Official art for God of War: Ragnarok featuring Kratos and the main characters from the game

10 Gift Ideas for the Gamer in Your Life

Pew pew, love yew.

As we inch closer and closer to the holidays (and, of course, Black Friday), now is the perfect time to start thinking about the gifts you’d like to give your loved ones. And video games are always a solid gift choice.

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Of course, while games themselves make great gifts, there’s also quite a bit of paraphernalia attached to beloved game franchises that any gamer would be happy to get. Here are some of our suggestions for the best video game gifts for your holiday shopping list.

A game, obvi

Crash Bandicoot reaction meme
(Know Your Meme)

I find that it’s easier to get games for people than books or movies. Most games have at least some inherent fun in them, and even if you don’t know somebody’s favorite genre, it’s likely that just getting them a popular game that sounds like it’s somewhere in their ballpark will work. For example, I’ve never been a big AAA big-boy action game type of person, but I got The Last of Us as a gift in high school and, despite not really caring about zombies, ended up loving it.

Now, while it’s easy to get someone a popular game (and we’ve got some GOTYs coming up, so keep your eyes open) if you’re familiar with games yourself, it’s always meaningful to gift a copy of a game you like—and then you can see if they like it, too. It’s like a nerdy love letter. One of my best friends in school gave me a physical copy of GTA V, and even though I could barely get through the first levels, I still held onto it for nostalgia’s sake.

A gift card (streaming or local)

A mystery gift in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Of course, the easiest way out would be to give someone money for a game that they can spend on a platform you know they use. This way, you won’t bungle their preferences while also saving them money on quite a costly hobby.

Now, yes, you could go super easy mode and get them a gift card from GameStop, but, you know, barf. Most people stream, and even if they don’t, wouldn’t you rather support your local mom-and-pop?

Official merch

If you know what your loved one’s favorite franchises are, it doesn’t hurt to go to the publisher’s website and see what they’ve got in their stores. For instance, the Bioware Store has a “Stocking Stuffer” page, full of fun tchotchkes from their most beloved series.

… body pillows included.

Brand collab merch

Sideshow's Animal Crossing Tomodachi collaboration

If you don’t like the official fare, there’s always a brand that’s doing a collaboration with a boutique seller. Sideshow, in particular, has a lot of cool things on sale for the holidays (and Black Friday, which I’d say is a holiday in its own right).

They’ve currently got a Poké Ball replica on sale that reacts to motion, figurines of characters like Cloud and Fenrir, and—my personal temptation—a collection of Animal Crossing Tomodachi dolls that would look so cute on your desk, yes they would, yes they would.

A snuggly plushie

Hades Dusa plush from Fangamer

Some say that, at a certain point, you’re too old for plushies. I say if the world is so full of pain and misery anyways, what harm is there in having a soft lil friend to snuggle with at the end of the day?

Chances are if your loved one is super into a game, there’s probably a plushie out there for them. Build-A-Bear in particular does a lot of collaborations with the likes of Animal Crossing and Pokémon. Am I still mad at myself for sitting on my hands and not ordering their Jolteon plushie while it was still available? Absolutely, it haunts my waking hours incessantly. So here’s me telling you, don’t do that.

A book of game concept art

Concept art for Dragon Age 4 companions by Matt Rhodes.

This might be more of a niche selection, but if your loved one is really into design and art, a concept art book is an excellent gift idea. There’s a lot of beauty and ingenuity that goes into game design, and I think those early stages are fascinating to look through. You get some artistic inspiration and an inside look into the evolution of your most beloved titles.

Some titles will even offer PDF copies for free, or for prices under $10. And honestly, considering the talent of these artists, I think that’s a massive steal, but I’ll never complain about good things for free or cheap.

A fun new headset

A very pleased guy wearing a Kraken Kitty headset

I’ve come around: the kitty headsets are actually incredibly cute. I don’t care if some freaks made them out to be more fetish-y, they’re just aesthetically cute. I want a pair.

Plus, having good audio is crucial for getting the most out of your experience with a game. I used to play using cheap Skullcandy earbuds that broke after two weeks, and while it might have worked for DS titles, it certainly made me feel like a little Victorian peasant boy attempting to enjoy a fresh loaf of bread. Not ideal.

Vinyl editions of their favorite soundtracks

Lisa and her new friend grooving out to music in The Simpsons

I covered in another gift list why LPs are nice to receive, even if you don’t have a record player to play them on. In the same vein, damn man, some of these soundtracks are wildly good. And they apparently sound better on vinyl!

I know a popular LP is the Persona 5 soundtrack, and that’s the kind of record you can keep playing while you do other things around the house. Or perhaps you could put on a mesmerizing orchestral soundtrack, like Skyrim‘s, while you do your studying.

An evening spent together

Yuki and Toru playing a video game in Horimiya
(FUNimation Entertainment)

At the end of the day, while some games are best enjoyed alone, you can’t beat a fun evening playing games with someone you love. Maybe co-op, maybe over-the-shoulder, maybe entirely different games while on the same couch.

Either way, sometimes the best gifts are experiences, and I’ve always been in great favor of spending a memorable night in.


The PlayStation 5.

… and sure, yes, a PS5 would make that evening even more enjoyable. If you’re lucky. Don’t break your wallet or anything.

(featured image: Sony)

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Image of Madeline Carpou
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).