from Super Mario Bros. 3 (and the Super Leaf) and combined it with the 3D gameplay that started with Super Mario 64. The result was an amazingly fun and challenging platformer with a huge and varied set of levels spread across 16 different worlds, offering new ideas at every turn. 3D Land's Wii U sequel, Super Mario 3D World looks bigger and better, and will probably make 3D Land look like, as one of my friends said, a "proof of concept." With four player co op, beautiful HD graphics, and all kinds of new ideas (those Mario Kart style footraces look awesome!) 3D World is sure to be not only the best game on the Wii U, but possibly the best game of the holiday season.
WaterField Designs Nintendo 3DS XL Cases
My 3DS XL is one of my most prized possessions. I take it everywhere with me not only to play games on the go, but also to rack up as many Street Passes as I can. In my travels, my 3DS has suffered a few drops (one due to a ripped pocket) and earned a few minor scrapes. After these events I decided I needed to find a nice case, but the only ones I could find were overpriced bags and childish Nerf armors. Enter WaterField Designs' CitySlicker case. It's made of suede, has multiple pockets for games and accessories, but most importantly of all it looks great and like it was made for an adult. I'm definitely picking up one of these before the end of the year, and if you are a 3DS XL owner, I recommend you do, too.
Sony 4K TV
Okay, so, TVs aren't the most interesting holiday gift idea since there are plenty of other crazy gadgets out there to pine for, but the story is a little different with one of these Sony 4K TVs. I was legitimately blown away by the quality the first time I saw one of these in person, so I can only imagine what it would be like gaming on one (even though I'm pretty sure Sony said PS4 doesn't support this quality, I bet it would still look amazing). I do all of my gaming on a 25" monitor, so having a big TV to plop down in front of for long gaming sessions would be a dream come true.
Google Nexus 7 Tablet
Why would I recommend a tablet? Because many games coming out will have a second-screen option. The PlayStation 4 has an app for that. The Xbox One has SmartGlass. And if you don't want to spend too much but do want a great display and good performance, the Nexus 7 tablet is a great buy. At $229 for the 16GB version and $269 for the 32GB version, the Nexus 7 tablet is a solid pickup for those who don't have a tablet and want one.
Western Digital 1TB Notebook Hard Drive
Space is going to be needed for all those game installs. While the PlayStation 4 comes with 500GB, you can double the storage capacity with this hard drive from Western Digital. It's really easy to switch out the hard drive on the system, too. For those with an Xbox One, put it in an enclosure and you'll be able to use it as an external drive when the update is released.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate
You're going to need a good remote to control all those new consoles, and what better than a Harmony Ultimate from Logitech? It's easy to program via the web, and it can control a multitude of media center devices and consoles. You don't even have to point the remote at the items as the built in IR blasters will transmit the radio waves coming from the remote to your components.
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