Best games and gaming accessory gifts

Gamers are arguably the easiest group to shop for at Christmas because games console manufacturers and software houses tend to wait until December to launch their flagship titles and hardware.

I’ve rounded up the big releases below, plus some not-so-obvious gift ideas that would be appreciated by anyone who spends far too much time hunting down alien foes in virtual universes.

Nintendo Wii U

Price: £248 from Amazon.

Nintendo likes to do its own thing, especially when it comes to designing games consoles. It has a knack of getting it right, as it showed with the original Wii and its ingenious motion controllers. With the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo is shaking things up again.

The console will come with a large gamepad that has an integrated touchscreen and allows players to continue playing games when their TV is turned off. The system will be the first of a new generation of consoles to appear, and so is likely to be a massive hit this Christmas.

X Rocker
Pro Gaming Chair

Price: £160 from Argos.

If you’re settling down for a serious gaming sesh, you’ll want to do your posterior a favour and get a proper gaming chair. X Rocker is the specialist in this field and the Pro Gaming Chair is one of its best models. It features a cool swivel base and comfortable gunstock arms.

The headline feature is the 2.1 integrated audio system that wirelessly connects back to your games console or PC to provide hassle-free, top-notch sonics. There’s even a supplementary rumble generator built into the chair, so you’ll literally be feeling booty-shaking bass.

Turtle Beach
Ear Force X42 Wireless Headset

Price: £110 from Simply Electronics.

The Ear Force X42 is a great-looking headset that’s able to recreate enveloping 360° sound to put you right in the thick of the action, thanks to its built-in Dolby surround sound feature. The large 50mm drivers produce booming bass, but you can also fine-tune the sound of the headset using multiple equaliser presets, including bass and treble boost options.

A dynamic chat boost mode automatically increases the chat volume as the in-game sounds get louder. And the headset is wireless so you don’t have to deal with annoying cables when you’re in the midst of a frantic fire-fight. The range is good too — they’ll work at up to 30ft away from the transmitter.


Price: £56 from Pixmania.

Razer was the first company in the world to take seriously the need for gamers to have high-precision peripherals. It started off by creating gaming mice, but has grown to offer a whole host of products including keyboards, headphones, controllers and even gaming notebooks.

Its gaming mice are still first-rate, as the Imperator shows. It features a dual-sensor system that uses a combination of optical and laser technology to produce exceptionally sensitive 64,000dpi tracking. So if you get blown to bits in a frag fest while using the Imperator, you can’t blame the tool.

Dress Down
Evolution of Man: Arcade Gamer t-shirt

Price: £13 from Amazon.

There’s a fine line to tread between out-and-out nerd-dom and ‘quite cool’ when choosing a gaming t-shirt. I failed at the latter so I’ve chosen this one instead. It shows our personal evolution from ignorant hairy ape to sentient gaming genius, or something like that.

It’s available in a range of 10 colours, so you can buy one for every day of the week, and then some. Sizes run from small through to XXL.


Price: £45 from Amazon.

There are some cracking games now available for mobile phones, from simple but hugely entertaining puzzle games to first-person shooters like Nova. The problem, though, is that some games aren’t that suited to touchscreen controls and leave you longing for the immediacy and tactile feedback of real buttons.

This is where the Gametel comes in. It’s a control pad add-on for Android phones that connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your handset and allows you to play a huge number of games using real buttons. It can also be used with iPhones running iOS v4 or later, but there aren’t quite as many iPhone games that are compatible with it.

Halo 4

Price: £38 from Amazon for Xbox 360.

Halo has played a huge role in making the original Xbox and the follow-up Xbox 360 such a success. All of the Halo games have been consistently excellent, but Halo: Reach, in particular, was a peach of a game, so there’s a lot of expectation surrounding the new Halo 4, which will be released on 6 November.

The game, which is the first to be developed by 343 Industries instead of Bungie, is set four years after the ending of Halo 3 and sees the return of Master Chief as the main protagonist.

Just Dance 4

Price: £40 from Amazon for Nintendo Wii U.

Just Dance 4 will be one of the launch titles on the new Nintendo Wii U console. It fits in nicely with Nintendo’s more family-orientated gaming image, as it allows the whole family to make idiots of themselves by recreating choreographed dance moves in time to hit songs.

This time around there’s an all-new Battle mode, an upgraded Just Sweat mode and new alternative dances. The Battle mode allows you to challenge friends across six rounds of dance battles. Ubisoft has also crammed in 40 new tracks, ranging from 2 Unlimited’s Tribal Dance to The B52s’ Rock Lobster.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Price: £40 from Play for PlayStation.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a bit like the Avengers Assemble of video games, except with extra fighting thrown in for good measure. It’s a brawler that lets up to four players duke it out on screen at once. All the in-game characters are drawn from other PlayStation games and the arenas where battles take place are also influenced by other classic PlayStation franchises.

Iconic characters that you can take charge of include Kratos, Sweet Tooth, PaRappa, Fat Princess, Colonel Radec and Sly Cooper. Similarly, the fight arenas are based on levels from games such as Jak & Daxter, LittleBigPlanet and Resistance.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Price: £30 from Steam.

This game is a reworking of an old cult strategy title called UFO: Enemy Unknown. It’s a turn-based strategy and tactics game that puts the player in charge of a multi-national military force called XCOM, which has to defend the earth against invading alien forces.

As well as commanding troops in the field, the player also has to direct military R&D, manage the force’s finances and expand XCOM’s base of operations. Phew. This game is a perfect last-minute Christmas panic buy because you don’t need to rush out to the shops to get hold of it — you can gift it electronically through the Steam website.

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