You already got the lowdown from us on what video games to grab. Now it’s time to don your Santa hats and hunt down the best hardware and gear there is. Coal just won’t run Starfield or Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 after all. Below are all the things we at GamingTrend recommend for the giving season, along with handy links to check out our reviews and to purchase what you like the look of. Happy holidays!
The Heavy Hitting Hardware
What else can we say but that the PlayStation 5 has delivered. Not only is the performance of Sony’s fifth console sublime, but the experiences you get are phenomenal. This year alone we’ve gotten PSVR2, Final Fantasy XVI, and of course the spectacular Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Coupled with so many great third-party releases in 2023, and upcoming exclusive ones like Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth and Death Stranding 2, it’s a good time to have a PS5.
Xbox Series S|X:
There is so much to play on your Xbox Series console, and if you have Game Pass the backlog keeps getting larger and larger. This year alone we’ve seen releases like Starfield and Hi-Fi Rush, and big third-party games like Lies of P and Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name dropped day one. With so many upcoming exclusive titles, like Avowed and Hellblade 2 on the way, you might as well get one now.
Nintendo Switch OLED:
In a year some thought may be the swan song for the Switch, Nintendo delivered one of their best years yet. Heavy hitters like The Legend Of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Wonder were highlights. Not to be forgotten, surprises like Pikmin 4 and Metroid Prime Remastered wowed us as well. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch, it’s getting really hard not to own one.
Want to take your PC on the go? You’ll have a hard time beating the Steam Deck. It’s comfortable to use, almost your entire Steam library is instantly available, and there’s even an OLED model releasing this month! If you don’t feel like playing on your desktop, and a laptop is just too pricey, the Steam Deck is a very viable option.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080:
“What!? What a completely stupid thing to recommend!” I hear you say, but hear me out. There simply isn’t a more powerful card on the market than these two cards. Everything you want to do, these things can do and at speeds that’ll honesty put every other component in your machine to shame. It’ll outrun your RAM, it’ll outrun your CPU, it’ll outrun your drives. Add in technology like DLSS 2 and the thing will run anything you could want at 4K. DLSS 3? Now it’ll do it at 4K and over 144 frames (and look at that – it’s now faster than your monitor!). DLSS 3.5? Welcome to the future. Joking aside, if you want to run every single game at 4K and at over 100 fps, and likely every game for the next five years minimum, then a GeForce RTX 4090 is your answer. Yes, even when the 5000 series comes out, these flagship cards are eye-wateringly fast.
Repeating myself from the video game guide, the hardware that runs all of the amazing stuff below is nothing short of phenomenal. I’ve loved playing around with PSVR and the Meta Quest 2, but PSVR2 introduced me to what VR can do when you inject pure power into it. Shooting guns in Pavlov feels incredibly immersive, whacking blocks in Beat Saber seems real, and the flagship game of Horizon Call Of The Mountain puts you in that world. Featuring outstanding 4K, OLED panels for the display, foveated rendering, eye-tracking, and a 120hz refresh rate, you’ll find it hard to track down a better VR experience than PSVR2.
SteelSeries Alias and Alias Pro streaming mics:
Wanting to get into streaming or content creation but want a professional sounding mic? Look no further. The newest additions to the SteelSeries arsenal are truly stellar, with great audio and features. If you don’t want extra fuss or bucks, the Alias will work. If you want the extra oomph of an XLR, the Alias Pro is perfect for you. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Especially as easy as SteelSeries makes these and your stream to set up alongside the Sonar software.
SteelSeries Nova series: Pro, 7X, 3, and 1:
The best headsets in the business. There’s something for everyone and every budget here, with wired and wireless options. They’ll work on nearly every device you own as well, adding value to the price range you pick. Add in the incredible comfort level, great battery life for wireless options, and killer sound? This is what sounds best for Christmas.
SteelSeries Aerox 5 wireless mouse:
I’ve had this one over a year and it’s still kicking, and kicking butt. Given I never turn it off and am constantly on my computer, the longevity of the Aerox 5 is pretty epic. It’s lightweight, has fantastic buttons, and battery life for literal days. If you prefer a wired connection, it supports that, or save a few bucks with the permanently wired option.
SteelSeries Apex Pro/TKL gaming keyboard:
As I said last year when speaking on keyboards, I just love my ten keys. Nothing is wrong with the TKL version, in fact, I still highly recommend it. But, the Apex Pro is just a phenomenal keyboard. It’s sturdy, your fingers glide across the keys while typing via the Omnipoint switches, and the wrist rest is extremely comfortable. However you chose to grab an Apex, do it with SteelSeries.
SteelSeries Arena speakers:
This one is a bit niche, but if you’re like me and don’t always want a pair of headphones on, the SteelSeries Arena speakers offer the top of the line audio you expect from a product from SteelSeries. The speakers alone (Arena 3) are great, but pair them with the subwoofer (Arena 7) and you’re going for a ride. Or just go for the entire surround sound system with the two back speakers to rattle your house’s foundation (Arena 9). I did.
KontrolFreek thumbsticks and precision rings:
I never thought KontrolFreek thumbsticks would make a difference, and then I gave them a try. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but they add a boost to your gameplay. The same goes for the precision rings, which allow you to amp up your sensitivity without getting caught spinning. Not to mention, they’re simply stylish, with tons of colors and designs to rep your favorite games, like Call of Duty or Apex Legends. Up your game, along with your gift giving, with KontrolFreek.
Turtle Beach Stealth Pro wireless headset:
Jumping into the premium headset space is no joke. There’s a lot that goes into it, and you’re risking a payoff at a luxury price. Turtle Beach took the leap with the Stealth Pro, and the results speak for themselves. The Stealth Pro has fantastic sound, an amazing mic, and mobile/PC app that gives you a lot of control over what you’re hearing. If you want to get better, you get better gear, and the Stealth Pro is among the best.
Turtle Beach STEALTH 600 WIRELESS HEADSETS:
If you don’t want to spend a pretty penny, Turtle Beach has the bang for your buck. The Stealth 600 boasts a modest price, but has great sound mixed with multi-platform use. Not only that, the battery life is great, and with Turtle Beach’s signature quality mic, this is a terrific choice for the budget minded gamer who wants something a bit more premium.
RIG 900 MAX HX wireless headset:
Another with a high price tag, but with high quality to match. The 40mm drivers are tuned beautifully, and between those and Dolby Atmos will make anything you play on your Xbox sound incredible. That, and the included dock is a nice place to keep your headset charged, although with up to sixty hours of battery life, you may rarely have to put it there. The game is Rigged again, in favor of the 900 Max HX.
HyperX Cloud Earbuds II:
The HyperX Cloud Earbuds II are high-quality, wired earbuds designed for mobile gaming, though, of course, they can be used anywhere, including console and PC. They are compatible with any device with a plug-in, and are made with excellent materials, including a tangle-free, durable cable, and come with a hard shell carrying case. The earbuds deliver top-notch audio, have in-line controls and a microphone for phone calls, and come with four sizes of silicone ear tips for ears of all shapes and sizes. They pack a lot of quality into a price tag for all budgets.
Between 3ANC Noise Canceling Earbuds:
There are quite a few earbud solutions on the market, but very few that have active noise canceling. I’ve tested quite a few of them, and none of them can deliver the sound quality, bass, and feature set of the 3ANC from Between, and at a price comparable or better than the rest of the market. How good is the noise canceling? Well, you can mow the lawn and not year the mower – yeah, that’ll work. Welcome to being able to enjoy your Steamdeck on a plane in total silence, and with the sort of audio quality normally reserved for full sized headphones.
Monster DNA Go earbuds:
I’ve been so happy to get back to the gym lately, but time away due to COVID didn’t improve the music selection. When you need a workout, but could do without the autotuned garbage normally blasted at max volume at your local box, you need a good audio solution that’ll hold up to the wear and tear of your workout. Whether that’s lifting, cardio kickboxing, spin class, or something in between, the Monster DNA Go earbuds are going to deliver excellent audio in a sleek and stylish package, and with the sort of audio quality we’ve come to expect from Monster. We could all use a little more time in the gym – just do yourself a favor and get some better music for that workout.
Controller Craze Part II
PlayStation 5 DualSense Edge controller:
Luxury has never felt so good. The DualSense Edge is an elegant next step for Sony’s best controller iteration, and can be fine tuned to the max. All of this, along with the incredible sensations of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, this controller is the optimum way of having your cake and eating it too.
VICTRIX BY PDP PRO BFG WIRELESS CONTROLLER FOR PS5:
As many controllers as I’ve used, it’s hard to crown one as king. At least, until I used the Victrix Pro BFG. This is handily the best PS5 pro controller I’ve used, with a lightweight and sturdy design. When you throw in the great, loose thumbsticks, five trigger locks, and arguably the top back buttons on the market, this is one you have to have for competition. That’s before taking into account all the extra functions, a fight pad module, and the Hall Effect modules releasing for purchase next year.
THE CONTROLLER PEOPLE Custom Controllers:
I really appreciate The Controller People. One of our first interactions was of unfortunate circumstance; the controller I received for review wasn’t working correctly. Not only did they rectify it quickly, they made sure I was set with a great replacement. Considering the ability to personalize your controller and the surprisingly awesome feel of the back button “ClickSticks”, The Controller People have a great product you should grab.
CODEMANMODZ CUSTOM CONTROLLERS:
If you want something to feel personal, you go to someone who will do it that way. Cody has been making custom controllers for a long time, and he works with you to get them done the way you want. He can get you set for competitive play with quick triggers and paddles, or just pretty up your controller with a sweet paint job and LEDs. One thing he has uniquely, a double battery he designed himself for PS5, so you can get twice the play time out of your controller. He does all kinds of different controllers, so go and see what he can do for you today!
NACON Revolution 5 Pro controller for PS/PC:
Hall Effect joysticks are all the rage, but putting them inside a pro controller with back buttons, trigger locks, and a ton of other features? Color me intrigued. NACON’s Revolution 5 Pro controller may be pricey, but the premium feel coupled with all of the bells and whistles it brings makes this a great pickup if you’re looking for either a competitive or longer lasting controller. It also works across your PS5, PS4, and PC, along with a ton of digital customization through NACON’s PC app.
PDP Xbox Controllers:
Look, we can’t all spend $100+ on a controller. That’s why PDP’s options are fantastic for Xbox. Not only do they look good, but the extra features like audio control for wired headsets and back buttons are top notch. Throw in the customization app on PC and Xbox to get the most from your controller, and this is a worthwhile buy.
XBOX DESIGN LAB CONTROLLERS:
I mean, the stock Xbox controller is already great. Adding the ability to customize to your liking at not too bad a price? Even better. Throw in that you can build your own Elite Series 2 controllers since last year, and this is a no brainer.
CRKD Nitro Deck for the Nintendo Switch
The first time I looked at the Nitro Deck I was confused. Is it a controller? One thing was for sure, it was unique. Upon closer inspection, it is in fact a controller, but a very special one. Clicking to the bottom of the Switch allows a better connection for the controller via USB-C, but while still having a USB-C to charge it. Beyond that, adding Hall Effect sensors to the joysticks nearly eliminates one of the Switch’s worst issues: stick drift. Available in a ton of amazing colors and at a very reasonable price, any avid Nintendo Switch user should pick one of these up.
Rainbow 2 Pro Elite Controller:
What in the world is a BIGBIG WON, and why would you want their controller? Well, I answered that in our review of their Rainbow 2 Pro Elite, highlighting the Hall Effect triggers, excellent build quality, and fantastic versatility. Third party controllers can be a bit of a mixed bag, but this one really stood out in a very crowded category.
Sneaking in the energy drink
You don’t need a full breakdown right here, but Sneak Energy has kept me going through countless nights of gaming and writing. I drink it constantly, and it’s only gotten better this year, with multiple new permanent and limited releases. Also, Hydrate arrived, which lets me drink more with some great vitamin benefits! Check out what flavor will work for you via our taste tests below, and grab it today! GET $5 OFF YOUR $65 OR MORE PURCHASE WITH CODE “GAMINGTREND5”!!!
Subscriptions for instant boosts
XBOX GAME PASS CORE/PC/ULTIMATE:
You already know you should have it. Just do it already. With incredible additions this year like Starfield and Hi-Fi Rush, third party hits like Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and Lies of P, and next year’s incoming Activision/Blizzard games, you’d be daft not starting a subscription. Do it. C’mon. For Avowed? For Fable? For Hellblade II? See, there’s a lot of great games in there.
PLAYSTATION PLUS ESSENTIAL/EXTRA/PREMIUM:
It may have had a price increase recently, but there’s still so much value here. The free games you get monthly are very impressive, with the likes of Callisto Protocol and Alan Wake Remastered being recent additions. Extra has every game you could want, with bangers such as Horizon Forbidden West, Returnal, or Ghost of Tsushima among hundreds of others. Premium will take you on a nostalgia trip, with a nice blend of PS3 and PS1 titles. Whatever you choose to go with, you’ll have a lot of games to enjoy.
GEFORCE NOW GIFT CARDS:
Maybe you don’t want to chase owning a high-end PC, or perhaps you’ve had to suffer from one too many busted Windows updates. Do you want to be able to just fire up the latest games and play them without installs, patches, drivers, or anything else? Well we’ve finally reached the point where that’s not only possible, but also will deliver an experience that rivals a PC worth $5000 or more! GeForce NOW delivers RTX gaming in titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Guardians of the Galaxy, New World, A Plague Tale Requiem, Baldur’s Gate III, Remnant II, Genshin Impact, and many, many more, and at a price that frankly is almost too good to be true.
Are you shopping for somebody who has everything? Well, I’m going to guess they don’t have this! Fanhome delivers an awesome subscription-based build process that has you slowly putting together a statue of greats like Iron Man, Optimus Prime, the Millennium Falcon, R2D2, and much more! Whether you are building this with your kid, or doing it for yourself, the quality is unmatched, and the whole process is just too cool to describe.
Terminator 2 Arcade1Up cabinet:
Arcade1Up’s T2 is a stunning recreation of the original arcade in an easy to bring home capacity. I never thought I’d be able to have a light-gun arcade in my home, much less one of this size and quality, so for that alone I am immensely thankful for Arcade1Up. That said, there are a few gripes I have with the machine, such as the screen size being only 17” and the high price tag for an arcade with only one game, but T2 is still a high-quality release that will undoubtedly impress any visitor to your game room. Arcade purists may have more qualms than I do, but for someone who collects these arcades just for the thrill of having a home arcade with the classic titles that I grew up playing in mall arcades, I think T2 is well worth adding to your home arcade.
The Simpson’s Arcade1Up cabinet:
One of my favorite pieces in my gaming room is my Simpson’s Arcade1Up cabinet, and for good reason. It’s stylish, has a stunning display screen, and contains one of the best childhood memories I have in the Simpsons Arcade game. With the bonus of Simpson’s Bowling, and being something you can brag about and show off, you’re running out of reasons to not own one.
Wheel of Fortune Casinocade Deluxe
You can have one, as long as you don’t continually say “Big money, big money!”. This Arcade1Up cabinet may be one of their most unique yet, with dual screens and one of them a touch. Not only that, it features twenty-three games along with Wheel of Fortune, like Blackjack. Vegas may be a ways away for some, but you can have it in your living room via this arcade machine.
The Fast & The Furious Deluxe
Another of Arcade1Up’s unique designs, this one brings me back to the local pizza place. Mainly that I’d eat, play one of these kinds of racing games in the arcade, and get sick from the shaking of the wheel. Thankfully, this machine isn’t as intense, but it still has a lot to offer. There’s one game, but the amount of content is staggering. Eight licensed cars with customization and upgrade options, nineteen courses, and the ability to link four machines together. Put on your Dominic Toretto tank top, it’s time to add this machine to the family.
Jammin’ with JBL
JBL Quantum 910 headset:
The JBL Quantum 910’s are game changers for gamers looking to take their skills to the next level. With head tracking technology, you’ll be able to hear directionally where an enemy might be attacking. The 910’s also come with noise-cancellation, a customizable LED on each earpiece, and the ability to go wireless. You can also control everything through the JBL PC app or use it on your console. If you’re looking to get a “ear-up” on the competition and look going at the same time, the JBL Quantum 910’s are ready and able!
JBL Quantum TWS Air earbuds:
Small and compact but with big sound. Some people say that about me, but I certainly will say that about JBL’s Quantum TWS Air earbuds. Versatile and packing great battery life, these earbuds follow after their predecessor the TWS in offering fantastic audio that’s well worth the money.
JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds:
While there are a lot of great earbuds out there, JBL’s Tour Pro 2’s might be the best I’ve ever used. The real talking point is the smart display, a small touch screen on the case that allows for control, customization, and notifications. But when you have that along with amazing sound, outstanding noise cancellation, and great mic clarity? Absolutely top tier gear.
JBL Flip 6:
Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen, and that’s usually what they’re worth as far as quality. Enter JBL’s Flip 6, the latest iteration of a small speaker that packs a punch. Not only does it sound great on it’s own, it features a party mode that allows it to sync up with other speakers. Add in a twelve hour battery and water resistant design for use in the sun or rain, and the JBL Flip 6 is a good choice for you. Also, it comes in pretty colors!
JBL Spinner BT:
Vinyl is in its renaissance, and gaming has been doing a lot in that space. The only problem is, you may not have anything to play them on. Enter JBL’s Spinner BT, a wireless solution that will allow you to hear the purest audio from years bygone, or new tunes in an amazing format. It’s a little expensive, but the ability to connect via Bluetooth to both headphones and speakers makes this a classy piece to tie your living room sound system together. Hal from Malcolm In The Middle would be jealous.
Pieces that give your PC a punch
Pwnage StormBreaker gaming mouse:
You don’t need to borrow this one from Thor. In fact, you can buy your own! It’s worth every penny as well, a phenomenal gaming mouse in a light metal shell that is somehow even lighter than the plastic mice I have. The tracking is impeccable, and it has an app to adjust things even further to your liking. Just don’t let Loki get a hold of it, he may do dastardly things with a device so powerful.
ROCCAT VULCAN II MAX MECHANICAL KEYBOARD:
If pretty is your thing, the insane RGB of the Vulcan II Max is exactly what you’re looking for. Even better, there’s a phenomenal keyboard underneath all of those flashing lights. It’s got 100% anti-ghosting, a 1000hz polling rate, and the design looks really sharp. The Vulcan II Max is a lil pricey, but it’s certainly a premium product that earns that designation.
Beetle X31 SSD from SK hynix
I’m a creator, and one of the things you have to deal with is what you’re using for storage. Standard HDDs are fine for pure volume storage, but given my traveling, something that respects my time is preferred. SK hynix has the perfect option, an NVME SSD in a travel size that advertises up to 1050MB/s in transfer speed. It’s also set in an elegant aluminum case, making it both easy to identify and protect it from the banging around in the cargo hold of a plane. It’ll also work with your gaming console or in a pinch, allowing for faster cold storage where you need it.
Sabrent Rocket Q4 NVME:
There are a handful of options when it comes to Valve’s Steam Deck. You can try to fight for the new OLED version with expanded storage, or you can grab the original version with 64GB of storage and then upgrade it yourself. If that prospect has you worried, then you’ll love our step-by-step guide that not only gives you more space for your favorite games, but also speeds it up in the process if you use the right drive. What’s the right drive, you ask? Well that’d be the Sabrent Rocket Q4. We put a 2TB drive into ours and saw a pretty solid performance jump. Check out our video above for all the details, but do yourself a favor — upgrade your Steam Deck.
Kingston FURY RENEGADE 7200MT/s DDR5 RAM:
There were a few articles out there that suggested that RAM speeds didn’t matter as much, and that you’d be better off spending your cash on slower RAM and using that money elsewhere. My tests reveal that it not only matters, but also that it can make a remarkable difference in both low end and bleeding edge systems. Even within Kingston’s own RAM offerings, the FURY RENEGADE (sorry for yelling) DDR5 modules are blisteringly fast. Coupled with a solid price, and a lifetime warranty, you get peace of mind and upwards of 15 frames in your favorite games. Plus, they look gorgeous clad in their white heat spreaders!
WD_Black SN770M NVME SSD:
After you get over the stress of taking apart your Steam Deck or ROG Ally, using the SN770M NVME is a dream. Not only does it speed everything up, but with up to 2TB available, you can download a ton of video games. All of that, locked up with a 5 year limited warranty. Grab your screwdrivers and get to cracking, it’s time for an upgrade.
WD_Black SN850P M.2 NVMe SSD:
There is no substitute for quality. There are certainly cheaper drives on the market, and there are a few that will match performance, but there’s also a reason why you know the name Western Digital. Their WD_Black division is focused exclusively on gaming, and the SN850P knows exactly where to focus – the PlayStation 5. With a built in heatsink that’s designed to fit cleanly in Sony’s console, and at 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities. This is one of the few drives that Sony has officially endorsed, and that should tell you everything you need to know.
WD_BLACK C50 Expansion Card for Xbox
Maybe you aren’t a Sony person. Perhaps you bleed Xbox green? Well, the games aren’t getting any smaller there either, and high-speed storage is a must. While the Xbox uses a proprietary card-based system, Western Digital has the official solution. The WD_BLACK C50 Expansion Card can give you 512GB of 1TB of additional storage by simply plugging it in – no tools required. There’s nothing simpler or easier.
TFORCE CARDEA A440 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD:
There are a handful of NVMe drives out there that can deliver around 7000 MB/s in read and write speeds, but few that can do so at a price that isn’t sky high. Newcomer TFORCE has managed to do exactly that. Using some new caching techniques, this drive has a few tricks up its sleeves, and a shiny five year warranty to back it up. Yea, you are on the hook for shipping, but for a budget drive, this is an excellent choice.
Loupedeck Live S
The Loupedeck Live S is what happens when you smash a CT and a Live together, resulting in the best of both. We loved the updates to the ability to control apps including OBS, Streamlabs, DaVinci Resolve, Spotify, and many more, but we stay for the direct analog control over the balance of in-game audio and game chat. Add in the fact that it’s got 15 screens, and undercuts the price of any competitor and it’s a no brainer this holiday season.
EZQuest Ultimate USB-C Multimedia Hub Adapter (Mac)
We looked at several USB hubs this year, but few are as complete as the aptly-named EZQuest Ultimate USB-C Multimedia Hub Adapter. With 13 ports and Power Delivery 3.0, this device has FAR too much utility for such a small form factor. 2 HDMI 4K ports at 60Hz, 100 Watts of USB-C power delivery, a 10GB/s USB-C uplink interface (what you’d use to connect to your PC, laptop, or anything else), Gigabit Ethernet, four additional USB-C ports (two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0), both SD and micro-SD, a 3.5mm audio jack, and even a VGA port to round things out, this thing is an absolute beast. Now you might ask why the VGA port, but if you’ve ever been to a corporate office, you know that plenty of antique projectors still exist in the wild. Either way, the only thing this device is missing is a DisplayPort. This device is for the Apple MacBook Pro or Air, but should work with any Intel or M1-based MacBook device with the dual USB-C interface — check the compatibility chart before you snap this one up.
Table & Chairs
FlexiSpot E7 Pro Standing Desk:
I’m busted up. There’s no two ways about it. As much as I love my traditional hardwood desk, I need the ability to sit and stand periodically to alleviate my pain. FlexiSpot has been refining their formula, and the E7 Pro is one of the latest in that long line of innovative desks. With its dual motor system to provide smooth movement for a staggering 440 lbs and a 15 year warranty to back it, this is an excellent solution with a wide variety of woods and synthetics to use as a surface. Check out our review to see me raise it to a frankly uncomfortable height!
Flexispot Comhar Q8 Standing Desk:
If you are in need of a standing desk, the E7 Pro is an excellent choice. If you need a bit of integrated storage space, the Q8 offers that with a built-in desk drawer, incredible cable management, and a remarkably sleek overall profile. Throw in wireless charging built directly into the surface and you’ve got something that looks good in any office, no matter how modern and spartan it may be.
MAVIX M7 chair:
The MAVIX M7 is a high-end gaming/office chair built from the best materials and providing the ultimate level of comfort and support for marathon game sessions and long work days. Coupled with the Elemax heating, cooling, and massage system, this chair is the perfect desk companion.
Vertagear PL4800 chair:
I’ve reviewed well over a dozen chairs, and last year I found the one that really stood out from a manufacturer named Vertagear. This year they iterated on that already-solid chair with the PL4800. With a surface made from recycled coffee grounds for smell absorption and durability, double or triple stitching throughout, slick lighting and personalization options, and comfort that has held up for years at this point between the three chairs I own from them, it’s one that I feel comfortable saying I’d recommend. When so many chairs are just copies of a copy, Vertagear is offering up something just a little bit different.
All of the VR
VR-Rock Prescription PSVR2 and Meta Quest 3 lenses:
As a glasses wearer, VR can be tough. Even when the headset accommodates for it, there’s a discomfort that exists. VR-Rock made VR enjoyable for me with their specialized prescription lenses, which are available for nearly every VR device out there. Even the new Meta Quest 3 is on the list! If glasses are at all necessary for you when gaming, I highly recommend VR-Rock’s solution for VR.
PRISMXR Puppis X1
I swear that I live in some sort of VR Faraday cage. I can’t get a clean signal from my office to my front room where I play VR. While the Quest 3’s self-contained VR is easy enough, using it for PCVR means either using a wire, or having solid wifi. Well, a cool product with an odd name might be just what you need — the PRISMXR Puppis X1 is a device you plug into your PC, turning it into its own wifi network specifically for your VR headset. Simply press a button on the device, then have your Quest 3 join the Prixm network and you’re good. No need to run Ethernet through your house, no need for complex configurations. Single button press — done. If you’ve got problems with latency and drops, this could be the end of a lot of headaches, both figuratively and literally.
PRISMXR Carina belt power packs
Let’s be brutally honest, the battery life of the Quest 3 is not great. On the biggest games of the year, like Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR or The 7th Guest VR, you’re going to get about an hour of gameplay before you’ll need to top up. PrixmXR has a pair of belt battery packs, one in black and one in white, that deliver a whopping 30 watts of power and 10,000 mAh of battery life to your Quest 3. Depending on the game, that can mean upwards of 9 hours of additional battery life! These also rapidly charge (18W input), meaning you’ll be back in the action before you know it.
It’s not exactly gear or hardware specifically, but our friends over at Iam8bit have a lot of unique items to pick up for the holidays you won’t find anywhere else. Maybe it’s a vinyl for that JBL Spinner BT you grabbed earlier in the article? Maybe a special edition of Cuphead for the Switch OLED you couldn’t pass up? In any case, Iam8bit can add another dimension to your gift giving.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie Soundtrack Collection
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an important moment for a legendary franchise, and it demands a legendary soundtrack — one that pays homage to the history of Mario Brothers. Composer Brian Tyler certainly delivered, playing off Koji Kondo’s iconic, instantly recognizable themes. The Super Mario Bros. Movie soundtrack is an epic in its own right, delivering swelling, grand orchestral themes, available on Red & Green colored vinyl ($42.99), CD ($19.99), and cassette ($19.99). The uproariously hilarious “Peaches” from the The Super Mario Bros. Movie is available on a super special 7”. The aforementioned ballad “Peaches” is on the front side, while the B-Side includes a special bonus surprise – it’s a brand-new rendition of the Mario Brothers Rap, straight from The Super Mario Bros. Movie!
A Little to the Left Vinyl Soundtrack
At iam8bit, we love a good mess as much as anybody, but let’s face it: There’s something so satisfying about a hard-earned clean-up. No one knows this better than the friendly folks at Max Inferno. Their debut title, A Little to the Left (published by our pals at Secret Mode), is a cozy & warm puzzle game that asks players to arrange everyday household objects to be just a little more pleasing to the eye. This experience is made all the more cozy & warm in the company of its melodious soundtrack, by maestro Justin Karas. Playful, bright, and sometimes even mischievous, the music of A Little to the Left instantly transports you to a place of calm and empowered focus. It’s soothing melodic magic, featuring eight lengthy and whimsical tracks presented on tidy taupe vinyl. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a little tactile flair reminiscent of the game! We collaborated with album artist Paul G. Hammond to create this uniquely interactive “Tidy Diecut Jacket,” featuring an inner sleeve with both tidy and untidy display options.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course 2xLP
Half a decade and we’re still tappin’ our toes to the music of Cuphead — and boy oh boy, it just keeps getting better. In this The Delicious Last Course collection of ditties, we witness the evolution of maestro Kristofer Maddigan’s old-timey tunes into unexpected yet perfectly poignant places. It’s everything you love about Cuphead, but with a little extra seasoning, evident from the first zippy gasp of the game’s opening theme, featuring a cavalcade of harmonized vocals straight outta the coolest downtown nightclub in the 1930s, arranged atop a nuanced and emotionally rambunctious undercurrent. It’s the big band bountifulness of your dreams, complete with extra special treats from developer Studio MDHR, including yummy family recipes and an exclusive, illustrated foldout poster that’ll make any wall more handsome. Delightfully decadent — yeah, those are the words to describe this package.
Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal 2xLP
Drawing from the rich history of vintage pulp novels, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal is a fantastical vision of prehistory, a poetic exploration of humankind’s brutal and conflict-laden origins. Like much of Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack, Primal is light on dialogue, instead focusing on the power of animation as a visual medium to tell its stories of struggle and survival. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking powerful audio. Rather, the show’s ferocious soundtrack works elegantly with its imagery to evoke emotions that feel fundamental, inherent, and — dare we say — primal. iam8bit is proud to partner with our pals at Adult Swim to bring you this chilling, eerie, and full-on savage soundtrack on wax. Tyler Bates and Joanne Higginbottom’s unforgettable music comes to life on two classic black vinyl discs, one for each season of the hit animated series, produced by Cartoon Network Studios. It all comes nestled in a jacket designed exclusively for this vinyl release by Genndy Tartakovsky himself, making it a truly worthy tribute to Spear and Fang’s epic ancient saga.
The Red Lantern Vinyl Soundtrack
In developer Timberline Studio’s The Red Lantern, you play as The Musher, a woman who has abandoned her life in the city in order to chase her dreams of dogsledding in the Alaskan mountains. The resulting experience contrasts the beauty and tranquility of nature with the challenges of surviving in a harsh and unforgiving world. Moments of calm are interrupted by the stark realities of survival as you manage the weather, your hunger, and your dogs’ exhaustion. The game’s music is reflective of this delicate balance, too. In it, composer Hrishikesh Hirway (of Song Exploder fame!) has arranged a soundtrack that brings to mind thoughts of isolation, tranquility, loneliness, endurance, and, ultimately, victory in the face of impossible challenge. iam8bit is super proud to bring the music of The Red Lantern to vinyl with this release. Presented on Aurora Purple vinyl and wrapped up in gorgeous album art by the incomparable Haley bbanditt Wakefield, it’s a tribute to everything we love about the game and a celebration of the awe-inspiring beauty of nature itself.
Bear and Breakfast (Nintendo Switch)
In this quirky indie management sim from the folks at Armor Games Studios and Gummy Cat Studios, a 7 ft. tall bear named Hank and his friends find an abandoned shack and flip it into a money-making bed and breakfast scheme for unsuspecting tourists. The Bear and Breakfast Exclusive Edition for Nintendo Switch includes the complete game on cartridge, ready-to-play and region-free, packaged in exclusive cover art from sculptor and first-time iam8bit collaborator cobcris; a code for a digital download of the Bear and Breakfast original soundtrack by Andrew Landry; and an adorable motel-style Hank keychain.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox)
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is set in a future world where self-styled graffiti crews battle each other for control of the streets, where they’ll dance, paint graffiti, collect beats and combo tricks to stake their claim to the sprawling metropolis of New Amsterdam. The retail edition includes the standard region-free cartridge with worldwide compatibility, six die-cut vinyl graffiti stickers, and cover art from Tan Zhi Hui. The iam8bit Exclusive Edition includes a graffiti art booklet showcasing art from the game, a collectible slipcase, exclusive cover art by Tan Zhi Hui and six die-cut vinyl graffiti stickers.
Cuphead Collector’s Edition (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox)
The Cuphead Collector’s Edition is a spectacle of spectacular proportions! Inside, you’ll find a whole heap of wonder, including the complete Cuphead experience on disc/cart, with the sensational Cuphead, plus its flabbergastingly good DLC, The Delicious Last Course, packaged together with amazing interior artwork in a box that transforms into a stage. Other goodies include a handcrafted, fully functional Cuphead marionette; six (6) illustrated “Cuphead Funnies” from your buds at Studio MDHR; an individually-numbered Cuphead Club Membership Card; an exclusive poster of the Inkwell Isles; and delightfully sweet Marvelous, Mechanical Music Box, also included in this incredible package.
Escape Academy: The Complete Edition (Nintendo Switch Exclusive)
Escape Academy: The Complete Edition for Nintendo Switch includes the award-winning base game as well as the DLC expansions, Escape from Anti-Escape Island and Escape from the Past. Offering more than a dozen Escape Rooms that can be enjoyed alone or in local and online co-op, players must solve puzzles, unearth mysteries and explore the Academy alongside its zany cast of faculty and students. After triumphantly completing their courses, players can continue their studies in the game’s first DLC expansion, Escape from Anti-Escape Island, which introduces a deviously difficult set of puzzles in a vacation gone wrong. Then, they can investigate a new narrative in the game’s second included DLC expansion, Escape from the Past, a prequel story set in the 1950s, which features a thought provoking whodunit mystery with the longest escapes in Escape Academy yet.
Neon White (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation)
Neon White is a lightning fast first-person action game about exterminating demons beyond the pearly gates. With a Metacritic score of 90 and nominations for “Best Debut”, “Best Design” and “Innovation Award” at the 2023 Game Developers Choice Awards, players assume the role of Neon White, an assassin handpicked from Hell to compete with other (oddly familiar) demon slayers for a chance to live permanently in Heaven.
Dustbiters is a collaboration between some of the best, coolest and craziest human beings who also happen to be award-winning game designers and illustrators. It’s also the first tabletop game from iam8bit. Dustbiters is quick to learn and easy to understand. There are very few rules, but an infinite number of creative ways to get yourself out of a tough situation. Cars are *everything*. There are no tokens, no math, no dice. Just cars. Each is unique and affects those around it in different and surprising ways. During your turn you have 3 actions to spend in a variety of ways. To win, you must make clever use of your cars to destroy – or outlast your opponent. But don’t forget – at the end of each turn the dust storm will destroy whichever car is at the back of the convoy!
Outrageous & Random
Gunnar Enigma Amber Max:
Now why in the world would you want sunglasses that make everything amber colored? Well, I had that same question until I used these, and frankly, now I wonder how I suffered with basic gray and black for so long. Providing the slightest magnification while all but completely protecting you from any harmful rays (98% of blue light and 100% UV – the best in the industry!), these are a must-have. Not just for gamers, but for people who have to go outside and deal with the stupid life-giving sun. Seriously, read our review – you need these. Now go, get them. Chop chop! Your eyes will thank you.
Gunnar Themed Glasses:
We’ve taken a look at some really cool tie-in glasses from Gunnar. The team is delivering that unrivaled protection that you’ve come to expect from the industry leader, but they also have some of the coolest looking glasses on top. Diablo IV, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Spider-Man 2, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Iron Man, you name it, they’ve got you covered. If you want something more generally gaming-related (or just cool looking) without screaming out a specific brand, there’s a ton of good looking frames like the RPG, MOBA, Enigma, and Oakland, just to name a few. The Loki Asgard’s signature green frames are a head-turner as well.
Govee Glide Hexagon Light Panels Ultra:
I can’t say I’ve been an RGB fan building PCs for the last few decades, but I’ve found a place for it. This year we took a look at the Govee Glide Hexagon Light Panels, and they have become an awesome staple of my revised office space. I swapped out my hardwood traditional desk for a sit/stand, and these lights were the perfect compliment. They light the room nicely when the main lights are off, and they look fantastic doing it. They can react to what I’m doing in game, or simply provide a quiet ambiance that I can select with my phone to match the season. These are great for the gamer who has everything – they don’t know they need them, but they’ll truly appreciate the way they bring a room to life.
Mobile Edge CORE Gaming Tactical Backpack:
The word “Tactical” gets used entirely too often and for things that have no reason being called that. This backpack is actually tactical, offering a modularity I’ve not seen in a pack since I left the military. More than just utility, this pack is also comfortable, will hold a 17” laptop easily enough, and still have room for some clothes, a Steamdeck, a battery pack, and far more and with room to spare. We see a lot of backpacks head our way in the course of a year, but this is the top tier.
Mobile Edge CORE Power Portable Laptop Charger:
The perfect compliment to the CORE Gaming Tactical Backpack (there’s even a designated pocket), this portable charger is the largest capacity battery you can legally carry on a plane. They are an excellent power source for a Steamdeck, a laptop, a phone, or all three simultaneously. The fact that they also support a 120v standard two-prong plug and carry a light on one side makes them perfect for a camping or hiking outing as well. You never know when you will need backup power, and with this device you’ll have plenty to share.
Oiiwak 14″ Portable Dual-Monitor Extender:
If you travel, or if you just spend a great deal of time using the single screen on a laptop, you begin to lament not having some additional real estate. Simple things like having a second screen to run a spreadsheet, or just the ability to have a website and doing two-screen coding, you’ll quickly figure out that more is, in fact, better. Well, by that logic Oiiwak decided that if two is good, three is great, so that’s exactly what they did. Hanging two 14” monitors that fold up in a handy carrying configuration off of either side of your laptop monitor, or standing it up vertically as a secondary standalone monitor, this dual-monitor extender is flexible, portable, and very reasonably priced. It’s a bit of a niche item, but if you need a little more screen real estate for productivity, this just might be the ticket.
Naenka Runner Neo Bone Conduction Headphones:
We could all use a little more workout time, but not everyone can handle having earbuds in their ears. Sometimes it’s even unwise to do so as running outside is a time to keep your wits about you. A bone conduction headphone set might be precisely what you need as they keep your ears unobstructed, but also give you the tunes to help you move your body.
Saramonic Blink Me Wireless Microphone System:
If there’s one thing I struggle with it’s good audio in my video work. Either the lavalier placement is off, the camera doesn’t want to cooperate, or any other myriad hiccups that have plagued my configurations off and on through the years. Saramonic, a company devoted to audio, has given us a two person wireless microphone system that rivals the kit offered by the big names, but in a self-contained rechargeable base that’ll sit as comfortably on a high-end Cine camera with a 3.5mm jack as it will plugged into the latest Pixel 8 Pro or iPhone 15. This is FAR from their only audio solution, but this is one that really stood out for us due to its flexibility and form factor.
Monoprice Monolith MTM-100 Bluetooth speakers:
Monoprice (yeah, the one known for all the cables) have branched out into all sorts of gear. Network switches, arcade sticks, DACs, display mounts, electric guitars, headphones, and far, far more. They’ve also branched into their own line of speakers, offering up a very reasonably priced line of high-end speakers in their Monolith line. The MTM-100 offer up the flexibility of Bluetooth, Optical, RCA, USB-C, and 100 watts of aptX HD power courtesy of two 50 watt amplified speakers on each side. They also have a pair of 4″ cone woofers and a 1.24 silk dome tweeter for a complete all-in-one solution. Not enough? Well, there’s also a spot to plug in a subwoofer to add a little more oomph to the whole shooting match.
Cookbooks – Let’s make GAME THEMED FOOD!
The Witcher III Cookbook – Penguin Random House
The Witcher III Cookbook is a culinary adventure that presents rich and immersive cuisines, engaging the fans in the delicious and fantastical realm of The Witcher III. Fans will be delighted as the recipes are a great blend of creativity and practicality. With a diverse array of savory pastries and robust soups, these hearty dishes will surely satiate any hunger. The visually stunning presentation makes instructions easy to follow. Anyone, from seasoned beginners to experienced cooks alike can find fun with the aesthetically pleasing layout. The cookbook does not only appeal to gamers but will allow those who appreciate blending the art of cooking with the art of storytelling. It intertwines the enchanting world of The Witcher III with reality, inviting the game’s flavorful realm and culinary delights to your dinner table.
Recipes and Tales from the Inns of Sanctuary: Diablo The Official Cookbook
While what happens at the inns in the Diablo series tends to be absolutely horrible, we have to assume good things happen there prior to the player arriving, right? Well, this cookbook from Insight Editions gives us some amazing recipes that’d work even if you aren’t a fan of the Diablo universe. Examples include Bron’s Beef Bourguignon, a beef and noodle recipe that comes courtesy of the Slaughtered Calf Inn, but tastes like a fantastic English dish, with a dash of Asian flair. Also included is a bit of artwork and backstory, bringing the world of Sanctuary to life, while also giving us some good eats. Don’t be afraid of the Necromancer’s Broiled Fish – it’s delicious, and won’t come back from the dead, I promise.
Sonic the Hedgehog The Official Cookbook
Gotta cook fast! I never imagined I’d like a Sonic cookbook, nor could I readily imagine what that’d look like, but veterans Victoria Rosenthal and Ian Flynn do a great job of injecting exactly the right amount of humor into this cookbook. They start each recipe with a speed scale, letting you know just how fast you’ll be making each recipe, as well as difficulty info and how you can adapt it for your personal diet. Naturally, these are done with ring icons, because of course it is! It’s not just donuts here (though there are a few of those, and other sweet treats), also including a few food items from the various countries where series characters originally came from. There’s even a few odd recipes like the Poppin’ Eggcorn which introduces shiitake mushrooms and duck egg yolks into popcorn – someday I’ll be brave enough to try it. And yes – there’s a recipe for onion rings. Because, of course there is.
Minecraft: Gather, Cook, Eat! Cookbook
Like the Sonic the Hedgehog cookbook, before I saw this one I had a hard time imagining what a cookbook from this universe might look like. Embracing the series fully meant Tara Thedharis had to subcategorize all of the recipes into Fighter, Nurturer, Builder, Explorer, Inventor, and Advancement Hunter recipes. Recipes like Buried Treasure Pie list out prep time, cook time, yield, dietary notes, and “Special tools” needed, using icons from the game. If you prep it right, it even looks a little like a rectangle with delicious salmon and puff pastry. Many of the foods are square shaped, as you might imagine, but I can’t say I ran across a single one I didn’t like – the “Blocks of Clay Fudge” being a real highlight. I’m looking forward to trying the Magma Cream Truffles.
Apex Legends The Official Cookbook
The great part about a game like Apex Legends is that you get a wide variety of characters from a number of countries. That means the very best cuisine from characters like Bloodhound, who gives us a variant of English breakfast called “Bloodhound’s Break-Feast”. If you’ve never had English breakfast, well, you might want to brace yourself – it’s a lot of delicious food such as tomatoes, bratwursts, mushrooms, bacon, and fried or scrambled eggs. Oh? Not enough? Add beans to the mix. And some rice. And also toast. And sausage. It’s enough to put you right to sleep right after you eat! The best part is that these are broken up by Difficulty level, so you can jump in for whatever cooking level you can handle. We tried out Ash’s Rat Cheese (fried pepper jack and swiss cheese) at a UFC party and I was surprised that nobody was caught licking the tray afterwards – it was gone in the blink of an eye. Bloodhound’s BBQ’d Flyer Wings were also gone instantly, with folks commenting on the addition of cayenne pepper and teriyaki sauce with a dash of roasted garlic. Soups, stews, apps, sides, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks are all present and accounted for, and from all over the globe – lots to like in this one.
Magic the Gathering The Official Cookbook
Cookbook legend Victoria Rosenthal and principal designer from Wizards of the Coast Jenna Helland deliver in a huge way in this cookbook. Seriously, the Eternal Feast Roast may be some of the best cooked lamb chops I’ve ever tasted. Split between the various magic lands, this book has over 70 recipes of incredible eats and drinks, all tied in with famous wizards and mages from the series. For example, the Necromancer’s Pasta is actually a vegetarian spaghetti and several varieties of mushrooms, giving it a dark and foreboding look, while still being absolutely delicious. It’s also remarkably easy to make, requiring very little prep and cook time. Teferi’s “Slow the Sunset” gives you a somewhat challenging sushi recipe, but also provides a number of great tips like cleaning your knife between each cut, which will help prevent torn gim or seaweed paper. The Welcome to the Fair Samosa is another delicious vegetarian option (there are quite a few in this particular book) that delivers big flavors with cinnamon, cardamom, amchur powder, masala, and kashmiri chili pepper, just to name a few of the complex blend of ingredients. Keep hiring Victoria, Insight Editions – she knows how to make some incredible dishes and easily the best cooking wizard this side of the multiverse.
Bonus: A is for Azeroth: The ABCs of Warcraft
While it’s not a cookbook, this kid’s first guide to the world of Warcraft illustrated kids book that delivers precisely what the name suggests – a walking tour of World of Warcraft. “B is for Barrens, a land of many creatures big and small”, the book suggests. It’s also home to Barrens Chat, which is less kid friendly, but the book is a lot of fun. And while the book opts for “M is for Magic!” instead of Murlock, it’s wonderfully illustrated, and a cool tie in for the young or young at heart.
Bonus: Minecraft The Official Pop-Up
There’s something awesome about a good pop-up book. The simple geometric shapes of Minecraft come to life in a whole new way in this book, each page hiding a cool surprise that you won’t see coming. It’s one thing to have a basic square house pop up, but it’s entirely another to have that house be surrounded by a forest of trees, a creeper creeping outside (as they do) and a little dash of storyline on each side. Similarly, a whole purple dragon coming to life and leaping off the page, literally, standing vertical off the book is super cool. If you’ve got a Minecraft fan in your life, this is a cool way to experience the world of Mojang in a completely new way.
Bonus: The Art of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Even without having played the game, you can tell this book is special. It has just about everything you could possibly want in an artbook and more, all bound together in a high quality hardback. It has sketches of characters compared to their final sprites, a ton of key art, commentary from the artists, everything really. This is a must buy for fans of the game, but if you’re not already this book may just pique your curiosity.
Have a happy holiday season everyone!
David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.
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 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
Cassie Peterson is an Editor for Gaming Trend but also a sporadic content creator and exceedingly average Rainbow Six Siege player. She goes by MzPanik on Twitter and Twitch and all of the gaming platforms.
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, Mass Effect, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.
Dominique' McClain is an enthusiastic content writer and enjoys all things video games. She's highly obsessed with Lord of the Rings and loves dragons. You can chat with her on Twitter @Dommy_Bomb.