2017 was the year we wanted to escape. To a different time, to a different place, somewhere, anywhere but here. And who would blame us—have you turned on the news lately? Fortunately, there are still endless worlds out there to explore, and you can get to them all at the push of a button. Whether you’re the hero’s journey type or conquering planets is more your speed, there’s a little something out there for everyone. Here’s our guide to every console, game, accessory, and toy a gamer could want this holiday season.
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Last year’s hardest-to-find system is arguably this year’s best. In a year of incredibly strong releases from mainstays like Mario and Zelda, as well as some indie surprises, the Switch is proof that Nintendo still knows how to make console gaming fun.
PlayStation loyalists won’t find a better option than the Pro—the added processing power makes games run as smoothly as ever, especially on that new 4K TV you just scooped up. The company has discontinued the original VR headset, but it still might be worth considering for Skyrim alone.
For gamers who want to add a little color, update their aesthetic, or show off some team pride, Xbox’s Design Lab offers over a billion color combinations to let them do so. The lab also offers free engraving and shipping with any purchase of a controller.
What good is online gaming without a little trash talk? The G633 immerses the wearer in the action, makes it easier to communicate with teammates (and enemies), and spares roommates worldwide from all that extra noise.
As cool as the Switch’s detachable Joy-Con controllers are, more traditional gamers might prefer the feel of an old-school gamepad. The bulkier design makes it a much comfier option for extended gaming sessions, too.
Despite what your parents told you, there are literally people making a living playing video games in 2017. Many of them built their audiences thanks to streaming, and anyone looking for a piece of that action should get to know the HD60. Gamers can go live and record in 1080p60, edit on the fly, and show off their skills to the world.
Another one for the streamers, because audio quality should be as on point as the visuals. Blue’s Snowball doesn’t just look cool, it captures crystal-clear sound. With USB, getting started is as simple as plugging in.
Every gamer knows the frustration of a bad connection. It gets worse when you add multiple phones, pads, and logged-in laptops to the mix. The AC3150 has no trouble handling all of those at the same time, keeping connections reliable and teammates alive.
While they make great desk decor for any 9-to-5, Nintendo’s Amiibo figurines integrate into games for the Switch, Wii U, and 3DS. By tapping them on systems at the right time, players can find secrets, discover power-ups, and even unlock bonus characters.
‘Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made’
Developing video games is no simple task. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier went in deep to tell the stories of what goes into bringing your favorite titles to life, from Destiny to Dragon Age. It’s a must read for any true gaming geek.
When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won the Golden Joystick award for “Ultimate Game of the Year,” series producer Eiji Aonuma thanked Super Mario Odyssey for not having been out for long when the final votes were tallied. That’s all you need to know about the best Mario game in decades, and maybe the most fun you’ll have with a controller all year. (Switch)
Thousands of years after Ocarina of Time (we’ll let you debate where this one falls in the timeline), our hero Link is back to battle Ganon and save Hyrule in the most innovative and hauntingly beautiful Zelda game yet. (Switch)
Everything that made Mario Kart 8 the best-selling Wii U title has been amped up for the Nintendo Switch. New courses and rules make the renovated Battle Mode worth the price of admission alone. (Switch)
Few games have enjoyed the relevance and replayability that Skyrim has maintained since it first came out in 2011. That’s largely thanks to a brilliant and creative modding community that Bethesda has not only enabled, but actively empowered. Our reward after all these years? A special edition that includes a Switch port and a version for the PS4 that might finally make you a believer in VR gaming. (Switch, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC) $57, amazon.com
Somewhere in the future, the last safe city on Earth has been overtaken, and the Guardians (meaning you) must reclaim it from the bad guys. That’s the easy part. Not getting addicted at the expense of your social life and general hygiene? A little tougher. (Xbox, PS4, PC) $40, target.com
A technical marvel when it came out in 2011, Rockstar’s detective thriller has aged very well into this year’s multi-platform re-release. It feels as good handheld on the Switch as it does for PlayStation VR. (Switch, Xbox, PS4, PC)
Imagine there’s a totally fictional version of America where fascists have seized control of the government, Nazis march freely in the streets, and liberty’s last hope is a group called “The Resistance.” Good thing it’s all just a game, right? (Xbox, PS4, PC)
Just in time for the The Last Jedi, the newest chapter in the Battlefront series takes you back to that galaxy far, far away for the best galactic FPS this side of Endor. Be sure to shoot first. (Xbox, PS4, PC)