December 9, 2011

All I Want for Xmas: Randy’s List

As promised on VGH33, here is my expanded list of gift ideas for the “obsessive gamers and pop-culture geeks” on your shopping list.  Each is Linked to a site where you can find out more about the items and, in most cases, even buy them.

5. Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of Making the Film ($21)
This hardbound-and-slipcovered book traces the original Alien movie from concept to pop-culture phenomenon.  There’s a ton of never-before-seen material inside, including Ridley Scott’s storyboards, H.R. Giger’s alien concept art, and Polaroids taken on the set.  Nearly every sci-fi/horror hybrid over the last 30 years has borrowed elements from Alien; this gorgeous (and surprisingly cheap book) promises to show where it all began.

4. PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset ($99)
Earlier this year, Sony introduced it’s own entry into the high-end gaming headset market and it’s been earning positive reviews ever since.  It syncs up easily with your PS3 and provides 10+ hours of battery life with Dolby 7.1-quality sound.  It includes a built in mic for multiplayer gaming but is also a great buy for folks who like to watch noisy action movies on Blu-ray.

3. Atari Arcade iPad Controller ($60 plus the cost of an iPad)
Atari’s Greatest Hits app ($10)
This is, essentially, a glorified dock for your iPad.  The reason I included it here, though, is because it’s got a joystick and 4 clicky arcade buttons built in.  Add the Atari’s Greatest Hits app and you’ve got access to 100 classic video games like Missile Command, Asteroids, Centipede, Tempest, etc.  The downside?  The controller only works with this one app, at least for now.  If you’re shopping for a retro-gaming connoisseur, though, (and they already have an iPad) this would make an awesome gift.

2. CD Box Sets:
U2’s “Achtung Baby” Uber Edition ($440)
Smashing Pumpkins’ “Gish” and “Siamese Dream” ($25 each)
The Smiths’ “Complete” ($65)
Music is probably one of the only things in the world that I obsess over as much as gaming, which makes these new box sets from three of my favorite 80’s and 90’s band must-haves.  U2’s set is ridiculous: it includes 6 CDs, 4 DVDs, 2 LPs, 5 7-inch singles, and a reproduction of Bono’s famous “Fly” sunglasses.  The Pumpkins’ sets are more modestly priced and includes additional discs of outtakes, demos, and even some re-recorded B-sides.  The Smiths’ set doesn’t provide much that’s new to hardcore fans but the packaging is brilliant: each album is reproduced on vinyl-style slipcovers with original artwork.  Put it in your ears!

1. Nook Tablet ($250)
Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline ($12)
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter”  by Tom Bissell ($12)
All Your Base are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture”  by Harold Goldberg ($12)
Some very cool new books about gaming culture have come out this year and these three are definitely among the most interesting and creative.  To take it one step further, I’d recommend reading them on Barnes and Noble’s new Nook Tablet, their rival to Amazon’s Kindle Fire and, in my experience, the superior product.  The new Nook features a gorgeous 7″ HD screen, a super-fast dual-core processor, as well as Pandora, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and B&N’s massive e-book library.  Gamers will also appreciate access to games via the Android Market.  Plus, it’s a really sexy little device!

Stay tuned throughout next week for gift ideas from everyone on the Video Game Hangover Team.  Happy Holidays!

  • Two other good books
    The First Quarter: A 25-Year History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent and Masters of Doom. I’ve got Extra Lives and All your Base are Belong to us.

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