Fun and games: Six great gifts for gamers this Christmas
From stocking stuffers to no-expense-spared, there are plenty of ideas to fit most budgets
Game time: the Game Boy-inspired watch from Firebox, €23
You can start small, tapping into the trend for game-themed accessories with a healthy dose of retro style. A Game Boy-inspired watch (€23), or the Game Boy alarm clock (€28), both from Firebox, won’t break the bank and have the right amount of retro charm. firebox.com
The Nintendo Switch console has become a bit of a favourite thanks to its flexibility. The console can not only work as a home console, but it can also be taken out as a handheld one too. While the cost of the console itself may be a stretch this Christmas (€330), those who already own the console may appreciate a sturdy carry case for the device. Try the Hori Switch Tough Case for a bit of protection – not only is the case tough on the outside, but on the inside it has a padded tongue to protect the screen.
Another option for Switch owners is Labo, a DIY kit that allows you to build your own Toy-Con accessories from cardboard kits, and then play the accompanying games on the console. Among the kits on offer are vehicles, robots and a variety kit with everything from a piano to a fishing rod (from €70). nintendo.com; amazon.com
Those with a little more ambition and skills can tackle their own handheld games console. This handy DIY Gamer Kit (€100) was created by London-based Technology Will Save Us, and not only does it allow you to build your own handheld console, you can also create the games that go along with it. Depending on your intended recipient’s skill levels, you can go for a pre-soldered or unsoldered kit. technologywillsaveus.com
Whether you are a console gamer or a PC fan, headsets are one of those extras that have a range between “nice to have” and “essential”, depending on what types of games you like to play. At the very least, your games will sound better without background noise interference; for games with online co-operative play, a headset to communicate with your team members is essential.
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro (€160) has versions for PC and console. It ticks a few boxes: the mic has clear audio, the padded cups are comfortable for long periods of time, and if you wear glasses, the headset won’t mash them into the side of your face while you play. If you splash out on the additional Tactical Audio Controller, you’ll find background noise is faded down even more, and you get some thumping bass too. turtlebeach.com
It doesn’t have to be all about the latest and greatest though. The games industry keeps taking a trip down memory lane, with both games and consoles taking a good look over their shoulder and finding inspiration. In the past few years, we have seen miniaturised reissues of the NES, the SNES Mini, the Sega Megadrive, and now Sony has got in on the act with a miniature version of the PlayStation. It comes with 20 games preloaded on it, including Tekken 3 and Final Fantasy VII, and will go on sale in December.
If you want something a little more retro, there’s an updated Commodore 64 mini console (€80). It comes with classics such as Impossible Mission, my own favourite Monty on the Run and you can sideload other games on to it if you want to add to it. It looks like the old Commodore 64, but it’s all for show – the joystick works though. playstation.com; thec64.com
If you are settling yourself in for a long gaming session, comfort is key. It’s all about ergonomics, and a good chair is essential. But if you are a PC gamer, your games chair may look very different to a console gamer’s. For the latter, try the X Rocker Reno 4.1 Pedestal gaming chair, €249.99 at Smyths. It has built-in speakers in the headrest, a sub-woofer in the backrest, and the ability to connect to wireless audio sources. Plus the chair vibrates for extra immersion. It’s also comfortable, which is an essential. smythstoys.com