VGBlogger’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Toys and Collectibles

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Our annual gift guides for geeks and gamers are back for the 2017 holiday season. In this installment, check out gift ideas in toys and collectibles. Stay tuned for ongoing updates and gift ideas throughout the holiday season. Happy shopping!

Pixel Pals — Buy from Amazon.com or PDP:

Image Credit: @RealPixelPals https://twitter.com/RealPixelPals/status/936721196317491200

After a tiny launch of just a few select characters last holiday season, PDP’s Pixel Pals have taken the licensed collectible figure scene by storm this year, expanding beyond 8-bit gaming icons into other geek brands like DC Comics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Ren & Stimpy. Of course, videogame characters are still the focal point, some of the latest additions including the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog, Kratos, Ratchet (but no Clank as of yet), Skyrim‘s Dragonborn, and even these cool Marvel vs. Capcom twin-packs feature two dueling characters, for example Rocket Raccoon vs. Chris Redfield. All told, the lineup has exploded to feature more than 40 figures and counting (Mortal Kombat legends Scorpion, Sub Zero, and Raiden are already set to ring in the New Year). These pixel art figures look great straight out of their window box packaging (or kept securely inside for maximum collectible value), but with a pair of AAA batteries they can be lit up so that every colored pixel is set aglow, beautiful for display day or night on a shelf or even as a nightlight in a dark room. Pixel Pals are $15 a pop at regular price, with occasional sale opportunities to grab them for only $10 each. PDP has USB adapters in the works as well, but it’s still not entirely clear if they’ll be out in time for the holidays. If I could pick only one top stocking stuffer to go with this year, it’d have to be the Pixel Pals. Read our full review here.

USAopoly Collector’s Edition Jigsaw Puzzles — Buy from Amazon.com, GameStop, or USAopoly:

USAopoly has had yet another strong year of licensed videogame jigsaw puzzles, so you’ve got plenty of choices to pick from when assembling your wishlist. I’ve already individually reviewed these puzzles: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Map; Animal Crossing Spring Time; Fallout Nuka Cola and Perk Poster; Super Mario Bros World 1-1 and Welcome to Warp Zone; The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Incarnation; The Legend of Zelda Classic; and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker #3. Click the links if you need additional information about any of those puzzles. For the hardcore jigsaw masochist, The Legend of Zelda “Legend of The Hero” puzzle is another great pick, but trust me, it’s brutal as hell. I’ve had it splayed out on a table for a couple months now, and I still only have the border and sporadic bits of the interior in place. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild “Scaling Hyrule” is an absolutely gorgeous puzzle. I haven’t assembled it yet, but it’s up next in my jigsaw queue. I can’t offer any firsthand impressions just yet, but newer offerings include sweet 1,000 piece premium puzzles themed after Destiny and Team Fortress 2. You really have to search around, because certain puzzles can only be found from certain retailers. GameStop in particular gets special exclusive puzzles that you can’t buy anywhere else and aren’t even listed on USAopoly’s own website.

Monopoly Gamer Board Game — Buy from Amazon.com:

Unlike the annual glut of licensed Monopoly variants that lazily slap on a specific theme from a movie or videogame or some other pop culture work to the board game’s standard rules, Monopoly Gamer brings with it a Super Mario Bros. theme alongside a fresh ruleset that streamlines the real estate aspect and peps up the pace to satisfy a gamer’s sensibilities. The overall board flow feels mostly similar. You roll dice, move around the board, buy properties, collect rent from other players who land on your properties, and race to pass Go. From these fundamentals the rules expand to ramp up the action and drastically reduce the lengthy time investment traditional Monopoly often requires. The game is designed for only 2-4 players, with nicely detailed (and highly collectible) player tokens available out of box for Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Princess Peach. Money management has been simplified to coins instead of bills, with only two denominations worth 1 and 5 gold. During the dice roll, one dice represents the number of spaces to move while the second determines which power-up ability you get to use for the current turn. For example, the red turtle shell allows you to hit any player and make them drop three coins on the current space (dropped coins stay in place until picked up from the next passing player), the Blooper lets you directly steal two coins from any player, and the Coins grants an immediate reward of three coins from the bank. Each player character has a unique power-up boost, as well as a special Super Star ability that only triggers when you land on the Super Star board space. Princess Peach’s Super Star special, for example, sees her controlling player collect rent from the bank for all owned properties.

Achieving the endgame revolves around boss battles. The game comes with a stack of eight boss cards that are flipped over and attempted one at a time in sequence each time a player passes Go. Boss battles are a simple luck-of-the-roll game of chance, where players take turns rolling the numbered die to match or beat the number shown on the boss card. The player who beats a boss adds the corresponding card to his or her stash. As soon as the eighth and final boss is defeated, the game ends and players tally up the point values of the coins, properties, and boss cards they own, the player with the highest score named the winner. It’s so nice to be able to reach a conclusive finish within a single sitting rather than having to drag games on for multiple hours or even days, like often happens in vanilla Monopoly. The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is Hasbro’s decision to only include four character tokens and then upcharge character add-ons in the form of booster power packs. Currently, you have the option to add Wario, Luigi, Toad, Boo, Rosalina, Diddy Kong, Fire Mario, and Tanooki Mario to the collection at a few dollars each. The individual price is fair enough, but to get them all you’re basically doubling the cost of the game itself. It just comes off like the board game equivalent of an in-app microtransaction. Fortunately, only collectors will need worry about the extra tokens, as the base set of four is enough to get players going and having a blast right out of the box.

The Princess Bride Talking Book — Buy from Amazon.com or Running Press:

The most inconceivable gift for the holiday season is The Princess Bride Talking Book. About the size of a deck of cards (more like a starter deck of a TCG), the Talking Book is a pocketsize replica of the novel with hardcover bindings that open on front and back, bookending a molded plastic sound box loaded up with 15 classic movie quotes that automatically play one at a time, in a random order, each time you open the front cover, or whenever you manually press the small play button. I only wish there was a volume toggle as the sound blares out at quite a high level. Otherwise it’s great fun to pop the cover open for a quick blast of Princess Bride nostalgia, without needing to sit down to watch the movie. Batteries are installed right out of the box, and the deluxe kit also comes with a companion booklet containing 32 pages of quotes and movie stills. The miniature edition packaging looks lovely–and would look even lovelier peeking out at you from a stocking on Christmas morning.

The Little Box of Emoji — Buy from Amazon.com or Running Press:

A cute novelty for the emoji-loving smartphone texting/tweeting addict, The Little Box of Emoji packages a tiny treasure trove of physical emoji display pieces into a stocking stuffable 3″ x 3″ cube. For $10, you get a set of 10 button pins, 3 magnets, an iron-on patch, and a sticker booklet containing 48 mini emoji stickers. Everything you need to adorn a refrigerator, school binder, notebook, backpack, article of clothing, or anything else with emoji. And a perfect companion to go along with the previously released emoji magnet kit.

Alien Hissing Xenomorph Bust — Buy from Amazon.com or Running Press:

Another miniature edition offering from Running Press, the Hissing Xenomorph is a bust statue, standing 4″ x 1.75″ x 3″, that literally hisses at you when its back lever is pulled. The screeching sound captures the horror of the movie monster, so much so that it’s likely to give some folks a good scare the first time they discover it makes a noise. Tugging the lever also makes the inner mandible extend out for added terror, which is a nice little touch. The bust is made of a molded, rubberized, slightly glossy material, and the level of detail is surprisingly intricate given the small stature and fairly cheap price. The Xenomorph’s elongated crest is capped with a translucent shell, allowing you to see into the skull. A 48-page photo booklet tags along with the bust, featuring a brief synopsis of the original Alien film, as well as movie stills and quotes.

Call of Duty: WWII Deployment Kit — Buy from Amazon.com:

In a similar move to the Mass Effect: Andromeda Nomad model, the Call of Duty: WWII Deployment Kit is a collector’s edition bundle that’s all collectibles and no game. The $100 boxset includes a hardcover Prima strategy guide; DK’s historical World War II Visual Encyclopedia; a hardcover writing journal with ribbon bookmark, interior back cover pocket, and elastic closure strap; an envelope containing an 11”x17” poster and an 8”x10” art print; a Call of Duty: WWII branded flashlight (three AA batteries required, but not included); a metal canteen in branded pouch with button snaps and belt clip; and a replica of Ronald “Red” Daniels’ dog tag from the game. Everything’s stored in a cardboard box that’s like a replica of an ammo crate. While the box is a bit flimsy and cheaply made (for the price a tin collectible box would have been better), the other goods are of exceptional quality. The canteen is solid and rugged, and the flashlight, though encased in a plastic shell, has a nice heft to it and puts out a fairly bright illumination. Call of Duty veterans are going to love this.

Pretend & Play Fishing Set — Buy from Amazon.com:

Need something to get your younger kids to get off their damn tablets and smartphones and, you know, actually use their imaginations and social skills to play? Learning Resources has a great selection of Pretend & Play toy sets that inspire role play. The Pretend & Play line runs the gamut from tool boxes and doctor kits to chef sets and campout gear, but as a hobbyist angler myself, the one that immediately hooked my inner child was the fishing set, a tackle box full of cute toys to simulate the fun of landing a big ol’ lunker down at the pond, for those kids who just aren’t old enough yet to handle a real rod and reel. The set includes a hollow plastic rod and reel combo, with a retractable line that pulls out to about a foot long and attaches to a magnetic hook. Sadly, you can’t actually cast the line out–I imagine that would’ve been too much of a potential injury risk for the kiddies–but cranking the reel handle spools the line in. The box also includes a set of three plastic fish of varying sizes, each with a magnet in its mouth so kids can flex their motor skills and hand-eye coordination by snagging the hook magnet to a fish and attempt to reel it in. It’s probably not a great idea to get the rod wet, but the fish do float (not upright but on their sides), so there is an opportunity to incorporate these into bath time. Three rubber worms of small, medium, and large sizes can be slotted onto the hook, but the magnets aren’t always strong enough to support the weight of the large worm on a large fish, unless the hook hits the sweet spot dead on. Budding anglers also get a net to capture their fish before they fall off the line, a wearable fishing vest, and an erasable activity book offering five educational games like matching colored fish, cracking a hidden message, and tracing letters.

BioShock 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition — Buy from Amazon.com, 2K Store, or GameStop:

It’s kind of hard to believe the BioShock series has been in our lives for a decade already. It seems like just yesterday I was diving into the unforgettable world of Rapture for the first time, before soaring up to the sky bound city of Columbia for another wild ride. There’s no better way to celebrate the grand occasion than asking Santa for the extravagant BioShock 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition, a pricey bundle including all three games (plus remastered 1080p graphics and all DLC), a certificate of authenticity, and an 11” Big Daddy & Little Sister statue decked out with audio effects, operational lights, and a motorized drill. If you’re going to break your shopping budget this year, this is the gift to blow it on.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Nomad ND1 Diecast Model — Buy from Amazon.com or PDP:

“At double the price, the Nomad ND1 replica can be purchased in an app-based remote control version, which is lacking the diecast metal body but does feature a built-in rechargeable battery, as well as an integrated camera for capturing photos and videos while on the go. Which model to get ultimately comes down to whether you want a Nomad ND1 primarily for collectability and display, or the one with greater functionality and toy-like capabilities. I can only speak to the diecast model, which is absolutely of supreme build quality and collector’s appeal. I think it’s safe to say that any Mass Effect fan would be thrilled to have a replica Nomad ND1 as the centerpiece of their collection, even for those who found Andromeda the game to be a disappointment.” Read our full review here.

IncrediBuilds Assassin’s Creed Hidden Blade Model Set — Buy from Amazon.com or Insight Editions:

“The IncrediBuilds Assassin’s Creed kit includes everything needed to build your own collectible 3D wooden sculpture of the iconic hidden blade. On the skill level scale, this kit is rated two out of four stars, classified as Easy. The set consists of just 12 pieces, compared to the more complex Destiny kit, which is rated four stars (Expert difficulty) and has 182 pieces. The Sparrow took me multiple hours over a weekend to assemble; I had the hidden blade all done within 15 minutes. I do wish the difficulty was of equal value to the Destiny model, if only to require a greater time investment to put it together.” Read our full review here.

Other Quick Pick Gift Ideas:

DC Collectibles Bat Signal Prop — Buy from Amazon.com:

Super Mario Level Up! Board Game — Buy from Amazon.com:


Hello Neighbor Toys — Buy from Amazon.com:


Dark Souls Board Game — Buy from Amazon.com:


Bloodborne: The Card Game — Buy from Amazon.com:


Final Fantasy Trading Card Game — Buy from Amazon.com:


Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Memorabilia — Buy from Amazon.com or Square Enix Store:

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!