VGBlogger’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Geeks & Gamers

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Our annual holiday gift guide for geeks and gamers is back for another holiday shopping season. Books, toys, collectibles, jigsaw puzzles, gaming accessories–we’ve got fun recommendations for everything geeky and gamey. Ongoing updates will be made through the remainder of the year (perhaps you’ll want to self gift yourself something special with any Christmas money or gift cards you end up with?) so check back for more of our holiday picks as 2018 draws to a close. Happy holidays everyone!

Disclosure: Products featured in this guide were provided to VGBlogger.com for coverage consideration.

Toast Wood Veneer Console Covers — Buy from www.toastmade.com:

Tired of your favorite console’s generic “it’s a piece of entertainment tech” look? Then spruce up your entertainment center décor with a wood veneer cover by Toast. Available in ash, bamboo, ebony, and walnut, Toast veneers are made of real wood, cut from a single sheet so that the grain seamlessly wraps around the system for a clean, unified appearance. Each panel has an adhesive backing so you can affix them securely to the outer-facing chassis of the desired console–PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch (plus mobile devices!). The directions are clear enough that any average gamer should be able to follow along and complete the installation. However, at least some level of DIY competency is recommended, because lining up the panels for a smooth, level finish takes a steady, confident hand. The adhesive is very strong, so you really only get one shot to get each panel lined up. For my installation, I got every panel lined up just right except for the main body cover, which I laid down maybe a millimeter off target, and now looks ever so slightly misaligned up close. The best thing about Toast’s wood veneers is the opportunity (for an added fee of course) to personalize the cover by choosing a favorite image or creating your own design to have laser etched into the wood surface. The image shown above is my custom PS4 cover, a bamboo veneer etched with the cover art of The Last Guardian collector’s edition steelbook case. Pretty sweet, huh? The customization possibilities are virtually endless. Console accessories don’t get any cooler or more stylish than Toast’s wood covers.

Fallout Nanoforce Series 1 Figures — Buy from Amazon or Toynk Toys:

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A delightfully nostalgic stocking stuffer from Toynk Toys, Fallout Nanoforce figures bring the retro charm of classic Army Men into the 21st century. These are not those green toy soldiers that many of you may fondly remember from decades ago. Nanoforce figures are bright blue and orange, made of a solid, sturdy plastic, and just about on par with many collectible board game miniatures in terms of design and detail. The full Series 1 lineup will include a total of 48 2″ figures and four 4″ figures, divided across multiple bagged and boxed volumes. Currently only the first bagged set of 12 figures is available, including six Vault Boy “Perk” figures (Strength, Chemist, Grim Reaper’s Sprint, Party Boy, Commando, and Four Leaf Clover) and six “Weapons/Artifacts” (Mini-Nuke, Armored Dogmeat, Grognak’s Axe, Nuka Cola Bottle, Thirst Zapper, and Jangles the Moon Monkey). They’re perfect for lining up for display on a bookshelf, secretly playing out make-believe Wasteland battles when you’re sure no one is around to see you acting like a 7-year-old, or keeping safely bagged up in their vintage drugstore packaging for maximum collector’s value. Fallout fans of all ages will love them to pieces.

Collectible LookSee Gift Boxes — Buy from Amazon or Toynk Toys:

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Do you know someone who’s a gamer and collector but maybe you aren’t knowledgeable enough about their pastime to be able to confidently pick out a specific game that you know they’ll like or that they don’t already own? LookSee gift boxes to the rescue! Thoughtfully curated by Toynk Toys, LookSee boxes are themed collector’s bundles of choice memorabilia. Each box contains a stash of goodies tailored to a specific game, movie, or pop culture property. Fallout, God of War, Pokémon, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Super Mario Bros., Bob Ross, Golden Girls, Dragon Ball Z, or broader themes like superheroes and horror movies–there’s a LookSee box for pretty much everyone. The kits are super high quality, too. I got the Cuphead box, which includes an air freshener, enamel pin set, fleece throw blanket, and 20 oz ceramic mug with straw, and the quality of the collection surpassed all my expectations. Even the box everything comes in is displayable collector’s quality, showcasing beautiful themed artwork on all sides, without giving away to the recipient what’s inside until they open it. Just order the LookSee box of choice and put it under the tree, no wrapping required. Come Christmas morning that lucky someone is going to be grinning ear to ear before they even tear into the box.

KontrolFreek Gaming Lights — Buy from KontrolFreek:

It’s been neat to watch KontrolFreek’s growth over the years. I remember reviewing my first pair of CQCs half a dozen years ago, and since then the company has expanded its signature thumbstick grips, built a stable of licensed designs, and branched out into other areas, from controller skins and grips to cleaning products, braided gaming cables, and even apparel. KontrolFreek’s latest brand extension is gaming lights. Yes, LED light strings you can hook up to a USB power source and use to bring atmospheric mood lighting to your entertainment center or gaming PC. Adhesive backing provides the option to mount the light strips for a cleaner presentation, or you can loosely just wrap or drape them around your setup. A built-in inline control pad allows you to easily cycle through about 20 colors, eight brightness levels, and different modes like a color cycle, breathing effect, blinking, or just a constant, solid color. At full length, the light string extends to roughly nine feet, but the full string is actually made up of a series of smaller strips that can be connected/disconnected as needed. Something about having some lights to string around your gaming hub just feels so festive at this time of year, yet they make for a fun and functional accessory to use year round.

KontrolFreek Performance Thumbsticks — Buy from Amazon or KontrolFreek:

KontrolFreek thumbstick grips are an annual holiday gift recommendation around here, and for good reason–they’re awesome! This year may just be one of the strongest lineups yet, including an expanded offering of licensed brand themes featuring an array of designs tailored to some of the hottest games, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Destiny 2, and Overwatch. And then there are the Omni thumbsticks, what I called “a new benchmark for comfort, grip, and all-around versatility” in my full review earlier this year. Having trouble figuring out what to get the gamer in your life? When in doubt just get them something from KontrolFreek, and I guarantee they’ll come back thanking you after the first session with their new thumbsticks. As an added bonus, KontrolFreek rebranded this year and the new packaging is really slick.

Kingdom Hearts and Tomb Raider Pixel Pals — Buy from Amazon or PDP:

The Pixel Pals lineup wasn’t as impactful this year in terms of quantity compared to previous years, but the brand expanded into some exciting new franchises that fully deliver on that special Pixel Pals magic. On the gaming side, Pixel Pals have launched new figures for Tomb Raider–a retro Classic Lara Croft from the old games as well as a Reboot Lara Croft from the modern series–and the Kingdom Hearts crew of Sora, King Mickey, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Classic Lara is my favorite of the bunch, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. Another welcomed addition to the Pixel Pals feature set this year is the new ‘Try Me’ packaging design, which includes a small power button and battery wired into the figure, allowing you to hold down the button to illuminate the character while it’s still inside the box. This gives consumers the chance to sample the lighting effect while at the same time offering collectors who prefer keeping their figures sealed in their original packaging the chance to enjoy the light-up element in a limited capacity without having to open the box and manually install batteries. Should you decide to crack a box open and remove the figure, you’ll be happy to know that the ‘Try Me’ switch can be reconnected to the character if you ever decide to put it back inside. It looks like PDP is even beginning to bring back previous characters as collector’s editions with the new ‘Try Me’ packaging, so now’s a good time to pick up some figures you may have missed out on.

A Die Hard Christmas — Buy from Amazon:

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I don’t care what anyone says, even if that someone is Bruce Willis himself. Die Hard is a Christmas movie, dammit! In fact, I would argue it’s the greatest goddamn Christmas movie of all-time. The holiday is so interwoven into the fabric of the movie that the plot seamlessly translates into an adult storybook adaptation of the “Night Before Christmas,” which is exactly what A Die Hard Christmas is. Doogie Horner’s sharp, playful writing and JJ Harrison’s charmingly bloody illustrations masterfully synchronizes the movie’s storyline, action sequences, and iconic John McClane one-liners beat for beat with the classic holiday poem. It’s absolutely brilliant. So now on Christmas Eve, once the kiddies have all been put to bed after a reading of “Night Before Christmas,” the adults can break out A Die Hard Christmas for a more grown-up (yet still childish) bedtime read. Die Hard is an annual Christmas movie tradition for me, and now I have a new book reading tradition to go along with it!

Titan Books Marvel Novels — Buy from Amazon:

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Titan Books launched a new collaboration with Marvel this year to expand all your favorite superhero storylines beyond comic books and into full on novels. Everything from classic storylines like Civil War to original new stories like Deadpool: Paws, a hilarious tale about the infamous, fourth-wall-breaking Merc with a Mouth chasing after adorable puppies that mutate into nasty monsters. Yes, it’s totally absurd–and I wouldn’t have Deadpool any other way. There’s also a book like Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover, a prequel narrative leading into Insomniac’s new PS4 videogame starring the friendly wall-crawler. The Avengers, Black Panther, Venom, and Ant-Man have books, too. I’ve read about four or five of them so far, and they’ve all been incredibly fun reads. As someone who has sort of outgrown comics, the deeper characterization and world building possible in a full-length novel has made these superhero storylines far more compelling. Another thing I like, from the ones I’ve read, is that they’re written with the assumption that you already know who these characters are, so there isn’t a ton of wasted text on retelling origin stories or anything like that. I very much appreciate that.

Shades of Magic Boxed Set — Buy from Amazon:

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The best new fantasy series in the last handful of years, if not the past decade, has received the boxed set treatment just in time for the holiday season. You get all three paperback books–A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light–tucked together inside a heavy duty box, the open end exposing the color coordinated book bindings for that extra cool factor when displayed on a shelf. Also included is a fold-out poster depicting a map of the four Londons at the heart of the trilogy’s unique story. Whether you’re new to the series or a returning fan looking to grow your collection, this boxed set is an absolute must for anyone with an affinity for fantasy fiction. Specifically for Shades of Magic enthusiasts, I would also recommend the Collector’s Edition hardcover of the first book, which features black dust jacket artwork, fan art within the front and back covers, a built-in ribbon bookmark, and bonus text such as author interview, a glossary of terms, and a collection of all-new short stories set within the same universe.

Fallout: The Vault Dweller’s Official Cookbook — Buy from Amazon:

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Have you always wanted to know all the secret recipes those living in the Wasteland have concocted for survival? Well now, thanks to the delectable recipes of Victoria Rosenthal, you can whip up your very own batch of YumYum Deviled Eggs, a tasty Iguana-on-a-Stick, a piping pot of Radstag Stew, some ooey-gooey BlamCo Mac and Cheese, and every post-apocalyptic cocktail there is, including the iconic Nuka-Cola, Stimpak, and RadAway. Alongside the easy to follow recipes and high quality dish pics (aka food porn), the book contains plenty of recognizable Vault-Tec imagery and advertisements for a vintage flair that Fallout fans are sure to gobble up with glee.

God of War Official Novelization — Buy from Amazon:

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Pretty much a beat for beat novelization of the new PlayStation 4 game’s storyline, God of War sees the return of the legendary Kratos, only this time he’s got a dead wife and a young son to raise and train for the long road ahead as they journey through the realms of Norse mythology. Obviously there aren’t any pictures, but in your mind’s eye, knowing him from the past, you can just picture Kratos growling and scowling and snarling the whole way through. In true God of War fashion, there is plenty of typical brawling and bloodshed, described in vivid violence through the author J.M. Barlog’s efficient prose. Don’t expect snappy dialogue though. The conversations are all pretty straightforward and don’t have a ton of depth. The emotional range you get from the game’s evocative voice acting falls flat in the transition to written dialogue as Kratos’s gruff abruptness simply doesn’t translate as well to text. However, the novel does excel at pulling you deeper into Kratos and Atreus’s inner thoughts while also filling in certain gaps left unseen in the game. For example, when Kratos steps into the Light of Alfheim and leaves Atreus behind with his axe, the book actually shows what happens from Atreus’s perspective during this period of being left alone, whereas in the game you only see Kratos’s perspective and come back to see the aftermath of Atreus’s fight with Dark Elves. Little touches like that definitely make the novelization a worthwhile read even for gamers who already know the story. For folks who maybe aren’t as enthusiastic about hyper video game violence but still want to experience a good coming of age story steeped in the grandeur of Norse mythology, this novelized adaptation is the perfect alternative.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Path of the Apocalypse — Buy from Amazon:

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Tying in with Lara Croft’s latest tomb raiding video game adventure, Path of the Apocalypse begins where the game does, but shortly thereafter takes a jaunt for a little side story that eventually concludes where the game picks back up. So think of it as a novelized version of a DLC side quest extending Lara’s journey. The book is full length at just shy of 300 pages, but it reads more like a novella than a fully fleshed out novel. There are no chapters, only the occasional page break when the perspective shifts between Lara, Jonah, and the various members of Trinity squad. Almost the entire story takes place as Lara explores a labyrinthine cave system with a team of Trinity soldiers known as The Dozen, as well as plenty of bats and a strange species of albino screeching salamanders, hunting after her in the subterranean darkness. The story reads quickly, and is good old fashioned tomb raiding fun. While it does cover a lot of familiar territory and thus is lacking any major surprises, the novel benefits from meaningful characterization bringing deeper insight to the relationship between Jonah and Lara.

Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo — Buy from Amazon:

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At some point anyone who has watched Alien has probably thought to themselves, “I wonder what Jonesy the cat was up to during the Xenomorph’s reign of terror aboard the Nostromo and how he managed to make it through the horror show as the only other living survivor alongside Ripley.” (Oh wait, should I have given a spoiler alert? Whatever. If you haven’t seen Alien at this point you deserve to have it spoiled.) Nine Lives on the Nostromo is an illustration-only comic book reliving the events of the movie from Jonesy’s perspective. It’s adorably illustrated and captures a cat’s feline behaviors within the context of the film with great humor that any cat owner will immediately recognize and relate to. This delightful little picture book is guaranteed to make Alien fans who also just so happen to be cat lovers go catnip-crazy.

The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures & Aliens — Buy from Amazon:

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There are so many unique elements that make Star Wars the iconic sci-fi universe of our lifetime, but perhaps the most iconic element of all is the alien design. The alien creatures from a galaxy far, far away are so distinctly Star Wars that Star Wars-y is quite literally the only adjective that applies when describing them. The latest Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars book by Abrams focuses exclusively on the costume design and special and practical effects that went into bringing all of the memorable creatures and aliens to the big screen, featuring behind-the-scene stills and concept art from all of the movies thus far, including the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and Solo. Of course it’s only appropriate that the creatures originating from the first three movies take up half the book, as the latter installments all moved into more CGI so there’s less production material to pull from. For added effect, the book even has little interactive elements built into the pages, like accordion-style picture pullouts, concept art file folders, and stacked image overlays that can be flipped up to see the different stages of the moviemaking design process.

Pokémon Universal Nintendo DS Poké Ball Case — Buy from Amazon or PDP:

“PDP’s Poké Ball case does primarily prey upon Pokémon fandom with its slick outside aesthetic and immediately recognizable design, but this is not an instance of all style and no substance. The case does fulfil its duty as a solid storage/transport solution. It’s probably not a case I would choose for rugged use, but for the average user who treats their devices with respect as well as users in the younger Pokémon demographic who want a cool case they can show off to all their Poké pals (especially for back to school time!), it’s a fabulous little carrier. Nintendo DS Poké Ball case, I choose you!” Read our full review here.

Logitech G613 Lightspeed Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard — Buy from Amazon or Logitech:

“The G613, like all Logitech gaming gear, is a beautifully designed piece of kit. It’s sturdily constructed for durability and high performance in all the necessary areas, while offering high-end wireless connectivity on par with its traditionally superior wired counterparts. I will say, though, that the G613’s more focused feature set and expensive pricing narrow the target audience specifically to PC gamers who are willing to pay a premium for wireless freedom and the ability to multitask between computer and smart device. I’m not sure how large of an audience that is, but if you’re in it this is the keyboard to get.” Read our full review here.

EwinRacing Flash XL Series Gaming Chair — Buy from Amazon or EwinRacing.com:

“EwinRacing’s Flash XL gaming chair has a few small things that could be improved upon, but overall it’s a finely crafted and supremely comfortable piece of office furniture. The chair’s construction, stitching, and materials are of the highest quality, all the way down to the casters, which glide like butter across the floor. The chairs are indeed quite pricey, but you absolutely get what you pay for. If you’re in dire need of a new office/gaming chair, put EwinRacing at the top of your list of brands to consider.” Read our full review here.

The Art of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom — Buy from Amazon:

The Art of Ni no Kuni II is a blissful celebration of Level-5 and Yoshiyuki Momose’s legendary artistry, animation, and character design. As far as I’m concerned, no games in recent memory have captured such sophisticated whimsy, majestic charm, and JRPG nostalgia as the Ni no Kuni series, and all of that is on display in this one book. Do I prefer art books with informative captions and in-depth creator commentary? I sure do. So I won’t lie and say I wasn’t at least partially let down when I first got the book and cracked it open to find a complete lack of written word to read while gawking at the sumptuous artwork. But when a game looks as magnificent as Ni no Kuni II, it’s just fine that the art is left to do all the talking.” Read our full review here.

Child of a Mad God — Buy from Amazon or Macmillan Publishers:

“As the first entry in what will be an ongoing series, Child of a Mad God effectively follows through to a satisfying, albeit predictable, resolution while at the same time leaving key story threads un-pulled, efficiently introducing side characters likely to play more prominent roles later on down the road, and properly setting the stage for grander, more harrowing events yet to come. Confronted by similar moral choices that manifest in different ways, the two main characters are both instantly sympathetic and relatable. The story successfully weaves traditional elements of sword and sorcery action together with prehistoric tribal culture and modern social themes, particularly issues pertaining to women’s rights. The dark and unforgiving new region of Corona is rich with an omnipresent sense of dread and danger, Salvatore pulling no punches in his depictions of rape, abuse, forced abortion, and other violent imagery. Yet there is an atmospheric allure and beauty to Loch Beag and its surroundings that provides enough contrast to keep the world from becoming overbearingly depraved and depressing. This first Tale of the Coven will definitely leave you in anticipation to see where the stories of Aoleyn and Talmadge go next.” Read our full review here.

E-Blox STEM Building Blocks — Buy from Amazon or myeblox.com:

“In addition to offering fun LEGO-like buildability, E-Blox are great training tools for kids to begin learning about the STEM and STEAM subjects. The Circuit Builder sets provide a bunch of scripted projects to dig into right out of the box, while the pARTS kits are more for sparking the imagination and creativity through freeform building. Even serious LEGO builders can find valuable utility by using E-Blox pARTS to mod their designs with flashy LED effects. In terms of value, E-Blox are more expensive compared to other building block sets of comparable piece counts, but given their added functionality that is to be expected. If you would like to graduate from preset kits or you’re already an experienced builder with specific needs in mind, E-Blox are also sold as single pieces so you can buy exactly what you need.” Read our full review here.

Destiny Premium Puzzle — Buy from Amazon:

“The Destiny premium puzzle is a collage of characters, enemies, Guardian classes, Ghosts, weapons, and armor sets pulled from Bungie’s shared-world sci-fi shooter, all done up in a sort of chibi manga art style that’s bursting with cartoon charm. The fully constructed image pops with personality and bright colors. Once complete, Destiny fans are sure to have as much fun skimming over the artwork to pick out every little detail as they do going through the process of putting the puzzle together.” Read our full review here.

The Legend of Zelda “Legend of the Hero” Puzzle — Buy from Amazon:

“Based on the intro sequence to The Wind Waker, the “Legend of The Hero” jigsaw puzzle, from USAopoly’s Legend of Zelda premium collector’s series, depicts Link’s legend as the Hero of Time using the imagery from the prologue story pages, paneled together to look like an ancient Hylian scroll or tablet drawn in charcoal. Once completed it’s one of the most finely detailed jigsaw pictures USAopoly has printed yet. I’m going to cut right to the chase here: This puzzle is brutal. Seriously, this is like the Water Temple of Zelda jigsaw puzzles, it’s that intricate and demanding, brilliantly designed as much as it is frustrating.” Read our full review here.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild “Scaling Hyrule” Puzzle — Buy from Amazon:

Zelda fans can’t go wrong with the Scaling Hyrule puzzle. It’s among the larger category of premium puzzles offered by USAopoly at 1,000 pieces and 19″ x 27″ finished size, but even though it has some tricky spots that may cause jigsaw novices some trepidation, the puzzle overall shouldn’t be too intimidating a mountain to climb.” Read our full review here.

Other Quickie Gift Ideas to Consider:















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!