With a new crop of consoles out and no shortage of must-have games, there's never been a better time to get the gamer in your life something special for the holidays. There's the Nintendo Switch and its awesome portability, the Xbox One X and its blistering 4K power, and the PS4 and its huge library of blockbuster titles. And let's not forget the plethora of cool games and accessories available for every platform, from custom controllers to the latest Mario and Sonic titles.
From fun, inexpensive add-ons to the latest and greatest hardware, here are the best gifts you can get for the gamer on your list.
Nintendo's amiibo figures aren't just cool-looking stocking stuffers; they also unlock special content in a host of Nintendo Switch, 3DS and Wii U games. These toys run the gamut from iconic characters such as Mario, Link and Samus to fan favorites like Ryu from Street Fighter and Cloud from Final Fantasy. They can unlock anything from special costumes to exclusive levels and modes, and also simply look great sitting on any Nintendo fan's shelf.
For hardcore PC gamers, a Steam gift card is the gift that keeps on giving. Valve's digital marketplace is the most robust and popular place to buy PC games, whether you're looking for the latest AAA titles, cool under-the-radar indies or retro classics.
If you're shopping for an Xbox addict, you can't go wrong with a gift card. Xbox gift cards are good for just about anything in the Xbox or Windows stores, including games, movies, TV shows and apps. Amazon even lets you get your Xbox cards in digital code form, so you can email the cards directly to the Halo fanatics in your life and let them get right to shopping.
Few gifts are better than the gift of choice. A PlayStation Store gift card lets you buy not only hit games such as Horizon: Zero Dawn and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, but also the wealth of TV shows, movies and game add-ons available on Sony's online marketplace. PlayStation cards are available as digital codes, making them good gifts even if you wait until Christmas morning to buy them.
Ever wonder how your favorite video games got made? Jason Schrier's Blood, Sweat and Pixels is a fascinating deep dive into the world of game development, telling the exciting (and oftentimes harrowing) stories behind the creation of such major titles as Destiny, Uncharted 4 and The Witcher 3.
Credit: Harper Collins
If the gamer on your list somehow doesn't have enough colorful toys adorning their desk, PDP's Pixel Pals make a great stocking stuffer. These light-up toys deliver some (literal) nostalgic glow, and span a variety of beloved franchises including Super Mario, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog and Halo.
Sonic Mania might look like those classic Sonic games you grew up with, but it's no simple nostalgia grab. This delightful 2D platformer remixes the best parts of the original Sega Genesis games into something fresh, challenging and compulsively replayable, making it a must-have for Sonic fans or simply anyone who wants a great retro-style adventure. And at just $20, it's a great digital stocking stuffer for any PS4, Xbox One, PC or Switch gamer.