Editorials

Gaming Trend 2019 Holiday Guide

Holy smokes 2019 has been an amazing year for gaming! While we do have two new consoles on the horizon for next holiday season, that hasn’t stopped developers from turning in some absolutely fantastic games this year. Fantastic sequels, fresh new IPs, a whole lot of great hardware, the best board games, and even a few toys make our list this year. Strap in — there’s a lot to see here, but we are certain you’ll find some excellent choices for the gamer in your life in our Holiday Guide for 2019.

It’s our policy to only recommend the things we ourselves have played and enjoyed or used.  We do have an Amazon affiliate page, and we earn a small commission when you make a purchase there.  It goes to help pay for our operating cost, and we’d appreciate it. While you may see specific platforms, just hit the dropdown and you’ll be able to select any platform you wish.  Thanks, and happy holidays!

Electronic gaming

The Outer Worlds – [PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4]
Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock, and Alpha Protocol all stepped behind the shed for a moment, and out of that unholy union of RPG goodness comes The Outer Worlds. Developer Obsidian pulled out all of the stops, creating a game that is equal parts deep RPG, shooter, and science fiction craziness in all the best ways. Unlike other RPGs that lay out the “choices matter” line, The Outer Worlds quickly forces you into difficult decisions that is sure to provide many runs through the game’s 40 hour campaign.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 – [Switch}
There’s no doubt that Sean (and pretty much everyone else!) loved Luigi’s Mansion 3, as his review reveals.. Being a first party Nintendo game, it’s oozing with personality. Charming, challenging, and so full of character, Luigi’s Mansion 3 may be the easiest recommendation for the Nintendo Switch this year. Don’t miss out.

Planet Zoo – [PC]
You know me — I’m a sucker for tycoon games (as you can see in my review), and nobody does them quite like the team at Frontier. This year’s installment, Planet Zoo, brings them back to their roots, culminating in one of the best tycoon games they’ve ever made. Full of cute animals, the game gives us the chance to simulate a whole zoo, while still somehow being an absolute blast to manage. Rehabilitating a species, conservation, and getting them to thrive is far more fun than I could have expected,

Death Stranding – [Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
Death Stranding puts you in the shoes of Sam “Porter” Bridges. You’ll hike all around beautiful environments while delivering packages and doing your best to either avoid or fight enemies. The social aspect of leaving ladders and ropes for others to use or placing signs to warn or just communicate with other players is very reminiscent of the Souls series and is just an intriguing here. This is Hideo Kojima at his best, as you’ll see in our review.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
It’s much easier to show you Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, so I’ll direct your attention to our review, chock full of fantastic footage. Respawn Entertainment has given us an incredible installment for the ever-expanding Star Wars universe. BD-1 is truly the Best Droid, and this game proves that single player games are alive and well.

Pokemon Sword / Shield – [Switch]
Pokemon Sword and Shield brings the iconic Pokemon series to console and it doesn’t miss a beat in the transition. Collecting Pokemon is just as fun as always and the new Wild Area offers a novel experience where you can interact with other players and battle giant, Dynamax versions of Pokemon with other trainers. This is a title you don’t want to miss if you are a fan of Pokemon. Check out our massive review to hear all the reasons why this game is amazing.

Indivisible – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
Kickstarted games are a mixed bag, but when they hit, they hit big. Indivisible hits on all cylinders — it’s a Metroid-vania, RPG, fighting game, platformer, and filled to the brim with fantastic voice acting, a great soundtrack, and a unique and engaging combat. David Flynn’s review has all the details, but if you are a tactical combat fan, you might enjoy this one.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
If you are a fan of games like Dark Souls, then Seikiro: Shadows Die Twice is your next destination. From Software turns in a fresh take on the genre. With open worlds and challenging combat, the game also featured far better boss design than previous Soulsborne games, and that alone should raise your eyebrows (and likely your blood pressure). Check out Bryan Lawver’s review for all of the details.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled [Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch]
Sure, Mario Kart might be king of the kart-racer, but you can’t deny when competition comes crashing in! Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled comes jam-packed with remastered versions of the original game’s tracks, plus content from the other games in the series. Couple that with some sleek visuals and extra post-launch content and online multiplayer, and you’re going to have an N-sane time enjoying it all.  Check our review for all the details.

Samurai Shodown [PlayStation 4, Xbox One]
Most fighting games are about duking it out and pummeling as hard as you can. Samurai Shodown is a different beast entirely, as it relies on defensive strategies and severely punishing those who rely on button mashing to win. The series’ trademark of stylish gore and an accessible yet complex set of mechanics make this reboot one to seriously consider down the road.  Check out our review.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4. Nintendo Switch]
It’s time for Clementine and AJ’s journey to come to an end as Telltale (and Skybound) have finally released The Walking Dead: The Final Season on store shelves. This retail package combines all four harrowing episodes of the explosive fourth and final season, which chronicles the duo’s journey to Ericson’s School for Troubled Youth, with a cast of characters that may or may not make it out alive this time around.  Our review is broken up into parts, but you can get started on your journey right here.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses – [Switch]
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is without a doubt one of the best games on the Switch. The characters are interesting, the battles are tense, and the story is fantastic. This is a game that can easily last you over 100 hours and you’ll enjoy every minute of it. This is not a game to miss out on if you own a Switch.  Check out our review to see all the reasons why this may be the best Fire Emblem yet.

Civilization VI – [Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
Just one…more…turn. The Civilization series is an absolute staple on PC, and now console gamers can lose sleep like the rest of us. Sean Bean manages to deliver a whole bunch of great voice work and somehow doesn’t die! It’s a great entry for the series, and now it has the widest audience possible. Just…one…more…turn.

The Golf Club 2019 – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
It’s an odd time when I go from Gears 5 to hitting the links, but somehow that’s where I’m at. I’m not a sports gamer, by any stretch, but somehow The Golf Club series has pulled me in. This 2019 edition looks absolutely gorgeous on PC, features a full-fledged course designer, and plays great.

Life is Strange 2 – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – As you can see in our perfect-score review, Life is Strange 2 is a compilation of the best parts of the original coupled with a fantastic new story where decisions actually matter.  If you are a fan of the original, you’ll find much to enjoy here.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – [Switch]
This colorful, adorable, music-filled reimagining of a classic GameBoy Zelda game is sure to fill the hearts of your family this holiday season. Toy-like, dream-like, and filled with Mario characters and nostalgia, Link’s Awakening is the perfect way to put your Zelda Amiibos to good use as we all wait for Breath of the Wild 2.  Our review walks you through some of the early parts of the game in video form, and tells you why that Chain Chomp needs to join you instead of staying outside that lady’s house.

AI: The Somnium Files [PC, PlayStation 4, Switch]
You’ll have to go deeper if you want to solve the case, as Kaname Date and his robotic pal Aiba head into a world full of mystery and death. Players will control the duo as they investigate the scene of the crime, with special segments taking place in a user’s dream where they must find clues within six minutes or risk staying in the world of the subconscious forever.

Will: A Wonderful World [PC, PlayStation 4, Switch]
A game about reading letters might sound as entertaining as delivering letters, but as 2019 has shown us, it’s been a great year for those. A physical version of the 2018 visual novel, Will: A Wonderful World tasks you with reading a series of letters as you use your godly powers to change the fates of the cast; will you be benevolent to your cosmic playthings, or will your interference cause doom and gloom? There’s also a cute dog, so that’s also something to consider!

Just Dance 2020 [PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Nintendo Wii]
Whether you’ve been a day one fan since 2009 or just need something to keep the kids busy this Christmas, Just Dance 2020 is perfect for your holiday parties. Featuring 40 songs in the base song plus a one-month subscription to Just Dance Unlimited’s slate of over 500 songs, you’ll have no problem finding a song to dance to. With easy-to-follow controls and modes for everyone, you can party it up with everything from classic 80s songs to K-pop to the Baby Shark dance. Plus, this is officially the only series that has seen annual releases on the Nintendo Wii since its conception in 2009, so grab a piece of 10-year history, why don’t ya? Our review.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey [3DS]
Like several other games on this list, this first party Nintendo game fires on all cylinders. Whimsical, challenging, and a fantastic blend of RPG, platforming, and puzzles, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey certainly proves that the Nintendo 3DS is alive and well, as you can see in Patrick Rost’s review.

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
This is another one of those Kickstarter games that absolutely hit the mark for me, pun intended. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, whether you pick it up on consoles or on PC, the game evokes the best parts of Final Fantasy Tactics, but with a fresh take on classes and abilities. 6 Eyes Studios sure knows the way to my heart, as you can see in my review.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4,  Switch]
Koji Igarashi and his team turned in a spiritual successor to the Castlevania games, more specifically Order of Ecclesia, Portrait of Ruin, and Symphony of the Night. You don’t need more than that, but you can check out an hour of footage, as well as our review right here.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries – [PC]
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here.  Piranha Games has brought us back to the world of giant stomping mech mercenary work, and as you can see in our review, and it’s a solid return to form.  With over 50 mechs and literally hundreds of variants to pilot in four-player cooperative play, this is one that’ll soak up somewhere between 30 and 50 hours of gameplay, and that’s before we see any additional content.  Clans anyone?

Control – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
Tapping into unique wells of inspiration has proven to be something of a Remedy Entertainment tradition. Surprise, surprise, Control adds itself to the list of refreshing experiences we’ve come to expect from the masters of narrative-driven games. While not distinctly a horror game, Control taps into a motif often ignored by many games of the genre: house horror. With its unpredictable, unwelcoming rooms and hallways, The Oldest House is unlike any other video game setting. Because of this, the experience of playing Control sits somewhere in the blurry buffer zone between being dream-like and nightmarish. It’s a beautiful and haunting 10-15 hours and one of the most unique third-person shooters you’ll play in a long time.  Check out Ron’s review for some early looks at the gameplay.

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch]
Are you or your kids loving Disney Plus? It’s a great way to relive classic Disney stories, and to accompany that, two classic Disney platformers from the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were re-released for modern consoles with plenty of exciting bells and whistles for new and returning players alike. Aladdin and The Lion King are just as hard as you remember but with enough conveniences to avoid any headaches, this re-released (our review) is a great way to introduce young Disney fans to classic games or to simply replay for the 100th time.

Need for Speed Heat – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
If you’re looking for a racing game that isn’t bothered with a simulation level of detail, and instead want a game that makes braking a personal choice, Need for Speed Heat delivers, as you can see in our review. The racing and drifting are top notch, bolstered by a fabulous soundtrack that made playing with a good pair of headphones mandatory. Its story was nonsense at best, but the brief interludes of drama only serves to tee up a healthy dose of frenetic street racing. With a day and night cycle that swap between sanctioned circuit races and—definitely not sanctioned—night races, there is a decent variety for arcade racing aficionados.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4]
Rockstar has an incredible record of turning in amazing characters with fantastic stories to tell. Red Dead Redemption 2’s world is alive, brutal, and full of engagement opportunities. Heists, robbery, or just getting a warm bath awaits you in this 60+ hour game. While it looks absolutely amazing on Xbox One (you can see that in the footage on the Xbox One X and review here) but the PC version is absolutely the best looking game on any platform to date (my hands-on time here). Put simply, it’s hard to believe that this won’t be the new video benchmarking utility for the next two generations of video cards. Breathtaking.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – [Switch]
If you’re looking for a mini game collection for just yourself or your whole family, Mario and Sonic deliver one of the best on Switch to date. It’s chaotic, fun, and best of all: replayable. It’s story mode is corny in the best way, and if you’re a fan of the series it’s entertaining to see all of these characters interact. You can check out our review here.

Dragon Quest XI – [PC, PlayStation 4, Switch]
While Dragon Quest XI has been out for a while (our review for the original), the The Nintendo Switch version (our review for the new version), Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition (phew, that’s a mouthful!) comes packed with even more goodness than the original. You can explore this sprawling RPG world full of strange monsters and characters designed by Akira Toriyama in 3D or go old school and play it out in classic 16 bit sprite form. Save not just your world, but step back in time and help set things right in other Dragon Quest games through a game-spanning mini-quest. A must-have for any RPG lover.

Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] One of the best expansions to date for the popular MMORPG. A rich storyline, a whole new zone filled with quests, and the Necromancer class were introduced, along with massive dragons that threaten the Khajiit homeland.  Drop in on Holly’s review to see why this may be ESO at its very best.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 -[PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – Massive Entertainment delivered in a big way with Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, and with a huge roadmap of improvements and content ahead, they aren’t even close to done yet. As you can see in our review, we absolutely loved the game, and joining up with three more friends made it our go-to game for months. Don’t feel like you’ve missed the boat — the community is still going strong, and I’d be happy to join you on a trip to DC.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 – [PC, PlayStation 4, Switch] Continuing the spin-off adventure of the Dragon Quest games, prepare to fight, build, and quest in an all new adventure. While there is a fair amount of fighting, crafting items and building structures take more of the spotlight. Even on a journey to defeat evil and spread the joy of building, creativity is encouraged.  Codi reviewed it on the PS4, and Ron took a stab at the Nintendo Switch port.

Crystar – [PlayStation 4] Some people say that crying makes you weak, but this game shows that the opposite is true! Use the emotion behind your tears to summon incredible power and defeat all who stand in the way of you saving your sister. The story contains some sensitive material, but that just adds to the impact and tone of the world. Take a look at our review and see for yourself.

Limited Run Games Releases @ Best Buy – Limited Run Games prides itself on releasing physical titles for formerly digital-only games, which is great for collectors and games enthusiasts alike. However, most of their titles are… well, limited-run, so they may be hard to find after their initial sale periods. However, the company has recently teamed up with Best Buy to provide selected titles in their in-store and online marketplaces, so if you missed a chance to pick up physical copies of games like Celeste, ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove, or Super Meat Boy, you’re in luck! You gotta act fast though, because quantities are limited!

The Sims 4: Realm of Magic expansion -[PC] One of the best expansions to date for The Sims 4. Become a Spellcaster, ride on broomsticks, summon your familiars and brew powerful potions. Not only will this expansion keep you busy for days, all of the spells and potions help with your sim’s everyday life.

Tools Up! [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch] – This cooperative chaos engine puts up to four players into the capable workboots of a construction crew. With nods to games like Overcooked, Tools Up! asks players to tear out carpets, rip up wallpaper, and pretty up the joint with fresh coats of paint and new tile. The whole thing is pandemonium, but it’s fun with friends.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch] – Wait…how in the world did CD Projekt Red manage to stuff the incredible world of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt onto the Nintendo Switch!? Well, I’m gonna guess Yennifer and Triss had to team up to work this kind of magic, but somehow, yeah — Witcher III on the go is a thing. Sure, it’s gotten a little bit of a graphical downgrade to make it work, but again…Witcher III on the go. Check out our review, and pick up a copy for yourself.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch [PC, PlayStation 4, Switch] – This game came as a surprise to everyone. Studio Ghibli and Level-5 teamed up to bring an incredible RPG to life on the PlayStation 3, and nobody imagined that we’d ever get to see it on a portable platform, or remastered to a gorgeous 4K resolution. Somehow, our Christmas dreams came true, and we got both. Whether you want the highest fidelity for Drippy’s oversized be-lantered nose, or if you want to farm out minions on the go, this is an easy recommendation, as you can see in Kay’s review.

Gears 5 [PC, Xbox One] – It’s hard to imagine recommending the fifth game in a franchise, but with new blood The Coalition at the helm breathing new life into it, we are doing exactly that. The fresh storyline, a semi-open world to explore, and vastly expanded multiplayer gives Gears fans plenty to get excited about. Don’t pass this one up, as you can read in our review — Gears is still very much alive and well.

Mortal Kombat 11 [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch] – The NetherRealm team has managed to outdo themselves once again, delivering bone-snapping action wrapped in a cool storyline, and admittedly one of the best netcode implementations we’ve seen so far. As you can see in Codi’s review, the game delivers the visceral viscera we expect from Boon and his team, as well as plenty of cool character surprises to boot.

Devil May Cry 5 [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – You can’t keep Dante down, and this newest entry brings two more demon-battling friends for the fight. Sporting some fresh angles for combat, as well as a gorgeous coat of paint, this game was a welcome surprise for new and returning fans alike. Check out our review for all the bloody details.

Metro: Exodus [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – If you own an RTX-capable video card, you need this in your library. Sporting some of the best visuals on any platform, as well as absolutely phenomenal lighting, there’s no doubt that the game is pretty, but that’s not the only reason this game is on our list. The storyline is gripping, building a fantastic open world survival game, and a worthy successor to the Metro name. Travis has all of the details in his review, but suffice it to say — if you are Metro or survival genre fan, this game should be on your list.

Borderlands 3 [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – What can I say? I’m a sucker for 4-player cooperative games. Gearbox brings us more guns (and some with legs!) in this newest trip to Pandora, but this time the stars are the limit. Getting to lift free of the drab world lets the game breathe new life, as well as expanding the color pallet and enemy types. Fresh characters, new gameplay styles, more mayhem, and fresh new game modes (including…well, “Mayhem”) makes Borderlands 3 a great game for blowing off steam with friends. Check out our review for all the details.

Resident Evil 2 [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – Wait, what years is it? Capcom went deep into their catalog to pull out one of their very best for remaster, and as you can see in our review, they absolutely nailed it. The stalking Tyrant, the incredible atmosphere, and a storyline not so bogged down with Umbrella craziness makes for a fantastic remaster.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – The Monster Hunter series is on one heck of a high, and this latest expansion brings even more goodness to the formula. Featuring a fresh biome, plenty of new creatures, and a ton of new quests and equipment, Iceborne is precisely the sort of expansion this game needed. Sean’s review sports some fantastic footage of a hunt in motion, which you can chew on while we wait for the mid-January release date for PC.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy [Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch] – Again reaching back into their catalog, Capcom delivers. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy lets you bring “OBJECTION!” and “NOT SO FAST!” on the go, with the Switch version at least. Travis’s review hit before the Switch version was released, but it covers all the goodness we’ve come to expect from this courtroom drama.

Outer Wilds [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] – No, this isn’t the new Obsidian RPG, it’s a mystifying trip into the bowels of a small galaxy that’s sure to stoke that childlike sense of wonder lying dormant in all of us. The rather unfortunate similarities in name to The Outer Worlds (our review) have not done the game any favors. Outer Wilds is focused on discovery and nothing but discovery. Everything is a mystery waiting for you to solve, 22 minutes at a time. Every cycle in this galaxy is another opportunity to hunt down hidden places, another opportunity to learn new tricks and solve old problems, and another opportunity to admire one of the most creative worlds to ever hit the medium. What Mobius Digital has created is an indie gem guaranteed to stay with you for the rest of your life.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey – [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4] If you like sim games, and want a unique challenge, Ancestors is the game for you. With no hand holding, you’re meant to evolve over the course of millennia as a hominid in the wild jungle. Can you keep your clan alive long enough to evolve your survival skills?  Check out Holly’s review to see why evolution is tough work.

A Short Hike [PC]- No doubt another contender for most criminally underrated indie release of the year. A Short Hike is cooked up by beautiful mind of developer Adam Robinson-Yu and sees players in control of a young kid just looking to pass some time. And, what better way to spend your time than to climb to the top of a mountain! The joy of climbing is in the detours—the island paradise is designed to send you down the side roads, meeting new characters and conquering unique challenges along the way. A Short Hike doesn’t really feature a short hike at all, and that’s the beauty of both the name and the game. Also, a healthy helping of Celeste and Animal Crossing influence add that little extra spritz of magic to the experience. For $7.99, how can you not pick it up?

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch]- While our initial review did cite a lot of problems in regards to lack of content, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has since expanded with free and paid DLC since its release earlier this year. Picking a team three characters from the franchise’s illustrious history, you’ll have to destroy the opponents using special moves and even summoning kaiju-esque support summons to help you out in this addictively simple fighter. If you want to just have everything in one package, Best Buy currently has the Limited Run Games’ physical version with all the bells and whistles of currently released DLC in one simple package, or you can grab the base game for the low price of $19.99.

Children of Morta [PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch]- A cooperative tale of the bonds of family, Children of Morta’s simple 8-bit presentation somehow transcends, bringing to life the fantastic world that the Bergsons are trying to protect. As I said in my review, family is not an important thing, it’s everything. We’ve got plenty of video in our review, so check it out and pick it up on pretty much any platform you’d like.

Tangle Tower [PC, Switch]- An intriguing murder mystery that even those who don’t play games regularly won’t want to miss. Seriously, it’s an incredibly good point and click and one of my favorite games of this year.

Jenny LeClue [PC/iOS]- Do you like adventure games? How about cute stuff? Well Jenny LeClue has got you covered in both fronts! It’s a short but replayable thanks to a myriad of distinct choices and a charming story that will have you hooked.

Graveyard Keeper [PC]- It’s like Stardew Valley for goth kids, what more do you really need to know? It’s available on everything, has two great DLC packs, and a whole lot to do. Run a farm. Create an army of undead workers. Run a brewery made up of undead workers. Decorate a graveyard and sell hamburgers that are totally not made out of corpse meat… holiday fun for everyone!  Check out Kay’s review for some sweet footage.

Sayonara Wild Hearts [PlayStation 4, Switch, iOS]- A story about love and loss but told at 100 miles per hour. This audio/visual spectacle washes over you like a good concert, but underneath is a fun and addictive rhythm game that will have you chasing the perfect score. It is available for PlayStation 4, Switch, and Apple Arcade, and you can scope our review for all the details.

Synth Riders – [HTC Vive, Oculus Rift] – I’m a sucker for VR rhythm games, and Synth Riders scratches that itch in a completely new way. As you can see in my review (and the video therein) the game sports a fantastic soundtrack and a fresh way to tackle smacking down notes. Couple this with the wireless adapter on the HTC Vive, or when using a Cosmos, and you’ll be ready to dance your way to losing a few pounds, and having a heck of a fun time while you are at it.

Blood & Truth – [PlayStation 4 VR] – If you thought the PSVR might be slowing down, then you’ve not played Blood & Truth. Set in London, and with a fantastic all-star cast, the game is a shooter, but one with a fantastic bend on revenge and family. These sorts of games are precisely the kind that the genre needs to keep moving forward, and Sony has absolutely delivered. If you have a PSVR, you need this game in your library. Check out our review for all the details.

Pistol Whip – [HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation 4 VR] – This game feels like an amalgamation of some of the best VR rhythm and shooting games out there. Part Superhot, part shooter, and surprisingly, part dance game, Pistol Whip doesn’t ask you to just shoot the polygonal enemies, but do it with the beat. Make sure you stretch, this one will make you move. Check out our review to see what it’s all about.

Audica – [HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation 4 VR] – Harmonix has been the undisputed masters of the music genre for decades at this point, and their newest VR foray, Audica is no exception. With 33 licensed tracks at launch, the game has a great soundtrack, as well as a great new way of approaching the beat beating genre. Our review showcases a ton of gameplay, so don’t let me hold you up any longer. Nab this for PSVR or any PC-based HMD and you’ll be on your way.

Westworld: Awakening [HTC Vive, Oculus Rift] – The horror genre is perfect for VR, but Westworld: Awakening from Survios flips the whole thing on its head. You play one of the hosts of Westworld who has suddenly become aware that she is a plaything of the murderous humans that inhabit the park . The terror is being programmatically locked down so these sadistic sons of bitches can hack you into bits with an axe or otherwise do you harm. Part puzzler, part exploration, and all tense, Westworld: Awakening is no mere show tie-in. Check out our review for the details and some great footage of the game in motion.

Tabletop gaming

Throw Throw Burrito – From the wonderful people that made Exploding Kittens comes a new type of dodgeball game that’s fun for all ages (though you might have to run a bit). Players make matches of cards in order to get points, but there are some devious cards that will force players to stop what they’re doing and throw one of two burritos in the center of the table. Insanely fast and insanely entertaining, this game puts a new spin on the term “fast food”!

Cloudspire – Chip Theory Games is well known for their poker chip pieces, neoprene play mats, and high quality dice. Instead of delivering another RPG, they are delivering a MOBA tower-defense experience. The poker chips allow you to stack minions in formation to protect your fortress, but if you get the faction spires you get to see the fortresses tower above the land (By the way, the world is set in a land where islands float in the sky). With multiple factions available with fifteen or sixteen abilities per faction, and the ability to upgrade your minions, Cloudspire demands multiple plays to develop different strategies.

Tiny Towns – Are you looking for a game that is quick to play but has so much replayability then this is your game. Simply place your materials in a pattern and then use them to build a building. It sounds simple because it is! With different building powers and ways to score this game is one that all ages can play and will keep you coming back for more addicting gameplay.

Horrified – The classic horror movies are back in board game form in Horrified. Try to find and defeat the invisible man, or help Frankenstein’s monster find love. In this cooperative game players work together to save villagers while doing what it takes to defeat the monsters. All of the different monsters have different difficulties so you can choose what is right for you, and because of it’s cooperative nature it’s great for parents to introduce their children to this genre.

Machi Koro Legacy – What’s more fun than rolling dice? Dice rolling is key in this game and not just on your turn, but you will look for certain rolls on your opponents’ turns as well. Get money and buy more cards to help build up your engine to make even more money. The legacy game adds even more to this with each game continuing to change and add more. Your game will be different as you unlock new hidden parts of the game. Enter in this adventure with your family and friends and once it’s over you will have a game which you can still play together.

Point Salad: It’s time to eat your greens with this fast drafting game. Mix and match your veggies and try to get as many points as possible by combining sets together. Make sure you make the best salad possible, because your opponents have the same goal in mind too!

Draftosaurus: If Jurassic Park has taught us anything, it’s that we all need a park that holds dinosaurs to be successful. (Right?) Draftosaurus is a light drafting game that will appeal to all-ages thanks to its simple mechanics with an entertaining theme and brightly colored components. Each player picks dinosaurs to enter their park, with certain sets earning more points; whichever you pick, fun finds a way with every game played.

On a Scale of One to T-Rex: The Exploding Kittens team has been hard at work making new games, with this one being released earlier this season. This game is basically charades with a twist: You are assigned one of three colors, plus an initial starting value card, which represents the intensity of the action you have to imitate. By mimicking the prompts on the color-coded cards, you’ll have to match with someone who has the same intensity with you. With everyone playing the game at the same time, it’s gonna get pretty loud pretty quickly.

Wingspan (and expansion) – Beautiful artwork, eggs that look good enough to eat, and great gameplay. What more could you want in a game? Wingspan is an award winning game where players will place birds in the habitats on their boards, produce eggs, and race to meet the goals to score the most points. Use your food to place a bird and enhance each of the actions available. Find a strategy that works best for you and continue to build your engine. This game is simple to start, but has a lot of depth as you continue to play. You even learn about the different birds with fun facts listed below them. Our review gives you all the details you need to know. This game also had a new expansion released which adds even more birds to the mix, for more fun!

Tussie Mussie (light microgame made by the person who created Wingspan!) – Named after the Victorian fad of assigning meaning of flowers given to friends and lovers, Tussie Mussie is a microgame that allows up to four players to exchange flowers to make the perfect bouquet. Using an innovative draft mechanic and scoring system ala Sushi Go, this game from the creator of Wingspan allows anyone to get into the wonderful world of picking flowers while making friends (and wins) along the way.

Dune – The original Dune board game is considered legendary by tabletop gamers, and we got our first glimpse of Gale Force 9’s remake at their booth at Gen CoCon this year. The visual design may be updated, but otherwise the game retains everything that was so compelling about the original.

Ship Shape – Calliope has a reputation of putting out quality family games, but Ship Shape has gone beyond their previous efforts. Each round players build crates from tiles placed in the center of the board. The tiles have three filled areas in a three by three grid, with the rest of the grid cut away representing what areas are filled in the crate. When the tiles are stacked you can partially see what kind of items are in the crate. You’ll then use cards to bid on when you will select the crate tile to put into your cargo hold. Once you get your crate tile, you place it in the cargo hold however you want. At the end of the round you look down and see your inventory which determines how well you did for that voyage. The players compare their cargo and the better you do compared to your opponents, the better your bounty of gold coins. There’s a nice mix of strategy and luck with a simple ruleset that beginners and experienced gamers can grasp, which isn’t surprising considering that ShipShape was designed by Rob Daviau.

Ultimate Boardgame Backpack – Game On has created a great backpack for carrying games. The expandable backpack holds games in Ticket to Ride-sized boxes horizontally, with smaller pockets for card games and dice. Outside straps can hold play mats in a dry bag without using up precious room in the main compartment. Koozies in the bottom pockets can keep drinks cold. The weatherproof zippers and fabric protect your games, ensuring that the elements won’t ruin the boxes. Yes, it can hold Gloomhaven and a couple of other games, and they have an optional waist belt to help distribute the weight off your shoulders. In fact, our away team would not have survived Gen Con without them!

Shards of Infinity – Brought to you by Gary Arant and Justin Gary. If you have played Ascension you’ll definitely see similarities between the two, especially since Justin Gary designed that game. With multiple factions and resources, Shards of Infinity has plenty of strategy without feeling overwhelming. The biggest difference between the two is Shards of Infinity has players can do direct damage against each other instead of against the cards in the main row. It’s fast, plays up to four well, and won’t break the bank. If you aren’t sure you’ll like it, you can try it on iOS, Android, and Steam as well.

Sorcerer – White Wizard Games is known for creating games with a small footprint. Star Realms, Epic Card Game, and Hero Realms are all card games that can easily be put into a travel bag. Sorcerer is a card game, but that’s where the differences to their other games differ. Instead of drafting a deck or deck building, Sorcerer uses a mechanic similar to Smash Up where you take certain faction cards to create your deck. Each round begins with a dice roll to determine the amount of energy that can be used to summon minions to control a number of battlefields. Control of these battlefields determines the winner. Determining where to place your minions and battle against the other Sorcerers’ minions can determine whether you win or lose.

Fate of the Norns Ragnarok – D&D notwithstanding, there is literally an RPG system out there for every genre and playstyle, and it is easy to get lost in the plethora of choice available. If you are looking into diving deep into an epic mythological Nordic setting and your old copy of Deities & Demigods isn’t enough for you, then you should get your hands on Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok. One of the most unexpected pleasures of this year’s Gen Con was Andrew giving us an overview of the diceless rune-based system.

Level Up Dice – Most people seem content with just leveling up their characters, but what about those who wish to level up their dice? Surely with dice deciding life and death on some occasions, it makes sense to bring something better than cheap plastic to the table. Diana made that case for us at Gen Con this year, and I suspect there is going to be an inverse relationship between the heft of our wallets and the heft of our dice bags.

Era: Medieval Age – Most civilization games involve building cities on a map and trading resources amongst the players. Era: Medieval Age takes a different approach by having you build your own city using plastic pieces that fit in a peg-board. The placement of your walls, farms, keeps and other buildings looks great, and it also determines your score as buildings surrounded by a wall count double. The table presence instantly draws in new and old gamers, but it makes the game accessible for people who might be intimidated by large maps, trade routes, and feeding your people.

Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Dice and Miscellany – While there are an infinite amount of Dungeons & Dragons dice available in a myriad of varieties, colors, and styles, there aren’t too many available from the makers of D&D. Wizards of the Coast has begun issuing dice sets to accompany their hardback adventure releases. The quality and content of these sets has been improving, and this newest release, the Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Dice & Miscellany has set a new standard. The highlight is the dice, after all, it has eleven dice, not just a basic six. While many may be used to an extra d10 for percentile rolls and a few extra d6s for character generation, this set comes with four d6s and an extra d20 to support advantage and disadvantage rolls. All these dice come in a great color too. There are several Avernus-related paper products with the set, including cards with encounter tables, information on Devils and Demons, and a foldout map of Avernus. Finally, it all comes in a solid, felt-lined, cardboard box that doubles as a dice tray and is decorated with the awesome skull from the adventure. This dice set is a great addition to any gamers collection.

Tyranny of Dragons: Horde of the Dragon Queen / Rise of Tiamat – When Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition hit store shelves, the first set of hardback dungeon books published were the Hoard of the Dragon Queen and the Rise of Tiamat, two separate adventures designed to be played in succession, with Hoard taking the Player Characters from first to seventh level and Rise continuing to a climax with fifteenth level PCs. The adventures are possibly the most representative of the name Dungeons & Dragons with both dungeons and dragons in between the covers, including the queen of dragons herself, Tiamat! Wizards of the Coast has re-released both adventures in a single, updated volume. They have taken advantage of a half-decade if development and fine tuning in D&D 5e to add errata and rework the opening chapter to accommodate the new combined format. The other highlight is concept art from the development of the adventure that gives a wonderful inside peek into the creative processes behind the creation of some of our favorite D&D content. This book is an excellent way to grab some old books you may have missed.

Jetpack 7 D&D supplement books – While the first party sourcebooks and materials for 5th edition D&D has been consistently top notch, even more exciting is what other companies are creating for the system. Jetpack 7’s recent Legendary Dragons sourcebook, as well as their Monsters and Minions and Gods & Goddesses books provide a ton of compelling material for DMs and players alike. Check out our interview with them for more!

Hardware and gear

NEO GEO Mini: With the craze of classic miniature versions of retro consoles, SNK joins the mix with the NEO GEO Mini. While a little pricier than things like the Genesis Mini or NES Mini, this little machine comes with its own functional mini arcade configuration, so you can play wherever thanks to the included screen and lovingly crafted joystick and face buttons. Want to play on a bigger setup? Plug this bad boy with the included HDMI cables and controllers and bam! You’ve got yourself 40 games lovingly selected from the tried-and-true classic lineup of SNK titles. From fighting games to shoot-em-ups, there’s plenty to offer for the true collector. There are also different versions floating around that offer a different selection of games as well, so if you want a Samurai Shodown one, ready yourself and embrace death (of excitement!)

Astro A50 headset – Astro knocked it out of the park with the A50. This fourth generation of design manages to deliver magnificent sound, portability, and excellent comfort. With over a dozen hours of charge time, these are an excellent, albeit a touch heavy, high-end set of headphones, as you can see in our review.

Elgato Gamecapture HD60 S – Elgato is now part of the Corsair family, and that merging has brought with it some fresh advancements on Elgato’s signature hardware. The HD60 got a fresh upgrade with the HD60 S, bringing with it HDR capture and 4K passthru, with the latter allowing you to capture seamlessly, while still enjoying the game at 4K on your primary screen. Elgato continues to deliver a fantastic value for their portable products, and the HD60 S is no exception.

Razer Seirēn Elite microphone and Kiyo Camera – If you’ve joined us for recent game nights on Twitch, or you’ve checked out our captures on YouTube, you’ve heard the Gaming Trend team using Razer’s signature microphones. Combined, the Kiyo camera and Seirēn Elite are a fantastic one-two punch that simply cannot be beat, as you can see in our review. There are a LOT of microphones and cameras on the market, but Razer absolutely dominates with these two products. Pick these up for the streamer in your life.

Razer Phone 2 – I’ve been using my Razer Phone 2 since April of 2019, and my opinion of the device hasn’t changed one bit since I reviewed it — this is the phone to beat. I’ve logged a ton of game time, and the 120 Hz screen means it is also the best looking entertainment platform that’ll fit in your pocket. Check out my review for a look at how incredible the camera is, check out the fantastic pricing, and then compare it to the iPhone X. You’ll be a Razer Phone 2 devotee, just like me.

Astro C40 TR controller – Do you like the Xbox One controller layout with the thumbsticks offset, or are you a PlayStation 4 controller fan with the sticks parallel? Do you like the rocker style D-pad, or do you prefer individual buttons? Maybe you like your sticks a little taller than stock? No matter your preferences, the Astro has you covered as it supports a wealth of reconfiguration options. That’d be something on its own, but Astro wasn’t done. You can reprogram every button (including the secondary rear ones), run wirelessly or wired, and it works on your PlayStation 4 and PC. Best of all, it comes in a solid zippered case with all of the tools you’ll need to shape this controller into your best input device.

Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero wireless headphones – Compact, powerful, and wireless, the Elite Atlas Aero is an amazing headset with a staggering battery life of nearly 30 hours! The sound quality is unrivaled, and there’s no doubt that it tops the list for high-end headphones, as you can see in our review. The audiophile in your life NEEDS this.

FireCuda 520 M.2 SSD – It’s odd to put a hard drive on a holiday guide, but I can honestly say that few pieces of hardware surprised me as much as the FireCuda 520. This M.2 drive somehow manages to deliver even more speed than I thought possible, breaking through the 5GB/s barrier. Faster loading means faster gaming, and it simply doesn’t get faster than this, as you can see in our benchmarks and review.

HTC Vive Wireless Adapter – With games like Audica, Beat Saber, Pistol Whip, Synth Riders, and others that rely on freedom of movement, being free of wires is a must. Sure, it came out last year (our review), but wireless freedom doesn’t need your useless constraints. If you have a HTC Vive, and you’ve not picked up a Cosmos, then you need one of these. Free yourself — you’ll thank me for it.

NVIDIA Shield TV (2019) – This device has been on our holiday must-have list for several years in a row, but this year we’ve gotten a pretty fantastic hardware refresh. With AI-driven upsampling to improve image quality, native 4K support, and support for a raft of Dolby technologies, this new and smaller Shield TV hides neatly behind your TV. Throw in a brand new processor for a little more zip, and you’ve got the best media player on the market. Check out our review, but as you’ll see in our review…sorry Apple TV — you lose again.

GAEMS Guardian – About to head off for a trip, but don’t want to leave your entertainment behind? Well, GAEMS has exactly what you need. More than an armored case, the Guardian sports a 24” 1440p monitor, speaker, HDMI passthru, and three USB ports. Completely self-contained, this is the way you bring your game console in style, and with the knowledge that it’ll arrive safely. I’m not saying hand it to the TSA or anything crazy, but you can check out all the details on why this scored a 100% in our review.

Evil Controllers Master Mod Controller – There are a lot of companies out there modding controllers, but nobody does it quite like Evil Controllers.  Their Shift controllers (our review) are top of the food chain, and they’ll build it precisely how you want it to look.  Having been to their factory in Tempe, AZ. and seeing how much care and attention the team pays to quality, there’s no doubt that the name may be Evil, but these guys are far from it.  If you doubt it, look no further than their extensive work on accessible gaming.

Turtle Beach Recon Spark headset – Maybe you don’t need a $299 headset, or you’ve got a younger gamer in the house with the need for a smaller one. Perhaps you just dig the simple aesthetics and soft lavender colors. Either way, the Recon Spark has you covered. Sporting some of the best drivers we’ve heard in a entry-level headset (our review), this pair of headphones is as comfortable as it is stylish.

Toast Leather Mousepad – One of the more unique recommendations on our list is a custom leather mousepad from Toast. These guys make amazing pilsner glass cuffs, skins for just about everything, and gorgeous bespoke mousepads. I got my hands on one (and branded it for GT, of course), and as you can see in our review, it’s going to last a lifetime.

HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Keyboard – There’s no doubt that HyperX has been doing a fantastic job delivering excellent hardware, and this year’s new Alloy FPS mechanical keyboard is no exception. Austin’s review covers a lot about this board, but if you decide to pick one up, you might also nab these sweet Double Shot keycaps.

Razer Sila Router – Another year, another router, right? Well, not quite. Razer joined the usual collection of router manufacturers and put them all on notice. With a simple and sleek profile, the device has been rock solid since December of last year when I reviewed it, requiring only a single reboot in nearly 300 days. Care to compare that to literally any other router from any other manufacturer? Yea, I thought not.

8BitDo Lite: Perfect for games like Link’s Awakening DX or Tetris 99, the recently released 8BitDo Lite is a controller that replaces the dual Joy-Con’s analog sticks for d-pads. The result? A slick, tiny design that packs a punch with unique precision, easy connectivity, and a very affordable $24.99 price point. You should definitely grab a couple for your next holiday party.  Check out Elisha’s review to see why.

Pokéball Plus (great last year, but still works for Sword and Shield for anyone who missed out.)

Helm TWS 5 earbuds – I’ve probably thrown away a dozen crummy earbuds in the last few years. They lack bass, fall out of my ears when I run, or they are just plain uncomfortable. Recently, I picked up a pair of Helm TWS 5 earbuds and, against all odds, they manage to check every box. I use them for CrossFit, I use them for running, I use them for my daily music blast. The little arms Helm added to the body of the headphones keep them securely in your ears, and the sound quality is easily what you’d expect out of a pair of earbuds at twice the price. Don’t just take my word for it — they are the CES 2020 winner for true wireless headphones.

Genki Bluetooth Audio Adapter – I just said that I love my Helm Audio earbuds, but there’s one area where they don’t play — on my Nintendo Switch. I don’t want to carry a huge set of headphones on a plane. Genki (maker of a super-compact Switch dock coming next year, by the way) have released a simple adapter that does something I’ve not seen from anyone else — a lag free audio experience. Able to support a pair of Bluetooth devices for cooperative play, this little adapter opens up a world of wire-free audio, and it even sports an integrated microphone. Nintendo botched online play at launch, but Genki is backfilling that dumb nicely.

SNK NEOGEO Arcade Stick Pro – Fighting games need fighting sticks. It’s as simple as that. SNK has finally released a fighting stick that not only works for PC, but also has 20 built in fighting games, sporting some of their best games from the last two decades, in a self-contained form factor. With the promise of more games to be “unlocked” on the horizon, this is a solid bet for any fighting fan.

Power-A Controllers – We recommended the Power A line of Switch controllers last year, and that hasn’t changed this year. Their Princess Zelda, Pokemon, and the sleek black and white wireless controllers are still the most comfortable and fashionable on the market. If you are a Skorbunny main, or a Pikachu classic fan, there’s a controller for you here.

Power-A Nintendo Switch Cases – It was a banner day when I replaced my original and basic black case with a full color Legend of Zelda case from Power-A. Not only do the colors pop, it protects my system from any nicks and scrapes when I travel. Better still, if you just picked up a Nintendo Switch Lite, the Power-A team has you covered (enjoy the pun) with a fresh array of Witcher 3, Pokemon, and Overwatch themes, just to name a few.

Books and comics

The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook (Insight Editions) – The best way to put a cookbook to the test is to use it on your friends and family, so we did exactly that. Look for our review very soon, but the old world flair of this cookbook gave a unique flair to our Thanksgiving dinner. The Orsimer Venison dish was an absolute knockout!

Transformers: A Visual History: There’s more than meets the eye with this deluxe release featuring 35 years of the crushingly popular franchise. From obscure limited series to never-before-seen material from the live-action films, this release includes something for the Autobot or Decepticon in your life.

Adventure Time Season 11: Last year saw the end of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, but fans wanted to know what happened next. Thanks to the kaBOOM! Imprint, we may just as well find out with a six-issue miniseries that chronicles the aftermath of the series finale and paves what’s in the future for the land of Ooo.

Crowded: Millennials are literally killing the gig economy in Christopher Sebela’s Crowded, where people can fund campaigns on Reapr to kill designated targets. Charlie is on the receiving end of one of these crowdfunding hits and must survive with the help of trusty bodyguard Vita (the lowest rated bodyguard on competitor app Dfend), the duo of clashing personalities must stay alive for 30 days, in which case the campaign expires. An interesting take on the world of crowdfunding and murder, all wrapped in one six-issue trade paperback.

Overwatch: The Official Cookbook (Insight Editions): Maybe you’ll be Tracer with this wonderful cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel which details over 90 different recipes inspired by the Heroes of Overwatch. From drinks like the 76 to an Orisa sundae, there’s no doubt that heroes (or your appetite for delicious food) never die thanks to this!

Dr. Stone: One way to get rock hard abs is to work out a ton. The other way is to turn into literal stone, as witnessed in the first few pages of this shonen series. After the entire population gets taken for granite, a select few humans awaken after 10,000 years. Protagonist and super genius Senku wants to rebuild society back to its former glory, though other characters have something more sinister in mind. (our review)

The Way of the Househusband: If the Yakuza series of games has taught us anything, it’s that even the most hardened criminals have a soft spot. This gag comedy series tackles the daily schedule of an ex-Yakuza as he tries to acclimate himself to a normal life doing chores and tending to his house. However, when his past comes back in the weirdest ways possible, you can bet that there will be blood… oranges, which are on sale at the local grocery store!

Beastars: Hey kid, ya like furries? What about gritty stories about teenage drama and class wars? That’s what you’re gonna get with VIZ Media’s Beastars, which is perfect for those wanting something different in their manga. Grim with a side of anthropomorphic, this is a wonderful series for those that aren’t afraid to look outside the box for a neat story. (Our review)

Penguin Highway: Everyone loves penguins, though probably not when they’re in places where they shouldn’t be. Tomihiko Morimi’s sci-fi light novel is now available in English for the first time, and it’s a fun tale about a kid trying to investigate the anomaly of penguins in his town. Check it out if you’ve watched the anime adaptation (released on DVD and blu-ray this year as well).

Penguindrum: If you love penguins, this is the book for you. Himari Takakura is miraculously saved by a magical penguin hat and goes on a fun and whimsical journey to find a revered item. Based on the 2011 anime, this first volume is available now in stores.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas: Weird title aside, this manga omnibus will tug at your heartstrings as you read a tear-jerking tale about a high school boy who becomes reluctant friends with a dying girl. A slice-of-life that will end in tragedy, this story will make you chuckle as much as it will make you cry.

Assassination Classroom Complete Box Set: There’s an octopus in the neighborhood, and a colorful cast of misfit students are tasked with assassinating him before the end of their school year. Just one problem: He actually wants to teach them! This oddly wholesome older-teen series about assassins and getting straight As wrapped up its American publishing run last year, but VIZ Media has repackaged the series in a special boxset, with an exclusive artbook that has never been released in the United States until now. Check it out if you like excelling in school and the art of destruction.

Music and soundtracks

God of War soundtrack – “BOY” memes aside, last year’s God of War was, in a word, perfect. As you can read in our review, we had nothing but praise for the Bear McCreary / Peter Scaturro’s growling and moody score, and now you can give it a listen on Spotify, or pick it up on vinyl, with some gorgeous artwork to seal the deal. This score is absolutely phenomenal.

Battletech soundtrack – Jon Everist’s soundtrack for Battletech is an absolute masterpiece. It’s a moving backdrop to a story of betrayal, rebirth, and retribution, as you can see in our review. The Harebrained Schemes team liked the soundtrack so much that they brought Everist back for their expansions. As you can hear in our interview with Jon for the original release, or read in our follow-up Q&A, we are a huge fan of his work. You can pick up tracks on Bandcamp, or if you are a vinyl fan, you can even score yourself his albums. Check out some of the behind the scenes work at his official site.

League of Legends: Selected Orchestral Works – League of Legends has just celebrated ten years, and to recognize the milestone, Riot has released a special League of Legends: Selected Orchestra Works LP set. You can give it a listen on Spotify, but the real prize is the amazing vinyl set. With gorgeous artwork, and a beautiful red/blue two album set, this is sure to put a smile on the face of any League fan.

Toys and collectibles

LEGO Overwatch stuff – I’m a LEGO dork, an Overwatch fan, and a Bastion main. Now I can combine all of these as the Danish brickmaker has delivered an awesome set of Overwatch-themed LEGO playsets, including my favorite Omnic, Bastion, and his little bird friend, Ganymede.

LEGO TRON Light Cycles – Two for two on hitting my dork spot, LEGO! While I eagerly await the launch of the TRON Lightcycle Power Run ride at DisneyWorld in 2021 (just in time for the 50th anniversary of the park) I can enjoy this sweet TRON playset, featuring Sam Quinn, Quorra and Rinzler. C’mon guys, help me buy enough of these to get Disney to move the next TRON movie forward!

Red Dead Redemption 2 Wheeler Rawson and Co. Glass Decoupage Tray – First off, you may be asking “What the hell is a Decoupage and why would I need a tray for it?”, and that’s not abnormal. Decoupage is the art of gluing paper in intricate patterns onto items to decorate them, and it was incredibly popular during the turn of the century midwest. Preserving that look and feel was part of what made Red Dead Redemption 2 special, and here we see this piece of Americana brought to life. If you’ve got a RDR2 superfan in your life, this is a unique gift.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Domino Set or Lighter – If your RDR2 fan’s tastes run more to the traditional, the official Zippo lighter or domino set from Rockstar will hit the spot. The Zippo is real brass, and the dominos are laid in a beautiful real wood case.

Red Dead Redemption 2 3D Puzzles – The team at Rockstar have given us three really cool tie-in 3D puzzles that remind me of some of the best parts of the game. A gorgeous Metal Earth train (the primary “fast travel” method for RDR2), a Metal Earth sawed-off shotgun, and a cool Metal Earth Maxim machine gun make for some pretty cool desk toys, and when assembled, you’ll be hard pressed to know that they are puzzles.


It’s a pretty comprehensive list of the things we loved in 2019, but did we miss anything?  Let us know in the comments!

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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