If you’ve been enjoying the past several weeks of fantastic game releases too much to start your Christmas shopping, fear not, sweet readers: we have you covered.
Welcome to our gift guide for 2017. Below you’ll find recommendations for almost every type of gamer in your life, covering everything from the fun to the functional, the fashionable to the fundamental. With a couple weeks left, there’s plenty of time to put in your order, and maybe even still catch a few sales too. Read on!
Harmonix (the folks behind the Rock Band games) teamed up with Hasbro to create this unique music experience. The goal is to create music mashups using parts from various hit songs, and to pull that off Dropmix itself is a bit of a mashup—it’s part board game, part card game and part mobile game. The cards have chips in them that, when placed on the special board, will play a part from a song on the app on your mobile device. As you play more cards you layer different tracks on top of each other, creating new remixes on the fly. With 60 cards in the box, and more that can be purchased in packs, a decent variety of musical genres are covered. Harmonix has been developing new ways to interact with music for over two decades, and Dropmix is one of its most accessible and innovative creations yet. —Garrett Martin
Nintendo x LeSportsac Bag
LeSportsac is already well known for having some of the cutest designer bags in all of fashion, but this line from Nintendo is not only adorable, it also is immensely diverse in terms of design and patterns, offering everything from makeup bags to totes and utility backpacks. I recommend the Large Weekender in the Mario Travel pattern ($150), the Classic Hobo in Power Up Burst ($90), or the Coin Charm purse ($35). —Holly Green
Pikachu Piggy Bank
ThinkGeek is always a great place for good geek gifts, and this year one of my favorite items is the Pikachu Piggy Bank ($40, on sale $22.99). Like the kitty banks it parodies, with a press of a button, Pikachu will reach out with his paw and snatch a coin! Other items on our list this year: the Pokemon Party Crossbag from Loungefly ($69.99, nice), this 8-Bit Soap Set ($12.99 on sale), and these Legend of Zelda Christmas lights in Rupee and Triforce ($24.99 each). —Holly Green
Xbox One X
4K TVs are growing more popular every year, which has driven Sony and Microsoft to upgrade their current game systems to make them 4K compliant. The brand new Xbox One X doesn’t just add 4K and HDR color functionality, though—it’s a more powerful system that improves the performance of the Xbox One games that have been optimized for it. The visuals are cleaner and more colorful thanks to the 4K and HDR, and frame rates are smoother and more stable due to the improved processor. If, like me, you’re not much of a technical guy, this is probably all sounds like a bunch of guff. Here’s what you need to know: if you want the most powerful console on the market today, the answer is the Xbox One X. —Garrett Martin
BJ’s Faux Leather Jacket
As a Nazi-killer leading a massive rebellion against the regime, B.J. Blazkowicz lives what I like to call an aspirational life. Give a loved one the look with a replica from the Bethesda store, an identical recreation of B.J.’s mustard yellow racing jacket from Wolfenstein II:, made of faux leather and available in sizes up to 3XL ($98, in pre-order, ships December 15). —Holly Green
Cappy Cosplay Hat
Whether the Mario lover in your life is young or old, this Cappy hat ($20, Gamestop) makes a fun gift. Expect to see a sea of these at every PAX event in 2018. —Holly Green
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Far and away the most recommended headphones this year are these, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They’re light, comfortable, wireless, and one of the best names in noise cancellation out there. The $350 price point is a little much, but good news if you’re hunting for a bargain: the price of the earlier series, the QuietComfort 35, has dropped down to $329 on Amazon. —Holly Green
Geek Chic Cosmetics
For years, Geek Chic Cosmetics has been offering quality makeup products with a focus on palettes and products inspired by videogames and other nerdy properties. This year, consider the Heroes Never Die eye kit, with six shades to remind you of Overwatch, and Please Stand By, another six shades, influenced by the palette of the Fallout series. Prices vary depending on packaging. —Holly Green
You can do no wrong with almost anything at Her Universe. While there are no specific videogame properties under the licenses they offer clothes from, many have overlap, like Star Wars, or Marvel and DC. I have several femme geeks to shop for in my life, and so far, in the past ten years of hunting down cute geekwear, this is one of the better, if not the best, sites. While other retailers lean towards simple fan t-shirts fashioned around Photoshop filtered stills from licensed properties, the threads at Her Universe are well designed, with modern cuts, hip details, and beautiful art of some of the best fandoms in the geek universe. They also have a wide range of sizes. I’m especially partial to their Star Wars licensed clothes, in particular this Princess Leia caplet and Rey Speeder dress, both elegantly designed and surprisingly wearable for for fan fashion. —Holly Green
The Best Game Soundtracks of the Year on Vinyl
If you love games and records, iam8bit has you covered. The digital store has a number of great videogame soundtracks available on limited edition vinyl. Our favorites from 2017 include the jazzy score to Persona 5, which is available in two different box sets, one with some of the game’s best songs on four LPs, and another with the entire 110 song soundtrack spread across six records. There’s also the even jazzier score to Cuphead, which nails the jazz and big band sounds of the 1920s and 1930s. Kristofer Maddigan’s lively music comes on four LPs bundled in packaging that looks like something your grandparents would’ve bought during the Depression. Zelda fans with turntables would probably love the two-record Hero of Time set, which is a one-hour arrangement of themes from Koji Kondo’s Ocarina of Time score, recorded by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. And although Thumper came out in 2016, its amazing score from co-designer and Lightning Bolt member Brian Gibson wasn’t available until the end of the year, after we ran our 2016 gift guide. The vinyl set is still available at iam8bit, and it’s still the best music from any game over the last few years. —Garrett Martin
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer living in Seattle, WA. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games and comedy sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.