VGBlogger’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Accessories, Stocking Stuffers & Other Last Minute Gift Ideas

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At long last we have arrived at our final gift guide for the holiday season, featuring everything from gaming and tech accessories to video game themed shaving creams. If you’re still struggling to finish up your Christmas shopping or put together a wish list of your own, we have a bunch of gift ideas worth your consideration. Now get shopping!

Read our other gift guides for more shopping and wish list ideas at these links:

VGBlogger’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Art Books
VGBlogger’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Toys and Collectibles
VGBlogger’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Comics and Novels

KontrolFreek Alpha — Buy From: Amazon.com or KontrolFreek.com

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KontrolFreek offers a wide range of analog stick grips for enhancing control response and precision, but until now they have all raised the height of the analog stick. This added height allows for more leverage, which can be a huge benefit to the accuracy and subtle twitch movements of first-person shooters in particular, but for some users may feel too awkward compared to what their used to. That’s where the new Alpha design for PS4 and Xbox One comes in. The Alphas provide the same boost in performance as any of the other KontrolFreeks, and they do so while significantly expanding the surface area of the existing analog sticks and only extending the height by a negligible 3mm. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Alpha or any one of the many other models currently available, every gamer should have at least one pair of KontrolFreeks. And if you’re like me, you’ll have a set on every controller you own!

SquidGrip — Buy From: Amazon.com or SquidGrip.com

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Do you or someone you know suffer from SPS, also known as Sweaty Palms Syndrome? Then check this out! Available now for PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, SquidGrips are padded grips that wrap around the handles of the desired controller and adhere like a sticker. While the soft, anti-microbial material doesn’t cure the root cause of sweaty hands (it’s a gaming accessory, not a miracle healing device), it does wick moisture away and prevent your hands from both slipping and feeling all grimy and sticky after prolonged use. I guess you could say the technology functions similarly to dri-fit fabrics in sports apparel. Installation couldn’t be easier: just peel away each grip’s backing (every package comes with two grips, one each for the right and left handles) and use the guide holes to line up with the seams on the sides of the controller before smoothly pressing the grip into place. The grips can be removed later if desired, but that’s not something I’ve tried. Nor would I want to, because in addition to improving comfort, reducing slippage, and possibly even providing an extra layer of protection from bumps and drops, SquidGrips enhance a controller’s aesthetics, little bubble sticker tabs with product logos settings things off with extra flair. Pair SquidGrip with KontrolFreek for the ultimate stocking stuffer combo pack.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U Wired Fight Pads — Buy From: Amazon.com or Performance Designed Products

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So you’re playing the hell out of Super Smash Bros Wii U, and you look down and see that your standard controller just looks so plain and dull, unbefitting of the grandeur of Nintendo’s mascot brawling opus. Not any more. Sure to go down a treat for all Nintendo fans, Performance Designed Products has launched a new line of Wii / Wii U pro classic controllers designed with the button layout and ergonomics of an original GameCube controller (minus vibration) and a quasi-wireless design that plugs into a Wii Remote Connector Port like a nunchuk. Not only that, each controller is themed after a different Nintendo character for ultimate fan service, current options including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Yoshi, with a second wave coming next year to introduce Link, Samus, Donkey Kong and Wario. The color schemes and other little flourishes really capture the distinct personalities of each character within each controller. For example, the Mario and Luigi controllers are dressed up like their outfits, with the top half of the casing colored red or green to match their shirts and the bottom half colored blue like their overalls, each adorned with an M or L just like they have on their hats. In terms of pure performance, Smash Bros. purists may find subtle differences from a regular first-party GameCube controller, but as far as third-party controllers go these things are awesome. Overall, the buttons feel responsive and the build quality is strong despite the weight reduction from the lack of force feedback. The only potential drawback for some users will be the requirement of connecting the controller via a Wii Remote rather than plugging directly into the console, which is a weird limitation. At $25 each, these fight pads are a great option for playing Smash Bros. or any other classic controller compatible Wii or Wii U title, and they aren’t too expensive to buy purely as collector’s items. I can totally see hardcore fans buying each character theme just to display on a bookshelf like a collection of figurines.

Afterglow Wireless Headsets — Buy From: Amazon.com or Performance Designed Products

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Another stellar gaming accessory from Performance Designed Products that deserves to be high atop gamer wish lists, namely those looking to upgrade their audio experience, is the Afterglow line of wireless headsets, which are available in models for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and mobile devices and range from a low end of $89.99 to a premium $199.99 model outfitted with 5.1 Dolby digital sound processing. In the middle of the price range falls the headset I got a chance to test out, the $129.99 Afterglow Fener built for PS4 but fully compatible with PC and PS3, as well as practically any device that accepts a standard 3.5mm audio cable (it worked beautifully with my Vita for example). For the full wireless effect, the headset includes a plug and play USB transmitter that allows for uninterrupted connectivity up to 100 feet away. I didn’t measure out exact distances, but while watching a movie upstairs on my PC I was able to go downstairs to get a drink or whatever and continue listening without any sort of signal latency or degradation in audio quality. And speaking of audio quality, it’s fantastic. I’ve been using a nice pair of Astro Gaming headphones for a while now, but these deliver deeper bass and richer sound overall. They sure are stylish too, featuring a see-through casing so you can see the inner circuitry as lit by “Prismattic Color Select” LED lighting that provides similar ambiance to the case lighting on an Alienware PC. The only minor flaw I encountered was a faint but noticeable buzzing sound in the background. Fortunately it was only audible when there was no other sound coming through the speakers, so it was of no consequence. PDP’s Afterglow line, at least based on the Fener, offers everything a gamer could want in a headset: high-end audio quality, wireless freedom, a boom-less microphone for voice chat, ear and headband cushioning that is snug yet soft and comfortable, USB connectivity for recharging while in use, compatibility with multiple platforms, and sleek, eye-catching aesthetics.

DualShock 4 — Buy From: Amazon.com

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Obviously this one’s a no-brainer for anyone in need of a new controller for their PS4, but the primary reason behind the DualShock 4’s presence in this guide is for its fantastic performance as a gamepad for PC gaming. Sony still has not released official Windows drivers for the DS4, so out of the box plug and play functionality is a no go. However, thanks to an incredibly easy to install and manage piece of software called DS4 Tool (combined with either a USB Bluetooth dongle for wireless use or a micro USB cable for wired play which will need to be purchased seperately), your computer can be tricked into thinking a DualShock 4 is an Xbox controller. More than that, the software enables the controller’s touch pad, which means mouse cursor scrolling can be done without putting the controller down or taking a hand away to use the real mouse. In my experience playing Lord knows how many Steam games since switching away from my Xbox 360 controller a couple months ago, I haven’t had a single instance of a title not recognizing the DS4. If your personal preference in controllers slants towards the Xbox design, stick with what you already know and love. But for my money the DS4 is the new top dog in PC gaming controllers. Hopefully some day soon Sony will wake up and release drivers to eliminate the need for extra software.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity Edge Shave Gel — Buy From: In Stores (No listing found for online orders)

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We’ve seen plenty of video game tie-ins with things like sodas, snack foods, toys and books, but here’s a new one: shaving cream. Yes, Ubisoft has partnered with Edge to release a collection of three limited edition canisters of Assassin’s Creed: Unity Shave Gel shaving cream. I don’t know if it was an intended part of the marketing plan or just a happy coincidence, but this would seem to represent shaving off the pirate scruff from Black Flag and slipping into the more suave French setting of Unity. Each can retails for $2.99 and features a different style of shave gel, as well as a unique cap color, character artwork and access to an exclusive piece of DLC. Sensitive Skin with Aloe comes with an orange cap and a downloadable sword; Extra Moisturizing with Vitamin E comes with a purple cap and a downloadable armor; and the Ultra Sensitive with Colloidal Oatmeal comes with a silver cap and a downloadable Assassin’s Hood. These are supposed to be available online and at food, drug and mass market retailers, but online store searches haven’t produced any results so far. I did just see them on the shelf in the shaving section at the Target store in my area a couple days ago, so they should still be available if you search around. For some fans, the limited time supply and alternate packaging styles will make these collectible items to display on a shelf as much as functional personal hygiene products. Regardless of how they are ultimately used, these are ideal gamer geek stocking stuffers.

Philips Norelco Click & Style Electric Razor — Buy From: Amazon.com

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Before you get your hopes up, no, this shaver is not some special edition model with artwork or design tied to a video game franchise. (Maybe some day there will be an Assassin’s Creed hidden blade razor, but that day is not today.) However, Philips Norelco is targeting the gaming community with its “Nail Your Game” campaign for the new Click & Style all-in-one electric shaver, beard trimmer (with adjustable length comb) and body hair groomer (with its own comb attachment). The Razor comes with three interchangeable heads that pop in and out with a simple push or pull, without any type of button, latch or locking mechanism to hassle with. The contours of the shaver itself make the unit comfortable and natural to hold, while the sort of rubber-coated plastic casing is both smooth to the touch and sheds water for quick drying, which is particularly nice for anyone who prefers shaving in the shower (yes, it is shower proof). I’ve gone through quite a few electric shavers and have never been very impressed compared to using a manual razor blade, but this one gives probably the cleanest, closest shave I’ve experienced using an electric. The multi-purpose functionality and affordable price make the Click & Style a solid go-to tool for everyday grooming and the occasional manscaping job.

PowerCube Electric Outlet Adapters — Buy From: Amazon.com or Powercube-USA.com

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Every gamer or tech geek has power cables come out the wazoo, and finding the right organization solution for each individual gadget configuration isn’t always easy. Well, it wasn’t easy until Allocacoc’s family of PowerCube outlet adapters came along. Plugging a single PowerCube into a wall outlet turns the one outlet into as many as five (depending on the model), one on each face of the cube. Additionally, there are all-purpose models with a combination of AC outlets and USB ports for direct charging USB devices, as well as a dedicated USB charging unit. And then there are the Extended PowerCubes, which have 5-ft extension cords and stick-on docks so that they can be mounted where needed, such as on top or on the underside of a desk or table for easier access than having to crawl underneath or pull the desk away from the wall to get at an outlet or power strip. PowerCubes are even modular. The package warns against connecting an Original PowerCube into another Original PowerCube, but beyond that limitation one PowerCube can be linked in a chain with an Extended PowerCube, with a Power USB plugged in as the cherry on top of the electrical outlet sundae. Simple, clean, effective.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Gold Edition — Buy From: Amazon.com or Square Enix Online Store

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We’ve already done individual gift guides for art books and collectibles, but here’s a gift idea that includes both! For some reason here in the US Square Enix decided to release a Gold Edition for Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris that doesn’t actually include the game. In Europe, the Gold Edition comes with a boxed copy of the game, as well as a DLC season pass and physical goods including a cute 3″ Lara figurine, a mini art book, and an overworld map scroll. Here, the game is only available as a digital download while the Gold Edition is a standalone package containing just the collectibles. It would have been great to have the same complete package as overseas, but $20 for the extras is certainly reasonable. The pricing falls within the typical Secret Santa limit and the individual items are stocking stuffer size.

The String Arcade — Buy From: Amazon.com or BandCamp

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An album of theme songs from games like Plants vs. Zombies, Minecraft, Legend of Zelda, Portal 2, FTL and Sonic the Hedgehog as performed by a classical string quartet. Fans of video game music should not miss out buying The String Arcade. The best thing about this album is that you can tell that everyone involved had an absolute blast composing and performing the music. As a bonus to getting a full complement of gorgeous and fun music, all sales of the album will go toward the Alameda Music Project, a K-5 after school music program offering free instruction to young music students. Clearly this is an album of love. Read our full review here.

Color Cables — Buy From: Amazon.com or Colorcables.com

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Check out this stylish new product in the charge ‘n’ sync accessory category for mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and iPods. Color Cables have a thick, flat, durable design that prevents them from tangling and gives you added confidence that they are going to hold up to coiling and uncoiling, plugging and unplugging over the long haul, unlike the countless flimsy cords I’ve come across in my many years of owning tech devices. Seven different color options are available, including Blue, Red, Orange, Green, Purple, Grey and Pink. While it lasts, the glow in the dark effect is really slick, and potentially very helpful if you have ever found yourself fumbling around trying to find the cable for your phone at night with the lights off. Most importantly, the illumination is bright enough to see without emitting enough of a glow that will brighten the room or disturb you while you try to go to sleep. I absolutely have to pay compliments to the packaging as well. Each cable comes in a rainbow-splashed box that inserts into a white or black windowed slip cover. Inside or outside of the box, these cables really catch the eye. So, if your drab, tangled mass of black and grey charging cords is in need of a shot of color and some organization, check out Color Cables to brighten up your tech life.

LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History — Buy From: Amazon.com

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Whether you grew up playing LEGOs but eventually moved on, are an avid brick architect and minifig collector, or are a youngster still fresh in your exposure to the wonderful world of toy brick construction, LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History will fill your soul with unadulterated joy. This book is a true celebration of the minifigure and the imaginative spirit of LEGO. And do you want to know what the best part is? The book comes with three actual minifigs–Townsperson, Stormtrooper, and Robber–packaged directly inside the front cover! How sweet is that? Read our full review here.

Strategy Guides — Buy From: Amazon.com or BradyGames / Prima Games

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When looking for a supplemental gift to pair with that shiny new game strategy guides are a safe choice to consider. And now that Brady Games and Prima Games have united under one banner, walkthroughs for damn near every major game–Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, the list goes on–are now available from a single location. While it’s always recommended to play through any game the first time without any sort of aid, having a guide to consult during replays, endgame collectible hunting or just for general information comes in handy. These days, given the increasing availability of special editions for select titles, certain guides take on a collector’s value. For instance the Collector’s Edition guide for Dark Souls II. More so than other games, Dark Souls II is best experienced blind, but given the complete lack of in-game explanation about anything, it’s nice to have detailed explanations of how stats and leveling up actually work, as well as charts for all items and equipment, so at the very least you can save yourself from wasting souls and resources on upgrading stats or gear that don’t suit your preferred style. Once the game is finished, it’s fun to look back through the guide to check out the suggested boss strategies to see where you went right or wrong, read background info on all the NPCs and creatures, and study the maps of each area to discover hidden places you missed or learn how to get at that elusive item that’s been taunting you from some high up ledge you could never figure out how to reach on your own. It’s such a fantastic guide, the hardbound cover art disguising it as a coffee table art book you won’t mind leaving out in plain sight when guests pay a visit. Destiny is another guide with a fantastic limited edition that, although a bit light on worthwhile information on the inside, looks like a fancy art book from the outside. Each guide has one of three different cover themes–Hunter, Titan, or Warlock–underneath the double-sided dust jacket, and even comes with a pair of print lithographs great for framing or collecting.

Musterbrand Apparel — By Musterbrand — Buy From: Amazon.com or Musterbrand.com

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For shoppers with deep pockets and a keen fashion sense, Musterbrand offers an amazing line of video game themed apparel for showing off one’s affinity for a particular franchise or character. If spending multiple hundreds of dollars to be able to dress up in the fashion of gaming stars like Arno Dorian, Aiden Pearce or Agent 47 is beyond your budget, some more affordable options like t-shirts, hats, pins, scarves and buttons are available. Some of the top collections include Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Portal, The Witcher 3, Deus Ex, Metal Gear Solid, Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft.

The Music of Grand Theft Auto V: Limited Edition CD/Vinyl Soundtracks — By Mass Appeal Records — Buy From: Amazon.com

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You’ve got two choices here: a Vinyl LP containing six records, a collectible box, color booklet and lithograph poster; or a three-disc CD set containing the same packaging extras plus a USB drive shaped like a gold brick. Both offer the same collection of 59 tracks and look gorgeous enough to double as display pieces around a high-end audio system. Due to a limited production supply of less than 5,000 units worldwide these babies sold out on Mass Appeal in no time flat, but fortunately some are in stock on Amazon if you act fast. Or, if all else fails, there’s always the digital soundtrack.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug — By Warner Home Video — Buy From: Amazon.com

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With the third and final act of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy hitting theaters this holiday season, now’s the time to catch up on the home video releases of the first two parts, especially the Extended Edition re-releases (which are always better than the original theatrical versions). Has The Hobbit trilogy been as masterful as The Lord of the Rings? No, not really. But these are still damn good fantasy epics. I actually enjoyed the first two way more on the second (and third and fourth) viewings, when my expectations returned to a more fair level, I turned off the nitpicker side of my brain that just wanted to look for the things Jackson didn’t get “right” compared to the book, and just enjoyed the ride.

The Ref — By Touchstone Home Entertainment — Buy From: Amazon.com

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This is just a random cult-favorite holiday season movie of mine that I had to add for shits and giggles. There’s absolutely no connection, but after Kevin Spacey’s crossover into video game acting this year in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, I suddenly felt the urge to dig this old flick out of the vaults to re-watch for the first time in many years. It holds up really well as a black Christmas comedy starring Spacey and Judy Davis as a feuding married couple kidnapped and held hostage in their own home by a foul-mouthed burglar played by Denis Leary. Think Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, and War of the Roses all rolled up into one and then bombarded by f-bombs. Most holiday flicks are for the whole family; it’s nice to have one that is for adults only for a change.

The Lego Movie — By Warner Home Video — Buy From: Amazon.com

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All the kiddies are still infatuated with Frozen, but this is the animated movie to get this year. At least for nostalgic grownups and toy geeks who fondly remember playing with Legos as a youngster; I actually see it being a love it or hate it film for children. Animated entirely out of digital Lego bricks using a sort of faux stop motion technique, The Lego Movie looks spectacular and does a phenomenal job of capturing the creative spirit and childhood imagination of building things out of toy blocks. The pacing and style of humor is often erratic and almost overbearing–in a way funny and annoying at the same time–very much in line with Will Ferrell’s brand of comedy (only less adult). All of the voice actors nailed their performances, Will Arnett and Liam Neeson seriously deserving of winning some awards for their respective portrayals of Batman and Bad Cop/Good Cop. For the home video release, the Blu-ray (or DVD) offers a lot of fun extras, including outtakes, animated shorts (like a Michelangelo and Lincoln buddy cop skit), video guides showing how to DIY build certain props from the movie out of real Legos (make your own double decker couch!), and other behind the scenes content. Everything about this movie is awesome…except for that infernal theme song!

True Detective Season 1 — By HBO — Buy From: Amazon.com

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Until this year Breaking Bad was a slam dunk as my favorite TV drama series ever. Then along came HBO’s True Detective. The core murder mystery storyline is a standard whodunnit spanning eight perfectly paced episodes, but the masterful writing and award-winning acting performances by co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson elevate this first season to instant classic status. McConaughey and Harrelson are good friends in real life, and you can tell they had a blast working together on this project, because their chemistry is just so effortless and captivating. The interplay between their characters as partner homicide detectives with life stories and personalities that couldn’t be any different–Harrelson as a seemingly down to Earth family man who is a completely hypocritical and chauvinistic hothead, and McConaughey as a peculiar, pessimistic, tells it like it is alcoholic and insomniac who says some of the strangest shit you’ll ever hear with a hypnotic monotone delivery–strikes the perfect balance of being naturally funny and dramatically intense. In a way it’s sad that True Detective is an anthology series, meaning each season will tell a self-contained story and star different actors, but ultimately that choice is for the best because you get to see the storyline through its full arc of a beginning, middle, and an end, without some cliffhanger to leave you dangling until the next season or the fear that future seasons won’t be able to capture the same magic. While I’ll miss McConaughey and Harrelson in these roles, the fact that there is a finality to their characters’ journey together makes for a more powerful experience. True Detective should not be missed by fans of hard-boiled crime fiction or basically anyone who admirers great acting regardless of genre.

Heavenly Sword Animated Movie — By Blockade Entertainment / TriCoast Worldwide — Buy From: Amazon.com

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While not as much of a cutting edge visual feast as a video game movie like Final Fantasy VII: Adventure Children, Heavenly Sword looks marvelous and is far richer in detail and lighting than the game’s CG cutscenes. (It certainly has a more coherent storyline and far better acting performances.) The battle scenes are exciting, surprisingly bloody, and smoothly animated, fully capturing the graceful sense of motion and fight choreography that made the game a delight to play. Just watching Nariko’s flowing red hair whip around adds dimension and personality to every scene. Viewed by someone who never played the game, the movie will probably lack enough context and momentum to make it a memorable experience. Fans of the game who formed an interactive bond with the characters and have a deeper connection to the world should enjoy reliving Nariko’s tale of redemption and revenge, even if certain changes to the cast and story lessen some of the impact. A short but sweet mid-credits teaser scene is worth watching for as well. Read our full review here.

Disclosure: Free samples for some of the products featured in this gift guide, including KontrolFreek Alpha, SquidGrip, Performance Designed Products, Edge Shave Gel, Philips Norelco Click & Style Electric Razor, PowerCube, Color Cables, LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History, Brady Games strategy guides, The Lego Movie, and Heavenly Sword, were provided to VGBlogger.com for review.

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!