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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Retro Game Gifts Guide

Retro Game Gifts Guide

Something I've seen a lot of people discuss online is what to get a retro game enthusiast as a gift.  Granted I see this discussion more often around Christmas time, I also see it pop up from time to time when someone has a birthday. I was planning to write this guide back around the holiday season but ended up getting sidetracked.  It wasn't until I went out to the store to get someone a birthday gift the other day that I remembered I wanted to write a little guide for picking out items for a retro fan.

It seems like people get caught up in the idea that they might get them something they already have or don't really want since many older retro game fans tend to have a collection going and will often have a game room or some sort of gaming set-up in which to relax.  Well, to that I say, there are lots of neat retro gifts that aren't actual games!



Recall that I mentioned many retro gamers really like to set up game rooms or gaming environments to show off there collection and to relax and play games.  Well it's quite nice to be able to break up shelves full of games with little figures or some sort of gaming memorabilia.  It's surprisingly easy to find retro-inspired game figures at toy stores these days, and I've walked into Japanese specialty stores which have walls littered with stuffed game characters like the big Final Fantasy X style Tonberry pictured above, along with video game soundtracks, figurines, and wall hangings.  However the Japanese stores tend to be on the pricier side since many items are imported from overseas.  The Resident Evil thermos was being sold in a store that specializes in music and movies but had a small game section.


Some of my personal favorite figures to display are ones made by Play Arts, which in my experience are very high quality, come with display stands, and have many points of articulation along with lots of detail and little touches that make them stand out.  It can also be quite exciting for a retro gamer to have memorabilia such as store display stands or kiosks to put with their collection, especially if they are older ones.  Things like this pop up from time to time on Craigslist and eBay, but can command a high price.  It might be wise to see if any local game stores have things they intend to just throw away that they might be willing to part with.

Cable Upgrades


These might seem a little more boring than the items mentioned above, but having the highest quality available for their game systems can mean a lot to a retro gamer.  For some systems it can be quite difficult to find the higher quality cables, which weren't always sold with the consoles.  For instance, the Sega Saturn can use an S-Video cable for higher picture quality, but was sold with standard composite cables, as were most video game systems.  That being said, there are now companies out there that sell brand new video and audio cables for older game systems.  I've bought some nice replacement cables for Sega systems from a company called Retro-bit.



This sort of goes hand-in-hand with gaming merchandise, but retro posters or even newer posters can be a really nice addition to any game collection.  Fortunately, there are many times you can purchase an older game which still has its box, and find a poster tucked in with the instruction booklet.  I've pulled tons of posters out of Sega Master System and Sega Genesis boxes.  Giving these posters a frame is a simple way to make them look really nice and much more presentable.  As for newer posters, these are easily found in many store's poster sections nowadays.  I even have a really nice painting of the history of game controllers I received as a truly amazing gift.



I've begun to notice a trend in a lot of stores, where they have begun selling video game inspired candy, sometimes in the checkout lane.  I've seen them now in clothing stores, music stores, toy stores, and a department store.  There's even retro ones like the Atari joystick pictured above which had gum inside.  These usually tend to be a little pricy for candy, but it's really the novelty that make them neat.  The containers are usually something you end up keeping because of their visual appeal.  From controllers, to characters, to items like the question blocks in Mario, to actual game consoles, they really are quite fun, and everyone likes a little bit of candy now and then.

T-Shirts/Clothing Items


You can often find retro game inspired t-shirts and belt buckles in stores that try to cater to the young and hip teenage crowd.  Sure most of the people who buy them at those stores are just wearing them as some sort of fashion statement or for the "cool to be a nerd - hipster effect," but why not get one for someone who genuinely likes the games.  Now, not everyone who is a retro game enthusiast likes to display their interests on there clothing, so think about what kind of clothing the recipient likes to where before picking up clothing items.  Also, I have seen several retro t-shirts with incorrect information on them, such as showing a picture of a game with the wrong title and using quotes from the wrong game.

Actual Games


I know I said at the beginning of the article that part of the problem is you might get the gamer a game they already have or a game that they don't really want, but you need to remember that it really is above all else the thought that counts when giving a gift.  A nice person will generally be appreciative and grateful regardless.  This is also a great way for the gamer to play something they might have never given a chance had they not received it as a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing guide. At least, it reminded me to add The King of Kong to my Christmas list…