TA's Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Hardware and 'More'

By Jonathan Barnes, 2 years ago
If you're anything like me (and who's to say you're not), you've got people on your list who already have all of the games they could possibly ever want. This means you've got to leave the comfy confines of your favorite game shop to find a *gasp* non-gaming gift. Fortunately, we've got you covered here with some amazing suggestions for hardware, accessories, and other cool stuff to wrap up for the gamer who has everything.

The Xbox One

How can the new generation of the Xbox franchise not be an ideal holiday gift? The latest console promises to take gaming up a notch with better SmartGlass integration, the ability to multi-task and, of course, voice and motion controls with which to impress your non-gaming relatives. A raft of exclusive titles, such as Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct, means that a variety of gaming tastes are covered without even glancing at the multi-platform titles -- there are currently 23 titles from which to choose. Timed challenges and the potential for additional achievements without the addition of extra content will also mean that achievement junkies will keep returning for more - punkyliar

Xbox One Console

Xbox 360 Button Cufflinks

I'm a classy kind of guy (despite what you hear from my ex-ladyfriends) and enjoy cleaning up and looking good every now and then. That being said, I also like to show off my gamer cred while being all James Bond ("Old Fashioned, light on the fruit, stirred and never shaken") and these cufflinks allow me to do that. Made from the buttons of a 360 controller (you can get them made with any button) these cufflinks are super formal, but also show off some serious gamer cred. Buy them for the fancy man in your life and you won't regret it - osubluejacket


The Walking Dead Survival Edition Monopoly and Risk

I've heard many a complaint in recent times regarding the "over-saturation" of the zombie sub-genre in modern media. Well, to that I say, "if you aren't ready to cope with being surrounded by the undead everywhere you turn, how are you expecting to survive the impending zombie apocalypse?" The Walking Dead franchise in particular has been soaking us with its walker-filled goodness for the past ten years, starting with the comic book series, then on to the wildly successful TV series, before very successfully clawing its way onto our consoles last year (and not so successfully). The franchise has clearly got legs (and arms and teeth) and has also busy permeating other forms of entertainment. For those of you who like to expand their gaming horizons from the television to the table-top, the zombie horde has managed to break its way onto classic titles Monopoly and Risk, because nothing spices up real estate or world domination like the constant threat of the undead. Gather the family around the table this festive season and challenge them to put their brains into winning or face having them gnawed out by Grandad - ChewieOnIce



Venom Twin Charging Cradle

The Venom Twin Charging Cradle has been a dream! The main bonus has been the need to not change the battery pack in a controller. As you'll be able to see in the pictures, all gamers need to do once they've finished playing is put the controller into the dock. Once the pad is placed in the dock, the pack begins to charge! Two chunky LED indicators signal when the battery packs are being charged and when they are ready. The life in the Venom battery packs is brilliant and easily lasts for a full day's worth of gaming. A USB cable is also supplied so that you can attach the cradle to your console. With such a quick setup, and no hassle or risk of changing and breaking the dock or controller, the Venom Twin Charging Cradle makes for a fantastic gift for a single-player type gamer hidden away in his man-cave, or for the gaming-couple enjoying co-op on the couch - Dat Boi Treezy

Venom 1

Venom 2

Disney Infinity Figures

Not only can these be used for gaming, they look pretty good as collectibles too. The quality of the figures is second to none, although using them means that they will have to come out of the box -- the portal can't sense the figures from afar due to the need to fit them into the correct slot. With figures covering many Disney franchises, including Monsters University, Toy Story and The Nightmare Before Christmas, everybody will have a favourite film character somewhere. Just in time for the holiday season, figures will be arriving from some of the company's latest outings - Wreck-It-Ralph, Tangled and Frozen - the latter of which is likely gracing a cinema near you - punkyliar

DI Figures

Mass Effect Library Edition Volume 1

Are you a bit of a Mass Effect geek like me? Do you yearn for another piece of merchandise to fill that empty void of Shepard? Look no further, as the Mass Effect Library Edition is a fantastic purchase for anyone who loves the Mass Effect universe and its characters. This collection includes all four comics of the series to date: Redemption, Evolution, Invasion, and Homeworlds. That adds up to 416 pages of awesome artwork and marvelous storytelling. Even if you have the four comics in their separate forms, having them in this shiny hardback book is too tantalizing to pass up, right? Currently sitting at just over £36 in the UK and just under $41 for the US, this is an item that will fit perfectly with your Mass Effect collection - Marc Pilkington


Razer Sabertooth Controller

For those that have decided to stick with the current generation of gaming and wait until all the kinks have been ironed out of the new console, there is still the opportunity to splash out on a new piece of hardware for your beloved Xbox 360.

The Razer Sabertooth builds on the foundation of its predecessor, the Onza, whilst fixing some of the shortcomings. The manual tension adjustments for the controller sticks has been replaced with a digital system that is configured with the help of the OLED screen at the bottom of the controller. There are additional programmable buttons on the shoulder of the pad, and two additional rocker switches placed underneath, leading to a total of six programmable buttons. The settings are stored in one of two profiles, each of which can be instantly switched between with the press of a single button.

Razer 1

Razer 2

Finally, the presentation of the controller is made complete with the additional of a padded carrying case, dedicated tool for removing the rocker switches if you desire, and additional flourescent green protection caps for the sticks.

Razer 3

You might not have a shiny bright new console yet, but at least you can have a bright new shiny controller with buttons that light up in the dark, which is something even the Xbox One controllers can't do. The Razer Sabertooth is available now costing $79.99, €79.99, £69.99. - Nexus Grunt

Anything from the Bethesda Store

Gamers around the world rejoiced when Bethesda (purveyors of Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored and more) finally opened an official shop this year. It is resplendent with everything that you might expect; ladies can pick up a Vault 101 Hoodie to keep them warm in the Capital Wasteland, gentleman can score a Dunwall Whiskey T-Shirt, and every game cave can stand to be classed up with a pre-order of the Realm of the Dragonborn Metal Print. In short, if you've got a Bethesda fan on your hands, you owe it to yourself to check out the new shop - osubluejacket

Fallout T

The Art of Bioshock Infinite

From the moment we first stepped foot into Rapture and encountered the intricately detailed world, creatures and characters of BioShock, we knew Kevin Levine and his Irrational Games studio had created something very special. Taking the artistry of game design to a new level, BioShock represented for many the perfect marriage of form and function; an amazing gaming experience with beautifully designed visual and audio elements to match. In their latest title, BioShock Infinite, they did it again, expanding on the original game's foundations of turn-of-the-century design and sending it up into the stratosphere, literally. The floating city of Columbia reflects ideas of culture, ideologies, technology and propaganda of the time and accentuates it to fit the out-of-this-world setting. To celebrate the dedication to design that Irrational brought to the world of the game and its cast of heroes, villains and big 'ol baddies, this beautiful hardcover book is a must for any fan of the series. It features almost 200 pages of glorious production illustrations and concept art, including the evolution of different ideas and commentary from the creators - ChewieOnIce

BI Art

Skylanders Figures

The Skylanders franchise started the whole idea of collectible figures that can be used in a video game. Now having reached its third generation, the Skylanders SWAP Force figures cover a wide range of types: those that light up, those that have swappable parts, and those that just look at you with pleading buy-me eyes. While the full range of figures may not yet be available, those that are already in retailers provide plenty of gameplay options. Not only do the swappable characters have elements, they now have powers too. Mixing and matching parts can lead to up to 256 different character combinations, so there is plenty to keep people occupied. As I mentioned last year, the game is perfectly completable without all of the characters but it is just as easy to compulsively collect all of them instead. You can also blame it on the kids - punkyliar


Mass Effect N7 Rocks Glasses

"I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite glass on the Citadel."

As the resident Newshound alcoholic, drunk, mixologist, nothing makes me happier than crafting an awesome drink and finding the perfect vessel in which to serve it. Whether you're trying to mix up some Ryncol or you're adventurous enough to try our official TA Sprunk recipe, these N7 glasses are a subtle and geeky-cool way to serve your libations. Also available in Highball, Shot and Pint Glasses - osubluejacket


Fables Deluxe Editions

This year, Telltale Games took their success with 2012's episodic The Walking Dead game and decided to apply the format to another popular comic book series. Bill Willingham's Fables series is not as well known as Kirkman's zombie franchise outside the world of comic book readers; it doesn't have a TV series to back it up, although one has been mooted a few times (Grimm and Once Upon a Time riff off the core idea) and a series of films could be on the horizon. However, if you've played The Wolf Among Us based on your enjoyment of The Walking Dead and found yourself drawn into the noir-tinged story of Bigby Wolf, his fellow "fables" and their exile in our world, then you definitely need to delve into the comic books post-haste. I recommend the hardback Deluxe Editions, which collect two trade paperbacks each and come with wonderfully illustrated covers - ChewieOnIce


We hope you enjoyed the 2013 edition of the TA Gift Guide. Join us next year when we'll be featuring the gift of LOVE... which is the best gift of all.



Who are we kidding? We'll have another dose of cool games, hardware, and swag next year, too.
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.