‘Tis the season for gifting and gaming, and after the year we’ve all had, I think people are hoping for a good end to December. We’ve put together an array of different gift ideas for that special someone (or yourself of course), and there’s even a few special discount codes available to TheSixthAxis readers!
Mario is no longer just an icon in gaming, as he’s now been immortalised in brick form by Lego. This isn’t your ordinary Lego set though, with a large blockified Mario making his way through a series of courses that you can hook together to create giant Lego level. The starter kit gives you everything you need to get going, with additional costumes for Mario and further sections costing extra. It is Lego, so it’s not the cheapest toy out there, but given that it’s virtually indestructible you can probably see it as an investment for your kids, and then their kids as well.
JBL Quantum 800
If you’re serious about gaming, you should think about getting a headset. The JBL Quantum 800 is one of the most recent headsets we’ve reviewed, and it’s jumped right to the top of the pack, thanks to the fact that you can use it with pretty much anything that’s designed to have sound coming out of it. It’s still very much a premium set with an RRP of £179.99, but if you want one of the absolute best headsets on the market you can expect to pay for it. It’s worth considering that it can be included in the same breath as the the hallowed Astro A50s and comes in nearly £100 cheaper.
DualSense & Xbox Series X|S Controllers
Some of you might have been lucky enough to have snagged a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X (or know someone who has), but as we all know, these new games consoles only come with a single game controller. That’s not much good if you’re hoping to get some co-op gaming in this Christmas!
Snagging an extra DualSense for PlayStation 5, or Xbox Series X|S Controller (or since it’s backward compatible a slightly cheaper Xbox One controller, or much fancier Xbox Elite 2!) should help ease any arguments. Unless you’re playing Overcooked, that is…
Mario Kart Live
Given that Mario Kart is one of the best things ever created by Nintendo, it’s little surprise to find that Mario Kart Live – their melding of real world and digital kart play – is such a delight. It’s not cheap – one kart will set you back £99.99 – but if you’ve got the money, and the space, there are few things that will illicit screams of delight on Christmas morning from both actual kids and tall kids who should know better
Gunnar Gaming Glasses
Are gaming glasses the future? Gunnar certainly think so, and having been able to test out a pair of their Intercept spectacles we can report that they certainly help keep your eyes from wilting under the glare of all that blue light we feed into them every day via mobile phones, laptops, tablets, monitors and giant TV screens. Gunnar offer a range of different options, and they feature wide-format lenses to create an unobstructed panoramic, high-resolution field of view, 3-barrel hinge design and high tensile steel construction for increased durability, comfortable curved nose rests for even weight distribution and eliminating pressure points, and silicone hard coated lens to prevent scratching if you’re not the most careful of gamers.
It’s been a great year for flight sims, and whether you’ve taken the more serious route with Microsoft Flight Simulator or headed off to a galaxy far, far away in Star Wars Squadrons, if you’re playing with a controller or keyboard and mouse, you are missing out. Thrustmaster are the champions of the flight stick arena, and while there’s the accessible T.16000 sticks which you can find in the Space Sim Duo, the Warthog is the pinnacle of their HOTAS setups. It can be tough to find (as with many things this Christmas) but if you can get your hands on one, you won’t be removing them from it for years to come.
Oculus Quest 2
There are two obvious candidates on the next-gen console list (both of which are going to be hard to find this month), but don’t forget about the Oculus Quest 2, the latest wire-free VR headset. It improves on the original Quest in nearly every way, with reduced weight, improved screens, and more power, bringing you into the world of VR in a more convincing way than ever before. The best thing? It’s immediately cheaper than its predecessor, starting at £299.99, and has a fantastic library of games to sink your teeth into straight away. Our top picks include Beat Saber, Pistol Whip and Superhot VR.
Garmin Instinct Esports Edition Smartwatch
Want to become a healthier gamer? Or add something unique to your streams? The Garmin Instinct Esports Edition is targeted at streamers and esports athletes, and lets you broadcast your stress level and heart rate to your viewers via the STR3AMUP! app. You can also monitor your performance over time through the activity profile.This being a smartwatch it also does all of your expected sporty stuff, with over 30 activities it can monitor, and boasts one of the most impressive battery lives we’ve come across, lasting for multiple days at a time before you’re reaching for the charger cable.
GXT 488 Forze Gaming Headset
With a camouflage print design – it’s also available in black and blue camo – shiny PlayStation logos on the cans, and a folding microphone, the GXT 488 Forze look pretty good without crossing into that obnoxious, over-designed territory some other headsets drift towards. More than that though, they’re a good weight, not so heavy that they’d be uncomfortable for a long period, but not so light that they feel cheap, there’s plenty of padding both for around your ears and to protect the top of your head. It even has a braided cable with an inline volume control/mic mute toggle and a standard 3.5mm jack on the end, so it’ll plug into pretty much anything that isn’t a mobile phone from the last two years. They’re also a great entry-level headset, coming in at between £30 and £40 depending where you look.
Creative Outlier Air V2
As we’ve seen with the Instinct Esports Edition watch, and Nintendo’s Ring Fit, we’re trying to throw off the image of the unhealthy gamer, and surely, if we’re in tip top condition we can stay up late playing games for even longer? Creative’s Outlier Air are wireless bluetooth earbuds from one of the best audio specialists in gaming, and they’re perfect for running or a trip to the gym thanks to being sweat proof, light, and so well designed that they won’t fall out no matter how long you stay on that treadmill. They’ve also just released the V2 edition, which have an improved battery life, and touch controls. You can get 20% off the Outlier Air V2 by entering discount code TheSixthAxis at checkout.
E-Win Europe Champion Series Gaming Chair
If you’re in front of a screen all day you need to look after yourself, and a decent chair is a perfect start. The eWin Europe Champion Series is a solid choice for anyone looking for a long-term solution to working from home or wanting a more comfortable option while playing games. At just short of £350 RRP, it’s not cheap, but what you get for that investment is an adaptable chair which will provide comfort over and over again when you need it most. We’ve been left impressed all around by it. E-Win have been kind enough to give a 20% off code for TheSixthAxis readers too, just enter TheSixthAxis20 at checkout.
Game & Watch
There does seem to be a lot of Nintendo merchandise in here this year, but that’s probably just an obvious example of how good the Japanese company are at turning their franchises into desirable gifts for Christmas. The newest Game & Watch is the Super Mario Bros. edition and boasts a full colour screen and houses the original 8-bit NES rendition of Super Mario Bros. as well as Super Mario Bros. – The Lost Levels and Ball, the original Game & Watch game. This thing is a pure nostalgia trip, and for gamers of a certain age this is the perfect thing to light up Christmas Day with, even if you’ll swear they used to be bigger.
Now, hear me out. Stadia didn’t have the most stellar launch last year, and it’s taken a good while to really get going, but Google’s entry in the gaming space is finally picking up a head of steam, including a great rendition of Cyberpunk 2077. It’s not going to be for everyone, you need to have a decent internet connection for one thing, but if you want to play some of the latest games, and don’t have the money for a new console or PC, Stadia is a great option. If you’re a new customer right now, you can get Cyberpunk 2077, with a bundled controller and Chromecast Ultra, for £40 with an extra £10 off. If you fancy an instant console-free and download-free gaming experience, Stadia is the platform for you.
New console? You’ll be needing an array of new chargers then to keep your controllers in tip-top shape. As we all know the bundled controller cables are so passé, and if you’re an Xbox gamer you’re still searching for the AA batteries in the kitchen draw mid-battle. Snakebyte have you covered, with a PS5-aping dual charger, while their Xbox Series X|S battery packs come in packs of two so you can always have one ready to hand when you need it.
Buying games for friends and family members is always tricky, but there’s some absolute crackers that have come out in 2020, and there’s bound to be something that you know they don’t own and might like.
- Spider-Man: Miles Morales – PS4 & PS5
- Star Wars Squadron – PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S, PC
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – NSW
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons – NSW
- Demon’s Souls – PS5
- Planet Coaster: Console Edition – PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S
- The Last of Us Part II – PS4
- Immortals Fenyx Rising – PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S, NSW, PC, Stadia
- Ghost of Tsushima – PS4
- Cyberpunk 2077 – PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S, PC, Stadia
- Gears Tactics – XBO, XSX|S, PC
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure – PS4 & PS5
- Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review – NSW
- Dirt 5 – PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX|S, PC
- Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time – PS4, XBO
Of course, you can always avoid the pratfall of buying the wrong game by picking up some vouchers that can be spent however the giftee sees fit, whether they’re for the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Nintendo eShop, or just a retailer of your choice.