Santa used to deliver coal to naughty children. These days, they’ll just think it’s a Minecraft prop.
You can never tell what gifts will be appreciated or not, but we’re here to lend a hand and separate the gift boxes from the loot boxes, the empty boxes from the Xboxes.
SNES Classic (€99)
Probably the best gaming gift you can get someone in their 30s or early 40s. The SNES classic is a Super Nintendo that comes preloaded with 21 games from the ’90s, ready to play on modern TVs. It even includes Chrono Trigger, one of the greatest games ever made and a title that was never released in Europe on the original SNES. Two controllers are packaged, so you can play Super Mario Kart on the couch again. But beware, stock is disappearing faster than Oxo in a soup factory.
Sega Mega Drive Classic (€80)
Also the best gift you can get someone in their 30s or early 40s, depending on their affiliation to Sonic or Mario. The Mega Drive was Sega’s flagship system in the ’90s and, much like the SNES classic, comes packaged with a pile of legendary games to relive on modern TVs. Worth it alone for Landstalker, which happens to be this writer’s all-time favourite.
Nintendo Switch (€329,99)
We expect the Nintendo Switch to be under a lot of Christmas trees — and televisions — this year. With good reason, too. This is Nintendo’s best console in three generations and their answer to the needs of modern gamers.
The Switch is a high-powered handheld console at heart, but it can also dock under a television and be used as a home console too. It helps that Nintendo released two of the year’s best games — Zelda and Mario — to give the Switch a boost.
PlayStation VR (€399)
If Ireland doesn’t produce a winter wonderland this year, don’t worry. You can just pop on a VR headset and be sitting in a snowstorm seconds later. The snow will seem so real, you’ll reach out to touch it. Virtual reality has a long way to go before it reaches full potential, but PlayStation VR is a sensational step in the right direction and the perfect ‘wow’ gift for gamers who own a PS4. If your loved one has nerves of steel (or even better, if they don’t) buy Resident Evil 7 for the full VR experience.
HP Omen laptop (starting from €1,000)
If you really want to splash out on a gamer for Christmas, buy them a top-end gaming laptop. The HP Omen range is a great place to start. Launched by HP earlier this year, these are some of the sleekest gaming laptops around and an absolute joy to use. Regardless of the brand you choose, the main benefit of a gaming laptop is access to a huge range of games, past, present and future and the sense of exploration and discovery that only PC gaming can deliver.
Gaming Gift Cards (€50)
Whether your loved one owns a console or a PC, they will have access to a digital store. This means you can buy them a gift card, allowing them to pick a game of their choice for download online. It’s the perfect solution for people who really don’t know an Apple Watch from Overwatch. Just make sure you buy the right card for the right platform — a Steam card won’t work on a PlayStation and vice versa.
The Guinness Book of World Records 2018: Gamer’s Edition (€7.99)
Admittedly, we haven’t ever read a Gamer’s Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. But we’d like to, which earns it a place on this list. According to the description, reading this year’s edition we will encounter “the world’s oldest games YouTuber at 81, a man with a real-life cyborg arm that was inspired by Deus Ex and the kingpin of eSports fighting games”. For the price of two actual pints of Guinness, that’s worth a shot.
Start or join a CoderDojo (free)
Nothing beats a new console under the tree. Still, if you feel like giving the gift of learning, why not encourage your kids to join a free CoderDojo class and introduce them to the world of coding? Who knows, maybe a game of theirs will become a Christmas gift some day.
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