Christmas is coming, PC gamers. The Untitled Goose is getting fat. Somewhere in the distant north, a scarlet priest works his elven minions into a frenzy as he prepares for the rite of the magic baby. Sprouts will be consumed in their millions, the Great Escape snoozed through by bloated grandparents far and wide. Most importantly, gifts of roughly equivalent financial value will be exchanged to demonstrate affection and prolong the reign of capitalism.
What's that? You forgot about that last part? Fear not, festive heretic. As RPS' official not-so-secret Santa, I am proud to bring you this year's Christmas gift guide. Below you'll find a wide range of potential presents for the fellow keyboard jockey in your life, from books to t-shirts all the way up to some of our favourite hardware from the last year.
As in the past, we've divided our selected gifts into varying price brackets, so you should be able to find something for your spouse, child, parent, or non-denominated fellow kinsman whatever your budget may be. So take my withered gift-spotting claw, and let us commence the reading of the List.
Gifts under £20 / $20:
Postal (£9 / $10)
Brock Wilbur and Nathan Rabin's irreverent exploration of Postal is one of my personal favourite gaming-focused books in recent years. A mixture of criticism, original reporting and social commentary, Postal explores the game's infamous reputation both as a terrible game and a cultural reflection of America's dark history of mass shootings. It also features two extraordinary interviews with Postal's creators, and the director of the Postal film, Uwe Boll. It's funny, shocking, and poignant; a superb read all around.
Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the video game industry (£11.50 / $11)
The follow-up to 2017's Blood, Sweat and Pixels, Press Reset explores what happens when big studios get shut down, and how the people who create and are employed by those studios recover. Featuring interviews with developers behind Epic Mickey, Bioshock Infinite, and Dead Space, it's a great insight into the highly secretive nature of big-budget game development.
A Game of Birds and Wolves (£2 / $14)
The latest book from Simon Parkin charts the history of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit, a group of wargaming experts, many recruited from the Women's Royal Navy Service, designated with developing tactics and countermeasures to Germany's U-boat threat during the Battle of the Atlantic. It's a fascinating insight into a largely forgotten slice of history, as well as an example of the more serious applications that gaming can have.
Heroes of Lordran - Knight Solaire figurine ($20)
As someone who struggles to keep their house clear at the best of times, I'm not much of a figurines guy. However, I would definitely make room on my desk for Dark Souls' beloved sunboy. Knight Solaire has helped many a Dark Souls player find victory against the Bell Gargoyles or Ornstein and Smough, and I can't think of a better mascot to keep me motivated when working at midnight to meet a deadline.
Buy now from Fangamer
Mini arcade machine (£20)
Far from being a novelty, this mini arcade machine comes complete with 240 games, including variants of Breakout and Space Invaders, along with fully functional buttons and an 8 way stick. Put this in your kid's stocking and you might actually get a lie-in on Christmas morning, all the way up to 6am!
Buy now from Prezzybox
Gifts under £50 / $50:
Dragon Age - The First Five Graphic Novels (£25 / $20)
The first five books of the Dragon Age graphic novel see Alistair teaming up with Varric and Isabella from Dragon Age II on a nautical adventure in search of his missing father. With fantastic art and a story co-written by the game's lead writer David Gaider, this a great spinoff from the mainline games.
Stardew Valley T-Shirt ($28)
As with more general gaming merch, there are an awful lot of horribly designed gaming T-shirts out there. I'm especially wary of clothes that transform you into a walking advocate for the brand. Bu this Stardew Valley t-shirt is genuinely lovely, with bright colours and a wonderful abstract pattern. A perfect gift for fans of Eric Barone's wholesome farming sim.
Buy now from Fangamer
Horus X blue light blocking glasses (£25 / $35)
A useful gift for anyone who spends long amount of time sat in close proximity to a screen. These glasses block out the glare from blue light that emanates from your monitor, helping to reduce eye-fatigue and eyestrain. There are loads of different styles, including some cheaper options. But I'm partial to Horus X's sleek black frames.
Logitech G502 Hero (£42 / $40)
You can get the RPS-approved best gaming mouse for less than £50. The Logitech G502 hero is a fantastic all-round mouse. James described the G502 as"a sweet blend of comfort, features and tactility, with plenty of opportunities for customisation". This includes removable weights, 11 programmable buttons, and the best click in all of mouse-land.
Logitech G432 (£50 / $41)
If you've got another £50 going spare, you could pair the best gaming mouse with the bestgaming headset. Combining crystal clear sound with an excellent microphone, and both USB and 3.5 mm plugs, the Logitech G432 would make a fantastic gift for any PC gamer currently struggling with rubbish speakers.
Thief art prints by Dominus ($25-45)
Cards on the table, I'm a big Thief fan and will take any opportunity to write about it. But these prints by Swedish concept artist Alexandru Negoita (known online as Dominus) are genuinely incredible. The prices listed below is are for the paper poster print. But you can also get them in acrylic and on canvas, although these will take you beyond the £50/$50 bracket. Also, while I'm partial to the 20th anniversary prints, there are a bunch to choose from, including the Thieves' highway and the Black Parade.
Buy now from inprnt
The art of Halo Infinite (£23 / $41)
There are a ton of fantastic gaming artbooks out there, but I thought I'd go with something brand spanking new. Released on December 16 in the UK and December 14 in the US, The Art of Halo Infinite features some truly magnificent concept art of Halo's sci-fi world, from the pastel-green landscapes of the Zeta ring, to the installation's shattered segment viewed from orbit.
Gifts under £100 / $100:
WD Blue SN570 1TB (£80 / $89)
An SSD may not be the sexiest gift you can get for the PC fanatic in your life. But they'll thank you for it when they start spending significantly less time looking at loading screens. And Western Digital's SN570 is not just any SSD, either, it's the RPSbest SSD for gaming, balancing lightning quick write and read speeds at an affordable price point even without discounts. You can get 1TB of capacity for £80, or 500GB for less than £50.
Elgato Stream Deck Mini (£70 / $71)
While the Stream deck may be designed with Twitch users in mind, for tasks like quickly muting your mic or disabling your webcam, this programmable keypad can be used in a huge variety of ways. From capturing gameplay to in-game hotkeys, launching programs or specific web-pages. An extremely handy piece of kit to have on your desk, the Stream Deck Mini has all manner of potential function to help your streamline your professional and personal life.
Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit (££90)
For the tinkerers in your social circle, there's no better present than a starter kit for the Raspberry Pi 4. Raspberry Pi's cheap and versatile computer can be used for anything from a dedicated server for multiplayer gaming, to creating your own emulator console. The starter kit comes complete with a 4GB Raspberry Pi 4, a keyboard and mouse, and the Raspberry Pi beginner's guide by tech journalist Gareth Halfacree.
Buy now from Amazon UK
Gifts over £100 / $100:
Roccat Vulcan (£130 / $100)
The Roccat Vulcan has long topped the RPS best gaming keyboard list, thanks to its lovely Titan mechanical switches, fast typing action and sturdy aluminium build. This 121 model comes with a volume knob and detachable magnetic wrist-rest.
AOC 24G2U (£160 / $233)
The AOC 24G2U is not only a great budget monitor, it's our pick for the best gaming monitor overall. Its low price and 1080p resolution makes it a great accompaniment to a budget PC build, while its 144Hz refresh rate gives it plenty of headroom for higher-end graphics performance. It's also supports AMD FreeSync and is compatible with Nvidia's G-Sync.