Anywhere you click this time of year there’s an 80% chance you’re going to wind up looking at a gift guide. I figured I had to get in on the action, so I made this gift guide for the discerning, adult video game player. In this video, I do my best impression of a QVC host. The purpose of this affectation was simple: I wanted you to be able to send this to your mom. Also, my Pomeranian puppy is my co-host.
I’ve been receiving holiday and birthday presents as a video game player for all of my memorable life. Now, as an adult who buys gifts for other people, I realize the cardinal rule of video game gift giving is to never give a video game player a video game, unless they explicitly ask for it.
Furthermore, the presents I have appreciated the most over the years have been ones that were things I would never have bought myself, yet I appreciate immensely. A great example of this is the GORUCK GR1 rucksack that my girlfriend bought me for my birthday six months ago. On the one hand, it’s a $395 black backpack. On the other hand, if you lay one finger on it for three seconds, you’ll agree it’s the best possible black backpack ever made. Left to my own devices, I’d have suffered with multiple exploding $50 backpacks per year. Now, with the GORUCK GR1, I consider my mortality every morning when I pack my lunch: “Yeah, this is definitely the last black backpack I will ever buy.”
My final general gift-giving bullet point results from my increasing age. When I was a child, my mother would often admonish me and my brother and I by threatening to buy us “socks and underwear” for Christmas. It didn’t matter what month it was. It could have been in the middle of February. She’d be like, “Youse boys better go play outside right now or you’re getting socks and underwear for Christmas.” Now, at age 40, I gotta say: every time I order socks or underwear on Amazon, that UPS guy looks like Santa Claus. I often read Wirecutter articles about “The Best USB Hub.” Adulthood is a process of embracing mundanity.
With these three rules in mind, I carefully selected my favorite items this year for this gift guide.
Don’t buy a video game player video games unless they ask for a specific one.
Buy them something mundane, yet expensive, which they would never buy for themselves.
Therefore, the perfect gift for a video gamer is an elite controller.
Specifically, an Xbox One Elite Controller Series 2 for an Xbox player, and a SCUF Vantage 2 for a PlayStation 4 player.
My reasoning is that video game players do not play with good enough controllers. They deserve better controllers.
In the “socks and underwear” department, I also take an opportunity to recommend some Anker USB cables and charging hubs.
To the point of “don’t buy a video game player video games,” I also tried my best to explain Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, and the Nintendo Eshop to your mom.
I optimized this video to convince your game-unknowing relatives and friends to buy you video game gift cards rather than think too hard and wind up getting you something you might not like.
I did this because, personally, the best two gifts I ever received in my life were $20 bills at a crucial juncture in my adolescence.
In 1993, my family went on a little road trip from Fort Meade, Maryland to Pottstown, Pennsylvania to visit my mother’s eight siblings. My aunt Vicky gave me $20 the morning we got in. She made me hide it from my mom. I took that $20 to the King of Prussia Mall and bought The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. My mom got pretty mad when she saw I’d accepted money from my aunt. My mom repaid my aunt the $20.
We made the little road trip to Pottstown again a few months later. This time, aunt Vicky gave me another $20. She told me to hide it better this time. By some shocking miracle, the Electronics Boutique at King of Prussia Mall was selling both Gunstar Heroes and Landstalker for Sega Genesis—two games that had both received perfect scores from Die Hard Game Fan magazine just one month prior!—for less than $10 each.
To be precise: Landstalker was $7.88. Gunstar Heroes was $9.22. No, I don’t understand the reasoning behind those prices. The games were brand new. It wasn’t even Black Friday.
To this day, I adore those three video games. Link’s Awakening made me want to be a video game level designer. Gunstar Heroes taught me the true power of action games. Landstalker is perhaps my favorite video game of all time. I’ve sought out and met the developers of these games.
This year, 2019, Nintendo released a remake of Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch. Sega released a Genesis Mini, which contains both Landstalker and Gunstar Heroes. I dedicate a section of my video to highly recommending the Genesis Mini.
Aunt Vicky, who never married, visited my family for Thanksgiving every year from my own infancy up until I graduated college. I left home immediately after college. I missed a couple Thanksgivings. By the time I came back through my parents’ house for a Thanksgiving, she wasn’t visiting anymore.
She died two weeks ago. In her memory, I would like to give each of you $20 to buy some video games, though I do not have nearly enough money to do that. So I made this video for you to show to your own gift-givers.
If you don’t need my help shopping or composing your own wishlist, you might think this video isn’t for you.
Though what if I told you it contains almost 30 full minutes of footage of my Pomeranian puppy, upon whom I bestow titles such as “My Luxury Goblin” and “My Little Cinnamon Snow Gremlin”? If that don’t do it for you, you’re probably a cat person.
Also! If you personally liked, commented, and / or subscribed to our YouTube channel, that would definitely fuel my habit of making a lot more videos like this. I promise you might love it.