Hey there parents, significant others, coworkers, and friends. As Houston Press's resident video game expert, equity deputy, and boil lancer, we thought we'd pass along some gift suggestions to help you shop for the gamer in your life. Since trying to pick out a video game someone would like is damn near impossible, here's some other stuff you might want to plop down money on.
Special thanks to Matt Rouner, the Brother With One F for his help in compiling the list.
While you might look like a B-team Sith wearing one of these, they are goddamned comfortable. We often tend to get really into games and forget to close the windows or turn the furnace on, since we keep our snuggie right on my coach we are able to just slip it on and continue pickpocketing people in Skyrim. Oh, and if you're worried about people making fun of you for wearing one, how about this sweet Street Fighter IV themed snuggie from Japan?
You have to sit on the floor to play video games. No, we don't know why, you just do. You can get pretty elaborate with your video game chair options, some come with drink holders, surround sound speakers, and plenty of other doodads. However, the simple ones cost less than $30, come in all colors, and are easy to move out of the way when you want to turn your game room back into a living room.
Given the choice of getting up to get something to eat or drink or stay immersed in an adventure, your average gamer will happily starve to death mere feet from their food supply. Here are two stocking stuffers to help them on their quest. The Thermos Nissan Intak Hydration Bottle holds 24 ounces of water and is freakin' impossible to spill. Perfect for the thirsty gamer who doesn't want to accidentally ruin a controller. You can also whip them up jars of homemade trail mix. Our mom does this for us every year. Buy some peanuts, raisins, M&Ms, and coconut shavings, throw it all in the peanut jar or a mason jar, and boom, you've got yourself a healthy portable snack perfect for long-term gaming.
Nintendo DS games are already tough as nails. Case in point, we recently sent a copy of Final Fantasy III through the washing machine and it works as good as it did the day we bought it. While the Nerf Armor won't make the system waterproof, we've seen someone drop one out of a moving car and not even make a scratch. It's also surprisingly lightweight, though obviously bulky. It's also great if you have kids who might not be all that graceful.
Gaming can take a real toll on your hands and forearms. While you might choose Bengay or Biofreeze, if you want to make a really nice gift head over to the LUSH counter at Macy's and pick up the Hottie Massage Bar. It's great for sore muscles and getting the circulation flowing, and the black pepper oil smells a million times better than whatever they put in Bengay.
We have a two year old, and that means we also have a lot of broken things. The Atlantic Wall Mount is the obvious solution. It holds your games, controllers, and headset well out of the reach of any but the most determined heathen child. The game storage capacity isn't great (holds ten), but since we generally trade in our games for new ones upon completion it's more than adequate for us.
You see that video up there? That's a blind guy playing Ocarina of Time using the stereo audio from the game. While that's a great physical accomplishment, it also goes to show you just how far video gaming sound has come. This is the basic set-up we use. It's less than $100 and it immerses you so deep in the game you might never find your way out.
Portal 2 may be the greatest video game ever made, and the incredible dialogue is one of those reasons. Patterned after in game portraits of the founder of Aperture Science, this 15 X 11 canvas picture comes in a pine frame and recites Johnson's memorable rants including the now famous "Lemon Speech." Requires 3 AAA batteries, not included. Yes, there is an off button.
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With the exception of Jeff Rovin's excellent Mortal Kombat novel, books written around video games are pretty much crap. John Shirley did a fantastic job with his prequel to the amazing BioShock series, though, and we highly enjoyed it as a chance to stave off the anxiety of the nebulous release date of BioShock Infinite. Contains many, many spoilers, so don't buy it unless they've actually beaten both games.
Gaming can be frustrating, and most of us have been reduced to walking away from the game at some point to look up FAQs and YouTube videos detailing exactly what we're doing wrong. Any portable device that has a web browser and YouTube capability is sufficient to ensure that your gamer doesn't have to get up, and you might buy one of the cheaper tablets or a used previous generation iPhone just for this purpose.