It’s that time of year again; you know the one! Call it what you will, the festive season in which people require presents is upon us, so look no further than this comprehensive guide to a plethora of items that might just be right for your family and friends, or perhaps even a complete stranger! Heck, you might even come out of here wanting something for yourself.
Just a heads up, this guide will fully reflect the nature of the content I aim for on the site; niche, a bit weird, but cool none-the-less! What I’m getting at is that if you’ve got a cousin who likes Minecraft and Call of Duty, please don’t come after me if they’re unenthusiastic about that import copy of Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours you’ve decided to gift them! Now enough babble, on with the guide!
Nintendo eShop Cards
Where to buy: For some reason Amazon UK doesn’t have any in stock, so my advice is head down to your local WHSmiths!
There’s a whole host of goodies just waiting to be uncovered on the Nintendo eShop, so if you’re not schooled on your giftee’s tastes for whatever reason, you can’t go wrong with some store credit. Whether it be an indie gem like Affordable Space Adventures or a sampling from the Virtual Console such as EarthBound, there’s something for everyone on there, Best thing about downloading games from the eShop is that they come pre-wrapped, so you don’t even need to get the tape out!
Nintendo presents: New Style Boutique 2 – Fashion Forward (3DS)
Where to buy: Nintendo UK Store (Currently comes with a free voucher to spend on ACTUAL clothes!)
If you know (or are) a budding stylist, this is the ideal 3DS game. With a huge variety of customisation options across three fashion-filled careers, there’s a huge amount of replay value to be had here. The dialogue is surprisingly sharp and witty and the amount of variation is a big improvement over previous titles in the series; don’t let the presentation fool you, there’s a lot of depth to be had here. Also the ideal title for anyone you know who likes to collect titles that haven’t come out in the US (sorry guys!).
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros (3DS)
Where to buy: Nintendo UK Store (Comes with some cute papercraft models!)
The fifth entry in the Mario & Luigi spin-off series, Paper Jam Bros mixes things up by crossing over with Paper Mario. Keeping things grounded with a familiar setting and simple story, albeit with creative gameplay changes that add a new element of strategy to the battle system and greater depth to exploration of the world, courtesy of Paper Mario himself, this title is ideal for big Mario fans or anyone looking for a light RPG to sink some time into. Expect hilarious writing, great music and fun battles that are more engaged than your normal RPG.
Shovel Knight (Wii U/3DS)
Where to buy: Amazon UK
If you know someone who hasn’t played Yacht Club Games‘ fantastic retro-inspired platformer Shovel Knight, there’s no better time to introduce it to them than now! With gorgeous sprite artwork and two fiendishly challenging campaigns (thanks to the recent release of the free Plague of Shadows DLC), this is a game likely to invoke some nostalgia for the games of yore, yet still stands proud on its own despite relying on many a classic convention. Now available at retail, complete with a proper full colour instruction manual like they used to do in the old days (damn whippersnappers with their ‘digital manuals’!). Also worth a look is the Shovel Knight amiibo which, when used with the Wii U version of the game, adds an exclusive co-op mode so that you can a friend can get in on the action!
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Where to buy: Amazon UK
Super Mario Maker is exactly the sort of game that’s good to have around at Christmas; it’s a title that you can sink hours into on your own, creating almost any Mario stage you can possibly conceive down to the very last coin, as well as being a game that almost anyone can pick up and enjoy, perfect for a few laughs with family or friends. It’s simple but ingenious, beautifully presented and incredibly accessible, yet with a surprising amount of depth and replayability; a rare combination in ‘creation’-type games. Super Mario Maker is truly a love-letter to classic side-scrolling Mario and a game that will undoubtedly be enjoyed by any Mario fan: the special edition bundle ups the price a little, but the 8-Bit Mario amiibo both adds amusing functionality to the game and serves as a brilliant display piece for Mario’s 30th.
Where to buy: Amazon UK
This is pretty much for the same reason as the eShop cards; there’s a ton of great stuff on the PSN store, on PS3, PS4 and Vita, so why not give your giftee some choice? Of particular interest on PSN are a whole host of download-only titles that would otherwise require importing, especially JRPGs and Visual Novels, so if you know any fans of games not deemed commercially viable for a physical release on the western market (or alternatively, people who like Japanese games), then this could be a perfect, risk-free present!
Code:Realize Guardian of Rebirth (Vita)
Where to buy: Amazon UK
I felt it wasn’t fair to exclude otome-fans from this gift guide considering the wide range of titles available in the genre on Vita. Plus I’m sure otome lovers celebrate Christmas too, right? With brilliant art and a compelling story, not to mention a top-notch translation courtesy of Aksys Games, Code:Realize is likely a perfect title for anyone looking for a bit of romance to finish off the year. It’s also worth mentioning that this is likely the only chance you’ll ever get at dating Arsene Lupin and Van Helsing, so make of that what you will!
Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours (PS4/Vita)
Where to buy: PSN Store (or import for retail)
THIS ONE’S FOR THE FIGHTERS! THIS ONE’S FOR THE SOLDIERS! If you know any fighters, soldiers, or shoot ’em up fans, Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours is an ideal title. A triumphant return for the legendary arcade shooter series, this refreshing take on the genre that is as much of a visual spectacle as it is a compelling gameplay experience is one that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who enjoys dodging a rain of lasers in their spare time. Oh, and the soundtrack’s ace. FREEDOM!
Nuclear Throne (PS4/Vita)
Where to buy: PSN Store
When it comes to attractive, stylish, fast-paced and addictive shooting games, Vlambeer know what they’re doing. Their latest release, Nuclear Throne, pits you in a crazy post-apocalyptic world inhabited by a wonderful cast of radiation-powered mutants, all with one common goal; become the ‘Wasteland King’! This hectic and challenging twin-stick shooter is a treat when it comes to both visuals and gameplay, ideal for couch co-op survival mayhem or quick portable bursts of action on the go, this one definitely must not be overlooked; and for under a tenner, it’s a steal!
8BIT MUSIC POWER
Price: Approx. £18.00
Where to buy: AmiAmi
Perhaps you know someone who loves music, but want to treat them to something a little different? Well providing they own an original Famicom, 8BIT MUSIC POWER is exactly what you’re looking for. Chock full of quality chiptune tracks from artists such as Tappy and Professor Sakamoto and beautiful pixel artwork by RIKI, this is the only way to listen to 8-bit music the way it was originally intended!
DATA DISCS Sega Vinyl
Where to buy: DATA DISCS store
If you’re looking for a gift for that special someone who likes authenticity in their music, both in sound and medium, DATA DISCS range of officially licensed Sega vinyl are exactly what you need! Featuring brilliant high quality hardware recordings of some of the greatest Sega soundtracks, this is possibly the best way to take in a generation of iconic arcade and console music. Each record is beautifully presented in a stylish sleeve and you can expect some cool bonus items such as posters and lithographic prints packed in there too. These records have a tendency to sell out pretty quickly and as of writing this guide, only the Streets of Rage and the yet-to-be-released Super Hang-On soundtracks are available, so don’t delay!
Street Fighter II The Definitive Soundtrack
Where to buy: Brave Wave store
Street Fighter II has one of the most recognisable and iconic soundtracks in gaming history, and thanks to Brave Wave it’s now available in a form as definitive as the title suggests; spread across 4 vinyl LPs (or alternatively 3 CDs), this compilation of the legendary soundtrack composed by Yoko Shimomura, Isao Abe and Syun Nishigaki features both the CPS-1 and CPS-2 arcade board soundtracks (which are vastly unique in sound and both equally memorable) and for the first time includes almost every single track, from character themes to jingles and endings. Any fighting game fan should be able to appreciate this musical masterpiece and Brave Wave’s release will give it the legacy it deserves!
Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda
Where to buy: Fangamer
Professional translator Clyde “Tomato” Mandelin, who has worked on many notable professional and fan translation projects, including Mother 3 and Star Ocean, has been working on this beautiful-looking book chronicling the story behind the localisation of the original Famicom/NES The Legend of Zelda, as well as the various surprising differences between the original Famicom Disk System and NES versions in graphics, text and gameplay. For a small extra cost you can also buy a ‘Passport’, a nice little guide filled with helpful tips and advice for playing through Zelda in its original Japanese form.
Britsoft: An Oral History
Where to buy: Read-Only Memory store
The ideal piece of reading material for the classically-trained British gamer. Charting the deep cultural history of Britain’s bedroom programmers through interviews, stories and pictures, Britsoft serves as a companion to the documentary From Bedrooms to Billions and is chock full (this is one thick book!) of words and thoughts from iconic developers, musicians and journalists of the era who helped to define British gaming history. Perhaps this could serve as something of an inspiration for today’s budding game designers?
THE KING OF GAMES Splatoon T-Shirts
Price: Approx. £25.00
Where to buy: EDITMODE
THE KING OF GAMES’ game-accurate line of Splatoon t-shirts are a great gift for that friend who can’t quite decide if they’re a kid or a squid. Understated, simple but stylish, each shirt comes packaged with a limited edition Splatoon badge, as well as with a randomly selected pin. With cuts available for both men and women, there’s nothing stopping you from helping the people you love become fresh this Christmas.
GRADIUS 30th Anniversary Vic Viper Pilot-Jacket ~Cosmo Blue~
Price: Approx. £84.00
Where to buy: GAMES-GLORIOUS
Winter is upon us, so sometimes you need that extra layer to defend yourself against the cold. Or perhaps you’re a TRANS DIMENSIONAL SPACE FIGHTER? I hear space is pretty cold this time of the year too. Regardless of why your cold, this handmade jacket as part of a collab between Konami and GAMES-GLORIOUS to celebrate the 30th anniversary of long-running shoot ’em up series Gradius is a sight to behold that’s bound to keep you warm, or at least make you look ready to pilot the Vic Viper. This is a limited time item people, so grab yours whilst they’re still hot!
Anippon Sega Console Slip-Ons
Price: Approx. £45.00
Where to buy: Tokyo Otaku Mode
Sega may not be in the console business any more, but with these slip-on trainers designed by Anippon, you can pretend they still are! …on your feet, at least. With three flavours available, Dreamcast, Mega Drive and Saturn, you can proudly display your allegiance in the console wars with style! The shoes even come in boxes that resemble those that the Japanese version of each respective console originally shipped in, which in some ways is cooler than the shoes themselves, although I strongly discourage the use of boxes as a clothing item, unless you are on a tactical espionage mission.
RJ X SUPER MARIO BROS.: GAME ON! Watch
Price: Around £12,000
Where to buy: I looked into this, apparently they’ll only sell it to you if you actually go to Switzerland to their store, although if the timepiece is over 1,000 CHF Romain Jerome will cover the travel and accommodation costs, so not to worry!
Do you have someone you REALLY like? Do they like Mario and telling the time? Do you have just over £10,000? Do you fancy a trip to Switzerland? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then congratulations, you could be the lucky owner of one of Romain Jerome‘s latest collaboration timepiece, the ‘SUPER MARIO BROS.: GAME ON!’ watch! They’re limited to only 85 pieces, so don’t delay in surprising your loved ones this Christmas with a credit card bill they’ll never forget! Even if I could afford this watch, I’d be too terrified to even take it out of its box. I think I’ll settle for one of these…