We’ve not exactly been spoilt for choice for things to look forward to in 2020, so a hearty season’s greetings and the promise of some shiny new PC gaming goodies are as good of a highlight as any to cap off this glacial year. The malaise of summer feels like several lifetimes ago, and pumpkin spice season came and went in a flash – we’re pretty keen to remember the holidays this year considering how much 2020 has felt like a blur.
Whether you’re looking for some Christmas gaming gifts for a loved one – or one you barely tolerate – or just need some seasonal motivation to treat yourself, we’ve assembled a roundup of the best gifts for PC gamers. Obviously, you’ll find a little mix of everything, from pocket-sized computers and gorgeous art books, to new board games, hardware, and peripherals in case there’s someone in your life whose setup needs some sprucing up.
We’re also aware that some may want to invest their time away from their rig during the festive break, so expect some game-adjacent goodies in our gift guide, too.
Trust us, there’s something in here for everyone.
What better way to spend some quality time away from your PC than by spending some quality time with a new PC?
The Raspberry Pi is basically a tiny, tiny PC that can handle basic tasks like checking mail, coding, browsing the internet, and playing some basic games. It’s perfect for small projects and messing around with coding, and because it’s no bigger than a smartphone you can easily take it anywhere you go. With community projects covering everything from game emulation to motorised buggies, these are superb platforms for techie projects.
We’ve selected two Raspberry Pi 4 starter kits – a 4GB and an 8GB option – which let you quickly turn the board into a tidy and efficient desktop PC thanks to a fan, chassis, some heatsinks, and the necessary cables.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – The Baker Street Irregulars
The Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective series is one of the best detective experiences around, and the latest iteration – The Baker Street Irregulars – offers ten fresh cases for you to crack. Unlike so many board games, these can be played solo as you race to beat Sherlock to crack each case. There are a few tweaks that actually make this the friendliest entry point for the series, and the cases themselves are all as seedy and satisfying as you’d expect from the world’s greatest detective.
Related: Here are the best online board games
This board game doesn’t appear to be in the US just yet, but if you’re unfamiliar with the series, you can always check out other consulting detective sets like The Thames Murders instead.
D&D starter kit
Few things are as daunting as your first ever game of D&D, especially if nobody in your group of friends has played it before. Fortunately, there’s now a starter kit to help drag even more people kicking and screaming into the endless role-playing opportunities of Dungeons & Dragons games. This kit gives you some solid, well-rounded starter characters to speed things along, a simplified rulebook, a thorough guide for a first-time dungeon master, and some multi-sided dice.
Great Dalmuti card game
If full-fledged D&D is a bit much for you, and it probably is for most households during the holidays, then mercifully there’s a D&D version of classic trick-taking card game, The Great Dalmuti.
More like this: The best card games on PC
Designed by Richard Garriot, who you may recognise as the creator of Magic: The Gathering and Valve’s Artifact, this is a fast-paced card game where every player is battling to get rid of their hand.
Razer Kishi controller
PC gaming will always be our true love, but few can deny the appeal of mobile gaming. With the quality bar for mobile games continuing to rise over recent years there’s never been a better time to start gaming on your phone, and a dedicated controller is a great way to start if you’re not comfortable using touch screen controls. The Razer Kishi is arguably the best and most robust solution, offering proper analog sticks, bumpers, a D-pad, and face buttons so you can refine your aim even on mobile.
Among Us Christmas jumper
Ah, the obligatory Christmas jumper. While the goal is usually to have a festive jumper so hideous it’s sort of charming, we actually think this one’s not too gaudy.
There are a few different sets to choose from in the LEGO Minecraft collaboration, but we’ve got a soft spot for this Illager raid stage. These sets are a little different as they offer a lot of small builds rather than one major build, the aim being to encourage players to create their own Minecraft role-play scenarios.
This multi-tool won’t meet all the requirements for building a new PC from scratch, but having a small screwdriver that can also measure things, open bottles, open packages, adjust hex keys, bend wires, and act as a bit driver is always helpful. This is a ludicrously handy little tool to have at hand and saves you having several gadgets cluttering up your precious desk space.
Sid Meier’s Memoir!
One of the most famous game designers in PC gaming history has finally penned an autobiography detailing his four-decade career creating strategy games, 4X games, and more. Even if you’re not a dedicated Civilization player, this is a superb insight into the early days of the industry, what makes good game design, and the psychology that drives most gamers.
Art of Doom
Doom Eternal was one of our favourite games of 2020 – despite the atrocious Marauder – and while the cover of this art book might not be appropriate for the average coffee table, much like Doomguy, we’re more interested in its fleshy innards. Expect gorgeous glossy pages filled with countless concepts, plenty of lore, and glimpses into the design process.
World of Cyberpunk 2077
With Cyberpunk 2077 being set 57 years later than the world of tabletop RPG that spawned it, there’s a lot of history to catch up on. World of Cyberpunk 2077 aims to catch you up all that history, guiding you through the tech, culture, politics, and landmarks of Night City.
Corsair ST100 RGB headset stand
What’s the point of sinking your money into the best gaming headset if you’ve got nowhere to store it? Corsair’s ST100 RGB headset stand is sturdier and flashier than most, an aluminium finish and RGB lighting on the base so you can proudly put your headset on display – not to mention its built-in sound card that endows its 3.5mm jack with 7.1 surround sound. Even the cleanest cable management can be undone by an errant headphone lead, so a stand is a great way to tidy things up.
Corsair iCUE LT100 smart lighting tower starter kit
Christmas trees are festive fun, but you can only keep them up so long before you start getting looks from your neighbours. Fortunately, Corsair has a year-round alternative with the iCUE LT100 smart lighting tower, helping you brighten up your room in July without the raised eyebrow.
Cleaning Gel Universal Dust Cleaner for PC Keyboard
Let’s face it: gaming keyboards are disgusting and cleaning them is so impractical barely any PC gamers ever do it. Enter cleaning gel, a wad of putty you can slap down on your keyboard and peel away revealing just how much muck has crept between the gaps in the years since you last tried to clean it.
Whether you’re after a constantly expanding library of free games, want a better viewing experience on Twitch, or like regular loot drops for some of the biggest games around a Prime Gaming subscription is stuffed with benefits for any PC gamer.
Buying all of Ubisoft’s new releases like Immortal Fenyx Rising, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Watch Dogs Legion is going to be pretty expensive, but with a monthly Ubisoft+ subscription you can get access to all of them, plus over 100 other Ubisoft games.
Christmas is a time of giving and a Humble Choice subscription means 5% will go to one of Humble’s featured charities. Of course the other perk is that with this subscription you’ll also get free games every month, a discount of up to 20% on games from the Humble Store, and access to a library of over 90 games. Gifts for all!
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