Destructoid’s 2011 Hardware Holiday Shopping Guide

You’d think that shopping for gamers would be easy. Get ’em games, right? Wrong. Gamers are picky. Gamers have system preferences. Gamers have…preorders. You can’t just go and buy a game for a gamer unless they specifically ask for it. You know this.

Why not get the gamer in your life something gaming related? Get them something that will surprise them. Get them something that won’t require a gift receipt. Get them hardware! Accessories! Toys! Or, if you’re like me, you’re using holiday guides to find something you’d like for yourself. If Santa were to pick anything from our holiday shopping guide for me, I’d be thrilled. Even that one thing.

Destructoid’s Holiday Gift Guide won’t waste your time with silly console recommendations, as any gamer worth anything has the required hardware already. We move right on to the fun stuff. We’ve done our best to curate a collection of curious commodities with this guide, and we hope our list helps you in your holiday gift giving. 

Happy shopping!

Go Big Or Go Home

Is money not an issue for you? Are you so loaded that you don’t think about cash? Well, everyone hates you. But you can make those on your holiday list love you by buying them something from our money-no-object gift category.

Digital Storm Enix gaming PC – from $1490 at Digital Storm 

The Digital Storm Enix is a gaming desktop that impresses in both the looks and performance department, with a tall, narrow, and solid black metal casing on the outside, and Intel’s Core i7 and Nvidia’s GeForce top-of-the-line parts powering the innards. Heat floats up and out the top of this slick tower, permitting crazy overclocks. I had a handsomely spec’d version of this system in my office recently (Core i7 3.4 super-overclocked, 8GB DDR3 1600MHz, dual SLI Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB) and I found myself laughing manically at the power it offered. This could be a nice gift for yourself!

iPad 2 – from $500 at Apple

Want the safest bet this holiday? Get them an iPad. Nielsen’s latest research data shows that everyone — children, teens, and adults — have the iPad 2 at the top of their Christmas list. iOS is now the biggest gaming platform out there, with just about every game publisher making cheap, fun games. I’d be willing to bet that even haters would secretly love you for buying them an iPad this Holiday. 

PlayStation 3D Display – from $500 online

3D is now (kind of) affordable with Sony’s 24″ PlayStation 3D display. This super-thin LED screen only requires a simple HDMI connection from your PS3 for hi-def 3D gaming. It’s affordable, but nice, with its 240Hz refresh rate and its lovely image quality. The set’s SimulView technology lets two players use the same display, giving each player a different view. 

Forza Motorsport CSR Wheel and Elite Pedal set (for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3) – $400 at Fanatec (wheel, pedal

If you want the best of the best for racing game rigs, you’ll want to look to Fanatec. The asking price is high, but you’re getting a top quality wheel with awesome force feedback, digital readouts and the best paddle shifters I’ve ever used. If you want to go all the way, add the ridiculously nice CSR Elite pedals, which use load cell brake technology to give you that real car feel. This combo, along with the optional shifter set will give you the ultimate racing rig. It’s all compatible with PC and PS3 games, and is easily the best option out there for Xbox 360 titles like Forza Motorsport 4. 

Sumo Sway beanbag chairs – from $249 at Sumo

Where do you sit when you game? A recliner? An old office chair? Some crap couch you found on the curb? Psssh. Sumo makes some really nice things to sit on that would beat any of that junk. We’ve told you before that their Sumo Gigantor beanbag is a huge ball of fun, but they’re newest offering is even better. The new Sumo Sway chairs are still beanbags, but they’re a bit more solid, and have formed, curved backs that let you sit upright. They’re a middle ground between recliner and beanbag, and they’re crazy comfortable as a gaming seat. Coming in both single and couple sizes, and now in corduroy and microsuede finishes, giving one of these Sway chairs as a gift could be the nicest thing you do for a fellow gamer’s ass. 


Moderately Priced, but Definitely Nice

You want to get them something nice, but you’re not Mr/Mrs Moneybags. Here’s some really nice stuff that won’t break the bank, but will still make them say “you shouldn’t have.” What they’ll mean by that is that what they got you isn’t near as nice. Make ’em feel bad — that’s the holiday spirit!

Razer BlackWidow Stealth Edition mechanical gaming keyboard – $139.99 online

It’s crazy how even the most expensive gaming PCs come with the shoddiest keyboards ever. They’re usually some floppy-keyed cubicle warrior affair, with a wobbly space bar that makes the worst plastic slapping noises during gameplay. Replace that weak link your favorite PC gamer’s chain with Razer’s luxurious BlackWidow gaming keyboard. The newest in the line, the Stealth Edition, comes with anti ghosting that allows 6 key presses at once. You get super-fast keys, the lowest reaction time, macros, audio jacks and more. 

PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset – $99 at Sony

You can’t ever tell them this, but the audio from first-person shooters is only awesome to the one playing. For everyone else around it is the loudest, most explosive, low frequency chest rumbling, brain rattling noise ever. Do them and yourself a favor with Sony’s official and very fine PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset. It sends 7.1 digital surround and voice chat without the wires. They’ll love the on-headset controls with on-screen updates; you’ll love the sweet sound of silence.

Tenga Flip Air – about $100 online

Er…uh… *cough* This device would go perfect with any of the horny Japanese dating sim games your sicko roommate always plays. You see, this new Tenga is lighter, flips open for easy cleaning, and is super discreet, as it looks more like a PC speaker than a…a…and it has air pressure adjustment for a custom fit. Non-returnable, of course. 

Monopoly: Nintendo Collector’s Edition – $39.99 at USAopoly

It’s the classic board game with a Nintendo twist. Who wants to be the crappy old wheelbarrow when you could be something way more cool, like Samus’ helmet or Link’s sword? In this version, instead of trying to control properties, you’re out to collect all of the Nintendo characters on the board. Boardwalk and Park Place are now Mario and Luigi. The crap properties? Wario and Waluigi, of course. 

Nyko Zoom for Kinect – $30 online

If you ask me, Microsoft screwed up a bit. They focused so hard on the technology behind Kinect that they forgot about small apartments, dorm rooms and bedrooms — the places we all play our videogames. Nyko’s got your back with their Nyko Zoom lens attachment. It doesn’t get more simple: snap this thing on the front of our Kinect and find that the required space to play is instantly reduced. The rate of things broken from your fat ass knocking into them is also greatly reduced.


Look, I’m Broke…

Broke, eh? We get it. Times are hard. Try blogging for a living, man. Thankfully, there’s tons of inexpensive stuff to get gamers. The Destructoid staff put together this fine list of goodies that any gamer would be happy to get. The best part? They’re all really easy on your wallet, with most being priced under $25.


Gifts for Gamers, by type

For the Mobile Gamer

They’ll need a system if they don’t already have one, so the Nintendo 3DS ($169) and/or the iPhone 4S (starting at $199 with contract) are the top systems of choice for gaming on the go. From there, accessorize. Nyko’s Power Grip ($29.99) gives 3DS owners 3 times the battery life. The iPWN! 4 case makes an iPhone look like an old Game Boy for double the portable gaming cred. 


For the Reading Gamer Presents: The Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures – Paperback: $23; Kindle: $9.99

There may be a few more informed adventure fans than’s Kurt Katala, but none of them write about old PC adventure games with as much detail, wit, and charm. This 772-page tome makes for the perfect gift for any adventure game fan or retro-gamer. The book covers everything from 80s text adventures to modern indie adventure games. It also includes interviews and detailed histories of the most successful adventure game companies. The book would be better if it gave ratings for each game — as it’s often hard to tell which ones are worth checking out based on the text alone — and color images, but it still makes for a great book to put on any geek’s coffee table this winter.

1,001 Video Games You Must Play Before You DiePaperback: $36.95

More than the writing, what I love about the British videogame magazine Edge is that they blow-up old-school sprites to fit a large page. They look glorious. So imagine the joy I felt upon discovering this large collection of best games ever. Unfortunately, the majority of the book focuses on recent games and the selection is questionable (8 Grand Theft Autos and no Mega Man 2?) However, this is the perfect gaming book for a gamer’s coffee table or bathroom. Whether you want a distraction or a conversation starter, this book is in ample supply of both. It’s fun to flip to the 1992 section and get nostalgic, as you stare at the enlarged pixels of Final Fantasy IV. A better (and much shorter) list could be made (one day Dtoid will do it), but I doubt anyone could compile them in such an eye-catching way as this. 

— Allistair Pinsof


For the Console Gamer

All gamers have consoles and controllers already, so accessoires for these make nice gifts. The Xbox 360 Chatpad ($29.99) and the PS3 Wireless Keypad ($49.99) make for great gifts. Nyko’s Charge Base 3 ($24.99) will keep PS3 controllers topped off with juice through its easy magnetic docking. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel ($59.99) may look wierd, but it works great with all racing titles.


For the Game Music Nerd

Whether you are a fan of JRPGS or first-person shooters; ambient or hip-hop; you can’t go wrong with one of the above selections. – Allistair Pinsof

For the rap fan: Black Materia: Final Fantasy VII – As Wiz Khalifa proved in 2010, classic SquareSoft midi-tunes can make for a good rap track. Random’s album-long tribute to Final Fantasy VII should hit the right amount of nostalgia and head nodding.

For the Minecraft fan or a friend who just studies a lot: Minecraft – Volume Alpha – C418’s Volume Alpha will give you the best dreams ever. You’ll dream of sheep and blocks, I swear.

For the Persona fan or a fan of dance music: Never More -Reincarnation- Persona 4 – Never More’s gorgeous renditions of Persona 4’s smooth jazz electronic tunes will get anyone moving — though, this one is a bit pricey as it’s an import.

If all you know is that your friend enjoys videogames, the eclectic selection of The Greatest Video Game Music (debatable) is a safe, affordable choice.


For the Gaming Family

Want a gaming gift for the whole family? Easy. Get them Microsoft’s Kinect sensor (about $150) and let them wiggle around in front of the television together. If you’re wanting to give something less physical and more creative, THQ’s awesome uDraw tablet (available for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, about $80) is a fine choice.




[Disclosure: We were sent just about all of these products for evaluation. You hate us, don’t you?]

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Dale North
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