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2012 Holiday Buying Guide

by Ben Reeves on Nov 22, 2012 at 04:00 AM

The end of the year is rolling around, which means it’s time to start thinking about gifts. For the generous gamers, that means coming up with the perfect presents for your friends and family. For opportunistic gamers, that means scribbling out a list of gifts for others to buy you. We’re not here to judge; we just want to highlight the hottest gadgets, newest gizmos, and best games that 2012 has to offer. What you do with that information is up to you. Text by Ben Reeves & Jeff Marchiafava

Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf

Under $30 — Happy Holidays, here’s a thing

Smart Art, $10.00-25.00 • • Monkey Minion Press is a one-stop-shop for decorating your home in geeky style. The husband and wife team from Portland offer everything from Star Wars-themed Empire propaganda posters to Ninja Turtle crochet dolls. With most items coming in under $25.00, you’re sure to find something for the nerds on your list.

Assassin’s Creed Army of Trolls T-shirt, $19.99 • • If you thought Ezio was a lothario, just wait until the ladies see this 16-bit rendition of Ubisoft’s coldhearted assassin on your shirt. Actually, they’re probably not going to care – but fellow gamers are sure to appreciate your retro sensibilities. 

Mega Man Bobble Budds, $10.99 • • Mega Man has never looked more adorable. These 3.5-inch recreations pay homage to the Blue Bomber and three of his nemeses: Proto Man, Guts Man, and Elec Man. These figurines -contain detachable pieces that may be choking hazards to little kids, but let’s be honest – we wouldn’t let the little ones get their grubby hands on them anyway. 

Cards Against Humanity, $25.00 • • Not sure what to get that friend with a dirty sense of humor? We’ve got the perfect gift recommendation. Dubbed “A party game for horrible people,” Cards Against Humanity challenges you and your friends to respond to questions with the most humorous and inappropriate answers possible. The base game won’t break the bank, but if you’re really cheap (or just don’t like your friend that much), you can download it for free from the company’s website and print it yourself. The best things in life really are free!

$30 to $75— I hope you like it, but I kept the receipt just in case

Rock-It 3.0, $34.99 • • Give your friends the gift of music – and we’re not talking about your stupid mix tape. With Rock-It 3.0, you can turn any surface into a speaker. The handy little gadget connects to your favorite music player via a standard headphone jack, and then pumps out vibrations that get transformed into sound waves by whatever object you stick it to. Just don’t stick a Rock-It to another Rock-It, or the universe will implode. 

X-Wing Star Wars Miniatures Game, $39.99 • • Forget X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. Now you can pit Star Wars’ -classic forces against one another in a two-player tabletop game from Fantasy Flight. The game includes painted X-Wing and TIE fighter miniatures, and allows players to pick their crews and plan their attacks to accomplish their missions.

Dungeon Command, $39.99 • • D&D fans looking for a quicker, more straightforward experience may be interested in Dungeon Command, a head-to-head miniatures game for 2 to 4 players. Each game takes roughly an hour, and tasks you with wiping your opponent’s warband from the battlefield. Each faction set comes with 12 painted miniatures, plus the cards, tiles, and rules needed to play the game. You can play against your opponent’s factions, or split up one set for a faster 2-player game. 

Kingdom Hearts Heartless Inspired Apron/Pinafore, $70.00 • • This Kingdom Hearts-inspired gift from Darling Army doubles as both an apron and pinafore. That means you can wear it to protect your clothes while baking your video game-themed cupcakes, or pinafore your wardrobe whenever -pinaforing is necessary. We’ll be honest: we have no idea what the heck a pinafore is. 

Gears of War Erector Construction Sets, $24.99-$59.99 • • Tired of the peaceful dioramas that Lego sets offer? Maybe it’s time to upgrade to these Gears of War-themed Erector sets. Choose between the Armadillo APC, Centaur Tank, King Raven helicopter, and Locusts vs. Delta Squad Battle sets. Each pack comes with at least two figurines and 80-300 pieces. Erector jokes, however, are sold separately. 

Retro Series Hard & Sugar-Free Cotton Candy Maker, $39.99 • • Do you love cotton candy, but hate having to deal with creepy carnies just to get your hands on some? Maybe it’s time to invest in your own cotton candy maker. This $40 appliance from Nostalgia Electrics spins both sugar and hard candies into fluffy candy floss. You can even use sugar-free candy, though that kind of defeats the -purpose. 

Star Trek Door Chime, $29.99 • • If you’re like us, you’ve spent hundreds of hours wondering how you can class up your office door in a way that would make sci-fi fans jealous. What, you’re not like us? Then you probably wouldn’t be interested in this Star Trek Door Chime modeled after the wall communicator panels from the original series. Not only does it chirp out a variety of classic sound effects, but it’s motion activated to ward off intruders. Don’t blame us when Klingons steal all of your office supplies.


Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf


Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf

$80 to $200— I think you’re gonna love this!


NES & Super NES Hard Drives, $99 (500G), $119 (750G), $129 (1T), $159 (1.5T) • • This is one way to remember the classics. These custom built external drive enclosures are built using classic NES and SNES cartridges such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you don’t like any of 8-Bit Memory’s pre-made drives, you can suggest your own custom-built unit. All drives are assembled from Toshiba 2.5-inch hard drives. This might be the perfect solution to the Wii U’s limited internal memory.

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard, $79.99 • • Batteries and cords are so overrated. Like Superman, Logitech’s new solar keyboard derives its power from the sun, letting you forget about the hassles of mortals still using traditional keyboards. Don’t play your games in the sun? Fear not: Your indoor lights power the keyboard as well. It’s like your mom’s calculator, only useful. 

Lego The Hobbit: An Unexpected Gathering, (sets from $9.99-99.99) • • The Lego video games provide plenty of fun for the whole family, but if you’re old-school like us, you like to bust out the real blocks from time to time. The upcoming sets based on The Hobbit should appease Tolkien and Lego fans alike. The Goblin King Battle set is our favorite, and features figures of Dori, Nori, Ori, Gandalf, plus the Goblin King and his minions to help populate your new Goblintown.

Kindle Paperwhite, $119 • • Thank goodness tablets finally made -reading cool again; we were tired of getting all of our knowledge from strangers at the bus stop. The newest Kindle packs a higher resolution screen with 62 percent more pixels, a glare-reducing touchscreen, and a built-in light. Somehow the battery still lasts eight weeks. Maybe it’s time to give this reading thing a try; all the kids are talking about it. 

LeapFrog LeapPad2, $99.99 • • Trickery is the best way to teach children, and LeapPad 2 is one of the trickiest learning tools on the market. This kid-friendly tablet features front-and-back cameras with video-recorder capabilities, 4GB of memory, a library of 325+ game cartridges and downloadable apps, and access to a wealth of eBooks, music, and games. If you nurture and love your LeapPad, it might someday grow into an iPad.

Montie Gear Y-Shot Slingshot, $99.95 • • Imagine you’re camping one day, when suddenly you’re attacked by a zombified deer. You whip out this high-tech slingshot, which features a .5-inch aluminum frame cut with a waterjet at 50,000 psi. You pull the slingshot back to its maximum draw of 28 inches and send a ball bearing through the zombie’s head. Your friend yells, “Ew!” but as the beast falls under your boot, you’re glad you brought your Montie.

Nike Fuel+ Band, $149 • • Athletes aren’t fooling anyone – working out sucks. Might as well trick yourself into eating healthy by turning exercise into a game with Nike+. Challenge yourself to beat your high scores, unlock special achievements, and monitor your daily progress as Nike’s FuelBand tracks your steps and caloric burn. Or throw it on your dog and drive through Taco Bell’s takeout window. 

NuForce Cube, $119 • • We know what you’re thinking. “I’ve seen cubes before.” This one is different, my friend. The NuForce Cube is designed to be your all-in-one mobile audio center. A quality headphone amplifier, high-performance speaker, and audiophile grade USB DAC are all crammed into a 2.3-inch cubed frame. The NuForce Cube keeps the party jamming for up to eight hours. 

Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf

Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf

$200 to $500 — You should really go to the bathroom before you open that…

MGS REX Figure, $489 • • Here’s a figure you won’t need three key cards to enjoy. Sideshow Collectibles collaborated with Kojima Prod-uctions and Konami to create this authentic model of the Metal Gear Rex from Metal Gear Solid. This detailed figure features a 23-inch long laser cannon, houses a stunning light-up component, and measures 19 inches in height. It also killed our friend Gray Fox, and we may never be able to forgive it.

Lytro, $399 (8GB) $499 (16GB) • • The Lytro doesn’t just take pictures; it records the entire light field. This means that instead of capturing a static 2D image, the Lytro gives you “living pictures,” which you can endlessly refocus even after they’ve been taken. It’s like capturing light’s soul. Lytro’s free desktop application also allows you to share your captures online, letting your friends experience the magic. 

Bloggie Live HD Camera, $249 • • We no longer just chronicle our lives, we broadcast them. Sony’s Bloggie makes it easier than ever to live-stream your life. This 12.8-megapixel camera captures up to 8GB of full HD 1080p video and then wirelessly uploads it to Facebook, YouTube, or your home PC. With the Bloggie, any part of your life can become a live broadcast. You’re probably more interesting than anyone from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, so go for it. 

Logitech Harmony Touch, $249 • • Quickly swipe and scroll through your favorite entertainment options with Logitech’s Harmony Touch. This universal remote’s ergonomic design, vibrant touchscreen, and 50 easy-to-customize channel icons make channel surfing a breeze. Screw that wizard hoodie; this is some real magic.

$500 & Up — Take it out of the box so we can play with it already!

Sony Bravia 84-inch 4K TV, $24,999 • • 4K TVs look so good it’s like getting a new set of eyes. The next generation of consumer televisions delivers movie-quality visuals to your living room. At a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, Sony’s new set has four times as many pixels as found in a standard 1080p HD set. This massive screen also features passive 3D, a 10-driver stereo speaker system, and a wealth of Internet streaming apps. Be one of the first people in the world to own the future.

Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook, $1,649 • • Maybe you don’t need a laptop that chews through games, but you might want a machine that’s ultra-powerful and ultra-portable. Ultrabooks are the answer. Thankfully, Acer’s new 13-inch laptop lives up to that title. Acer’s top-of-the-line machine features a minimalist design, an Intel Core i7 CPU, and a 1920x1080 resolution touchscreen. This is also one of the first commercial laptops designed for Windows 8, so it makes great use of the new OS’s touchscreen functions. 

New Razer Blade, $2,499 • • Like its name implies, Razer’s new hardware cuts through even the most graphically intense titles in your gaming library. The Blade packs an Intel Core i7 Quad Core Processor with Hyper-Threading and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 2GB GDDR5 into a sleek, six-pound frame. But we’re in love with the 10 dynamic adaptive tactile keys that change functionality depending on the program you’re using, and the four-inch LCD display that functions as both a trackpad and a touchscreen, presenting you with specialized gaming information. Razer’s new laptop is so sharp you might slice a finger. 

MakerBot Replicator 2, $2,199 • • You don’t have to buy everything you want. You can make it! With a build envelope of roughly 410 cubic inches, MakerBot’s fourth-generation Replicators let you construct replacement shower-curtain rings, custom gifts, video game item replicas, or virtually any other trinket and bauble your heart might desire. The first thing we’re going to make is a cup of earl grey tea. Hot!

Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf

Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf



  • Absolute Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War: $99.99 |
  • Building Stories by Chris Ware: $50.00 |
  • Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell: $15.00 |
  • Diaries by George Orwell: $39.99 |
  • The Fifty-Year Sword: Deluxe Edition by Mark Z. Danielewski: $100.00 |
  • Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson: $26.95 |
  • Luminous Chaos: A Novel by John-Christophe Valtat and Mahendra Singh: $24.95 |
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe: $29.99 |
  • Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: $9.99 |
  • Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover Volume 2: Vs. The World: $24.99 |
  • Star Wars and History Volume 2: $29.95 |
  • Superman Earth One Volume 2: $22.99 |
  • Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon: $27.99 |
  • The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 2: $59.99 |



Video Game Collector’s Editions

  • Assassin’s Creed III Limited Edition: $119.99
  • Borderlands 2 Deluxe Vault Hunter Collector’s Edition: $99.99
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II Care Package: $179.99
  • Guild Wars 2 Collector’s Edition: $149.99
  • Halo 4 Limted Edition: $99.99
  • Skylanders Giants Starter Pack: $74.99

Nav: Under $30-$75 | $80-$200 | $200+ | Media Shelf