By Jacob Toman, Amy Toman, and Michael Mendis
Happy Holidays to you all! It’s that time of the year again, when shoppers flood the malls to buy gifts for their friends and family. We at Gospel & Gaming love to play games and give the gift of gaming to our loved ones, so here are a few recommendations from Jacob Toman (Lead Missionary), Amy Toman (Jacob’s wife and G&G’s volunteer Social Media Coordinator) and Michael Mendis (Content Director).
Gift giving is a wonderful way to express care, affection, and appreciation. Personalization is one way to express a unique purpose and sense of well-wishes to a friend or loved one. If you’re looking for a gift for a gamer this season, consider a few personalized choices:
Gifts for the board game lover:
There are two options for your friends and family who love board games. You can shop at a friendly local game shop (often called the nerd shop, or hobby shop) and support a local business, or you can go online for your board gaming needs. General rule of thumb, online is less expensive, but going into a store will be a more personalized experience. Having trouble finding a friendly local game shop? Let us know! We’d be glad to help you find your local gaming hub of culture!
Gifts for the PC Gamer:
If your loved one is known to spend hours voluntarily in front of their computer screen, they are most likely a PC gamer. PC gamers love accessories and peripheral gadgets to enhance their gameplay: controllers, headsets, mice, and keyboards are all appropriate gifts for the PC gamer. If getting an accessory is perhaps too personal or you’re uncertain about what your PC gamer needs, consider getting a Steam gift card! Steam gift cards can be used for all sorts of games, accessories, or software that your PC gamer will love!
If you don’t already have a scheduled family game night, you should implement one right away. It is a great way to get all ages involved in a tactile non screen activity. *If you are interested in some good younger kids games for the iPad, check out Manic Mondays.
Some of our favorite family games include: (links are not affiliates)
Newer Family Games:
Forbidden Desert: This is a great CoOperative game that involves everyone working together to get out of the desert before you lose water, or the sand storm gets to strong. Alethea is able to understand the basic premise of this game, but needs help to go through the actions. A great beginner game for children to play alongside adults.
Star Realms: This is a 2 person game that can be made into a four player game with an expansion. It is for older children, but Alethea plays on somebody’s teams and helps.
Spot It: Spot it, is a wonderful game that your kids can play by themselves, but that can also be enjoyed by adults.
Splendor: One of our all time favorite games! Alethea is still a bit to young to play this on her own team, but she is able to grasp the concept and help mom or dad. Once the game is learned it can be played in 30mins and is easily adjusted for the ages you have playing and available time frame.
If you are looking for great quality games that promote working together check out Peaceable Kingdom Games.
If you are looking for other great kids board games, check out Haba Games. These can be found in local game stores, sometimes at target and online. This is a great company with wonderful beginner games for young children.
If you’re thinking about buying a new gaming console this holiday season, my two recommendations are the Xbox One S and the PlayStation 4 Pro. There are a ton of Xbox One S bundles available for under $400, including Gears of War 4, Battlefield 1, and Minecraft. It also supports 4K Blu Ray discs, which no other console right now does. For those interested in a PS4 (assuming you don’t already have one), I would definitely pick the Pro over the base model; for that extra $100, your PS4 games will feature noticeably better graphics, which will be apparent regardless of whether you are playing on a 1080p or 4K TV. While the lack of 4K Blu Ray is unfortunate, it’s the most powerful console on the market this year, and $400 is a great price (Xbox fans will have to wait for Microsoft’s more powerful Xbox console, codenamed Project Scorpio, until holiday 2017).
One of the big pushes in tech and gaming this year is Virtual Reality; several high-end headsets have come to the market over the course of 2016, including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR. At this point I would recommend waiting on VR until next year; most of the games and other experiences available for VR are very limited and feel more like tech demos than full-fledged games, and all the equipment you need to run them is quite expensive. The cheapest is PSVR, which costs $400 in addition to the $300 PS4 you need to use it; the Oculus Rift costs $600 and the Vive $800, and you’ll need high-end PCs to run those, which will likely cost you north of $900.
The lineup of games that have come out this year is quite strong. There are a bevy of great shooters, including Gears of War 4, Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and Battlefield 1. Racing fans should check out Forza Horizon 3, the latest in Microsoft’s long line of award winning racing games. And if you are a Nintendo 3DS owner you’ll probably want to check out the newest Pokémon games, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, which are out now.