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Game Informer's Holiday Gift Guide 2023

by Matt Miller on Nov 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM

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As we wind down another year, many of us turn our thoughts to family and friends and how we might brighten their seasons with a memorable gift. While the rest of this issue offers a wealth of awesome video game gift ideas, we’ve also curated a collection of tech, tabletop games, toys, and other fun stuff specifically targeted to put a smile on the face of the gamer on your list. From simple fun to extravagant big-ticket items, we hope you find something that brightens the holidays.

Disclaimer: Recommended products are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, GameStop.

LEGO Batcave Shadow Box

For collectors with a high level of patience, this remarkable display and playset could be a potent centerpiece to any Batman collection. Designed to reflect the Dark Knight’s refuge as it appeared in Batman Returns (1992), the completed build may be displayed with the iconic Bat symbol front and center or opened to see the full setup. Clever gimmicks include a changing Batcomputer screen, sliding doors to access gadgets, and an illuminated Batsuit vault. Oh, and of course, there’s an included Batmobile with its own recessed garage. $400

Purchase

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Soundtrack

By now, most people reading Game Informer have seen The Super Mario Bros. Movie and have had Jack Black’s “Peaches” stuck in their head. But there is so much more to this delightful soundtrack consisting of Brian Tyler’s compositions and adaptations of Koji Kondo’s original themes. Available on CD, cassette tape, or two-record LP, you can crank up the sounds of the Mushroom Kingdom in your format of choice or snag the iam8bit-exclusive 7-inch record focused solely on “Peaches” and “Mario Brothers Rap.” $13 to $43

Purchase

Disney 100th Anniversary Metallic Rubik’s Cube

This might fit the bill if you’re looking for an affordable stocking stuffer for that fan of Disney and puzzles. In function, it’s a classic 3x3 Rubik’s cube, offering that unusual mix of frustration and stress relief familiar to anyone who has ever picked one up. But in form, the collectible features a platinum finish and a range of modern and classic characters, from Mickey and Snow White to Elsa and Woody. $15

Purchase

Atari Gamestation Pro

For those looking for a genuine throwback to the earliest days of gaming, the Gamestation Pro is a flexible and fun retro console mixing classic aesthetics and games with several modern conveniences. The compact 7-inch-wide machine plugs directly to your TV via HDMI, and two wireless controllers include joystick and paddle functionality. The massive list of 200-plus included games features titles from across the 2600, 5200, 7800, and Atari arcade line-ups like Breakout, Missile Command, and Centipede in their original formats. $100

Purchase Purchase at GameStop

Dungeons & Dragons: Trials of Tempus Board Game

Even great board games sometimes start to creak under the weight of large player counts, but some manage to get it right. Take this enjoyable fantasy skirmish game that ably manages anywhere between two and eight players. Trials of Tempus plays as a team-based cooperative experience. The two teams of adventurers venture onto the board, completing missions. An enjoyable interaction component lets you aid your teammates as they complete tasks, ensuring everyone stays plugged into the action even when it’s not their turn. A ton of detailed minis and attractive cards help the game look good, and the rules are straightforward enough to teach you quickly and get you right into the battle. $100

Purchase

Lucyd Lyte 2.0 Sunglasses

Lucyd’s approach to wearable tech starts with attractive sunglass designs, with dozens of options for customizing your preferred frame and lenses. But the extra oomph comes from the bevy of included features you can use while on the move without taking your phone out of your pocket. The eyewear can play music, take calls, and use voice-activated tools like Siri, but without the audio barrier of headphones between you and the world. The sunglasses even include premium access to ChatGPT for instantaneous A.I. responses to your queries but without the typing or reading required. Newly launched XL sizes make these useable and comfortable for all head shapes. Starting at $149

Purchase

Limited Run Books

Limited Run Games, best known for its physical and collector’s editions of indie and previously digital-only video games, recently started a new branch of its business geared towards readers and game industry historians. These beautifully laid-out, coffee-table-worthy books cover topics ranging from looks at the libraries of the NES, Super NES, Virtual Boy, and Atari to a compendium of endings of every NES game released from 1985 to 1989. $20 to $75

Purchase

Dreams and Machines: RPG Starter Set

Set on a distant colony world hundreds of years after a devastating war against artificial intelligence, Dreams and Machines eschews the bleak grays of many post-apocalyptic settings and focuses on a hopeful but exciting world of mechs, lost technology, and humanity coming together to thrive. Modiphius leverages its 2d20 game system previously used to great success in the team’s other games. Here, it is clearly explained and gets you into the action fast. The Starter Set is smartly organized and will have you hungering for more. Few recent tabletop RPGs have offered such a smooth and approachable onramp for players of any experience level. $37

Purchase

Sony INZONE Buds

For those players looking for personal audio solutions instead of a larger home theater system, the most common choice is to move to a full-sized headset. However, the bulk and size of larger cans can be uncomfortable. Sony’s latest entry into its InZone line aims to solve that problem with dedicated noise-canceling earbuds providing exceptional sound in a tiny package. Earbuds can sometimes have trouble separating distinct noise sources, like dialogue and sound effects, which is a big deal in games, but this new InZone model performs admirably. We were impressed with the battery life and the very comfortable fit. For PS5 or PC gamers, they’re an ideal choice. $200

Purchase

HyperX Clutch Gladiate RGB Gaming Controller for Xbox

Only a few years ago, quality customizable game controllers were mainly in the expensive high-end market. HyperX is making a case for a more affordable option, especially if you enjoy some flashy color in the mix. The wired controller uses onboard controls to flip between seven colors and five brightness levels across three distinct effect patterns. But it also has functional flexibility thanks to dual trigger locks for short or long pulls, and remappable rear buttons. $45

Purchase

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Bastila Shan Statue

Few elements of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace became such a focus of attention as the double-bladed lightsaber. Enter Bastila Shan the Jedi from Knights of the Old Republic, wielding a sweet yellow double-blade as she wades into one battle after the next. This new statue is undoubtedly the best representation we’ve seen of the character, as she slices through a Dantooine Guardian Droid while seeming almost to take flight. The 10-inch display is made of PVC and is a fantastic way to celebrate the fan-favorite 2003 game. $80

Purchase Purchase at GameStop

World of Warcraft: War of the Scaleborn Novel

Longtime WoW players tend to be especially fascinated by the complex fictional history of Azeroth’s dragons. The related characters and conflicts took center stage in the game’s Dragonflight expansion, while this new novelization delves deep into the related backstory. Offering insight into central figures like Alexstrasza and Iridikron, it’s a chance to go deep into the origins of core storylines from the game, with snappy, engaging prose that makes for an entertaining read. $30 (Hardcover)

Purchase

PDP Nintendo Switch Sonic Realmz Wireless Controllers

PDP has been one of the best third-party controller companies of the generation, and with its new line, it makes bold aesthetic choices for superfans of Sonic the Hedgehog. The Sonic Realmz Wireless Controllers for Switch paint pictures of iconic zones in the palms of your hands. But rather than solely relying on flat images, the transparent controller casing includes an actual Sonic toy inside the handle. And with 40 hours of battery life, that’s a lot of time to get a good look at those figures. $60

PurchasePurchase at GameStop

Expeditions

2016’s Scythe won high praise for its nuanced and flexible approach to an engine-building strategy game set in an alternate 1920s European history. Its sequel, Expeditions, maintains the stark and beautiful visual styling and focus on building a slowly accelerating engine toward victory, but the card-focused play is a whole new experience. Players take their mechs into Siberia to discover the secrets of a mysterious meteorite crash, but the real fun is discovering the different paths to winning. $75

Purchase

BlendJet 2 Portable Blender

Whether you’re mixing a protein shake during a hike or throwing together frozen margaritas at a friend’s house party, having an on-the-go blender can come in handy. The BlendJet 2 combines form and function, delivering a portable device that can mix ice, frozen fruit, and more in less than 20 seconds (and self-clean in even less time). BlendJet 2 comes in dozens of colors, but the ones themed after TMNT and Toy Story caught our eye for fans looking to express themselves. $120

Purchase

Iron Man MK50 Bust

Diamond Select Toys continues its long-running series of detailed half-scale busts with this striking take on Iron Man in the Avengers: Infinity War movie. Made of resin, the metallic hues of red and gold pop on a shelf display, and like other bust statues from the line, the pedestal base is uniquely designed to match the character. Place it by your gaming station to inform your in-game story choices with the question: “What would Tony Stark do?” $200

Purchase

Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels

These hexagonal panel lights are an easy pick for someone looking to put together an awesome light-focused wall display, either around their gaming setup or simply as part of a room’s interior design. Tremendous customizability is the biggest win since you can arrange your panels in virtually any connected configuration. Use any combination of the Govee app and voice commands to alter the light show to suit your mood and room décor. The variety of available effects and colors is hard to overstate. It’s a slick way to transform an entire space. $130 (10 Pack)

Purchase

Magnetic ROG Ally Case

We’ve previously touted the high quality of the ROG Ally as a natural competitor with the Steam Deck. If you’ve made the leap to one of these portable gaming PCs, you’d be wise to keep it protected. Waterfield has a wide selection of options tailor-made to fit the machine. We like this magnetically sealed leather case with room for the Ally, and internal pouches for accessories. Simple, understated, and capable of keeping scratches off your 120 Hz high-refresh rate display. $89

Purchase

Magic: The Gathering Doctor Who Commander Deck

The Magic CCG continues to expand and grow in unusual and exciting new directions, often now tapping into other popular franchises. Case in point – the new Doctor Who-themed decks dip into the long history of the time-traveling Doctor across all his incarnations. For casual players, consider exploring a Commander deck, which supports larger multiplayer games (instead of just two-person duels) and lets you build your strategy around a single legendary card. Let the debate over the best reincarnation of the Doctor begin. $65

Purchase

Neptune 4 Plus 3D Printer

The once-exorbitant cost of a good 3D printer continues to drop, even as the available quality continues to rise. For interested newcomers, the Neptune 4 Plus is a solid value. Several features provide ease of use and quick setup. The 500mm/s printing speed means you’re not waiting forever to complete something cool. In addition, the impressive auto-leveling tech, along with a sizeable available printing volume of 320x320x385mm, means that you can experiment with a multitude of impressive designs. $350

Purchase

This article originally appeared in Issue 361 of Game Informer.