Videogames and toys make modern life bearable and there’s so much cool stuff out there, we couldn’t possibly list it all. Instead, we’ve picked some of the coolest and most interesting new gadgets for gaming and playing that might make someone’s holiday season a little more festive.
LEGO Atari 2600 ($239.99)
If you have a retro gaming enthusiast on your list, this set is sure to earn you points. Timed perfectly with the 50th anniversary of the Atari 2600 VCS system, this is a lot more than just a mock-up of the classic wood-paneled Atari. It has a slew of extras, including vignettes to go along with classic cartridges for Centipede, Adventure and Asteroids. It even has a box to hold the mock cartridges and the iconic joystick.
2,339 pieces of playable nostalgic joy. LEGO’s Foosball set is something to behold. For lovers of soccer, games and building stuff, this set is sure to be a big hit all around.The set includes 22 mini-figs and tons of details, including sliding knob scoring, and, best of all, yes, you can play it once built.
Miko 3 ($199)
Imagine a kid’s tablet-meets-virtual assistant (like Alexa) on wheels and you’ll have a good idea what the Miko 3 is. Capable of answering questions on a variety of subjects (both educational and fun), telling jokes and even playing games while moving around (like Freeze Dance), the Miko 3 is one of the most advanced and fun robot toys we’ve seen lately. It also has a Miko Max subscription service that pairs up content from heavy hitters like Disney to give kids even more to watch and play.
NERF LMTD ALIENS M41-A Blaster ($95)
We’re mincemeat, man! Nerf guns are cool in general, but this special edition homage to the classic 1986 film Aliens stands out as just badass. The 10-dart clip empties by holding the trigger down, there’s a separate pump-action grenade launcher and sound effects to accompany all the foam-flying madness.
Sphero RVR+ ($279)
The new and improved Sphero RVR+ is more than simply an incredibly cool remote-control vehicle. Beyond just being able to drive it around and use it to learn basic visual programming, the RVR+ is made to be customizable through both code and hardware. It can link to LittleBits kits, Raspberry Pis, and other awesome maker-aimed tech to be the ultimate in versatile science experiments.
Sphero Mini Golf ($50)
We love all Sphero’s ball-shaped robots, but for a great stocking stuff that gets better as kids use it more, this is a great choice. It lets kids play right out of the box, complete with some starter goodies to set up a mini golf course, as they use a phone to putt the golf-ball-themed robot around. Past that, Sphero Mini is a perfect vehicle to teach kids the basics of coding or just drive the cat nuts.
Logitech G502 X Plus/Lightspeed Gaming Mouse (From $70)
Available in a couple different flavors (including one with lots of added lights), the G502 X is the premiere wireless mouse for gamers and power users. Super responsive and incredibly comfortable and customizable, it’s simply one of the best we’ve ever laid hands on.
Logitech Chorus ($100)
If you’ve been using your Meta Quest II with the stock sound, this is the perfect upgrade. The off-ear speakers simply slide onto the arms of the Quest’s head mount and then plug into the USB port. There’s a passthrough USB port for easy charging, but more importantly, they sound excellent with robust range that still manages to keep the area around you quiet even if you have the sound jacked up.
Dungeons & Dragons Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen ($60,$155 Deluxe Edition)
Dungeons & Dragons is hot again. This season has seen some perfect ways to jump into the tabletop fray with a new “Basics” box set and the “Spelljammer” expansion, but fans are most likely to be excited for the return of the classic and beloved Krynn setting. The campaign tasks players with defeating the evil army of the Dragon Queen and the Deluxe Edition comes with “Warriors of Krynn”, a cooperative mass battle board game that ties into the overall adventure.
Gamevice Flex ($100)
Thanks to the rise of game streaming services, your mobile phone can now become a console-level entertainment system. No one wants to play an Xbox game or classic arcade shooter with a touchscreen though, which is where the Gamevice Flex comes in. This is essentially an Xbox gamepad that stretches out to hug your phone. It plugs directly into the USB-C port of Android phones (or Lightning port on iPhones) and has wide compatibility with a variety of games and gaming services. Most importantly, it has a great feel and actually makes gaming on your phone fun.
Predator Helios 300 Laptop (From $1750)
Available in a wide range of hardware configurations, the Helios 500 series of laptops offer top-notch gaming horsepower for a decent price. The sharp 15.6” QHD 1440p screen looks great and they’re powered by fast Intel processors and GeForce RTX 30XX hardware, so these laptops can work and, more importantly, play hard.
PowerA Fusion Pro Controller ($99)
For the Switch gamer in your life who needs a new pad with style, the Fusion Pro is a premium choice with a great feel, customizable paddles, a carrying case, headphone jack and even swappable faceplates. It can be used wired or wireless, making it a versatile, quality choice for hardcore bouts of Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart.