Gamers are some of the most dedicated fans out there. If they love something, they will make it a central part of their life, and if they don’t like something, then the gloves come off. Just see what happened when EA tried to make Star Wars Battlefront II a “pay to play” situation.
And it’s no surprise, games are one of the most intense pop culture formats around. You might spend 2 hours watching a movie, you might spend 12 hours watching a box set. With a game you’ll be spending upwards of 40 hours of play time, getting to know the characters and embedding the experience deep within your psyche.
So, when it comes to buying gifts for gamers, knowing what kinds of games they love to play can make all the difference. It really comes down to the platform – whether they use a console, a handheld or a PC (don’t worry about Mac users). Most gamers will be fiercely loyal to one (who can afford another?) and that will dictate the type of games they play.
But it’s not important which kind of platform a gamer uses; a game is a game right? Wrong. The memory of loading up a PlayStation session is very different to waiting to install a game on a PC...you’ll see what we mean.
So, to elaborate, here we list the 4 main types of gamers, including what makes them tick and the kind of gifts we recommend.
Nintendo has a distinctive fanbase, with the most family friendly games out there, and many games that aren’t available on the other platforms. Think Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros., and Wii Tennis.
The most accessible of consoles, most of us at Lost Universe were raised by our SNES and N64s. Games like Yoshi’s Island, Super Metroid, Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64 and the Legend of Zelda kept us out of our parents’ way.
The Nintendo is unique in that it has produced the games that even non-gamers can recognise as symbols of gaming culture. The Super Mario Mushrooms are iconic pieces of art that everyone knows means “gaming”, and Pokemon are recognised all around the world.
Their games have been with us since we were young, and have inspired a childlike wonder in us ever since. Nintendo Heads are the kind of people who like the lighter side of life.
Gifting: So, buying for your common or garden variety Nintendo Head is simple; they will be open to something slightly out there. Search for novelty gifts for gamers, and you might come across a lamp shaped like Yoshi or a cookie jar shaped like a Super Mushroom. And don’t forget the power of nostalgia; there are plenty of plug and play gaming systems that let you play retro games from Nintendo history.
These are the kind of gamers you might say treat their PlayStations like one of the family. They will plug into their gaming setup on a Friday evening and come back out on Sunday, in time to do laundry.
The PlayStation owner is likely to be a veteran console gamer. Its first system came out in 1994, whereas the first Xbox came out in 2001. This may be why PlayStations tend to have more games that are exclusive to them – longer relationships with studios.
The PlayStation gamer takes their gaming seriously. They like to go in for the mesmerising graphics and intensive storylines.
Gifting: Buying for the PlayStation Partisan involves delving into the kind of games they play. Don’t worry about buying them a new game – they probably already have it. Instead think about merchandise from exclusives like God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted, and The Last of Us.
Or hit them in the nostalgia gut with merch from games like Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy and Tekken. And who could ever forget Col. Campbell shouting “Snake, Snake, Snaaaaaake!” after playing dozens of hours on Metal Gear Solid?
While we’re at it, remember that the PlayStation logo is itself imbued with meaning. Wearing it, say, on a hoodie, a t-shirt or a backpack singles you out as a true player. Give a PlayStation Partisan a piece of PlayStation clothing and they may never take it off.
It all began with Halo. This amazing production was one of the founding games made by Bungie for the Xbox release in 2001. Taking the role of Master Chief you saved the human race from an alien holy war.
Then other games came in, like Fable, Morrowind, Splinter Cell and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The Xbox was the first console to have online multiplayer gaming, turning the reputation of gaming from a solitary to a social one.
Created as the American answer to Japan’s Sony PlayStation and Nintendo, the Xbox found it hard to pry people away from the consoles they had gotten to know. So, they had to recruit the younger crowd who had yet to get attached to any one brand. You’ll find that PlayStation gamers tend to be just a smidgeon older than the youngster Xbox brat, with their Fortnites and their Minecrafts.
The Xbox Extraordinaires take life a little less seriously than the others. To them, gaming is important but it's not life or death (as it can be with PC and PlayStation gamers.) Let’s just say an Xbox gamer is more likely to pause their game and come to the pub.
Gifting: When it comes to buying for these enfants terribles, apart from a new Xbox game, you can’t go wrong with a bit of Halo, Fable or Splinter Cell merchandise. You could also get crafty and make them something, as long as it is in black and green, they’ll know what it means.
If anyone were to call themselves a true gamer in public, it’s these guys. To them, console gamers are mere ants, who could only dream of being as into games as they are. The WSAD keys on the keyboard plus the super quick mouse movement makes gameplay an exercise in hand-eye coordination and supreme skill.
In fact, anyone who builds their own system or upgrades their hardware to meet a game’s system requirements is probably pretty into gaming, so fair play.
A point of pride is the relative intellectual level of PC games. Strategy games like Age of Empires, Total War and Company of Heroes demand brain power. And role playing games like Pillars of Eternity, Dragon Age and World of Warcraft require the ability to remember a lot of facts.
The most vocal of all gamers, online forums are majority PC players, either trying to fix their buggy game or complaining about the latest expansion pack. The point we’re trying to make is that PC gamers... like things how they like it.
Gifting: Being a very particular bunch, the PC Poindexter wants their experience to be optimal. So anything that improves their set up will make a great present. Gaming chairs, mousepads, light-up keyboards and decals for their laptop or desktop casing are where it's at.
That’s right, PC gamers are nerds. And we are proud of it.
Explore some of the best gifts for gamers.
Hopefully our guide has helped you see that there are unseen rifts between gamers. Though their worlds may sometimes overlap, their experiences look very different.
So, in summary: Nintendo Ninjas love novelty homewares and clothing; PlayStation Partisans and Xbox Extraodinaires will appreciate gifts that remind them of their favourite games. And PC Poindexters will thank you for getting them some gaming accessories.
Whether bedroom or living room, we all started playing games at some point. Here are our 10 favourite retro games from the “good old days.”