The PC Gamer 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 gift guide

 

We all know that the holiday season is a contest: The one that gives the best gift wins. We are at your side, friend, lonesome traveler. Do not go unarmed into this bitter season of combat, this thunderdome of generosity. In the words spoken often, with immortal wisdom: It's dangerous to go alone.

So, take this, the 2022 PC Gamer Holiday Gift Guide! We've compiled some favorites of gaming merch, alongside price ranges of $25 or less, $50ish, and $100 or more, and we're rounding it off with some of our favorite comics, tabletop games, and gaming music released this year (we spend the whole year recommending you the best PC games, after all). 

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 If you're curious what we recommended last year, our 2021, 2020, and 2019 guides still have some good stuff in them. Without further ado, the gifts! 

The best gifts for gamers

Our absolute favourite gifts for gamers

I'm Too Young To Die ($40)

I'm Too Young To Die ($40)

A shockingly complete, sprawling collection of outlining the rise of a hobby-defining game style, I'm Too Young To Die is a collection of the incredible innovation that gave rise to the modern First-Person Shooter over the decade of 1992 to 2002. As either a vital reference for the dedicated lover of FPS or an object for casual perusal, it's a worthy addition to Bitmap Books' collection of historical gaming encyclopedias and references.

CFM Desk Mats ($23-30)

CFM Desk Mats ($23-30)

CFM has a cool set of desk mats encompassing games like Runescape and Animal Crossing, but their real standout projects are the super-detailed spaceship schematic and control panels from Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and more. Oh, and LED RGB Goku. And the Stardew Valley Night Market. Ok, a lot of them are standouts.

Junimo from Stardew Valley plushes

(Image credit: Fangamer)
Junimo Plush Set ($24)

Junimo Plush Set ($24)

These incredibly adorable Junimo plushes are perfect for the stardew enthusiast both casual and hardcore. Keep them in a larger pile of stuffed joys, have them bless your efforts from a display shelf, or scatter them throughout the house to complete the sense that you, too, live in a blessed and magical valley protected by trustworthy spirits.

Atsuko's Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Gear ($24-50)

Atsuko's Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Gear ($24-50)

Anime merch crew Atsuko has absolutely crushed it with shirts and sweatpants themed around Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, which was pretty dang good. Figure out your giftee's favorite character (it's Rebecca) and get them a shirt aimed right at their heart, or get them a nicely colored and laid-out shirt with the whole crew. It's a nice collection to see in a marketplace that doesn't always get the aesthetic of the show or game right when translating it to wearables. 

Undertale reusable bag ($15)

Undertale reusable bag ($15)  

This folding, reusable bag is perfect for shopping, whether you're doing that shopping above the ground in the human world or beneath the earth in the world to which monsters have been exiled. It's a panoply of everyone's favorite Undertale characters, is made to have a different look on both sides, and it folds into a small form-factor to fit in your pocket—very nice if you're not sure that any shopping is going to get done but want the option. (A common problem at conventions, in one author's humble opinion.)

Ace Attorney pin set ($19)

Ace Attorney pin set ($19)

Something timeless has come about from Ace Attorney's many interjections, and now that the series is—as of the last few years—quite officially a PC Game, it is imperative that you be prepared at any time to have an Objection, Take that, or Hold it ready to go. What easier way to do so than to have a pin on your person which will be guaranteed to add flair to any debate or proceedings, regardless of their legal status? None that I know of. You can also lodge your Objection in pillow form

Best of the best

Elden Ring Knight looking at camera

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

2023 games: Upcoming releases
Best PC games: All-time favorites
Free PC games: Freebie fest
Best FPSes: Finest gunplay
Best MMOs: Massive worlds
Best RPGs: Grand adventures

Virtual Cities($16)

Virtual Cities ($16)

A wonderfully rendered journey across the worlds made for video games, Virtual Cities is a book that crosses between urban planning, visual design, and worldbuilding to talk about places that don't exist. Places like Whiterun, City 17, Kamurocho, New Vegas, Orgrimmar, Novigrad, Dunwall, and Sigil. It's a laundry list of places and a journey over decades of gaming, even if you haven't played every one of the games involved. Lots of gamers will love this thing simply because it takes the time to really enjoy the design of so many virtual spaces—and might well inspire them to explore those places themselves.

PC Game Pass ($20-30)

PC Game Pass ($20-30)

Two or three months prepaid membership to PC Game Pass gives your giftee access to a huge array of games that they might not actually want to own, just try for a while. We're talking a broad array of games from the entire Halo franchise to Bethesda Softworks' stuff—including EA Play, for the Battlefield and Star Wars games. There's also an increasing array of indies on here, many of which are releasing on Game Pass same day during the holiday season and in the early-year release window.

Gametee's Art Prints($15)

Gametee's Art Prints ($15)

UK-based retailer gametee makes some incredibly stylish stuff, and their art prints are no exception. Where many prints are huge and expensive, Gametee's archival-stock prints are remarkably affordable, have a "buy two, get three" program, and benefit from flat-rate international shipping. The styles range from brooding art and beautiful compositions to pin-ups and faux book covers. 

Tunic Tees & Hoodies ($30-60)

Tunic Tees & Hoodies ($30-60)

One of this year's sleeper hits, Tunic's broad array of weird symbols and funky gameplay is a love letter to the mystery of discovering how a new game works. The various sacred geometries of Tunic are now on shirts, richly colored in the game's palette, as well as pullovers and hoodies. Tunic's neat merch comes from Compress Merch's Finjji line, which also has stuff from games like Chicory and Overland. 

Deep Rock Galactic Coaster Set ($12)

Deep Rock Galactic Coaster Set ($12)  

What better gift for the dedicated player of a game about drinking with your friends and getting into trouble than an accessory to be sure that cleaning up after the trouble is easier? Let your favorite player of one of the best cooperative shooters out there feel that they are sitting at the Abyss Bar with this set of leather coasters, each imprinted with a signature phrase. Do it for Karl!

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Gifts for gamers under $25

gifts under 25

Gifts for gamers under $25

Magnetic Nut and Bolt Tray ($8)

Magnetic Nut and Bolt Tray ($8)

This is a gift idea for any major nerds out there. We swear by these tiny magnetic trays for when we're swapping out components, and we think most PC builders would benefit from having one.

Logitech G203 ($20)

Logitech G203 ($20)

If any PC gamer in your life is still rocking an out-of-date office mouse, generic mouse, or (shudder) a mouse with a trackball, the G203 is a cheap and effective upgrade for more accurate aiming and gaming.

Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo ($20)

Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo ($20)

We know he's not a PC person, but former Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aimé left a lasting mark on how the personality of the games business is conducted. While it does indulge in a bit of classic American Dream storytelling, his book is a fascinating look inside a personality that shaped the last few decades of games development and games business.

Oxo electronics cleaning brush

(Image credit: Oxo)
OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush

OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush ($8)
A perennial feature of this guide, OXO's specialized electronics cleaning brush is the single handiest tool I've ever owned for cleaning the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your mouse, keyboard, and controller. They are grimy and disgusting and you know it, so please unplug them and then clean them. Please. 

Samurai Pillow Plush ($10)

Samurai Pillow Plush ($10) 

Cyberpunk lovers will revel in this particular pillow, the cyber-devil logo of Johnny Silverhand's band Samurai sitting front and center atop whatever surface of comfort they've chosen. It's a good shape and size for an on and off lower back pillow in your gaming chair, to boot. An excellent way to rest until holographic Keanu Reeves appears in your thoughts and informs you to "Wake the f*** up, Samurai. We have a city to burn."

RGB toilet light

RGB toilet light ($10-15)

I know it sounds like a joke, but I'm serious. The motion sensor turns on the light inside your toilet when you walk into the room, which is much better than turning on the bathroom light late at night. You can choose from different colors or set it to alternate. And taking a whizz into a glowing cybertoilet is like peeing into the future. You've got RGB on your PC, mouse, and maybe even your microphone, so why not your bowl? Take my word for it: I RGB'd my toilet, and you should too.

Witcher Trinity Sigils pins ($6-9)

Witcher Trinity Sigils pins ($6-9)  

This set of three pins has the symbols of the leading Witcher characters as shown in the Netflix series. You've got the Wolf, for Geralt; the Star, for Yennefer; and the Sparrow, for Ciri. For about $12 you can get the individual symbols on necklaces, if you know that's something your giftee would like—and know their favorite character. 

Annoying Dog Pouch ($15)

Annoying Dog Pouch ($15)

Undertale fans will rejoice at the appearance of this, the Annoying Dog, in their very own lives. He is not truly annoying—don't get us wrong—but rather an annoyance to many other characters throughout Undertale and a fan favorite, often taken as a stand-in for Undertale's author. Plus, what's more annoying than a little change, cash, and cards pouch that you will inevitably misplace and search for? Nothing. At least the giftee can smile when they find it.

Critical Success & Failure d20 Cushions ($24)

Critical Success & Failure d20 Cushions ($24)

This delightful pillow, also available in a purple failure, is a rather classy way to celebrate the rolling of a natural 20—which all right-thinking gamers know is a critical success. It's made with a soft faux-suede material and decorated with classic motifs of florals and insects. It'd be right at home in some non-gaming grandma's sitting room until you notice the d20. It's also available in a Critical Failure version, where those bees are replaced by death's-head moths. Quite a nice touch. 

Valorant Comic Book Posters ($22)

Valorant Comic Book Posters ($22)  

These comic cover posters of Valorant agents are such a great idea for a character-focused shooter like this. Spanning a set of styles from '90s muscles-and-pouches to modern high-gloss looks, Valorant's myriad characters are on full display. It's a great look for the series that dares to step outside conventional merch depictions straight from the company.

A PC Gamer Subscription ($20)

A PC Gamer Subscription ($20)

Hey, that's us! You can get someone a year of PC Gamer, delivered to their door, for $20 in the US. Our website's cool and all, but did you know that we publish lots of original stories in print, with beautiful page layouts and exclusive cover stories and special features about all things PC gaming? It's true! We think it makes a pretty dang good gift. You can get it digitally, too

DesignByHumans Tees ($26)

DesignByHumans Tees ($26)

DesignByHumans' approach to merch always delivers, drawing on diverse designers delivering a range of cool angles on a property. I think their Cuphead tees are some of the best they do, but you can get their take on more than a few games, like Fortnite, Minecraft, Magic: The Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons, among many others. You can also get some of their stuff on Amazon. (And, look, I know this is the $25 and under category but inflation's getting to us all.)

Gametee's Arcane Library ($10-25)

Gametee's Arcane Library ($10-25)

This is a wonderful range of books in nice, clothbound and jacketed versions that cover a huge array of enjoyable nerdy and nerd-adjacent subjects. It's inevitable that something here will spark your target's interest, whether it's a collection of weird tales, a book of myths, some tabletop advice, or one of the modern releases of the classic Fighting Fantasy books. You can get some of these books elsewhere, but Fangamer's collection is excellently curated.

Stray Button/Badge Set ($8)

Stray Button/Badge Set ($8) 

One of this year's expected hits that hit harder than expected, Stray's adorable catagonist resonated with a lot of people. If you know one, and that person also likes the fine art of buttons, badges, and pins, then this is just the collection of doodads for you. It's a set of seven nice buttons that precisely mimic those found in the game, as well as a seventh black-and-white robot police badge. "You could put it on your backpack and cosplay as the cat," suggests publisher Annapurna Interactive, which makes a kind of sense.

Fangamer Desk Mats ($19-30)

Fangamer Desk Mats ($19-30)

Fangamer has rolled out a series of really delightful desk mats over the last year, including designs for games like Hades, pictured above, and favorites like Outer Wilds and Deltarune. They've even got a broadly game-neutral mat covered in doodles that correlate to speedrun strategies used in GDQ events, and part of that purchase goes to GDQ itself. 

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Gifts for gamers at around $50

gifts under 50

Gifts for PC gamers around $50

Elden Ring Official Strategy Guides ($30, or $72) 

Elden Ring Official Strategy Guides ($30, or $72) 

If someone you love's favorite game of 2022 was Elden Ring, or if you're getting them Elden Ring for the holidays, this is absolutely the best accompaniment you can get them. Future Press' limited-run strategy guides are authorized by the game creators and more often than not quickly become collector's items sought after by those who missed the print run. It's because they're not just useful guides, but are well-designed tributes to the games themselves. The Elden Ring guide will undoubtedly have a much larger run than prior, but this gift guide writer would be shocked if they started reprinting now. The first volume ("The Lands Between") is available immediately, while the second, "Shards of the Shattering", can be pre-ordered for delivery in April 2023. 

Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro ($67)

Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro ($67)

Our favorite gaming mouse goes wireless. If you know a gamer with a  tired and wired gaming mouse in need of an upgrade, this is sure to be just that.

HyperX Cloud Alpha ($70)

HyperX Cloud Alpha ($70)

This headset was our absolute favorite wired headset for a long while. Though it's now been replaced by the Razer BlackShark V2, that headset will cost you a lot more right now. That means the HyperX is back in fashion.

Xbox Design lab controller($70-150+)

Xbox Design lab controller ($70-150+)

From a nicely-done monochrome controller in their favorite color for about $70 to an extensively-customized controller with swappable sticks and carrying case for $200 or more, Xbox's design lab controllers are a custom-made dream for those who can't live without a good gamepad. Unless you know just what color combos the person in question might love, this is a great gift for that classic "empty box" scenario where there's a picture or short description inside and you design the controller together later on.

Hades Three-Headed Good Boy Hoodie ($60)

Hades Three-Headed Good Boy Hoodie ($60)

Any fan of Hades is going to love this, because a fan of Hades is a fan of Cerberus. Who has three heads and is a very good dog?

World of Horror t-shirt ($32)

World of Horror t-shirt ($32)

It's a niche game, okay, but if your list of giftees includes a World of Horror fan and you get them this they will absolutely flip out.

Ifixit Mako Driver Kit ($40)

Ifixit Mako Driver Kit ($40)

One of the best tool kits money can buy for a PC builder. If you know someone who lugs around a bag of loose, ill-fitting screwdrivers, this would make a great gift to make their life easier. The lid doubles as a magnetized bits tray.

The secret history of mac gaming book by Bitmap Books

(Image credit: Bitmap Books)
The Secret History of Mac Gaming ($37)

The Secret History of Mac Gaming ($37) 

What kinds of secrets, you ask? The kind that the people who run a website called "PC Gamer" don't want you to know. Wake up, sheeple, and realize that Mac Gaming has been here all along. Jokes aside, Bitmap Books make what are indisputably the best array of beautiful, well-designed books about historical gaming. They're not just informative, they're made with a designer's eye towards being downright pretty

SHINRA Soldier Hoodie ($47)

SHINRA Soldier Hoodie ($47)  

Since Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Intergrade released this year, I can finally put this absolutely awesome zip-up hoodie on here. Now your favorite gamer can pretend that they, too, are—let me check my notes here—oh, uh, definitely the bad guys. Oh well!

Stray Hoodie ($75)

Stray Hoodie ($75)

Annapurna's official line of Stray merch includes this quite fashionably baggy, loose-fit heavyweight hoodie with a nice black tie-dye finish. It features the game logo, which is fine, but has some classy cyber-kitty faces up the arm. Love those.

A Profound Waste of Time, Volume 2 ($45)

A Profound Waste of Time, Volume 2 ($45)

Look, if you're going to buy a magazine about games that's not ours, or a second magazine about games, might we suggest A Profound Waste of Time? The second volume of this bespoke gaming mag dives deep into the art and lifestyle of creating games. It's more a heavy-stock periodical publication than a more traditional magazine, like ours, but we'll allow it. 

XPOWER Airrow A-2S ($50)

XPOWER Airrow A-2S ($50)  

What if I told you that instead of buying cans of compressed air over and over, you could buy a tiny blower for only about five times the price and never run out of air? Well, now you can. This latest model from XPOWER is also specifically for your electronics, which is nice, ain't it?

Elden Ring Torrent Crewneck ($49)

Elden Ring Torrent Crewneck ($49)

A delightfully Elden Ring-slanted spoof on the classic Tommy Hilfiger polo logo, this crewneck features everyone's favorite horse that also has horns. Hornse? I don't know, either way it's Torrent. Torrent had faith in you, even when Melina didn't. Torrent is a solid bro. This one also falls under the excellent category of gaming merch that doesn't quite look it until you take a closer peek. 

Stray x Travel Cat Harness & Leash ($40)

Stray x Travel Cat Harness & Leash ($40)

You can dress your cat up like the cat from Stray, except rather than a cosplay replica it's a functional, reliable device made by a real pet accessory company. I don't know what more your cat-loving gamer of choice might want. (Except… see below.)

Geralt in the Tub ($67)

Geralt in the Tub ($67) 

Perfect for Witcher fans. I'll stop putting this thing on the list the year an editor physically restrains me from doing so.