14 Christmas Gifts That’ll Give the Retro Gamer in Your Life a Nostalgic Hug

14 Christmas Gifts That’ll Give the Retro Gamer in Your Life a Nostalgic Hug
Image: iStock/robtek
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There’s never been a better time to be a retro gamer, and with these great throwback gifts, you’re sure to make any retro gaming fiend happy. Whether it’s from picking up an N64 controller or hearing Pac-Man ‘wacka-wacka’ some ghosts, there’s something comforting about old video games that feel like a warm hug.

From throwback controllers to mini arcades, there’s plenty of solid options for great retro Christmas gift ideas this year.

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda

Image: Game and Watch

This nifty little device is the perfect stocking filler for retro gamers this Christmas. It replicates the original look and feel of a Game & Watch console and includes the classic original Legend of Zelda, along with Zelda II and Link’s Awakening. Older gamers will definitely appreciate the retro styling of this console, even if it’s a bit of a novelty.

Pick up a Game and Watch: The Legend of Zelda for $79 here.

My Retro Arcade Machine

Pacman mini arcade game
Image: My Arcade

Mini Retro Arcade machines can be found pretty much anywhere, and they’re a great buy for retro lovers. These machines do a great job of replicating the feeling of wandering down to your local Timezone as a kid and popping your hard-earned cents into a dusty cabinet. Plus, it looks awesome and fits well into any retro setup.

When they’re hankering to play some Pac-Man or Street Fighter like the good ol’ days, this micro player will more than suffice. Sporting a mere 2.75-inch, full-colour display, we promise there’s nothing more hilarious than watching your friend bent over this tiny arcade game, tongue out in concentration.

Shop the My Retro Pac-Man mini arcade game here for $49. Or you can check out the Street Fighter II Champion edition here for $88.

Dangerous To Go Alone Key Rack

It's Dangerous To Go Alone key rack
Image: getDigital

Remember when that “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone, Take This” meme blew up on the internet? Well, while we guarantee your friend doesn’t need to take a sword with them every time they leave their house, a key would be a safe bet when venturing on the dreaded commute to work or study.

That’s why this Zelda-themed key rack is a great gift idea because not only will they be less likely to misplace their keys but they’ll also enjoy a spark of nostalgia any time they look at it. Maybe even a good chuckle.

Shop it here for $28.

Game Boy Heat Changing Mug

Image: Paladone

Watch in awe as you fill this heat-changing mug with your favourite hot beverage and it slowly “loads up” with a classic video game. This one features the title screen for Super Mario Land on the front and an exchange between Mario and Daisy on the back.

It’s a really simple stocking filler idea or a fun Secret Santa gift for a retro-loving colleague.
Buy one here for $29.19.

Pac-Man Pixelated Desk Lamp

Image: Paladone

A great way to glow up any gaming set up or office space, this Pac-Man desk lamp is also handy for scaring off any pesky ghosts in the room.

You can even pair it with this blue ghost pixellated lamp ($39.99) to give your room the ultimate retro gaming vibe.

Shop it here for $41.13.

8Bitdo SN30 Pro USB Gamepad

retro gamer gift guide
Image: 8Bitdo

8Bitdo make fantastic controllers, and this replica SNES controller is no exception. It’s fully functional and compatible with Mac, Windows and Android operating systems as well as the Nintendo Switch. That’s great news for Switch owners who enjoy playing retro games, particularly if they dive into the retro collection Nintendo Switch Online members get. Bring on the good old days with this nifty and well-designed controller.

Get your 8Bitdo SNES controller for PC here for $55.95.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Manga Collection

Image: VIZ Media LLC

The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition is a two volume collection of the beloved The Legend of Zelda manga series. This legendary edition contains new covers and colour art pieces of Link’s epic quest by Akira Himekawa.

Any Zelda fan will be thrilled to bits as they experience Link’s long journey from the very beginning. Ocarina of Time covers this iconic fantasy hero’s search for the three spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, the wielder of which will be able to rule the world.

Check it out here for $20.79.

Nintendo Switch

cyber monday gift guide gamer
Image: iStock/Wachiwit

If your budget is larger, you could consider a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite as a great retro gift. These consoles have a great little service called Nintendo Switch Online which lets subscribers play classic NES and SNES games including The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., Star Fox and Super Metroid (just to name a few). There’s even an ultra cool retro controller that’s available exclusively for subscribers to the service to purchase.

Pick up a Nintendo Switch Lite here for $314.95, regular Nintendo Switch for $448 or OLED model for $539.

SEGA Mega Drive Classics

Image: SEGA

Now that you’ve sorted out your Nintendo Switch, make sure your retro gamer gets started properly with a copy of SEGA Mega Drive Classics. This is the largest collection of retro games in one package — with over 50 titles including Sonic and the Phantasy Stars series.

With arcade action, shooters, beat’m ups, puzzlers, old favourites and hidden gems, this game has pretty much everything they’re looking for in a trip down nostalgia lane.

Check out SEGA Mega Drive Classics for $52 here.

8Bitdo Sn30 Pro for Xbox Cloud Gaming on Android

xbox controller retro
Image: 8Bitdo

8Bitdo’s controller is designed to fit an Android device for use as an Xbox Cloud Streaming device. With cloud streaming slowly rolling out in Australia, there’s never been a better time to invest in a hardy mobile controller — and retro gamers will love the classic style here. You can use it for cloud streaming or emulation across Android or tablet (there’s even a clip you can use to attach the controller) so retro gamers are sure to get plenty of use with the Sn30 Pro.

Grab your 8Bitdo controller here for $79.

Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

retro gamer gift guide
Image: Stuart Ashen

Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of by Stuart Ashen is a book that charts the early days of video games, and all the bad games that came out of an era filled with bad graphics and low quality control. It’s also a very funny look at the history of gaming, and how retro games developed. There’s a heap of fun books surrounding the days of retro gaming and the death of the arcade, but this one comes highly recommended, and will give your retro gamer giftee a good laugh too boot.

You can also pick up the sequel Attack of the Flickering Skeletons, which covers even more ridiculous, bad games.

Grab your copy here for $22.12

Super Mario Bros. Coasters

Super Mario coasters
Image: Paladone

Save your surfaces from condensation with these handy Super Mario Bros-themed drink coasters. Enjoy up to 20 unique designs in the classic 2D style that Super Mario became known for.

Get this stocking filler for $10.99.

Boss Monster

boss monster gift guide
Image: Brotherwise Games

Boss Monster is a cracker of a board game, and it’s inspired by retro dungeon crawler games and aesthetics. Basically, it’s a card game where you take the role of a video game monster as you attempt to build the most dangerous dungeons for heroes to travel through.

Each card features stunning video game-style art, and it’s a genuine delight to play. Anyone nostalgic for the good old days of gaming should have a blast with this game.

Pick up a copy here for $34.42

A Full On Cabinet

Image: Arcade1up

Picture this: neon lights hanging from the wall, the unmistakable pinging sounds of a pinball machine and no dollar coins necessary. That my friends, is true living. While any of these gifts can evoke the feeling of nostalgia, why not live it by recreating an arcade in your very own home.

First step, get yourself an arcade game. If you’re feeling generous this Christmas (and isn’t the festive season all about giving?) then why not give someone the gift of a good time with a full on cabinet.

You can explore these options below:

And don’t forget the adjustable stools.

You can check out the rest of Gizmodo Australia’s Christmas gift guides here.