Retro is all the rage right now, and that’s great news for your old school pals. There’s more merchandise, consoles and nostalgia items for retro gamers than you can shake a stick at, now. From throwback controllers to mini arcades and board games, there’s plenty of solid options for great retro gifts.
These Retro Arcade machines can be found in junk shops everywhere. While your retro gamer friend might not have any attachment to the 300+ shonky knock-off games housed within, the machines do a great job of replicating the feeling of wandering down to your local Timezone as a child and popping your hard-earned cents into a dusty cabinet. Plus, the games are usually close enough to the real thing that you can get at least some measure of joy out of them.
8Bitdo make fantastic controllers, and this replica SNES controller is no exception. It’s fully functional, and compatible with Mac, Windows and Android operating systems, as well as the Nintendo Switch. That’s great news for Switch owners who enjoy playing retro games on their consoles, and with the use of an emulator, you can get the same feeling on any computer. Bring on the good old days with this nifty and well-designed controller.
This little device isn’t just a controller, it’s also a retro game emulator, complete with AV jacks. I mention this only because this may mean the device is incompatible with modern televisions unless a port converter is used. But if do get ut working, this Pac-Man shaped console will let you play some of Bandai’s classic games, including Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug. There’s 12 games in total, so there’s plenty of gaming to enjoy here, and it’s in a great little package.
The Pixel Pals lights come in a variety of different 8-bit characters from gaming and pop culture, like Mario, Ryu and Ratchet. These lights look awesome, and are made up of LED pixel-ly goodness. They work as a night light, or just a fun accessory for a gaming set-up, but they’re sure to charm with their cute retro style.
The PlayStation Classic was released to little fanfare in 2018, in part due to a “poor” line-up of games. Yes, the console excluded iconic titles like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, but with remasters of both releasing the same year, it kinda makes sense that they were missing. The console has now dropped significantly in price, and still features some fantastic titles that are sure to make any retro gamer happy, including Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, Oddworld and Rayman.
In the same vein, Nintendo’s retro controllers the SNES and NES Classic Minis are both viable options for a cool, retro gift. Each contains all the hits of the SNES and NES eras respectively, and they both replicate the designs of the iconic Nintendo consoles, but smaller. Unlike the PlayStation Classic, the price of the SNES hasn’t dropped much, but if you’ve got a bigger budget, either of these classic consoles make for a great retro gamer gift.
If your budget is even bigger again, you could consider a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite as a great retro gift. The console has a great little service called Nintendo Switch Online that lets subscribers play classic NES and SNES games including The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Star Fox and Super Metroid (just to name a few). There’s even an ultra cool retro controller that’s available exclusively for subscribers to the service to purchase.
Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of by Stuart Ashen is a book that charts the early days of video games, and all the bad games that came out of an era filled with bad graphics and low quality control. It’s also a very funny look at the history of gaming, and how retro games developed. There’s a heap of fun books surrounding the days of retro gaming and the death of the arcade, but this one comes highly recommended, and will give your retro gamer giftee a good laugh too boot.
Boss Monster is a cracker of a board game, and it’s inspired directly by retro game play and aesthetics. Basically, it’s a card game where you take the role of 8-bit video game monsters as you attempt to destroy heroes by building the most dangerous dungeons for them to travel. Each card features stunning video game-style art, and it’s a genuine delight to play. Anyone nostalgic for the good old days of gaming should have a blast with this game.
“You have died of dysentery” is one of gaming’s great, iconic lines and it’s sure to be familiar with anyone into retro games. The Oregon Trail Card Game is based on the iconic Oregon Trail video game, and features game art directly inspired by it. In this awesome card game adaptation, you’ll have to travel the trail without starving, breaking your bones, losing your cattle or, as mentioned, getting dysentary. Good luck!
There’s never been a better time to be a retro gamer, and with these great throwback gifts, you’re sure to make any retro gaming fiend happy.
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