Kotaku’s Best Gaming Gifts Under $25 – Kotaku

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An image shows various gifts in front of a Christmas-themed background.

It’s that time of year, when you have to start putting together lists of gifts for all the various people in your life. It’s enough of a hassle to make anyone think, “Perhaps I have too many friends and family members…” But before you start ruthlessly discarding large swaths of your social circle, consider the following collection of gift ideas for the video game lovers in your life, none of which will break the bank.


You won’t find massive gaming PCs or brand-new video games here, but these days it seems harder than ever to scrape together enough money to buy folks you care about big expensive gifts. But you still want to give them something, so here are some great gift ideas that all cost $25 or less.

An image shows two Nintendo Game Boy mugs.

A good mug is always a great gift, assuming the person getting the mug loves drinking tea or coffee. Even better, this mug changes when you pour hot liquid into it, revealing a cute moment from Super Mario Bros.

An image shows the new DoomGuy book.

John Romero, co-creator of Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D, finally sat down and wrote up his autobiography, and it’s filled with new, untold stories about how these games were made and what it was like (basically) inventing a new genre.

An image shows a large desk mat.

If you know someone who loves gaming on PC at their desk, you should definitely check and see if they have a large desk pad or mouse pad. If not, get them one! These soft, padded mats are so nice. I love mine as it lets me use my mouse more freely and keeps my keyboard from sliding around. It’s also a great place to lay down my phone without worrying about damaging it.

An image shows a blue 8Bitdo controller.

This very tiny (and cute) controller from 8Bitdo won’t replace someone’s full-size gamepad anytime soon. But it is effortless to toss into a purse, backpack, or carrying case and lets you game on your phone or tablet with a controller. Perfect for playing emulated retro games while on the go.

An image shows the Disney Collection game on Switch.

Not only does this collection of classic Disney games from the ‘90s include multiple beloved retro games, but it also includes a treasure trove of DVD-style extras from Digital Eclipse, including video interviews and behind-the-scenes goodies. This updated collection features multiple versions of Aladdin, The Lion King, and Jungle Book. A perfect bundle for Disney lovers or people who just like old 16-bit era platformers.

An image shows a keyboard wrist pad.

Take it from me, someone who spends most of their time sitting behind a keyboard: It can screw up your wrists very quickly. This can lead to pain and stiffness.


Luckily, a few years back someone bought me a cushioned wrist pad for my desk and I’ve never gone a day without it since. Provide this same relief to someone you know who spends a lot of time behind a keyboard and they’ll thank you later.

An image shows the cover of Blood, Sweat and Pixels.

Disclaimer: This book about how video games are made and the struggles that happen behind closed doors was written by former Kotaku reporter Jason Schreier. Just wanted to be transparent about that. But even if it wasn’t, I’d still recommend this fascinating and informative look into how different kinds of video games are developed.

An image shows a cup holder.

I’ve spilled a lot of drinks in my life while playing or writing at my desk. It sucks. Once I got a cup holder, things changed. I was still clumsy, but now I wasn’t knocking over tea or soda onto my keyboard and mouse. And a bonus: You can hang your headphones on a good cup holder. Just one caveat about this gift: Don’t go too cheap, as the cheapest ones tend to be less stable. Still, even a solid $20 or $25 cup holder can be wonderful!

An image shows the cover of Mad Max.

I’m going to use this gift guide to quietly continue my efforts to make more people play the Mad Max open-world action game from 2015. It’s not the best game ever, sure, but it’s a blast that still holds up in 2023 and you can easily pick up a copy on PS4, Xbox One, or Steam for under $20 these days.

An image shows someone holding tiny metal dice.

These micro metal dice not only look cool, but they come in a tiny little metal container that is easy to carry around. Why would you want or need that? Well, you never know when you’ll need to roll a D20. Best be prepared at all times, I say.

An image shows someone giving a person a gift card.

Look, I’m putting this on here because I want to let folks know that it’s fine to just buy someone a gift card for PSN or Steam or whatever.


This time of year puts a lot of pressure on us all to buy gifts, visit family, and take part in the various holiday rituals. Sure, some of it is fun, but don’t feel like you have to max out your credit card and spend weeks putting together thoughtful gift lists for everyone you know. It’s fine to just give someone a gift card and say, “You go get whatever you want!” Let’s all be kind to each other this year, okay?

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