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RetroBeat: The best retro gaming gifts for 2021’s holidays


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It’s my favorite time of the year again, which means I’m ready to recommend some more retro gaming-themed gifts.

I’m suggesting several different ideas here of different types, prices, and target audiences. Hopefully this will inspire you or give you a little help during the hectic shopping season. Please note that all listed prices are what they were at the time I wrote this story (November 24, the day before Thanksgiving, to be exact).

Happy holidays, everyone!

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda

Price: $50
Where to buy: Best Buy

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The Zelda Game & Watch with its included cardboard display stand.

Above: The Zelda Game & Watch with its included cardboard display stand.

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Image Credit: GamesBeat

Last year we had the Mario Game & Watch, but this Zelda edition is even better. It comes with the two NES games that the franchise produced, and you also get the Game Boy’s The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, one of the best entries in the entire series.

This portable device is half practical gaming machine, half collectible. It’s an easy hit for anyone you know who loves Zelda. Oh, and it’s a clock, too.

Sonic the Hedgehog Giant Eggman Robot Battle Set with Catapult

Price $40
Where to buy: Amazon

Above: Sonic the Hedgehog Giant Eggman Robot Battle Set with Catapult.

Image Credit: Amazon

Man, I wish this toy existed when I was a kid. This set recreates the final boss from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. If you have any friends who loved that game as a kid, this could get a smile out of them. But kids today still love Sonic, and I can’t imagine you’d find a cooler toy than this if you’re looking to satiate their blue hedgehog appetites.

Pokémon Trainer Guess

Price: $36.18
Where to buy: Amazon

Above: Pokémon Trainer Guess.

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Image Credit: Amazon

This is a toy that should delight any Pokémon-loving children on your list. This is an electronic, voice-controlled guessing game. You think of a Pokémon and then the toy asks you yes or no questions until it figures out which one you’re thinking of. The voice-recognition can sometimes be a little finicky, but it’s still a lot of fun and novel enough to get a reaction out of young (or old) Pokémon fans.

Castlevania Weapon Navy Beanie

Price: $29.99
Where to buy: Official Konami Shop

Above: Castlevania Weapon Navy Beanie.

Image Credit: Konami

Konami has opened up an online store that actually has a bunch of great posters, clothes, and other goodies. I do love the simple look of this beanie, but you should check out the site’s entire offerings. And it’s not just Castlevania. You’ll find plenty of Metal Gear and Silent Hill swag.

You can even browse some merch for some of Konami’s more obscure franchises, like Suikoden. Some of the items, like the Castlevania Christmas sweater, are sold out until past Christmas, sadly.

Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter’s Field Guide

Price:$23.65
Where to buy: Amazon

Above: Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter’s Field Guide.

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Image Credit: Amazon

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Mega Man. This book is like an encyclopedia on Mega Man X bosses and other characters. For fans of the franchise, it’s a lot of fun. If you’re looking to get a gift for someone who is more into classic Mega Man, there’s also a book on the Robot Masters.

Arcade1Up Tron Arcade Machine

Price: $700
Where to buy: Arcade1Up

Above: Arcade1Up Tron Arcade Machine.

Image Credit: Arcade1Up

Yes, Arcade1Up machine’s are expensive. This obviously isn’t something you’re going to be getting for a third cousin (unless your third cousin rules; I don’t know them). But if you are looking to get someone a big gift, Arcade1Up machines are about as exciting a retro present as you can go for. They require some assembly, but then you have your own little slice or arcade heaven at home.

I’m pointing out their Tron machine here because it’s new and, look, I love Tron. But they offer a lot of different games on their site, some of which include several titles and are a decent bit cheaper than this Tron cabinet.

The RetroBeat is a weekly column that looks at gaming’s past, diving into classics, new retro titles, or looking at how old favorites — and their design techniques — inspire today’s market and experiences. If you have any retro-themed projects or scoops you’d like to send my way, please contact me.

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