With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday purchasing spree is in full swing. And whatever our wishlists might look like, there's something each of us wants: to give gifts to our loved ones that they truly want and will make use of. These days, it's safe to assume that we all have at least one gamer in our lives that we'll be shopping for. In order to ease your gift hunt, here are some ideas that might help you scratch some people off of your list:
- Kontrol Freek analog stick extensions
Does your gamer play a lot of games on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3? Do they like first-person shooters? Do you hear Modern Warfare, Battlefield, or Halo at least a few times a day? Then these might be a great pick.
Kontrol Freek manufactures extensions to the analog sticks found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamepads. These extensions not only provide additional grip, but they allow for easier fine-tuning for aiming, which comes in particularly handy for competitive FPS games like Call of Duty.
Reviews for these are positive, and they're easy on the wallet, too. Most of the models won't run you more than $13.99 with some coming in a small variety of design and color schemes. It's an affordable way to give your gamer a tangible improvement in their performance, and one they're likely to thank you for later.
- Surround Sound Headphones
Does your gamer's gaming time extend into the late hours? Maybe your neighbors in the apartment next door don't appreciate the booming explosions rattling the walls? Here's an idea that could make all of you happy.
Surround sound headphones not only eliminate all of that unwanted ambient noise, but they often provide an even better experience for the player. They can provide higher highs, lower lows, and great positional feedback to help determine what direction sounds are coming from in-game. Your gamer will never want to go back, and everyone else in the area will have no problem sleeping soundly in the meantime.
They're not cheap, though. The Logitech G35 headphones might be the best option for a PC gamer, but they'll run you about $99.99 from most outlets. Turtle Beach's DPX21 model provides 7.1 surround for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, but they're likely to be even a little pricier.
Still, for some of you, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs, and you know who you are! If you don't mind springing for a bit of an expensive peripheral, one of these headsets will be a sure-fire winner.
- Motion Controllers
Aside from being pretty darn entertaining novelties, motion control systems can be a great way for gamers and non-gamers to get together and enjoy some quality game time together. They also can provide great party games for large gatherings.
For the Xbox 360, a Kinect bundle that includes the sensor itself along with a couple of games can be bought for only about $99.99 these days. PlayStation 3 players can pick up a PlayStation Move bundle for the same price as well.
Try to get a feel for whether or not your gamer is curious about these systems first, as they're not for everyone. But if the interest is there, these are certain to be big wins for the holidays.
While the idea of buying a game for your gamer sounds obvious, it's not always the easiest option to pull off. How can you be sure what game they want? How can you tell if they own it already? Some of you might have your own tricks for making these determinations, but for the rest of us, here are a couple of fail-safe techniques, depending on your gamer's platform of choice:
For PC gamers, your best resource is Steam. If you don't know what your gamer's Steam ID is, make sure you get it from them. Then head to the community website and search for the ID. From your gamer's profile, you can find out what games they already own and even check out their wishlist (provided they make use of it). If you find a game that they want but don't yet own, you can purchase it for them as a gift right through Steam!
For Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 gamers, you can't go wrong with a gift card. A PlayStation Network Card will give your PS3 gamer a credit to that online store, giving them tons of options to pick and download whichever games they like. In similar fashion, an Xbox 360 Live Points Card will grant a set number of Microsoft Points that can be spent on Xbox LIVE for games, downloadable content, avatar clothing, or anything else available for purchase on the service.
- What NOT to buy
Rule of thumb: If you're trying to buy "gamer" gifts, make sure that they will help or enhance the act of gaming itself. T-shirts, figurines, backpacks, stickers, posters... These things don't do that, and contrary to popular belief, most gamers don't want them. I love the Mass Effect franchise, but if you buy me a Mass Effect t-shirt, I'm sorry, I'm not going to wear it.
Do you have any other great gaming gift dos or don'ts? Let us know in the comments!
Check out these retailers for your video game needs:
- Play N Trade, 545 South Broad St., Lansdale. (215) 368-1955
- Play N Trade, 2612 W. Moreland Road, Willow Grove. (215) 830-8505
- Classic Game Junkie, 111 S. Easton Road, Glenside
- GameStop, 1551 Valley Forge Road, Lansdale. (215) 631-1230
- GameStop, 2333 W. Main St., Lansdale. (215) 855-4280
- GameStop, 801 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales. (215) 412-2900
- GameStop, Montgomery Mall, North Wales. (215) 362-2036
- GameStop, 222 East Main St., Collegeville (610) 831-8732
- GameStop, 1838 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown (215) 836-5947
- GameStop, 1495 Old York Road, Abington (215) 885-2069
- GameStop, 2500 W. Moreland Road, Willow Grove, (215) 657-4341
- GameStop, 44 E. Germantown Pike, Norristown (610) 279-2078