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The PC Gamer 2023 Holiday Gift Guide

 PC Gamer 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.
PC Gamer 2023 Holiday Gift Guide.

Another year is winding towards its end, with the climactic holiday season approaching for the finishing blow to 2023. With the holidays comes the final annual boss fight of capitalism: holiday gift giving. In this savage and merrily decorated arena, the best gift can separate the haves from the have-something-they-wished-to-nots. Arm yourself for the conflict ahead with the finest wares that the PC Gamer team of potion sellers can offer: the 2023 PC Gamer Holiday Gift Guide.

The result of countless hours in the laboratory, our assembled collection of gaming accessories, tabletop stuff, widgets, decorative artifacts, and miscellaneous samoflanges will put you on the right path for the gauntlet of gift-giving ahead. We’ve compiled a whole gang of goodies to gaze at, from great gaming music and merch to stuff to entertain you away from your PC or just keep you comfy at it. Everything that isn’t one of the best PC games is up for grabs, so let's dig in.

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Check back regularly, as we’ll be updating the gift guide with more recommendations over the season. You can also take a peek at past years, like 2022, 2021, 2020, and even 2019, if you can remember that far back—wasn’t that the dialup era?—but now, unleash the giftalanche!

The best gifts for gamers

Our favorite gifts for gamers

Mr. Bones Wild Ride shirt ($32)

The Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 classic lives on in shirt form thanks to Fangamer, beckoning us all to follow his siren song on the ride that never ends. One look at his dapper visage and you’ll want a lifetime pass like me: I don’t want to get off Mr. Bones wild ride.

Razer Deathadder V3 Pro mouse ($104)

With laser precision, Razer’s Deathadder series has continued to trim down and refine the design of their mice, and we really love the Deathadder V3 for that refinement. The life of any FPS aficionado in your gifting circles can be improved with this sleek, light, and focused head-clicking machine, whether they’re ratting in Escape from Tarkov or lining up the perfect smoke in CounterStrike 2.

Metal Gear Solid Codec pins ($29)

Finally, we know that love can bloom on the battlefield, just like mine has for these gorgeous lenticular Metal Gear Solid pins. They’re pretty to look at even before you realize they’re lenticular, so you can tilt your view angle to see a different face for each character. At long last, I can recreate the awkwardness that would be a conversation between Sniper Wolf and Otacon.

Speedrun Science: a Long Guide to Short Playthroughs by Eric Koziel ($24)

Covering the methods and the madness of going very fast in games, Speedrun Science has the brain of a textbook and the heart of speedrunning passion. Speedrun Science breaks down everything from the history and terms of speedrunning to how a game is dissected and put back together meaner, leaner, and faster. It’s perfect for anyone interested in speedrunning, looking to get started with the hobby, or wanting to refine their own process.

Vintage Game Mags subscription ($15)

Do you fancy strolls down gaming’s memory lane? Courtesy of the noble Video Game History Foundation, you can get a mystery issue of a mag from gaming history in your mailbox every month. Check out those reader letters arguing with editors, or just finally get help with the most frustrating video game puzzles from your younger years. The best part? All the profits go to support the VGHF, so your gift will double down on holiday spirit.

Dart Armoury Dart Blaster ($40 and up)

Counter-Strike 2 is here, and while we’re all trying to figure out recoil patterns and new smoke locations—the folks over at Dart Armoury have been perfecting replica dart blasters. Whether you want to stage cs_office in your office, or just have the coolest way to give your cats something to chase, you can’t help but feel awesome when your dart pistol’s slide locks back at the end of a magazine. Just don’t get banned from your server for friendly fire over the new year.

The Art of Point & Click Adventure Games ($38)

From the exploits of Leisure Suit Larry to the best of LucasArts and beyond, the third edition of The Art of Point & Click Adventure Games is a love letter to the history of one of the PC’s most beloved genres. Whether you grew up on Quest for Glory and Secret of Monkey Island or came to them later, this book is simply gorgeous to behold. Don’t pass up checking out what else Bitmap Books has on offer too, especially their CRPG history book.

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The best last minute gifts

Last minute gifts for gamers

OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush ($9)

One of our perennial recommendations, OXO’s handy tool is the little cleaning brush that can—and will—help keep your keyboard from being disgusting. It’s never too early to start spring cleaning, and given how much use our keyboards have been getting in this golden year of gaming, they could use a little spa treatment.

Rainbow Six Siege Frost Welcome mat ($18)

Whether you want to catch your friends unaware or just protect your own entryway from invading Thatchers, this is the way to show people you mean business. If they’re the type who doesn’t appreciate ankle-biting you can just grab them a keychain for their favorite operator instead.

Starry Night Dust 2 mousepad ($24.88)

Counter-Strike’s Dust 2 is the most under or over-appreciated map of all time depending on who you ask—in my opinion, it’s map design art. The real question left is: would Van Gogh be an excellent entry fragger, or more of a lurker?

Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 wireless keyboard ($154)

Our pick for the best overall gaming keyboard, the Strix Scope II 96, has dialed in a package of some of the best features from the world of mechanical keyboards: hot-swappable switches, proper sound dampening, lubed switches (yes, you read that right), and an adjustable media control wheel. This is the real deal if you want someone to unwrap pure keyboard joy.

nkomax Graphics Card Support ($10)

While the graphics card is the powerhouse of the computer, all that power comes with a lot of weight. It might not be glamorous, but a proper graphics card support is the Atlas holding up your PC gaming world. While not every build needs one, they’re inexpensive, so why not give the gift of structural support for the holidays?

Video Game of the Year by Jordan Minor ($21)

Covering 40 years of videogames, Jordan Minor tackles "the best, the boldest, and the most bizarre" in games by focusing on one each year. It’s a great look into everything around the games industry, with development insights and looks at everything from the reception of individual games to the creations of genres and the legacy of important titles.

iFixit Moray driver kit ($20)

As a miniature version of the full Pro Tech toolkit, this simple screwdriver upgrade doesn’t have all the bits and bobs you’d need for a full teardown, but many of the PC Gamer team swear by them. They’re an excellent pick for anyone who builds, tinkers, or upgrades their computer and needs a fine screwdriver setup.

Lexar NM790 2TB Solid state drive ($130)

Not our first pick for the best SSD for gaming—that accolade goes to the WD Black SN850X for its speed—but the Lexar is the best value buy. You can pick up 2TB of NVMe storage for a little over $100. Or 4TB for a bit over $200. Don't be fooled by it not being technically the fastest, either; it's still close to the top speed possible for a Gen4 drive.

Razer Blackshark V2 Pro wireless headphones ($199)

With their 2023 update to the Blackshark V2 Pro, Razer brought some quality of life upgrades—including significantly increased battery life and an excellent mic. If you know someone who games with more of a tin-can-and-string than a proper pair of cans, the latest Blackshark V2 Pro is the all-in-one solution of their dreams.

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Gifts for gamers around $25

Gifts for gamers around $25

Gametee art prints ($20)

Have you ever wondered how good Dark Souls would be as a thought-provoking 1960s novel? Or if Metal Gear Solid would be a great silver age comic? Gametee’s got a whole bunch of ‘what if’ prints that are ripe for wall space, including a bunch of vintage matchbook covers with horror and video game characters, Fallout-themed Americana style prints, and more.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin ($15)

Equal parts delightful and touching, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow traces the journey of childhood friends Sam and Sadie through life as they design videogames, grasp at fame and success, and fall in love. It’s romance and friendship through the controller-and-keyboard lens of gaming and a beautiful read for any book lover.

Arcane Library books ($13 to $25)

Gametee’s excellent Arcane Library collection has everything from gorgeously bound hardcover folklore collections to horror classics, ghost stories, and histories of myth and occult art. There’s a bit of nerd esoterica—and even some tabletop games stuff—fit for a wide range of gamer bookshelves and coffee tables.

Yetee Shirts ($28)

Aside from conjuring bad memories of an ancient enemy of PC gamers, the Yetee has pretty impeccable vibes. While they’re a big sponsor of charity speedrunning event GamesDoneQuick, they’re able to do so because they’ve got pretty cool shirts. Whether you know someone who would want to rep their favorite Stardew Valley bachelors or bachelorettes, or would appreciate flexing a controversial Street Fighter main—Yetee can have them covered.

DOOM God Mode pin and DOOM Slayer ‘93 shirt ($7 and $25)

There’s something simple and streamlined about the designs of the grandfather of the FPS-genre, and the face (and helmet) of Doomguy are slick fashion statements. While someone you know may want these, it’s more important that they need them: to put the fear of the Slayer into any demons they encounter in their daily life.

Slay the Spire standees ($15)

A bare desk is like a bad draw, completely avoidable. Or at least, that’s what I’ve found true in the world of deckbuilding roguelike Slay the Spire. Decorate your desk and bring luck to a friend's next run by declaring their allegiance to one of the four classes. Or just get the gang back together with all of them—like a family holiday dinner with deadly card-based weaponry.

A PC Gamer Subscription ($35)

Not to doot our own trumpet too much, but you can get someone a year of PC Gamer in their mailbox for a pretty good price. We love our website, but there are exclusives and original stories in print, with all kinds of pretty layouts and special features about everything in the world of PC gaming. It’s a pretty dang nice gift, if we do say so ourselves (we do).

CFM Desk Mats ($30)

Every desk needs a cushion for your fancy keyboard and mouse, so why not give it some style? Showing up on our list again this year, CFM has everything from the Stardew Valley night market to the notorious Hyper Beast skin of Counter-Strike fame, and tons of Star Trek ship schematics.

Disco Elysium prints by Luis Melo ($15-20)

Have you run out of trash containers to nationalize? Does the light of your disco ball fade? Cheer you and your horrific necktie up with some fantastic prints from Luis Melo. He also has some excellent and stylish prints based on Elden Ring, Dark Souls, and others to check out.

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Gifts for gamers around $50

Gifts for gamers around $50

Dark Horse Direct figures ($50 to $60)

Naked shelves and desks have a certain beauty to them, but wouldn’t they be a lot warmer when embraced by your gaming extended family? Why not invite some friends to visit them, like everyone’s favorite best friend from Cyberpunk 2077, or Witcher 3’s Vengerberg sorceress herself? Your friends and families shelves will thank you for visitors when they kick back to game with more welcoming companions by their side.

Ryobi Desktop Vacuum Kit ($50)

It makes a not-insignificant difference in our personal dignity to be able to eliminate desk debris in a snap. Avoid the super-cheap USB vacuums on Amazon and consider Ryobi’s power-tool-grade desktop vacuum, handy for your desk and portable for the surrounding area.

Geralt in the Tub ($56)

Witcher fans know he’s never getting out of the tub, and we like it that way. Remember: if you’re cold, he’s cold, so bring home your own Geralt.

Tunnel Snakes jacket ($75)

Do you or someone you love suffer from not being a Tunnel Snake? Thankfully, modern science has formulated a solution for terminal uncoolness: becoming a member of a greaser gang in a post-apocalyptic Fallout vault. Terms, conditions, and radroaches may apply.

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Gifts for gamers over $100

Expensive stuff

G7 Gaming Chair by BodyBilt ($800)

This high-end ergonomic seat is a major upgrade over most rigid racing-style gaming chairs. Instead of relying on a pillow for lumbar or head support, the lower back is held by a band of gushy plastic bubbles ("Aircell") that provide surprising support. The head of the chair is actually a removable padded wrap that braces the neck or shoulders, depending on your adjusted height. And rollerblade wheel casters are underrated feature—pushing off to go grab your pretzels in the kitchen has never felt so low-friction.

CeraKey ceramic keycaps ($118)

While they may sound like the bizarre alchemy experiment of a forbidden hardware wizard, CeraKey’s ceramic keycaps are some of the most satisfying keycaps to hear or press—assuming you’re the type who likes to hear your keys. They come in a variety of colors, including the ‘crazed’ effect keys, which look like cracked ice, and are available with or without lettering.

Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 7800 XT video card ($570)

If you care more about frame rates than you do ray-traced effects, this is the best graphics card for around $500 available today. Sapphire's cheaper version should serve most PC gamers well, whether it’s for a fresh build or an upgrade to get heavier into gaming.

Xbox Elite Series 2 controller ($175)

Do you have a friend who always needs a controller handy for perfecting speedruns or venturing into the depths of Pizza Tower? As long as you like them, the Elite Series 2 is simply the best wireless gaming controller to get them. It’s not cheap, and it’s definitely over the top, but there’s nothing that beats it.

Thrustmaster T128 ($200)

The T128 is the best cheap racing wheel recommended in our buying guide. It's a full step cheaper than its peers in the $350 range, with build quality that will suit anyone who wants to experience the immersion of a wheel and pedals in Forza, but isn't looking to go full sim with iRacing anytime soon.

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i [Gen8] ($1800)

Whatever the design team over at Lenovo is up to, it's working. We've had a slew of impressive Lenovo laptops our way over the past year, but the real standout all-round champion of the lot has been the Pro 7i. A powerful laptop but no less a sleek one. This portable powerhouse is an excellent way to game on the go.

KeysMe Lunar 02 Mechanical Keypad ($129)

KeysMe’s Lunar01 series of mechanical keyboards are the cool futuristic looking keyboards we were promised by every production designer in the ‘70s. With the matching Lunar02 keypad, you’ve got a portable option to add a customizable numpad to your laptop, with serious space exploration style for any devoted Starfield players. The Lunar02’s also packing a mouse control joystick, RGB backlighting, a built-in lamp light, a display screen, and the ability to do Bluetooth, wireless with a USB dongle, or wired connectivity.

Thrustmaster T.16000M flight stick and throttle ($150)

An affordable step-in setup for flight-based games, the T.16000M is a stable and smooth-handling stick, with the 14-button throttle providing that extra layer of immersion. Perfect for the weekend War Thunder player.

The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy art books ($150)

It’s just as impossible to gauge the impact of legendary illustrator Yoshitaka Amano as to imagine a Final Fantasy without his characterizations. Whether someone has been a Final Fantasy fan for ages or is new to the series, Amano’s concept art is gorgeous to behold. With three main volumes covering the beginning of the series up through Final Fantasy X, there’s also a smaller book included in the box called All About Yoshitaka Amano that gives a touching look into a beautifully cluttered mind.

Alienware 34 QD-OLED curved gaming monitor ($1000)

One of the first OLED gaming monitors worth the money, and still one of the best. This is the cheaper version of Alienware's QD-OLED screen, and offers FreeSync rather than G-Sync support, but we love it more than the pricier version for its glossy panel. That finish makes the OLED panel sing while gaming.

Lord of the Rings: Rivendell LEGO set ($500)

Is there anyone whose life wouldn’t be better owning a 6000-piece recreation of one of the most iconic sets of Lord of the Rings? Show me this person and I’ll show you someone who needs some life advice from a tiny Lego Samwise Gamgee himself.

PDP Victrix Pro FS Fight Stick ($399)

This high-end stick is a kitchen sink of features: a sturdy aluminum body houses a durable Sanwa Denshi stick and buttons, foam lap pads, and built-in carrying handles. On the opposite side is a latched hood, through which the internal components can be accessed and modded. It's been a bumper year for fighting games, and Tekken 8 is out in January. This is the stick you want if you want to get tournament-ready.

Lilipad 48" standing desk ($1149)

This otherwise deluxe electric motor standing desk has an interesting quirk: it's collapsable, folding all the way down to a six-inch height so it can be rolled under a bed or hidden away. It's a dream solution for space-starved PC gamers, for anyone who's become a work-from-homer in the last few years, or for those who do the majority of their gaming off of a laptop. The 46.25" x 24" tabletop arrives fully assembled.

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Tabletop Games

Tabletop games

Battletech starter ($51.32)

Do you speak the universal language of giant robots? Battletech is a wargame set in the 31st century where giant mechs bash pieces off of each other until there’s a clear loser. It's more self contained and accessible than your average wargame, and is hex-based—and played on printed mapsheets. Between Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries and the success of the Kickstarter that brought new plastic miniatures to the wargame, there’s never been a better time to jump into Battletech.

Gametee Lucky Socks ($25)

With their lucky socks, Gametee has decided to solve two similar problems with one box: cold dice and cold feet. Warm up your feet with some nerd style, and swap out your misbehaving dice for one of the themed dice sets that come with each pair of socks.

Coins of Wonder ($9)

Nothing beats a good prop in your tabletop game, and the Coins of Wonder line is perfect: inexpensive and evocative, each one is ready to be a quest reward, magic item, or macguffin in your next RPG. As a bonus, each coin has rules for D&D 5e available as a free printable download, ready to drop into your game.

Snap Ships Tactics starter set ($67)

Snap Ships Tactics is a game that lives at the cross section of childhood memories, building bespoke spaceships out of Legos and swooping them around at each other. Each ship kit is composed of different parts, from weapons to engines and wings and structure. You can build and rearrange to make your own ships or one of the default ones, and then battle them against a friend in a turn based dogfight. Snap Ships Tactics hits the balance between satisfying build-your-own desk toy and a quick and accessible wargame—especially for those of us that wanted more out of Starfield’s shipbuilding. Plus, there are a bunch of ships already there, I’ve personally loved the Lance and the Falx/Wasp ship packs the most so far.

Dice Envy Advent Calendar ($65)

What could possibly be better than getting a gift for the holidays? Why, getting a gift every day of the holidays, of course. Whether your giftee is a veteran dice collector or just starting their hoard of shiny math rocks, Dice Envy’s advent calendar gives them a daily dose of dice of different sizes and materials.

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate board game ($55)

You start out each game of Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate as friends, exploring and discovering new locations, but before long the game will turn one of the players into a traitor with their own agenda. As an improvement on the original Betrayal board game, Baldur’s Gate tweaks the formula of its predecessor a little with special powers for each character and other small but welcome adjustments. It’s perfect for a change of pace or to introduce some friends to board games.

Symbaroum RPG ($40)

A dark and spooky tabletop RPG that’s flown under the radar for a few years now, Symbaroum has a lot going for it. With its simple and flexible rules and hauntingly beautiful art Symbaroum is a great choice for exploring beyond D&D, but wanting to stay in a fantasy world.

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Comics

Comics

If these are tough to find online, go hunting for your local comic shop. You can use sites like comicshoplocatorfindacomicshop, or Free Comic Book Day's locator.

Peacemaker Tries Hard! ($5/issue in your local comic shop)

One of PC Gamer Global Editor-in-Chief Evan Lahti's favorite series from this year is this irreverent Peacemaker book from Kyle Starks, which sees DC's biggest lunkhead fighting to rescue his dog from kidnappers. As Peacemaker joins forces with a little-known WWII superhero who commands bees to face off against, for example, a gang of villain construction workers, the story reasserts the profane absurdity of the 2022 TV spin-off.

Wonder Woman 2023 reboot ($5/issue in your local comic shop)

The current Wonder Woman storyline, which just kicked off at issue #801, is steeped in the serious politics we'd expect from the character. The US government is expelling Amazons from the United States after one is accused of murder, setting up a tense outlaw-on-the-run story for WW as she protects her people and tries to uncover the truth. Series writer Tom King is an ex-CIA officer and is so far delivering an exciting political thriller.

World of Cyberpunk 2077 ($5/issue in your local comic shop)

We’ve been hungry for more Cyberpunk 2077 after its masterful redemption arc over the last couple years, and Dark Horse has the goods. With several short series (and their graphic novel versions) tackling diverse stories across Night City, there’s a large helping of cyberpunk here. Personal favorites are Trauma Team—about a Trauma Team EMT put into impossible circumstances—and Big City Dreams, which won the Hugo award this year for best graphic story or comic.

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Music

Music

Sea of Thieves soundtrack from iam8bit ($100)

Sea of Thieves proved that the perfect companion while riding the high seas—or when you have Witcher business to attend to—is the warbling hurdy gurdy. With the Sea of Thieves soundtrack, Robin Beanland gave it his all, from E side’s epic shanty We Shall Sail Together to the upbeat Bosun Bill, it’s a pirate's life for the ears.

Myst soundtrack from Fangamer ($45)

For many, Robyn Miller’s Myst soundtrack was the background to their earliest puzzle-solving achievements. The lonely telescope theme is the one I can never forget, since I was stuck in the area for at least a week in my formative years. It’s a worthy trip for anyone with love and nostalgia for the first golden era of adventure gaming.

DOOM (2016) soundtrack from Laced Records ($35)

The perfect jams to mulch demons to, Mick Gordon’s work for the DOOM reboot improves any situation. If there’s ever a potential successor to the legendary At Doom’s Gate, it has to be BFG Division, which has motivated me for everything under the demonic sun. Cleaning the house? Try some demonslaying. Spreadsheets for work? Just add super shotguns.

Warhammer 40K Darktide soundtrack from Laced Records ($50)

Descending to us from the skilled hands of Jesper Kyd, the Darktide soundtrack feels like it was composed in the vaulted halls of one of the mighty Imperial dreadnaughts in orbit. Equal parts tense, epic, and gothic, it’s one of our favorite soundtracks. The churning, chanting main theme feels like a miner's song beamed into your brain from a very ugly planet.