Here it is, three days before Christmas, and you’ve still not finished your shopping. The weather has sucked, the economy’s down, you’re waiting for the best deals…your excuses don’t matter now. You just need to get something, and get it fast, for the gamer(s) in your household. Of course, because you procrastinated, there’s absolutely zero chance that you’re going to get this season’s hottest items, so you’re in a bind. And with three days until Christmas, not even eBay can save you.
Fortunately, this last minute gift guide might be able to. We’re not going to waste your time telling you to buy Wii Fit; heck, even a Wii is probably out of the question at this point. We’re also not going to tell you which games to buy, because at this point, the more-responsible shoppers in your family probably have those bases covered. Instead, we’re going to focus on some practical, enjoyable and (we hope) unique gift ideas that you can actually find at a store and are bound to bring a smile to someone’s face. So, without further ado — because time really is at a premium for you — here’s our list of Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Gamers.
Say what you will about the first week of the PlayStation Home beta, but the need for efficient typing and text chat is increasingly important, and as more RPGs release, that need isn’t going to decrease. Let’s also not forget about the PS3’s build-in Web browser, which although it supports predictive text, is definitely easier to use when you’ve got an honest-to-God keyboard handy. So, why stress over buying the PS3 fan in your house the Koran-ified version of LittleBigPlanet? Instead, snag one of these PS3 Wireless Keypads, which you should find readily available, and consider your shopping done. NOTE: Xbox 360 owners can snag the equivalent Xbox 360 qwerty keyboard.
Yeah, yeah, the PS3 has free online multiplayer. That’s cool and all, but Microsoft’s Xbox Live still rules the roost when it comes to online services. From its convenient Friends list and party system to the recently sexified New Xbox Experience, Microsoft’s Xbox Live has a solid leg up on Sony’s PlayStation Store and PSN. Xbox Live Arcade is also a predictable, popular service, although Sony’s PlayStation Network games are definitely starting to raise the ante. To cover both bases for the Xbox 360 owner in your home, snag a Microsoft Points gift card or an Xbox Live Gold renewal subscription, both of which are easy to find in your local game retailer. The Microsoft Points can be used on any content that pops up online, from new Gears of War 2 multiplayer maps to Xbox Live Arcade games, while the Xbox Live Gold renewal will be a most welcome but never-asked-for gift. Plus, both gifts cost less than an Xbox 360 game, so you’ll save some cash, too.
I don’t know about you, but my Wii Remotes burn through batteries faster than an “electric ear cleaner” in a Midwest sorority. Outside of tossing your Wii Remote into a buddy’s larynx, there’s not much worse than being mid-game and getting a message that your batteries have died. You can avoid that tragedy altogether — or help the Wii owner in your house avoid that fate — by buying one of these handy devices that charges two Wii Remotes simultaneously. With all that wireless Wiimote swinging, the Wii Remote Charging Station definitely comes in handy.
The PlayStation Network and Xbox Live are both full of immature turd burglars, but if you play online with friends, it’s safe to say you’ll want to chat while you’re playing and (gasp) hear what those few intelligible people are saying to you. If you’re playing a shooter such as Resistance 2, Gears of War 2 or Left 4 Dead, text chat (see above) isn’t exactly going to get the job done, especially when you need to yell at a teammate for throwing a grenade into the safe house. So, save us all a little stress by purchasing one of the PS3 Bluetooth Headsets (or Xbox Live headsets) and letting us engage in voice chat. The recipients of a verbal lashing may not appreciate it, but the strategists and mature gamers out there will appreciate the gift. The PS3 Bluetooth Headset, in particular, is a great piece of hardware.
OK, so this one’s kind of coming out of left field, but it’s safe to say this trading-card game isn’t exactly going to be an anticipated stocking stuffer. That doesn’t mean it won’t be popular; Chaotic is the third most-popular trading-card game in the United States, second only to Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, with more than 1 million players online (every card has a unique ID number which, when registered online, can be used to play the game via the Internet). A full starter set isn’t going to break the bank, and since many older gamers grew up on tabletop games, this gift will at least be intriguing. You can also find it at Best Buy, which likely hasn’t had a run on this gift, thus making it easy to come by. (For the record, we’ve also got a contest for a good starter set, but it expires well after Christmas. You know…if you’re looking for a belated gift for yourself or something.)
So there you are. We could recommend a few more non-game ideas, but the time you’ve spent reading this article already has consumed time you could’ve spent shopping, and time isn’t exactly something you have a lot of. Not if you want to finish your Christmas shopping before Thursday, anyway. We hope you found this helpful, and good luck in stores.
— Jonas Allen