For better or worse, all of our recent time indoors has turned many of us into gamers and entertainment connoisseurs, whether that means tucking into a crossword puzzle on a regular basis or putting a high-end gaming desktop through its paces. Thankfully, if you’re looking to gift something great this holiday season or treat yourself, we have a few suggestions that should appease that special nerd in your life.
The holidays are right around the corner, but there’s still time to load up on some awesome escapes and fun distractions before they arrive. To help you find the right gift, we’ve pulled together a variety of ideas at varying price points. This includes everything from a god-tier gaming keyboard and LG’s razor-sharp OLED to an annual subscription to The New York Times Crossword. We’ve also included a number of controllers, a classic anime collection, and Samus Aran’s first dedicated outing on the Nintendo Switch. Regardless of who you’re shopping for — or your budget — below is a collection of the very best that nerdery has to offer.
Animal Crossing Monopoly
Perhaps the most wholesome evolution of this capitalism-driven franchise, the adorable veneer of Animal Crossing might just be enough to prevent any board-flipping tantrums when you land on Boardwalk for the eighth time. Animal Crossing Monopoly replaces all the properties with adorable fruit, fossils, and bugs. Even the classic tokens have been replaced by chunky Animal Crossing personas.
Razer DeathAdder Essential
On the surface, this parsed-down version of Razer's storied DeathAdder gaming mouse is virtually indistinguishable from its more expensive counterparts and shares the same curved, snakelike chassis and responsive buttons as other models. The only true difference is the 6,400 DPI sensor, which is less sensitive than Razer’s cutting-edge mice but is still extremely capable. This mouse is a great way to upgrade your gaming setup without spending a ton of cash.
Price: $20 to $22
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
Exercise your right to repair with iFixit's Pro Tech Toolkit. This handy and meticulously organized kit has just about everything you could need to fix laptops, watches, phones, or even glasses. The Pro Tech Toolkit contains virtually every type of head you could ever want for a screwdriver, too, as well as a multitude of other handy tools. The next time you need to put together a computer or make emergency repairs to your phone, you’ll be glad you have the toolkit on hand.
Corsair's biggest and perhaps best keyboard to date pulls out all the stops. The K100 sets itself apart with the inclusion of an ominous wheel and button in the upper-left corner, which can be used for track jogging, switching applications, or zooming in and out of a given window. The full-size keyboard is also the only Corsair keyboard to include the company's OPX optical-mechanical switches, allowing for unprecedented speed and making it an amazing addition to any desktop gaming setup.
OnePlus 9 Pro
Watch your favorite series or play your favorite games on the OnePlus 9 Pro's 6.7"3 Fluid Display 2.0, featuring breakthrough LTPO technology, Smart 120 Hz, and exacting color accuracy. Plus with the new HyperTouch technology, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers more responsive gaming in select titles. And when your battery is low, the Warp Charge 65T gives you a day’s power with just 15 minutes charge
Samsung Odyssey G9 ultrawide monitor
For the gamer who has everything, this absolute unit of a monitor dwarfs all other gaming monitors by a wide margin. This curvaceous, 49-inch display offers just about every perk available to a gaming monitor, too. Samsung's Odyssey G9 features a 5120 x 1440 resolution with a refresh rate of 240Hz and G-Sync support. The price tag definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, but you’ll be the proud owner of a gaming monitor without peer.
Price: $1,100 to $1,600
Nintendo Switch OLED
The latest version of the Nintendo Switch is also the greatest. The OLED model brings a larger, brighter screen to Nintendo's latest handheld, as well as 64GB of built-in storage and a wired LAN port for the dock. Any gamer that has suffered through this past year will likely tell you how owning a Switch helped them retain their sanity, making this handheld an excellent upgrade for current Switch owners and newcomers alike.
Xbox Elite Series 2 controller
Unless you’re exclusively into PlayStation titles, there’s very little reason not to own an Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller. This iteration of Microsoft's customizable controller improves on the original in a variety of ways. It features a rechargeable battery that can last up to 40 hours, for instance, as well as Bluetooth connectvity and a clamshell case that doubles as a charging dock. This model also includes additional customization options, such as thumbstick tension control and extra stops for the triggers.
Price: $158 to $180
Essentially Groundhog Day by way of Quentin Tarantino, Deathloop is the latest hit from Bethesda game studios. It pairs a flashy, '70s-inspired aesthetic with unique time-loop mechanics that have players learning from their mistakes and trying new paths with each new playthrough.
Elgato Stream Deck XL
An essential accessory for any streamer, the Elgato Stream Deck XL is an unassuming panel that features integrations for Twitch Studio, Streamlabs OBS, Twitter, and more. The device's 32 customizable LCD keys can be used to change Twitch scenes, manage your chat, swap between playback channels, and more. Even if you don’t do much streaming, there’s a ton of utility packed into this small device, and there’s something undeniably fun about pushing all those buttons.
The sequel to the BAFTA award-winning Mini Metro, Mini Motorways does for highways what Mini Metro did for subways. This deceptively simple game has you designing streets and thoroughfares to keep your transit system running smoothly with your limited resources. This strangely meditative puzzler is a favorite among the Verge staff and is currently available for the Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, and iOS.
Secretlab gaming chairs
Secretlab is a brand that has become synonymous with gaming chairs. It offers comfortable seating in a wide variety of styles and materials, ranging from soft, breathable fabric to premium Napa leather. Owning one of these chairs is a must for anyone who spends a significant portion of their day behind a desk. Secretlab chairs are also extremely adjustable, making them suitable for a wide variety of users and desk setups, and they even feature a large number of licensed styles inspired by Game of Thrones, DC Comics, and a number of esports teams and games.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is arguably one of the best reasons to own a PlayStation 5 — that is, assuming you can get your hands on one. The gorgeous PlayStation exclusive is an amazing platformer with some unique twists, a lovable cast of characters, and gameplay that makes terriffic use of the adaptive triggers found on the PS5's Dualsense controller. Plus, who doesn't love a good multiverse story?
Oculus Quest 2
For a long time, the Oculus Quest 2 was the closest many of us got to going outside. While we’re spending a little more time outdoors now, this standalone headset is still one of the best ways to experience VR. The Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t require external sensors or even a standalone console like other headsets — everything is self-contained — making it feel like a truly futuristic device.
Backbone One controller
With the rise of cloud gaming platforms like Google Stadia and Xbox Game Pass, playing your favorite games on your phone has never been easier. It can prove challenging without the right controller, however, which is where the Backbone One controller comes in. This device expands and hugs your iPhone, providing you with a classic controller layout without having to fuss with pairing a third-party controller.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Paying for games is for suckers, buy Game Pass instead. This Microsoft subscription service is a remarkable value, offering you unlimited access to more than 100 titles on console, PC, and streaming games to mobile devices, with new games being added every month. This subscription also grants access to the EA Play library, which includes the latest NHL, FIFA, and Madden titles. Another fine perk of this service is the exclusive discounts you can get on games if you decide you want to keep them forever.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale
If it’s been a long time since you’ve felt charmed by a video game, Chicory: A Colorful Tale is here to provide the virtual equivalent of a weighted blanket. Chicory is a game best described as part Scribblenauts, part coloring book, with a dash of Undertale thrown in for balance. Filled with a remarkable array of accessibility options and two-player co-op, this game is great for playing solo or with a friend as you run around restoring color to the world with a magic brush. A small word of caution, though: while this game is suitable for children, there is a fair bit of reading involved, as well as some scarier moments that might prove a bit intense for younger players.
NYT Crossword subscription
For the truly classic gamer in your life, it’s tough to beat a subscription to New York Times Games. Not only do you gain access to more than 10,000 of the legendary New York Times crossword puzzles for just $40 a year, but you can play several other fun and devious logic games. While it's tough to beat the rainy day appeal of the classic crossword, our personal favorite has been “the mini,” which had several Verge staffers and their partners racing each other every day to see who could finish first.
Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series
The perfect primer to get you up to speed on the world of Cowboy Bebop before diving into the live-action Netflix series, this four-disc collection of the classic anime is arguably the best way to experience the animated series. The collection contains both language tracks in 5.1 surround, as well as commentary tracks and interviews with the original voice cast. The entire series has been upscaled to 1080p but is still only viewable in a 4:3 aspect ratio, so don’t freak out if you’re greeted by a black void on either side of your 55-inch TV.
Price: $27 to $33
Regardless of your feelings on raw fish, Sushi Go! is an adorable card game for anyone who’s played Uno to death and needs something with a little more character. Sushi Go! has players pass around decks of adorable chibi-style tempura, maki, and other sushi staples in an attempt to make the most delicious bento box.
Audioengine A2 Plus
For anyone looking to add some flair to their desktop space, this twin set of speakers from Audioengine proves that you don’t need RGB lighting to make your gaming setup look cool. The Audioengine A2 Plus speakers are available in matte black, glossy white, or — our personal favorite — fire-engine red. The powerful speakers are compatible with just about any device with an RCA or 3.5mm audio jack, too, meaning they're not just for gamers.
The perfect gift for the birder or board gamer in your life, Wingspan is a bird-themed board game that’s chock-full of satisfying systems and artwork that would make the Audubon Society green with envy. The delightful game has players competing with each other to assemble the most successful ecosystem, namely by building an efficient roster of feathered friends. The theme is oddly specific and perhaps a little obtuse, sure, but it's undeniably satisfying when you’ve finally pieced together your own personal ecosystem that starts netting you points like some machine made of birds.
Sonos Beam (second-gen)
The second-gen Sonos Beam is one of the best ways to fill out your home theater setup without the hassle of managing cables. The latest model is also sleeker than the original and offers more expansive sound, yet, like the original, it still integrates perfectly with the rest of the Sonos family. It even offers support for Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and Dolby Atmos, allowing for better positional audio.
8BitDo Pro 2 controller
If you’re looking for another Switch Pro controller but don’t want to buy Nintendo’s first-party model, the 8BitDo Pro 2 controller is a fantastic choice. This controller has roughly all the same features as the Nintendo Pro controller but costs roughly $20 less. While this controller can pair with more devices via Bluetooth, it can’t turn on your Switch remotely and lacks Amiibo support. Even with those small omissions, our review still wholeheartedly recommends this gamepad for Switch enthusiasts.
There's a reason these headphones appear on numerous "best headphones" lists across the internet. These wireless headphones from Sony provide amazing sound quality, the ability to pair simultaneously with multiple devices, and industry-leading noise cancellation. These features and the ability to last for up to 30 hours on a single charge make these headphones well worth the sizable investment.
A long-standing top dog of BoardGameGeek, Root is a game that’s best described as something like Game of Thrones meets Disney’s Robin Hood — yes, the one with the animals. The game has you leading factions of woodland creatures portrayed by equally adorable wooden figures. The world of Root is also brought to life thanks to remarkably evocative board art and illustrations. We understand that gathering friends for board games right now isn’t particularly easy, but if you can manage it, Root won’t disappoint.
Razer Kiyo Pro
Thanks to its design, the Razer Kiyo Pro wouldn't look out of place on the end of a digital camera. This upgraded version of the Razer Kiyo webcam is capable of capturing 1080p footage at 60 frames per second and has a variety of aperture settings that allow you to adjust field of view and fine-tune the brightness and saturation of your image.
Scuf Instinct Pro controller
This customizable controller from Scuf pairs the pro design seen on Xbox Elite controllers with sharp aesthetics. Besides providing a top-tier gaming experience with back paddles, textured grips, and adjustable trigger stops, the Instinct Pro can be personalized with a variety of eye-catching colors and patterns.
LG C1 OLED (55-inch)
One of the most popular OLED TVs on the market, the LG C1, is the next logical upgrade for anyone looking to take advantage of what next-gen gaming truly has to offer. The brilliant, 4K OLED panel features a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision compatibility, as well as support for HDMI 2.1, ensuring seamless intergation with the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Price: $1,297 to $1,300
Resident Evil Village
The most recent entry in the Resident Evil franchise is worth the price of admission for the memes alone. It may not be as revolutionary as some of the earlier entries in the series, but Resident Evil Village's quirky cast of otherwordly characters, labyrinthine level design, and frenetic encounters make it a solid entry in the aged horror franchise.
Price: $30 to $34
Asus Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop
Easily our favorite gaming laptop of the year, the Asus Zephyrus G15 is a 15-inch laptop that pairs an RTX 3070 graphics card with a Ryzen 9 CPU for unmatched gaming performance in its class.
The first new Metroid title in over four years, Metroid Dread represents a long-awaited return to form. The moody sidescroller brings together labyrinthian puzzles, satisfying combat, and the best elements of previous titles to form a game that's as classic as anything in the 2D Metroid cannon.
HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap
The HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is the most comfortable way to experience audio while using the HTC Vive. You can easily swap out the premium, headphone-equipped audio strap with your standard headset, and it comes outfitted with an adjustment dial that always ensures a snug fit.
Price: $69 to $70