It’s that time of year again when you need to get something exciting for your loved ones for Christmas, but making the right choices is always so difficult. While we can’t help with gift-buying for everyone, if you’ve got friends or family into gaming we can definitely offer some advice. Broken down into different prices here’s our top picks this Christmas for gamers. Every single one of these products are things that we have experience with and can say with confidence would make great presents. All the games on Steam can be gifted to someone else, you just need a Steam account to buy them, and their e-mail address to send the gift, make sure their computer can run the game though! We’re not putting some of the excellent new releases from the last month on here because gamers tend to want those as soon as possible, check out our reviews section to see which games are worth the cash from the last month.
We’ve separated the guide into sections depending on price range so just scroll down to how much you want to spend from £0-£5 for gifts for a co-worker or friends all the way up to £300+ for your favourite website editor.
Papers, Please – Currently £3.49 on Steam
Papers, Please might be one of the oddest games this year, but it could also be one of the most important. Giving you the role of an East European border guard your job is to check the documents of people coming into the country. The graphics are simple and the game is very much like work, but as you play something special happens. You begin to understand why people are corrupt because you become corrupt, you understand how mistakes are made because you make mistakes, you think about real issues. For the intellectual or gamer who thinks they’ve seen it all, Papers, please might not be a cheerful gift but they’ll definitely thank you for it. It’ll also run on pretty much any PC.
Borderlands 2 – Currently £4.99 on Steam
Borderlands 2 is one of the best co-op shooters ever, and a real stand-out hit from not very long ago. Getting it for five pounds is a steal and at with the current bundle you could buy a bunch of copies for your friends and have some four-player mayhem for fifteen quid. A first-person shooter tied to a loot system like Diablo, Borderlands mixes cartoonish visuals, great writing and a mind-bogglingly huge number of weapons into something amazing. Get this week before it goes back to its normal price!
Pokemon Card Game Deck – £8.99 from Amazon
The Pokemon card game is a great way to introduce younger generations into games that aren’t played on a computer and it’s wonderfully nostalgic for any gamers who grew up through the 90s. With these packs you get everything you need to play other people, so if you got two decks you’d be able to play against each other. There’s plenty of advice on rules and card collecting all over the place online – we’ll be bringing an exciting new feature to the site in the coming weeks about CCG.
Starbound – £11.99 on Steam
If you’re buying for a gamer who’s played Minecraft to death, Terraria or Starbound are great alternatives. Terraria is more fantasy based with dungeons and mining down to hell, Starbound has recently been released on Steam and is a similar game but in a sci-fi setting. You pilot your customisable spaceship from planet to planet collecting resources, crafting and fighting monsters. It’s addictive and there’s already a huge community for it, but even real gamers might not have heard of it yet
Project Zomboid – £9.99 on Steam
If zombies are more their thing, an indie gem that seems to often slip under the radar is the excellent Project Zomboid. An isometric survival gamer you start in a small town that’s been overrun with zombies, what you do next is up to you. You can try and help your sick wife, create barricades to hold against the hordes or go exploring and meet other survivors and find materials. There’s tonnes of crafting, exploration and replay value, but eventually you’ll die, the fun part is creating the story leading up to that point.
Magic The Gathering Deck Builders Toolkit – £15.93 from Amazon
Magic: The Gathering is one of the major collectable card games that is still played all around the world today. For both adults and younger gamers it provides a complex yet easy-to-play game that changes dramatically depending on how you’re playing. It’s a great introduction to games that aren’t on computers. With this toolkit you get all the things you need to play the game, plus a bunch of ‘booster packs’ – packs of random cards from the main set that could contain anything, some of the cards individually are even worth more than this whole pack so you might get lucky! We prefer getting boxes like this to getting pre-built decks because opening boosters and constructing decks is part of the fun of the game. If you want to be playing full games it might be getting two of these, one for each player.
Magic the Gathering Fat Packs – £34.95 on Amazon
If you’re buying for someone who’s already playing Magic the Gathering a fat pack is a great present. Coming in a full-art solid box you get nine booster packs, eighty land cards, a couple of cardboard deck boxes, a die and a guide to that particular set. The current expansion sets are Dragon’s Maze and Theros but you can get older and rarer ones for slightly inflated prices. On Christmas day everyone knows half the fun is the unwrapping and with this pack they’ll get nine extra packs to unwrap within one present – that’s value.
Playstation Plus 12 month subscription – £39.00 from Amazon
Playstation Plus is the online service from Sony that requires a monthly (or yearly subscription). For that subscription you get access to multiplayer on the PS4 as well as a handful of free games every month on your PS3, PS4 and Vita. These aren’t rubbish old games either, the Uncharted series have featured on there, Gravity Rush (often held to be the best Vita game), Resogun (the best PS4 game currently) and many, many more. It offers incredible value and if someone’s getting a PS4 for Christmas they’ll need this to be able to play online after the 14-day free trial. It comes on a gift card that can be wrapped or put in with a greetings card and anyone with a Playstation device is going to love it.
Razer Kraken Earphones – £54.90 from Amazon
When it comes to headsets you’re spoilt for choice in the PC and console gaming market. Many run into hundreds of pounds but end up being uncomfortable or have irritating problems like buzzing or poor bass. The Kraken range is by far the most comfortable set of headphones we’ve ever used and the sound is powerful and crisp. This particular pair don’t have a microphone, this is purely for audio playback, but with a normal audio jack you cna use them with a wide variety of platforms including the Playstation 4. As with all Razer products they look the part and the build quality is excellent, you even get a ridiculously long cable extender in the box which is a much better solution than going wireless when it comes to headphones. Check out our review early next week.
Razer Naga 2014 Expert MMO Gaming Mouse – £67.99 from Amazon
For any gamer who plays a lot of MMOs (like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV) or who simply does a lot of work at the PC that requires complex commands, the Naga is an outstanding mouse. Stylish enough to be an exciting present, as accurate as anyone could wish for and with a quite frankly ridiculous 12 programmable buttons on the side as well as two on top and an incredibly good scroll wheel, the Naga isn’t going to let anyone down. Check for our review early next week.
Mad Catz MMO 7 Gaming Mouse – £85.65 from Amazon
If your loved one is a gamer who’s more into action games or FPS, the deceptively titled MMO 7 might be the mouse for you. It’s an incredible piece of hardware, getting 10/10 in our review, and we’ve been using it for close to a year. Every button you can see is fully customisable, you can alter the weight and the shape of the mouse at will, a button selects from 4 different sensitivity values and that red button on the side lets you drop the sensitivity while you hold it so you can line up that perfect sniper shot. There’s even a horizontal scroll wheel! It has everything. It might be quite pricey for a mouse, but like with keyboards it’s definitely a component you want to splash out a bit on and this mouse would make a great present for anyone currently stuck with something boring. (It comes in black and red too!)
Razer Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard – £110.99 from Amazon
Gamers love getting gadgets, but so many neglect the one gadget they use almost every day – the keyboard. If your loved one is into PC gaming at all and is still using something basic, or you know a gamer who writes a lot, you can’t go wrong with the Black Widow Ultimate. It’s a mechanical keyboard and one of the very best keyboards money can buy. It even looks amazing with neon green lighting so it won’t be a dull present. Check out our review here where we gave it 10/10.
Wii U with Zelda: Wind Waker – £239 from Amazon
While the Wii U might suffer from a lack of games, and it’s less powerful than the next-gen consoles, there’s still a bunch of great games for it and the Gamepad is a great device. Wind Waker HD is also an excellent reinvention of a spectacular game, so for £239 this is great value. If you already own some Wii controllers they will work fine with the new console and there’s various bundles like one with the two Mario and Luigi games for the same prices. For a review of the console check here and for Zelda check here.
EVGA Nvidia GTX 780 3GB Graphics Card – £406.95 from Amazon
If you really want to make a PC gamers day on Christmas, you can’t go wrong with a 780. A near top-of-the range graphics card, the 780 will play anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat. EVGA versions of the cards are often incredibly quiet and they’re a reliable brand – you can even get some deals where you get three triple-A PC games thrown in too if you shop around. They are pricey, and you need to make sure the person you’re buying it for has a PC that can fit it in, but it would be an incredible present. If anyone I know is reading it would be an incredible present.
Playstation 4 – £350+ if you can find one
The Playstation 4 is a great console and an amazing present for anybody. The controller is much improved, the UI is much faster and of course it’s much more powerful than the PS3. The only difficult will be actually laying your hands on one – – your best bet might be to try supermarkets as they tend not to keep a waiting list for new consoles, you might just get lucky and stop by as they get a shipment.
Xbox One – £430+ if you can find one
The Xbox one is an amazing present for any gamer, the new Kinect 2.0 actually works even in small rooms, there’s a fantastic line-up of games already and the controller is the best in gaming – but finding one isn’t going to be easy. There’s a few on Ebay but expect to pay inflated prices – your best bet might be to try supermarkets as they tend not to keep a waiting list for new consoles, you might just get lucky and stop by as they get a shipment. For more information on the Xbox One check out our review.