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A non-gamer’s guide for the best video game gifts of the 2018 holiday season

by Tanner Kinney With the holiday season rolling around, a great last minute gift to grab is a video game. Even those who aren’t super game-inclined can get a lot of use out of a new game console or new game. The only question is deciding which games are naughty (read: terrible) and which games are nice. Here’s a quick guide to great game purchases this holiday season.

Nintendo Switch

Image from Wikipedia
The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic game console, and it already has such a great library of both first party and third party titles in the second year of its life. Great games to pair with this console are Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Pokemon Let’s Go!: Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go!: Eevee, and coming out soon is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Just one of these games alone makes the console a worthy purchase, but two or three of them give it a ton of replay value. Add on the dozens of great indie games on the Nintendo eShop like Hollow Knight, A Robot Named Fight!, Stardew Valley, and many others and there’s a lot of great content to purchase for the holiday season. If you want my recommendation, wait for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to release and purchase that with a one year subscription to the Nintendo online service. That, along with the best portable and affordable Fortnite experience, will tide over both rowdy kids and bored adults until the next gifting cycle.

PlayStation 4

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The PS4 has had a fantastic year for exclusives to add to its already amazing exclusive line-up. If you haven’t already purchased a PS4, now is a fantastic time to do so. With titles like Spider-Man, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts series, and more niche titles like Persona 5 and the best version (aside from PC) for Dragon Quest XI, there’s a lot to see and play. Add on next year’s exclusive titles like The Last of Us Part II, Control, Ghost of Tsushima, and many others, and it’s clear that the PS4 is still set to impressive for another couple years until the next in the PlayStation console line launches. While you’re at it, pick up Spyro: Reignited Trilogy and play the original games of a classic mascot on its home platform. You deserve to treat yourself.

Xbox One

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Well, at least Crackdown 3 is releasing next year? Allegedly? And that Forza Horizon 4 game was okay. The upcoming Gears of War 5 might even be pretty good too. Plus, with a strong backwards compatibility lineup, the best Xbox 360 games can be played on a modern console, some with significant improvements like Final Fantasy XIII. It’s not the first choice of console for most to get, but it’s a pretty good one if you already have PS4 and don’t like baby games from Nintendo.

Avoid This

If you aren’t sure what game to buy for someone, young or old, here are a couple of rules. Licensed games (games based on movies or TV shows) are almost always bad. First party console titles, on the other hand, are almost always a safe bet, even if it’s not a very recognizable franchise. Massive open-world games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey may have a lot of playtime value, but more concise experiences like Dark Souls or Octopath Traveler are more memorable for gifts. And please, do not under any circumstances purchase Fallout 76. Todd Howard is a liar, and there’s no price point on this Earth aside from Bethesda paying you to play it that would convince me to say it’s a worthwhile transaction. I don’t care if you loved Skyrim or Fallout 4. Play Skyrim on Nintendo Switch, or mod the PC version into your own personal experience. Fallout 76 is a big ol’ lump of coal, no matter how cheap you can get it.
Images: Wikipedia Featured image: Tt Shinkan