Welcome one, welcome all, to GeekOut Media’s Top 10 Gifts for Gamers. Now we decided to come up with some basic guidelines for what we would or would not include in this week’s list, the last weekend before Christmas – So, here’s what we settled upon:
- Must be a gift you could buy a friend or family at a reasonable price (Under £50)
- No Official Consoles – They’re too expensive for this list.
- No specific Video Games or Board Games.
With the rules for this list out of the way with, let’s unwrap this week’s list!
10) MDF Scenery
Looking for something for the roleplayers and wargamers in your life? Personally I’d advise looking for MDF scenery. Cheap, durable, quick and easy to assemble, immediately good looking without the need for a lick of paint, but of course if you don’t want people to know you’re just decorating with bits of wood it doesn’t take much of a paint job to get your models looking like something far more expensive.
There’s a huge amount of companies producing laser-cut MDF scenery, and you can quickly and easily decorate a table to your taste for less than a tenner, and a small collection can provide variety and beauty to your table.
9) Loot Crate Subscription/One Off Crate
Loot Crate has been going on for many years now, delivering crates of gamer goodies through your postbox– Well, okay, no, they deliver crates of gamer goodies through delivery, as they certainly don’t fit through a door. They’re big, they’re brimming with geek swag and they’re made with gamers in mind. They’re a pretty damn big deal!
This is one of the most random gifts on this list, as basically, unless you buy a previous months crate, you have no idea what you’re about to give them. At roughly $35, (approximately £26-27), they’re a bit of a risk as you have no idea if they’re even going to like the contents of the crate. Furthermore, it’s one of the most expensive items on this list. Super generous; but consider the risk!
8) Pop! Vinyls
Everyone knows of Pop! Vinyls, whether you love them or hate them. Everyone has an opinion about them – They’re everywhere and they cannot be ignored. They range in prices from a fiver through to about £20 and some that, I think, sell for more. There’s a Pop! Vinyl for everything, so consider who you’re buying for and buy accordingly.
We almost didn’t put these in the Top 10 list itself; it almost ended up in the Honourable Mentions. The reason is fairly simple: This is a very simple gift to get someone, but a lot of geeks seriously love these figures. From gamers, through to Harry Potter fans, there’s a Pop! Vinyl for everyone. We specified Pop! Vinyl over the other well known brands, as they are effectively the “face” of geek collectables these days.
7) Tetris Stackable LED Light
These lights are a fantastic novelty item which I’ve once given away at a GeekOut Bristol Meet as a prize. The Stackable LED Lights are exactly as they sound – They’re a lamp where you can stack Tetris blocks on top of one another. As you stack them, they become illuminated, which is an awesome effect. They’re simple, they’re silly and they’re seriously cool to look at!
Depending where you look for this one, you can get it for between £10 to £20. It’s a novelty, which is why it comes in at a low-middle position on this list, however we figured it’s a great looking gift which geeks would thoroughly enjoy. Just uh, make sure the gamer in your life doesn’t put them all in a line, or they may disappear!
I’m really funny, I promise.
6) Google Cardboard
VR is waaay in these days, so cool, and with all the major gaming companies like Playstation, X-Box, Steam, and the trailblazer for the new generation, the Oculus Rift, VR may finally have landed after the faltering starts it suffered in the 80’s. Google naturally had to get a piece of that sweet, immersive pie.
Introducing a piece of cardboard you can get for pocket change! It’s even got a strap to hold it on to your face while you stare at your phone in awe saying “Woah! It’s exactly like I put my phone in a cardboard box and strapped it to my face!” Of course there’s plenty to play with, lots of 360 view videos, augmented reality apps, and immersion experiences, so for under a fiver you can still get a few kicks out of these before it falls apart.
You really can’t go wrong with Lego. It doesn’t matter if your buying for a six year old, a sixteen year old, a thirty six year old but not 100 because it clearly states 0-99 years so be careful who you buy for. You can spend anywhere from a few quid to several grand on a Lego set, from the minifigures to leviathan Millennium Falcons! You can buy to appeal to most specific fandoms, or go generic for multipurpose usage like dungeon-building and… whatever other people do with Lego.
We bumped Lego further down the list than we would typically do for such a versatile and beloved toy range, but we’re trying to keep things cheap here, and Lego is rarely cheap, but still offers staggering variety in its lower ranges, so you’ll never be without options.
4) Deck Boxes / Card Sleeves / Playmats
A classic gift for a gamer; if you know of someone in your life that plays any Trading Card Game (TCG), then you really should consider getting them some Deck Boxes, or some Card Sleeves or even a Playmat. They’re all relatively inexpensive and they’re always greatly appreciated by a TCG player. So let’s have a look at each item with a bit more of a critical eye and look at their costs, too.
Card Sleeves are the cheapest on this list; You can buy a set of sleeves for £2.50 for a pack of 50 – You can even buy them cheaper, too, but it’s worth pointing out that those would just be a plain colour.
Next up are Deck Boxes, which you could potentially get as cheap as £2.50, but you’d be more likely to spend between £4-6 for a standard Deck Box. You can get a fancy one like mine for under a tenner.
Finally, the Playmat! These will typically be around a tenner and these prevent cards from being damaged when playing. They’re excellent, they look great and they often feature artwork from the games.
For just about all of these, I’d seriously recommend you go with UltraPro. They’ve basically got the Monopoly on this market and their products are of exceptional quality.
3) Dice Tower/Dice Chest
Some people are of the opinion that one can have enough dice, and while I sincerely disagree there’s always a way to squeeze more life out of the collection. A suitable means of carrying your dice from place to place, like a bag or a stylish chest, and a tower.
Available in incredible varieties of styles to suit all tastes, it’s in a similar vein to the deck sleeves, boxes, and playmats from the last entry, but for the roleplayers, wargamers, and of course the board gamers who like their dice to ride in style, and like an added agent of chaos added to their dice rolls.
2) Bootleg Consoles
Let the record show that we would never consider encouraging you to buy imitation brand and intentionally misleading products which – while not illegal – are created with the intention of exploiting consumer trust with inferior products… lets be honest here, nothing’s going to raise a laugh quite like a Nintondu, X-Boy, or Playstandard, with its LCD screen, monotone speaker, and three minute battery life.
A grand total of three and a half games are available, as are five sound effects, complete with a leaflet of engrish and a complete list of the functions of all four buttons! You’re not going to get an awful lot of play time out of a bootleg console, but if nothing else you’ll get a few laughs. Find them in “so bad it’s good” category alongside The Room.
1) Raspberry Pi Zero W
Number one on our list is going to the incredible Raspberry Pi Zero W, which you may think is a bit of a strange choice for a gift for a gamer, but you really do need to hear us out as to why it’s the undisputed winner.
First of all, let’s talk about the obvious part: Emulation. Everybody knows that the Raspberry Pi is a fantastic device for a bit of emulation. Shove on some old ROMs, turn your device into a Picade, a Raspberry Pi Arcade. Yes, it’s a bit of a cop out of an answer, but that’s just one element of why this is an excellent gift for a gamer.
See, one of the weirdest and often misunderstood reasons of getting a Raspberry Pi… Is the programming element. If you’ve got a gamer in your life, there’s no doubt they’ve either considered programming, or are at least interested in basic game development. Perhaps they just want to build a website? Whatever their reasoning, a Raspberry Pi is a great excuse to get people into programming – A skill that’ll last them for life.
Oh now let’s continue – The Raspberry Pi Zero W comes in at under a tenner, which is incredible. With this, you get a board that includes WiFi, however it’s worth noting that for such a cheap price, you literally only get the board; the recipient will need to put a bit of cash in to get anything out of it (cash needed for a keyboard, a mouse, a screen, more USB ports etc). But trust me; if they’re a gamer, they likely have some of these around the house.
I could go on forever about the benefits of the Raspberry Pi; Every model is an incredible piece. If you want inspiration about what they could do with them that isn’t necessarily gaming related, then check out this article.
This is a top gift for a gamer. It’s a top gift for a techy. It’s a top gift for a geek. Grab one.
Ah yes, gamers are a funny bunch to buy gifts for. So whilst you are in a bind with trying to find appropriate wrapping paper for them, why not consider these extra honourable mentions? These ones are great choices; but one is rather simple (in a good way) and the other is rather specific (in a good way)!
For the gamer who already has a library half full of completely unplayed games that were bought on offer, here’s the gift of opportunity, the chance to extend the list further than ever before with money that can only be spent on Steam. A voucher strikes that delicate balance of “I know you well enough not to just give you cold, unfeeling cash, but I don’t know you nearly well enough to get anything exact.”
Vouchers are available for Xbox and Playstation of course, and we’d never want to openly declare a bias toward a particular gaming platform, but for the superior gamer a Steam voucher is ever welcome, if not the offer of a Humble Bundle, Good Old Games, or the many other notable providers, let’s face it, Steam faces little by way of competition, and a voucher will always be welcome.
Retro Game Prints/Pictures
Timlah here – Let me tell you a bit of a ‘fun’ story that my fiance and I went through recently. We had an issue with our bed slats, so we wanted to buy some new ones and we wanted them quick. So we went to IKEA, thinking it was a perfect place for some bed slats. We didn’t know how IKEA worked, so we walked around the whole showroom to find our bed slats, only to find the number we already had and then go to the warehouse to pick them up. However, we discovered something awesome.
We saw these three framed images of the Pac-Man Ghosts. The fact they came in a little set made them look excellent – We really loved how they looked. We saw they were about £4 each – We went home and the bed slats were no good so we had to return them, so we decided we’d go back on the Saturday to return the slats and get the pictures. We got our refund (Thanks IKEA – Great customer service!) We ran to the showroom and we got lost once again – We located the pictures and then found… They were only selling the frames.
Well, nevermind! We’ve decided that when we move into our own place, we’re going to buy those frames and I’m going to recreate the images, as it’s a small job in GIMP. But the point is, if you have a gamer in your life who has somewhat barren walls – Get them a retro gaming picture to display. It’s a rather specific gift, hence it only gets in the honourable mentions, but I had to share that story.
We’ve come to the end of another series of Christmas inspired Top 10 lists. We’ve just got one more Top 10 for the year and then that’s it, we’re done with 2017. I can’t believe the time has just flown by once again, so thank you very much for yet another incredible year of Top 10 lists – You make these possible. However, don’t forget to select your choice for our next list.
Well, I hope you’ve finished your Christmas Shopping list and hopefully, if you need to get out there today, you may be able to find some of these. Get to the shops now! Don’t forget to level up in your perception checks and nab yourself some of this gamer geek swag – But as ever, do you think we missed any good ones out? Have we ordered the list in the wrong way? Did the Raspberry Pi Zero W deserve the top spot? As ever, share your thoughts below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Merry Christmas, everybody! – From Timlah and Joel