Every year the holidays roll around and every year I promise myself, the rest of Kotaku Tower and sometimes even the readers that we're going to get off our collective asses and actually write up a gift guide. But the thing is, I hate gift guides. The hate, I think, comes from spending 12 years of my life working at newspapers where the list, the gift guide, the annual must-write-story was a thing to dread and hate. This was because as a newspaper writer you weren't allowed to buck any trends or come up with neat ideas for things like gifts, instead you had to roll out the list of things people already knew about and polish them up to make them sound new and interesting.
While I suppose you could say the same about this, our first real gift guide, I'd like to think that it holds some surprises and delights. Personally, I've already started bugging everyone I know to pool their money together and buy me Pigeon Island (Fahey's find) for my next 50 Christmases and Birthdays rolled into one.
If a $US 400,000 private island in the Caribbean isn't your cup of tea (and it better not be because it's MINE, ALL MINE), you're still bound to find something that tickles your fancy among this list of goodies complies by all of Kotaku's writers, be it a Japanese Gesture book or a life-sized Gundam. Mandatory Secret Santa (Under $US 20) 8-bit Tie ($US 19.99): Nothing says "I don't care about this church ceremony" as much as a polyester, clip-on tie that's pixelated all to hell. It's the perfect way to show the gamer in your life you don't care how they dress. Super Mario Stylus Pen ($US 8.59): This is the thickest DS stylus on the market. Two words: bragging rights. Halo 3 Original Soundtrack ($US 12.99): Because if Bungie got one thing right with Halo, it was the music. And maybe Halo. Animal Crossing Mugs ($10) - Coffee and Animal Crossing, what better combination? Dot-Pin Toys ($US 9 - 19): For those of you like to make stuff but have better things to do with your time than start from scratch, I've always loved the dot-pin toys. There are a number of different types floating around, but vintage video games are especially suited to the low-tech peg and board sets. FINAL FANTASY Series Plush SANTA CHOCOBO ($US 19.99)Nothing says holiday spirit like a Chocobo plush in a dashing Santa cap and cape. Bonus mistletoe garnish makes it irresistibly perfect for practicing your gamer's first kiss. 70 Japanese Gestures ($US 8.99) Learning to speak Japanese is hard. Learning Japanese gestures, not! McFarlane Spartan Soldier Mark VI Armor (White) ($US 12.99) Sure, it's a pre-order, but just like with Halo 3: The Game, you must wait patiently for Halo 3: The Toy. Altair Figure ($US 19.90) For those without a 360, PS3 or DS, buy this, then use it to sneak up on your Transformers before dropping quietly from the roof to slip a knife between their metal ribs. Masters Of Doom ($US 7-8) Great book about the early days of id. Strange kids. Bonus appearance by American McGee. NAMCO Sound Trading Figure ($US 7.49): Screw Pokemon, you gotta get all of these. Pressing a button plays a nostalgia-inducing playback of some in-game music. You can also set up the little pixel art to pretend you're playing. Pew, pew, pew! Mass Effect: Revelation ($US 7.99): Not only is this probably the best video-game-themed paperback to hit stores, it also provides a much needed introduction into the world of Mass Effect. Contact Harvest, Hellgate London Exodus ($US 8 to $US 15): Video game novels make excellent gifts as well as being an introduction to certain games for the uninitiated. There are some great reads out there this holiday season, including Mel Odom's Hellgate: London - Exodus, which I am currently reading, or Joseph Staten's new Halo novel, Contact Harvest. Note that younger gamers might need to be introduced to the concept of books. Cake Decorating For Dummies ($US 13.59): Another book, I know, but you've got to do your part if you want to keep Kotaku in cake-themed posts for years to come. If you've got a friend into cooking, pick up this book from Amazon, wait a few months, and then begin seeding their minds with your idea of the perfect video game cake. It's sneaky and underhanded, but in a good way.
Relative You Don't Particularly Care For But Will Probably Bring A Gift For You ($US 21 to $US 50) The Adventures Of Super Mario Bros. 3 & Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog ($US 46.99): Seven DVDs packed with Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons? Perfect for a post-Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games bender wind-down session. Pac-Man Collectors' Shot Glass Set ($US 29.99): Now all you need is a bottle of moonshine and a drinking game with rules designed to make someone in your circle of friends go blind. Idea: someone takes a shot every time Pac-Man eats a dot. Irreparable liver damage ahoy! I Am 8-bit Wall Decals ($US 40): Your friends will think you are so cool and never know that you wake up in the middle of the night having wet the bed from "another alien attack." Final Fantasy VII Fenrir ($US 29): The sexy Fenrir motorcycle was once Cloud's. Now it's yours...and he has to walk. WoW Action Figures ($US 49.99): FOR THE HORDE...and the Alliance too, but only grudgingly. ThinkGeek has the full set of four World of Warcraft action figures. Statistically speaking, you have to know at least a couple of people who play the game, and if you can line up a Horde player and an Alliance player, you can split the set up and let them stage battles together. Then you can blackmail them with the pictures. Everybody wins! Comic Books (About $US 24): The video games of literature. I have no comic book stores that aren't a good half-hour drive away from my house by crappy Nissan standards, so I personally would love to get a year worth of comic books delivered to my door. Cartoons, movies, video games - show someone you care about where they all started. Bomberman Exploding Bomb ($US 24.99) What's better than a game of hot potato? A game of hot potato with bomberman bombs. Medicom Metal Gear Solid 20th Anniversary Snake ($US 29.90): Delays suck. But playing with this Snake toy is kinda like playing MGS4. Art of Midway ($US 24.95): Packed with more than 160 sketches and 200 illustrations, this book is a must have for fans of Mortal Kombat, Area 51, Psi-Ops or just art. GTA Vice City Kubrick Box Set ($US 35.99): Nothing says Christmas like mini-fig alcoholic porn stars, gun-toting thugs and scruples-free attorneys. Katamari Damacy t-shirts ($US 24.95): I love my Katamari shirts- game related and geeky without being over the top. The comments about the shirts from cranky Katamari designer Keita Takahashi just makes shopping for them that much more fun. The Expressive Power of Videogames ($US 35): Ian Bogost's book on ...serious games! I don't always agree with him, but I love reading what he has to say about the state of games as a whole. Okami Art Book ($20-40) It's a gorgeous book full of concept and in-game art from Okami. Lots of very pretty pictures from a very pretty game. 360 Quick Charge Kit ($US 30) Batteries cost money, and also kill dolphins when they explode in the ocean when you throw them out. Save money, and dolphins, with one of these.
The Sweet Spot - Not too 'spensive, Not too cheap ($US 51 to $US 100) I Am 8-Bit Art Prints (prices vary): Limited edition prints of famous Nintendo or Namco characters can liven up the study, dining room or bathroom in your home. Framing these prints may push the cost above the $US 100 limit, but it's the thought that counts, you cheap son of a bitch. Some good stuff is *still* available. Six Month Gamefly Gift Ceritificate ($95.70): An "of the month" club not involving fruitcake. Jawbone Bluetooth Headset ($US 99.48): For the PS3 owner who wants the best micro headset around. Ultimate Bumblebee ($US 80): I am a bit of a Transformers fan. Okay, that's a bit of an understatement. I've got a room in my apartment called the Transformers closet, filled floor to cieling with them, and this Christmas I plan on adding another to my collection. The priciest Transformer ever at $80, Ultimate Bumblebee is totally worth it, with lights, sounds, music, and an animatronic system that lets the figure move. All this, and it transforms into one bitchin; Camaro to boot. Yum. Imation Disc Stakka ($US 100): As a avid PC gamer for years now, I have drawers chock full of game CDs and DVDs. I can't tell you how many times I've gone hunting through boxes for disc 3 of 4 while trying to reinstall an old favorite. The Imation Disc Stakka system holds 100 discs and connects to your computer via USB cable that allows you to search and retrieve via PC or Mac database. Best of all? They're stackable, so it's a present that you can repeat. Woot! Doki Doki Majo Shinpan Boob Pad You've read about it on Kotaku, now you too can have your very own Doki Doki Majo Boob Pad. 16 Final Fantasy Potions Cans ($US 72) Nothing says delicious like Final Fantasy Potion. Nothing. Legacy X Nintendo 07 Shoes ($US 120):These limited-run shoes come packed with serious Nintendo heat, featuring Mario and Yoshi insoles and the ability to make you want to do some serious head-stomping. Get Ready Outrun Shirt ($US 50-70): Just in case you need to remind people that no matter how many palm-tree-lined roads you're going to race down in life, there's only three radio stations you'll ever need to accompany the journey. Edge Magazine Subscription ($US 75): Magazines are dead. All except this one. Great editorials, great reviews, great studio access with their preview features. Overall, 9/10. Xenosaga Legend Episode 2 ($US 65): KOS-MOS - the blue haired, ass-kicking robot from the Xenosaga series - is one of my absolute game character favorites, and I have a pretty impressive figurine collection kicking about. This is a complete set of well-made and beautifully finished KOS-MOS figures. The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond ($US 75): For those who are bookworms as well as gamers -The Video Game Explosion is an academic but 'readable' tome, and the first to do an serious history of games and gaming industry. Three Port HDMI Switch ($US 99): It may not sound sexy, but believe me if you have one HDMI in on your television and more than one HDMI device (like a PS3 or 360 and a cable box) it's a life-saver. This one features a remote control and crystal clear signal all at a pretty low price. Logitech G9 Laser Mouse ($US 99.99): With interchangeable grips, weight tuning and customizable LEDs, you're sure to have a better game using this mouse. Add to that the 3200 dpi laser engine that drives this bad boy and you will be hard-pressed to find a better gaming mouse at this price.
Person You Are Or Hope To Be Sleeping With ($US 100 to $US 500) Human Touch Ottoman 2.0 Calf & Foot Massager ($US 259.95): After a day of intense schooling or an grueling talking down to from The Boss, gamers just want to come home and ignore you for hours while consumed by the hypnotic glow of the TV. Make the experience even better with a luxurious mechanical foot massage. Comes in black and "cashew." One Laptop Per Child ($US 399): Empower a child in a developing nation while giving your gamer a dedicated Linux box on which to flirt with hacking. If he or she fails to get MAME or Quake to run on the ultra-budget PC, there are always a couple of built-in games to play. Do it for the kids. Portable Atari ($US 350+vintage 2600): Own Ben Heck's masterpiece, a 2600 that fits in your hands. Colorware Console($99+console): Get a industrial quality paintjob on the console of your choice. Because warranties never got anyone laid. The Ultimate Gaming Chair ($US 300): Gamers always need a place to keep their arse while gaming, and if you are looking for a gaming chair, why not go for the self-styled Ultimate Gaming Chair? ( The Renegade model has got 12 vibration motors, game-activated lighting effects, 3D stereo speakers mounted in the headrest, audio inputs, USB support, a pull out storage compartment, and even a cup holder. Most importantly? Tons of gamer friendly arse storage for the low price of $US 299. My arse would destroy this, but I can dream. Square Enix Final Fantasy Jewelry ($US 105 - $US 122): Nothing says I love you like fine jewelry, and nothing says I love you but I'm still the geek you fell in love with like Final Fantasy jewelry, direct form Square Enix. Gamepark GP2X F-200 ($US 169) Open source, Linux running PSP alternative from Korea. Ceramic White PSP Slim and Lite ($US 195) Make your Christmas a Ceramic White one. Kotobukiya Shadow of the Colossus Statue ($US 100+): Either the best gaming statue you'll ever own or the world's greatest ever paperweight, the choice is yours. Logitech Harmony 670 Universal Remote ($US 150): Not that exciting a choice, but it's practical. A nice compromise in Logitech's range between affordability and awesomeness, it'll free up room on your coffee table for coffee, beer steins and dead hookers. Crimson & Black DS Lite ($US 129.99): I'm behind the times and slightly ashamed of my old school, clunky DS. It would be nice to have a sleeker model to toss into my bag for those long days on campus. Infinity Home Theater Speaker System ($US 199.99): I'm not an A/V geek, so anything would be a step up from the external speakers I currently have (which would be non-existent ones). My Infinities sounded good in my car, I'm assuming they'd sound good in my house. Sennheiser PC166USB Headphones ($US 150): I've got a family, which means when I game, I have to game quietly. I'm also a huge Sennheiser fan, which makes these headphones a perfect match for my late-night PC gaming sessions. G15 Gaming Keyboard ($US 100): If you're going to have a top-end mouse for gaming, you should probably do the same for your keyboard. I still haven't taken the plunge on this board because I'm slightly annoyed that it's pricier than its predecessor, but I probably will break down one of these days.
Our Prices Are Insane ($US 500 and up) New Discovery of Akihabara Tour ($US 2000): Send the gamer in your life on a pilgrimage to the mecca of otaku. The tour of Akihabara, running until January 19, 2008 and covering Akiba hotspots, is actually free. We've just factored in the international airfare and lodging that will make the trip possible. Dream Arcades 100-inch Home Video Arcade Center ($US 4499): If you have over four grand to spend on gaming gifts, you have the room for a 100" display and stand up arcade gaming station. It may not have the built-in glow of the CrystalCade, but it definitely wins in the battle of the inches. Classic 13' Skee-Ball Machine ($US 4775): Remember when Chuck E Cheese was Show Biz Pizza? Then you remember these bad boys. Gateway XHD3000 Extreme HD Monitor ($US 1699): Proud of your 1080p console? Upscale it to 1600p with this incredible 30" monitor. Available Dec 12th. Dream Authentics Arcade ($4,000): Back at GDC I got some hands-on time with a custom arcade cabinet from DreamAuthentics, and ever since I've been keeping a special corner of my apartment free just in case I can ever afford one. I've got my eye on the Excalibur cabinet, which is fully customizeable with tons of options, including the coveted stainless steel joystick and arcade spinner for hot Tempest action. It comes preloaded with over 200 arcade games, and with a little creativity you could even hook up your console to the beast. The price? Depending on the options the Excalibur and run you in the $US 4,000 range. Your Own Island Lair ($US 395,000): Lord British has the whole mansion riddled with passageways and secrets, but why not take it to the next level? For less than the price of some of the homes in my neighborhood, you can own your own 7.5 acre island in Nicaragua. About $US 400,000 buys a tropical getaway for you to share with someone you care about, or perhaps play your very own version of The Most Dangerous Game. CrystalCade (Email for pricing): Retro arcade gaming doesn't come cheap! Especially when it's in a glowing cabinet. 1/12 Hyper Hybrid Gundam Model ($US 2,764): Would it be Christmas without a Gundam as big as you? No, it wouldn't. 80GB PS3 ($US 500): Never been a better time. You'll have backwards-compatibility, a big HDD and by Christmas there'll actually be a couple of decent games (Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted) to play on the thing. Atari ($??): Don't know just how much it'd cost you, but man, it can't be much. Apple MacBook ($US 1099 & up): I love my last gen, pre-Intel PowerBook, but being able to run Bootcamp would be nice. Not that I need something for PC gaming, as I don't have time for the platforms I have. A plane ticket to Taipei ($US 800+): Because I would kill to go hang out in my favourite game-related stores in Ximending for an evening (or several) and this time, have room in my suitcase for all the games, toys, and random crap that you can't help but acquire. Never mind the food! Dell XPS M1730 Laptop ($US 2700 to $US 4600): Weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and sporting a backlit keyboard and case lighting effects, this high-end keyboard is really more for carting to LANs than onto a plane, but once you get it to where you are going it's sure to supply the muscle you need to pwn in any title coming out this year. Child's Play donation (Any amount): Since 2003, Since 2003, more than two million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash have been given out to sick children in children's hospitals across North America and the world. How about giving in the name of a friend or relative? I know I'd love that as a present.