Level up your gift-giving with this gift guide for gamers

Brittany Vincent, CNN Underscored
Tue November 12, 2019

As you scour the shelves for the perfect holiday presents, it can be a little bewilderiing to contemplate the gamers in your life. What's a Stadia, and what does Google have to do with it? What's this newfangled Nintendo Switch Lite your kids keep bringing up? And what games would you possibly buy for your BFF, who's been hinting he wants a new adventure to bury himself in on his PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?

We're here to help. For everyone from hardcore console gamers to Switch enthusiasts looking to get their fitness on, we've got some awesome gift ideas that will make any red-blooded video game fan on your list jump for joy this holiday season. It's one last hurrah for consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with new systems debuting in 2020 -- so make sure the game fans in your life have plenty of fun with them before it's time to upgrade next year.

Happy gifting!

Best video games to give

Red Dead Redemption II ($39.96; amazon.com)

Rockstar Games' sprawling Western tale is now available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and it'll be on Google Stadia by the holidays. Gift your favorite gamer with one of the developer's greatest epics yet, which follows the tale of the outlaw Arthur Morgan and his run-ins with the Van der Linde Gang. It's a prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption, which debuted the previous console generation, and it expands and improves upon the first game in nearly every way. Plus, it features a completely free online portion that opens up an astounding amount of content after the story is complete.

Death Stranding ($59.95; amazon.com)

Renowned game designer Hideo Kojima's latest outing is nothing short of a masterpiece, and you can experience his new cinematic tale on PlayStation 4. Anyone who appreciates nuanced storytelling and celebrity cameos in addition to out-of-the-box gameplay will find plenty to love here. Norman Reedus of "The Walking Dead" stars as Sam Porter Bridges, a delivery man who's essentially trying to reconnect the threads of a fractured United States after an extinction event known as the Death Stranding. Delight any gamer with this inventive new adventure that'll thrill and chill.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order ($59.99; amazon.com)

The latest single-player adventure set in the "Star Wars" universe features an all-new cast of characters, and hero Cal Kestis is one of the last surviving Jedi, who finds himself tasked with trying to rebuild the Jedi Order. It's a flashy, action-packed third-person adventure with puzzles, lightsaber combat, and plenty of other awesome "Star Wars" set pieces that any fan of the movies will enjoy.

The Outer Worlds ($57.28; amazon.com)

The Outer Worlds is an expansive first-person role-playing game that takes players to a massive world set in an alternate universe, where humanity has been hard at work terraforming planets to find new homes suitable for habitation. Colonists are sent to do just that, except the mission goes awry, and your player character is awakened from cryosleep early. As a result, you must join a faction, figure out what's going on at the colony of Emerald Vale, and get used to the way the world has become. Oh, and there are tons of quests to complete and loot to collect, naturally.

Luigi's Mansion 3 ($59.99; amazon.com)

Head into a spooky hotel with Mario's lankier, scaredy-cat brother Luigi and get to bustin' ghosts with the new and improved Poltergust model, which can trap all the pesky ghosts floating around inside. It's the perfect creepy (but not too terrifying) game for families to play, and a great option for young kids who might want something a little different from their typical Mario adventures. Luigi's hilarious, and watching him try to brave a haunted hotel is a real treat.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ($57.16; amazon.com)

The latest entry in the Call of Duty series is by far the most cinematic one yet, and it brings that classic flair that the other blockbuster titles have included as well. Take on the grittiest vision of the military first-person shooter yet, with the game's explosive campaign and exciting multiplayer modes. It's all about the realism this time around, and there are some truly heart-pounding scenes to take in. Any shooter fan would be thrilled to receive this exciting release.

Top notch accessories

Ring Fit Adventure ($79.99; amazon.com)

Get fit and play an RPG at the same time! This inventive Nintendo Switch game comes with a special ring controller that allows you to control a character on-screen by exercising in the real world. The controller links up with a strap that goes on your leg and supports the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Cons. You'll sweat your way through a fun journey, all the while stretching the ring controller and getting a workout in. It's fun for the whole family, and an exciting gaming gift for technology fans in your life looking to get in better shape.

Razer Viper Ultimate Gaming Mouse ($149.99; amazon.com)

All PC gaming enthusiasts love a reliable, sturdy mouse. The Razer Viper Ultimate delivers in droves. With a lengthy battery life, powerful sensors, and light-as-a-feather build that still manages to feel substantial, it may be Razer's best wireless mouse yet. Gift it to any gamers who spend their days raising their APM in StarCraft or racking up Victory Royales in Fortnite.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless Headset ($49.99; amazon.com)

Any gamer can use a new headset. This affordable and reliable SteelSeries model is a great gift, especially since it works with PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Android. It features comfortable ear cups, a steel-reinforced headband for lasting durability, and a ClearCast noise canceling microphone to help the gamers in your life communicate to their teams effectively for the win -- or just chat online while playing their favorite games.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 ($179.99; amazon.com)

Know a hardcore Xbox One gamer? Series 2 of Microsoft's Elite Wireless Controllers is the Cadillac of Xbox One input options, and while it's pricey, it's built to last. It's also built for performance, with a rubberized grip, adjustable thumbtacks, mappable voice commands, and a refined D-pad. It's well worth the price, especially for anyone who can be found spending most of their time with their favorite Microsoft title. You'll absolutely make someone's holiday with this bad boy.

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition Keyboard ($129.99; amazon.com)

The PC gamers in your life probably makes copious usage of their keyboards. Supercharge their first-person shooters with a new unit that can withstand their long gaming hours while giving them fun, colored key lighting and satisfyingly click keys. The Huntsman Tournament Edition features customizable key configurations, a compact form factor, and durability of up to 100 million keystrokes. So no matter how much your giftee plays, they're covered.

Can't-go-wrong consoles

Nintendo Switch Lite ($199.99; amazon.com)

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the smaller, more portable option of the console/handheld hybrid. It comes in three colors and a special Pokémon Sword and Shield variant, with more rounded corners, nondetachable Joy-Con controllers, and a lack of a TV dock to save on cash. It's also lighter and more suited for on-the-go play. It would make a fantastic gift for anyone interested in the Switch but not so much the idea of sitting at home and playing. It's more affordable than the original Switch model and, most importantly, it also has far better battery life.

Sega Genesis Mini ($78.96; amazon.com)

Flash back to the past with the diminutive Sega Genesis Mini. This micro-console is a tiny version of the classic retro Genesis. It comes with with 42 preinstalled games and two controllers, and it can hook up to just about any TV with HDMI inputs. It's a quick and easy way for any retro gaming fan to experience some of the coolest games from the 16-bit era, and all for a pittance. It's fantastic to take on the go, too.

Google Stadia ($129; google.com)

Google wants to change the way we play games with its Stadia streaming service. Gift any gamer who loves to play via the cloud with the Stadia Founder's Edition, which lets players stream a variety of titles using Wi-Fi or wired connectivity only -- no console or hardware required (other than a Google Chromecast Ultra for TV). It's an ambitious project that's ready to change the type of games we can play anywhere — including on mobile devices. Surprise the on-the-go gamer in your life with a ticket to triple-A gaming anywhere.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.