Yes, I know what you’re thinking right now “Based on the name of this article. The facetious answer would, of course, be a game”.
However, getting any old game could well turn someone’s wonderful Christmas into one that should be forgotten as quickly as possible. In addition, a gamer may not want any games, preferring instead to go with some hardware.
So here is a list of things that any self-respecting gamer would be more than happy to receive.
We’ll start off with the most obvious item first. Leaving aside Sony’s newly found dislike for anything that isn’t PG rated, the Nintendo Switch has amassed quite a considerable catalogue of games across almost every type of genre.
With Nintendo’s new-found acceptance for adult rated games, the handheld will finally be getting the sort of games that PC players have had (and accepted) for years – which, does, of course means the arrival of “Tokyo Dark Remembrance” (which won’t be on the PC), “Nekopara” and “Senran Kagura”.
The C64 mini
For those of a certain age, the Commodore 64 will always be the best 8-bit computer, and for those into retro stuff, the C64 is back…in mini form too!
The C64 mini is coming with some pretty well-known and classic games (like Boulder Dash, Uridium, Deflektor and many more), it does everything the original could do, from programming to playing any other C64 games.
For those wanting a Spectrum (for some weird reason), there is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega. There is supposed to be a handheld version coming, but there has been little information about it released.
You know, if you really want to spend a lot of money on a PC owner, then the most obvious answer would be a graphics card. So with the GeForce Cerberus and Armour graphics cards requiring an bodily organ to be sold to be able to afford them – and don’t think the top AMD cards are any cheaper either: The Vega range will require two organs to be sold.
However, for those on a more modest budget, the AMD R7 and R550 range are certainly affordable and, especially for the latter, can handle pretty much anything that is currently out. For Nvidia lovers, the GTX 1050 range is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
With games becoming bigger, larger storage mediums are needed. Whilst the prices of solid state drives have come down somewhat, their capacity against either hybrid or standard drives is still lacking affordability. However, if you can afford it, Crucial SSD drives would be the way to go.
Then there are all the other peripherals needed for both PC’s and consoles aline, like keyboards, mice, mouse mats and joy-pads.
No doubt the avid gamer would like a keyboard that lights up (like the MSI Vigor GK range of keyboards), but aside from looking (quite literally) flashy, you might as well go for something that’s ten times less expensive – like the Element Gaming Palladium.
With mice, Logitech may be expensive, but they are good, although, again, Element ones are comfortable and inexpensive too.
Mouse mats are important – not only for the mice themselves, but for your arm, and more importantly: your wrist. You don’t want your long session of one-handed playing… in a game…to end up with you suffering RSI.
Hence the reason that mouse mats with wrist rests are important. They are pretty inexpensive (especially the Kensington ones), so would be worth looking into.
With joy-pads (unless you want the dubious pleasure of trying to get a console controller working, or trying to work out what button does what), there is only one contender for the PC, and that’s the Xbox 360 (or One) controller.
As most games which require a controller are designed for that, the only real choice would be deciding if you want the wireless or wired version. As long as your batteries have a decent amount of power, you won’t notice any difference between the two.
So if you don’t have room (or unable) to go for speakers, then the next-best thing are headsets. Whilst Bluetooth ones are okay, it is usually better to go for wired ones. Prices range from Dynamode’s really cheap ones to Jabra Evolve series.
Whilst this year hasn’t been that great, there have still been some pretty good games around for both consoles/hand-held as well as the PC, although if you are getting anything for the PlayStation, be aware that it could well now be censored.
Technically still in Early Access, “Deep Rock Galactic” is a co-operative (and single player) mine-em-up, where you have to mine for minerals, deal with nasty creatures, cope with a company that prefers to put profit before your safety, and get blind drunk (including passing out) at the local bar.
So, yeah, “Deep Rock Galactic” is great fun to play with many different game modes and weapons. This is available for the PC and Xbox, but doesn’t support Crossplay.
“Earthfall” (available for consoles and PC, but again, no crossplay) is also a good single/multiplayer shoot-em-up, in the vein of “Left 4 Dead” – but with aliens.
“Nekopara” should now be available for the Playstation 4 (no doubt highly censored) and Nintendo Switch (which won’t be), and is a very nice visual novel, mixing comedy and drama very well.
The Senran Kagura series
Then there is the “Senran Kagura” series, with an updated version of one of the original games, coming out for the PlayStation (again, censored), PC as well as the Switch.
For those more into sports, you have the usual FIFA yearly revamp, but don’t forget that there are alternatives like PES…And that’s about it unfortunately.
However, it’s mostly older games that provide the violence, like the great Split/Second, which is a shame. More modern games just feature straight racing like “F1”, “Speedway”, or the “Ride” series.
Then there is the return of “Battlefield” and “Call of Duty”. With the latest Battlefield not faring well, the best bet would be to go for “Call of Duty”. However, there are alternatives. For example, with “Insurgency : Sandstorm” and “Killing Floor 2” looking like a good buy.
Visual novels are usually a good buy, especially for those with lower power computers. There are plenty of free ones on Steam, but the better ones, do, of course need to be purchased.
With “Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds” now on Android, this year has been pretty good for at least Android games, especially with “Fortnite” being available (directly from Epic) too.
So it may be worth looking to get some Android games. There are quite a few that (unfortunately) won’t appear on Windows: “Scrabble“, “Mahjong” (the proper game) and a decent “Shogi” game (the one exception).
Of course, more adult orientated games can be found elsewhere, Nutaku for instance is one such place, and DLsite being another.
Whilst most of these are technically free, you generally end up having to pay for something – even if it’s for getting rid of the adverts, although a lot of payments are for upgrades.
So in overall, there is a lot to choose from (obviously). That’s also why it would be prudent to choose anything wisely.
However, no matter what you end up getting for this Christmas, your gifts will surely be put to very good use!
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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