Hardcore gamers are a nightmare to shop for during the holidays. We’re as biased and finicky as a political columnist with OCD and we have the patience of a man on fire. Thus, any time you buy us a video game, you’ve got a 90% chance that we either aggressively dislike it or already bought it, beat it, and are currently blogging about how we’d make the sequel sooo much better. This is a law of nature, as undeniable as the fact that penguins eat lion cubs or that bumblebees built the pyramids.
You don’t need that pressure. Thankfully, we merciful souls here at GamesRadar have you covered. The following pages will give you a wealth, a plethora, indeed a cornucopia of non-game-but-gamer-guaranteed gift options, as well as their MSRPs in US dollars (but sales are rampant, so always check the links for up-to-date prices).
If you want to minimize the disastrous possibility of shattering the heart, soul and dreams of the gamer on your list, read on. If not… well, it’s your own fault you got them Rock Revolution and they strapped your cat to a NASA test rocket in retaliation.
The lowly t-shirt is a fundamental staple of the gamer wardrobe. But most gaming-oriented t-shirts are designed by non-gamer morons and end up so lame and cheesy that a true gamer wouldn’t be caught alive in them. What’s that? Don’t we mean “dead”? Wow, you’re a morbid bastard, aren’t you? Are you goth or something?
At any rate, these t-shirts do not suck. Rather, they are the best. Wear them while you yet live.
Zelda Stained Glass Link ($19)
from Hot Topic
This one actually vanished from My Tee’s website right after we ordered it, so you might have trouble tracking it down. We did find an XL at Hot Topic, though. Which caused the real punk rocker on staff to spontaneously explode. You didn’t think we had a real punk rocker on staff, did you? Well we don’t. He exploded. Aren’t you paying attention?
History of Zelda hoodie ($40)
from My Tee Spot
You think all the individual art pieces in this sweet collage look like a mess? Wrong, square-o. Your gamer will consider it a badge of honor. And they will also consider it a hoodie.
NES model 004 ($25)
from Huzzah Goods
also from Huzzah goods
The fine detail on these shirts doesn’t come through as well in the pics – trust us, they’re both classy and worth reading. The supplies are low at post-time, but Huzzah plans to restock soon – and when they do, Blinkey Road will be number one on our list. Well, make that number two. That guy in the mirror is number one. Always.
Donkey Kong t-shirt ($25)
Only to be worn by those with hellacious old-school cred. If you have to ask what it means, it’s not right for you. And if you think the lettering need to be larger, you might … aw, forget the insult. You can’t read letters this tiny anyhow.
Wolf T-shirt ($25)
Think this wolf t-shirt looks wrong for a gamer? Read the customer comments after the link. This shirt is right for every man on Earth. In fact, it’s so potent, the company president forced us to just PhotoShop it on, rather than risk having the genuine article in the office.
What about Penny Arcade shirts (the former shoryuken.com)?
Yes, they rock. But Penny Arcade is THE go-to site for game shirts, so your gamer gift-getter will probably already have one or more of these. If they don’t, absolutely go here and check them out. They’re pretty much all good. No joke.
Literally, there’s no joke in this listing. Read something else.
What about CafePress?
No. You can find a few at least okay videogame shirts at fan-made sites like CafePress. But you’ll have to wade through too much crap to do it. At the time of this writing, there are nearly 64,000 designs in the “games” section, and only about 1% of them are worth even looking at. And that 1% gets way smaller once you remove the 150 or so shirts that just say “The cake is a lie” (we’re totally serious). This just isn’t worth our time. Maybe you think it’s worth yours. But we hope you think more highly of yourself.
If you don’t know a gamer who’s really, really into Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour, you probably ARE that gamer. It’s really not important who the fanatic is, as long as one of you is spending ridiculous amounts of money on more realistic instruments to play in your fake band. No offense or anything. You’re at least as real as the Jonas Brothers. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to go hide from the mob of angry tween girls we just created with that comment.
Starpex real guitar controller ($180) for PS2/PS3
from Peak Performance
Believe it or not, this isn’t the only option for a $200 (or so) guitar made of real wood and using real parts. However, this one is already available at sites like Circuit City and comes in three colors, and upcoming competing models from the likes of Logitech ($250) and Mad Catz aren’t yet hitting shelves at post time. The Starpex is currently only for PlayStation, but thanks to some creative cable shenanigans, one guitar works for both PS2 and PS3. But you can’t play both simultaneously. We tried.
Drum Rocker Premium Kit ($299) for Rock Band
Is the drum kit’s scaled-down size getting in the way of your beloved gamer’s rocking? Well, step right up to this magnificent beast of extravagance. It’s so ruggedly close to the real thinig that you can spring for an add-on module that turns it into a real set of electronic drums. Note: the cymbals are another $50, and while the 360 version is available now, the PS2/PS3 model isn’t due until mid-December. If it’s delayed, you might find yourself scrambling to find another gift. You know, like maybe anything else on this list. Yeah, that could work.
Stupidly real bass drum pedal ($75)
Overkill? Well, duh. But if you’re going to spend $350 on the best drums and cymbals around, you may as well drop another $75 to grab hold of this big boy, which is every bit as rugged and nigh-indestructible as a real kick pedal. Seriously, you could club a baby seal to death with this thing. You baby seal-killing monster. How do you sleep at night? Oh, in a bed. That makes sense.
Mad Catz Rock Band gear
available at Amazon
The default gear for Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour isn’t good enough. And despite what we’ve said so far, you don’t actually have to mortgage your house to upgrade. We can’t recommend the M-I-C Integrated Microphone ($60) enough, simply because it adds the buttons and eliminates the need to drag around a controller. The Bass controller ($70) has been able to keep up with us so far, and we love the split strum bar. And your gamer absolutely needs the triple cymbals ($40). Well, unless he or she already bought them. In which case, can we interest you in the baby seal club listed above?
Pogo iPhone stylus ($18)
available at Amazon
You know what does not rock about the iPhone and the iPod touch? The fact that five minutes after using the touch screen for anything, it looks like you fried an egg on it. Oh, and we’re sick of trying to control games with our giant, clunky fingers – it’s like performing open heart surgery with a shovel. A stylus will solve both problems. You could probably choose any model, but this one comes with a cushy, fuzzy tip and an attachable clip that keeps your stylus near your phone. It’s still pricey for a plastic stick, but people everywhere are paying six bucks for a cup of coffee, so go figure. Besides, it’s worth it to minimize the number of times per day we’re reminded that our whole bodies are apparently covered in bacon grease.
Fretlight Guitar ($300-$800) and software
Okay, this might require some explanation. Fretlight guitars are not controllers. They’re real guitars. And they have a super-power. They can teach you to actually play. Every fret can light up, and when combined with Fretlight’s various software programs, that means a Fretlight guitar can connect to your PC or Mac and show you how real guitarists do it.
Need to learn basic chords? Put your fingers on the lights. Scales? Follow the lights. Want to figure out your favorite song? Hook up the Fretlight to your PC and follow the lights. Spent a few months learning the ropes and now you’re ready to hit the real stage on Friday night, rock the crowd and drag in the real babes? The Fretlight can help you out with the playing bit, at least. As for the babe dragging, may we suggest you tell them you’re a billionaire, you read GamesRadar and your biggest frustration is how often you’re mistakenly accused of smuggling a python through airport security in your pants, which impairs your efforts to feed the world’s homeless kittens? Sliding that GamesRadar name-check in there works for us every time.
MinoHD Flip video camera ($230)
available from Amazon
Slightly smaller but thicker than an iPhone, this little wonder is able to record and store a full hour’s worth of HD video, shot at 1280x720 (in other words, 720p) resolution at 30 fps, complete with decent mono sound. If those numbers made your eyes glaze over, suffice to say that the video this takes looks as good as a DVD – and maybe better, depending upon your TV.
Sure, a full-blown camcorder would give you more focusing and zooming options, but is a camcorder tiny enough to secretly duct tape to your sexy neighbor’s dog so you can see inside her place and find out what she really likes? No. Actually, neither is the MinoHD, and the only thing our canine operative learned before being discovered was that sexy neighbors apparently prefer men who don't tape things to their Chihuahua. At any rate, the price is unbeatable. Order from Amazon and get a free tripod.