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The Ultimate 2023 Holiday Picks: Retro Gaming Gifts That Rule!
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The Ultimate 2023 Holiday Picks: Retro Gaming Gifts That Rule!

Because everything old can truly experience rejuvenation, the ceaseless flow of new video games consistently delivers an array of exciting options. However, for a select group of enthusiasts, there’s an enduring charm in revisiting the classics. If scouring eBay and local game stores for vintage cartridges doesn’t resonate with you, we present a range of thoughtful gift suggestions for the nostalgic gamer in your circle. These include cutting-edge video upscalers for classic consoles, captivating retro-themed books, and captivating artwork.

Oregon Trail Card Game

Oregon Trail Card Game
Oregon Trail Card Game

If you’ve never succumbed to dysentery, can you genuinely claim to have experienced life to the fullest? Within the realm of retro gaming, the Oregon Trail occupies a hallowed place in our shared nostalgia. Not only was it quite possibly one of the first games that many of us ever played, but it also served as a historical lesson on the hardships faced by our ancestors—dysentery included. While the original game remains available online, for your vintage gaming enthusiast, the Oregon Trail Card Game encapsulates all the amusement (and afflictions) in a format conducive to sharing (or imposing) on friends during a dinner table gathering.

Whether your recipient envisions themselves as a Boston Banker or an Illinois Farmer, all of the game’s classic dynamics are faithfully preserved in this board game format with an inexhaustible battery life. Accommodating two to six players, the game challenges them to surmount the same perils encountered by historical travelers along the trail. Designed for players aged 12 and above, a criterion we presume won’t pose any obstacle for those enamored with a game that harkens back to the 1970s. — James Trew, Editor-at-Large.

Analogue Pocket

Analogue Pocket
Analogue Pocket

In the contemporary landscape of retro gaming, there is an abundance of avenues to revisit classic titles. Among these, the Analogue Pocket handheld console stands as one of the most exceptional choices. Setting itself apart from conventional emulators, the Pocket boasts a cartridge port, granting it the capability to authentically play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance titles. Furthermore, it provides an adapter for Sega Game Gear games, with forthcoming support for Atari Lynx, TurboGrafx-16, and Neo Geo Pocket Color expected to arrive in time for the holiday season.

Our admiration for the Pocket, as established in our review, extends beyond its capacity for faithfully reproducing vintage games on a remarkable modern display. The device also showcases built-in music-making software, and for an additional cost, it can be seamlessly connected to a television through a dock. For those with a penchant for exploring games from other systems beyond those mentioned, a thriving community of Pocket enthusiasts has expanded its emulation capabilities to encompass digital backups from systems like the NES, SNES, and Genesis. — J.T.

Miyoo Mini+

Miyoo Mini+
Miyoo Mini+

Should the Analogue Pocket exceed your budget, and your gift recipient is comfortable with the use of emulators instead of original cartridges, consider the Miyoo Mini+ as a formidable option in the realm of retro handheld gaming. With its Game Boy-inspired design and a 3:2 aspect ratio, it proves to be an ideal platform for enjoying vintage portable titles. Furthermore, it boasts the necessary power to seamlessly handle games, even those from the PlayStation 1 era, without significant hiccups. Like many gaming handhelds geared towards emulation, initial setup requires a bit of effort, but once configured, the Mini+ offers an extensive range of customization options. Do keep in mind that finding the Mini+ in stock can sometimes be a challenge. In the event of unavailability, the Anbernic RG35XX presents itself as a close competitor with a comparable design. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer

8BitDo Retro Receiver for PS

8BitDo Retro Receiver for PS
8BitDo Retro Receiver for PS

Retro gaming’s appeal often hinges on the use of vintage controllers, yet there’s a delicate balance to strike between classic and outdated. If you’re an aficionado of the original PlayStation or PS2 but aren’t quite enamored with Sony’s earliest gamepads, the 8BitDo Retro Receiver for PS provides a solution by enabling a range of contemporary controllers to function wirelessly with these beloved consoles. This adapter offers compatibility with Sony’s PS4 and PS5 controllers, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S controllers (including the Xbox Adaptive Controller), Nintendo’s Wii U Pro and Switch Pro controllers, and a majority of 8BitDo’s own gamepad lineup.

While it doesn’t universally introduce analog control to every game or replicate the pressure-sensitive face buttons found in select PS2 titles, it establishes a straightforward pairing process, supports rumble feedback, and introduces minimal input lag. Most significantly, it simplifies the experience of playing classics like Vagrant Story or Klonoa 2 from the comfort of your couch. — J.D.

RetroTink 5X-Pro

RetroTink 5X-Pro
RetroTink 5X-Pro

The world of vintage console collecting is undeniably captivating, yet it often encounters a hurdle when it comes to compatibility with modern flat-screen displays. While some contemporary televisions may offer legacy inputs for older devices, using basic HDMI adapters can lead to noticeable lag and image blurring, thus diminishing the joy of playing classic titles. For an enhanced and more authentic visual experience, the RetroTink 5X-Pro emerges as the optimal solution. This unassuming black box has the versatility to connect to a wide array of retro consoles, instantly elevating their graphics to a crisp standard on modern HD screens. It boasts an impressive output of up to 1440p resolution while keeping latency to a minimum, a feat only discernible to the most discerning gamers.

The RetroTink 5X-Pro offers a comprehensive range of inputs and settings for refining a console’s image, including various deinterlacing options and the addition of subtly realistic scanlines, effectively recapturing the nostalgia of yesteryears. What truly sets the RetroTink apart is its seamless operation, sparing your recipient from the arduous task of extensive tinkering to achieve optimal visual fidelity. Simply plug in a console, and you’re practically ready to dive into gaming nostalgia. Undoubtedly, this device caters to the most dedicated of collectors, and at a price point of $325, the 5X-Pro is a worthwhile investment for those seeking the ultimate retro gaming experience. — J.D., Senior Gaming Journalist

The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames

The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames
The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames

For devoted retro gamers, the allure of a “top 100” list to passionately debate is undeniable. What sets this book apart as an ideal (albeit somewhat mischievous) gift is the absence of a comment section, preventing them from vocalizing their viewpoints.

However, in all earnestness, this hardcover publication delves into the realm of 100 of the most pivotal games in gaming history. It offers a comprehensive exploration that includes intriguing behind-the-scenes anecdotes and interviews with the game developers themselves. Complementing these insights are vivid, full-color box art reproductions and an abundance of nostalgia-inducing screenshots. Whether your fortunate recipient finds themselves in agreement with the curated list or not, this book will undoubtedly make a striking addition to their coffee table or, more likely, an eye-catching presence on the shelf, often seen in the background during their engaging Twitch streams. — J.T.

SEGA Genesis Mini 2

SEGA Genesis Mini 2
SEGA Genesis Mini 2

For dedicated Sega enthusiasts seeking to sidestep the complexities of sourcing an original Genesis console or assembling a library of ROMs, the Sega Genesis Mini 2 emerges as a convenient avenue to relive the glory days of blast processing. It boasts an extensive collection of 60 Genesis and Sega CD games, an expansion beyond the titles featured in the first Genesis Mini. This compilation includes renowned classics like Sonic CD, Streets of Rage 3, Herzog Zwei, and Phantasy Star II, alongside some decidedly unconventional additions such as Night Trap.

The emulation, courtesy of retro experts M2, is remarkably faithful, and while the package includes only a single controller, it’s worth noting that it features the superior six-button Genesis pad, rather than the three-button model that accompanied the previous mini console. Importantly, it remains one of the last available mini emulation consoles on the market, albeit necessitating acquisition through Amazon Japan. — J.D., Gaming Journalist

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch Online

For a straightforward method of granting someone access to a substantial collection of retro classics, consider a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. The service offers emulated gems from the NES, Super NES, and Game Boy, all with the convenience of instant save states and the option to rewind when the gameplay becomes challenging. Opting for the Expansion Pack elevates the experience by introducing titles from the N64, Game Boy Advance, and Sega Genesis. While it’s worth noting that the N64 and GBA libraries aren’t as exhaustive as those of other systems, and the limitation of not owning these vintage games is somewhat disappointing, it remains a convenient means for your gaming enthusiast to delve into Nintendo’s foundational titles or take a nostalgic trip down memory lane. — J.D., Seasoned Gaming Journalist.

8Bitdo Nintendo Mechanical Keyboard

8Bitdo Nintendo Mechanical Keyboard
8Bitdo Nintendo Mechanical Keyboard

While we aim to steer clear of stereotypes, if you happen to know someone in your circle who holds a deep fondness for retro games, there’s a strong likelihood they’ll also appreciate the nostalgic clickety-clack sensation of a mechanical keyboard. 8Bitdo, a company renowned for its well-received retro-focused game controllers (as recommended in other sections of this guide), has ventured into the realm of console-themed PC accessories, and the Retro Mechanical Keyboard is an exceptional gift choice for the devoted Mario enthusiast among your acquaintances.

Crucially, this keyboard doesn’t merely excel as a high-quality input device for Windows, Mac, and Android (even though it certainly does that with finesse). Nor is it solely a remarkable homage to the iconic design of the Nintendo Entertainment System (although it certainly pays homage admirably). What sets the Retro Mechanical Keyboard apart is its “tenkeyless” (TKL) format, accompanied by features like a volume knob, versatile Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, as well as standard USB connectivity. The icing on the cake, however, comes in the form of the generously sized red A and B buttons included, which your chosen recipient can assign to tailor their keyboard experience to their liking. — J.T.

Grid Studio Artwork

Grid Studio Artwork
Grid Studio Artwork

For an impeccable addition to your dedicated game room, consider a frame from Grid Studio. These pieces skillfully deconstruct iconic gaming gadgets and present their components as captivating wall art. The selection of gaming-themed artwork encompasses a range of handheld consoles and controllers, featuring the likes of the Wiimote, Xbox “Duke,” and the Sega Game Gear. While some collectors may cringe at the notion of dismantling vintage devices instead of preserving them, for those who hold a special affection for a particular gaming system, this offers an elegant means to proudly display their passion. — J.D.

Launchbox Premium

Launchbox Premium
Launchbox Premium

For any dedicated retro-game enthusiast, amassing a cherished collection of titles is a time-honored tradition. While physical cartridges hold their own appeal, many vintage games have found a digital home on desktop computers. When it comes to organizing this vast library of classics, our top pick is Launchbox—a visually striking virtual repository designed to curate all your gift recipient’s gaming gems. The free iteration, already robust in its own right, boasts conveniences such as automatic game art downloads and an elegant interface for seamless browsing and launching of their collection. However, with a Premium license, your fortunate recipient gains access to an array of additional features that truly elevate their gaming experience.

For Windows users, there are two premium options to consider—a standard license priced at $30 and a “forever updates” license available for $75. Both grants perpetual access to premium features, but the standard license necessitates a $15 annual renewal fee for any fresh additions that emerge after the first year. Regardless of the chosen license, the gaming aficionado in your life will revel in benefits like personalized themes (or the ability to craft their own), an aesthetically enhanced “Big Box” user interface tailored for home theater setups, and full compatibility with game controllers, among other enhancements. — J.T.

Author

  • Mr WWK

    Mr WWK is an experienced journalist and reporter based in Asia. With a background at Nawaiwaqt and Dawn News, he now contributes to WaxMia, providing impactful news coverage. His dedication to delivering accurate information keeps readers informed and engaged with the latest developments in the region.

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