What to Get Your Gamer (Hint: It's Not Just About Games)

Posted by | December 18, 2013 | Tips for Parents | No Comments
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I am a gamer. And by the way, I’m 59 years old and I’m a mom. (My kids are in their twenties now, but yeah, I’ll always be a mom. And a gamer.) I’ve talked before about my experiences gaming with my kids, but I haven’t shared our personal gaming gift history. So here’s the scoop. Gaming has been important to my kids, and over the years I’ve given them gaming equipment, games, and lots of gaming-related swag. When my son was a little kid, he cried out in delight when he received a Game Boy and accompanying Pokémon game. His sister loved Pokémon, too, and I’d get them different versions of the games so they could trade later. I gave game cartridges in the 90s and online game time in the 2000s. I’ve given World of Warcraft art books and t-shirts. I’ve given GameStop gift cards. I’ve given tickets to the Seattle Symphony when the amazing music from Legend of Zelda was presented there. One year my kids gave me a virtual pet to keep me company in an online game I was playing, and I was enchanted. Gaming-related gifts can be as creative and delightful as any other type of gift. Here’s a list of ideas to get your loved ones’ game on: devices, games, and gaming-related merch.

Devices

We recommend checking out these devices:

  • The Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest and greatest gaming console. With Kinect motion technology that can keep track of several individuals at once, it’s great for group gaming.
  • The PlayStation 4, Sony’s latest and greatest gaming console. It has amazing graphics
  • The PlayStation Vita, Sony’s new handheld, is a very cool, innovative device.
  • The Wii U, Nintendo’s latest game console—which has a companion tablet—is especially good for getting everyone in the family involved, and it runs a lot of games appropriate for kids under 10.
  • The Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo’s cool 3D handheld device, has lots of wonderful games for kids. And the 2DS is less expensive and more versatile—great for little kids.

One note—if you don’t need the latest, greatest, or newest thing, you can get some great deals right now on older consoles. Amazon has a good selection.

Games

Oh, there are so many great games out now that are great for kids and family play! Our favorite game this year is Tearaway for the PS Vita. Get it! It’s amazing! Here’s a short list of other games we like for kids:

  • Lego games are adorable and they’re available to match different kids’ interests (from Star Wars to superheroes). They’re funny and educational.
  • Mario 3D World on the Wii U is a riot to play with your family.
  • Just Dance is part of the great new trend toward active gaming. It’s available for any platform that has motion capture, and it’s fun for all ages.

That list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of great games for families. I hope you’ll add your favorites in the comments. If you have teenagers in your house, you have different challenges and opportunities when it comes to gift giving. Teens can be hard to buy for, and parents should understand what their kids can and can’t handle. We have a few recommendations for games that might appeal to teenagers.

  • Assassin’s Creed 4 is a good choice if you’re willing to consider games rated M for Mature. It’s fun and offers great gameplay along with lots of history and beautiful graphics. And the violence isn’t as graphic as some other M-rated games.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins was released in October, so it’s fairly new. There’s lots of comic-book action, and it’s rated T for Teen (Batman never kills anyone).
  • Forza Motorsport 5 is a car-racing game for the Xbox One that’s getting great reviews.
  • If you have a gamer who appreciates indie games, the Humble Bundle provides great value. You get a bunch of games for one low price, and a percentage of every Humble Bundle purchase goes to charity.

Look at our Game Library to get more ideas, as well as details about themes, plots, violence, and sexual content for games you might be considering.

Gaming-Related Gifts

You can always buy gift cards for Xbox Live, Amazon, GameStop, and other gaming and electronics outlets, of course, but I love the option of gaming-related books, music, movies, clothing, art, and toys. ThinkGeek is a wonderland of gifts for your gamer. Check it out! And check out one of our favorite gaming sites, Polygon, which published this terrific article on some of the hottest gifts for gamers in 2013. Polygon has another article on crafts you can buy for your gamer. Don’t miss the suggestions in Polygon’s comments, and if you have suggestions, please leave them in our comments!

Linda Breneman

About Linda Breneman

Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.