5. For the Kids…
What to Get: You seriously didn’t think that I was going to forget Splatoon, did you? Nintendo’s ink-splattered beauty is just as fun for adults as well, but also perfect for your kids/squids as an introduction to both fun online shooters and the world of Nintendo. Speaking of which, Yo-Kai Watch has begun its march to becoming the next big fad over here (rightfully so, I might add), so you may as well give in already and let the young’uns enjoy it. Outside of those, though, it’s getting tricky to buy a triple-A video game for children these days that doesn’t require you to also purchase at least thirty dollars worth of additional figurines to go with it. Still, Skylanders: SuperChargers seems like the lesser of the evils, and just a damn good game in general, so it’s probably your best bet. Also, don’t count out Transformers: Devastation despite its Teen rating, because it’s never too early to introduce your kids to the classics.
Budget Gifts: Of course, it’s also never too late to share your kid’s interests in modern cartoons as well, so a copy of Steven Universe: Attack the Light is perfect for either of you, being a dungeon crawler based in one of the best cartoons right now that also happens to be an even better Paper Mario game than the last actual Paper Mario game. But if your kids also need an endless runner to keep them occupied on long road trips or whatnot, Alto’s Adventure is one of the best the genre has, combining the thrill of snowboarding with the excitement of llama-herding. Finally, why not introduce your kids to the types of arcade-style sports games you grew up on with Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings? Or maybe that’s just me being a sucker for Big Head Mode…still, definitely one to consider.
Extras: Well, official Yo-Kai Watch merchandise isn’t due stateside until next year, but the first volumes of the Yo-Kai Watch manga are available right now. Even if your kids are just fans of the cartoon as well, that should definitely make for a great gift. Or if your kids want to read about more classic gaming heroes, Archie’s Mega Man graphic novels are a no-brainer (and maybe buying a ton of them might convince Archie to take the comic off of hiatus). But of course, you can’t go wrong with a tried and true gift like a Pokémon plush toy (especially since those Build-a-Bear Pikachu pre-orders have already ended).
6. For the Creative Type…
What to Get: Since I’m probably going to get whacked upside the head with a rabid squirrel by somebody if I don’t mention this game at some point or another, Super Mario Maker leads the pack here. I admit that I’m a bit wary of games that rely too much on user-created content, since they tend to wind up with an excess of gimmick levels, but perhaps you you might find something from the next great game designer in there indeed. Of course, if you want to go beyond crafting levels and create entire cities, Cities: Skylines has already been acclaimed as the next great city-building game, and the new After Dark expansion has been applauded as well for adding even more to work with. And now that it’s officially out of Early Access, Kerbal Space Program is the must have for those who want to create their own spaceships and shoot for the stars…failing spectacularly in the process, but at least you finally got to build that rocket that looked like boobies. Finally, as it has also escaped Early Access, you can’t go wrong with Prison Architect…well, I mean, with a setup like that there are countless ways things can go wrong, but you know what I mean.
Budget Gifts: With the previous two titles graduating to full-price games, we actually have to go back to Early Access to find something cheaper in this category. Taking Kerbal’s place in the must-have crazy-ass device-building Early Access game department, though, is Besiege. Because why not attack your enemies with a catapult that can shoot tinier catapults? Poly Bridge is also one to take a look at, because even if you only have a single bridge to work with, the catastrophes you can still create with it are priceless. Finally, even if it is more of a tactical RPG, allow your friends to customize their wildest Power Rangers fantasies with the help of Chroma Squad, where the ass-kickings flow like wine.
Extras: This is always the trickiest area to write for when it comes to miscellaneous gifts. A Tetris magnet set is an okay place to start, if only to help surprise your roommate with naughty blocky bits on the fridge, a MUNNY figure might encourage the more artistic folks to work with real-world mediums, and finally, since it’s the only fully game-themed product Lego has (that I know of), a Lego Minecraft set might challenge then to recreate their immense crafts in the real world.
7. For the Streamer…
What to Get: Are you and your friends on a quest to hopefully gain Internet fame? Well, good luck with that. But if you want to get started, Until Dawn might be a good place. The game has already become a major hit on Twitch and YouTube, thanks in part to its use of the Butterfly Effect. The fact that it’s a damn good game that evokes the spirit of classic horror films helps as well. Speaking of horror and good games, Bloodborne is another particularly deep game with a lot of twists and turns that should make for good entertainment, especially when you and your friends see each others’ reactions to the monstrosities that make for boss monsters. Finally, you’re all going to want at least one more game where you can experiment on everything and dick around with it, so why not Metal Gear Solid V? You can never go wrong with some of the best tense stealth action as well!
Budget Gifts: For stealth on a budget, though, Mike Bithell’s Volume fits the bill quite nicely. In addition to user-created levels to check out and display, it also just feels appropriate given that the entire game is a tribute to streamers everywhere, with a vigilante thief broadcasting his techniques. Heck, it even opens with a message thanking LPers and encouraging you to share it. Party Hard is also highly recommended, thanks to fresh updates, a crap ton of deathtraps to try out, and it even allows for Twitch viewers to participate by summoning events like a sharknado to happen. Lastly, a randomized roguelike always makes for good viewing, so why not a classic like The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth? The recent Afterbirth expansion added hours upon hours of more content, resulting in bloody, horrific fun for you and all of your friends!
Extras: So if you and your friends are just getting into streaming, then it stands to reason that you might need some proper gear. A Personal or Premium XSplit subscription gives one a great way to stream PC games, an El Gato Game Capture HD60 makes for a great way to record game footage, and a Blue Yeti or a Zalman Zm-Mic 1 make for great microphones (depending on your budget). Of course, to be fair, this is coming from a guy who streams using built-in apps, and this is just going by reputations I’ve heard. Still, this type of equipment is something you should look into.
8. For the Rest…
What to Get: Oh geez, where do I begin? Batman: Arkham Knight? Xenoblade Chronicles X? Persona 4: Dancing All Night? Resident Evil: Revelations 2? Dying Light? The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition, which includes the acclaimed Road to Gehenna expansion and that we are currently giving away copies of, hint hint hint? I could go on for quite a while…
Budget Gifts: …And will with Nuclear Throne, Zenzizenzic, Crypt of the NecroDancer, Westerado: Double Barreled, Blackhole, and Grow Home. Those games, and many others, would make fine gifts for virtually any gamers.
Extras: Steam Wallet Cards, Playstation Plus subscriptions, Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, anything of the sort will do nicely. But if your friends also want a bit of mystery, a Humble Monthly Bundle or an Arcade Block subscription is a great way to give your friends a good chunk of variety as well.
…And does it for our Video Game Holiday Gift Guide this year! We at The Robot’s Voice and Robotic Gaming Monthly wish you all a very happy holiday season, a happy new year, and remember to leave some coffee and macarons out for Santauros! Season’s greetings!!
Previously by Kyle LeClair:
TR Holiday Gift Guide: 7 Types of Gamers and How to Shop for Them
9 Steps Toward Accepting Halo 5: Guardians, From a Non-Halo Fan
The 14 Most Memorable Moments in Batman: Arkham Knight, For Better and Worse
6 Reasons Nintendo Should Make More Games Like Splatoon