The best retro gaming gifts for the 2023 holidays

The stream of new video games seemingly never ends but, for some of us, nothing beats the classics. If you don’t feel like hunting through eBay and local game shops for old cartridges to add to your loved one’s collection, we’ve got some other gift ideas for the nostalgic gamer in your life — from video upscalers for old consoles to retro-themed books and artwork.

Oregon Trail Card Game

Analogue Pocket

Miyoo Mini+

8BitDo Retro Receiver for PS

RetroTink 5X-Pro

The 100 Greatest Retro Videogames

SEGA Genesis Mini 2

Nintendo Switch Online

8Bitdo Nintendo mechanical keyboard

Grid Studio artwork

Launchbox Premium


Why do people buy retro games?

Because they’re fun! Or because video game companies have generally had a spotty record of preserving their own history — and (legally) saving art, even in a minuscule way, is important. Or because, deep down, collectors just want to stave off the ceaseless march of time and hang onto any way to relive their youth before it dissipates for good. Or because they’re jaded with modern game design and crave shorter, more distinct or altogether different experiences that aren’t being served by today’s market. Or because they want to flip the games they collect for a quick buck on eBay. Or because… well, you get the idea. — J.D.

Why is retro gaming so expensive?

To put it simply: supply and demand. Companies aren’t making old games and consoles any more, yet a growing number of gaming enthusiasts want them. And as retro game collecting has grown more popular, sellers have become more acutely aware of how high they can price their goods. Not every retro game costs an arm and a leg, however: Popular games from relatively recent consoles are usually more affordable than lesser-selling titles for older hardware, and you can still find a good bargain every now and then by digging through local yard sales, individual eBay sellers and the like. — J.D.

Are retro games a good investment?

It depends on how you define “good.” Is it a good idea to buy a bunch of old games in the hopes that their value will skyrocket and make you a tidy profit? No, there’s little rhyme or reason to determining exactly which games will shoot up in value and by how much. There are much safer ways to invest if all you care about are financial returns. Is it a good idea to drop a bunch of cash on 40-year-old video games if you have pressing financial responsibilities? Probably not! But hey, it’s your life. If collecting retro games makes you happy, and you can budget for them within reason, that’s a good thing. Have fun. — J.D.

What qualifies as a retro game?

There’s no set definition for when a video game becomes “retro.” Personally, I think of it as any game that’s at least 10 years old and was originally released on a console that’s two or more generations old (or, for PC games, during that generation). But many others would stretch the timeline back farther, and the growing advent of “live service” games has complicated things. For instance, Grand Theft Auto V was released in 2013, while World of Warcraft arrived in 2004 — are those “retro games” when millions of people still play them today? Maybe not. With games from the ‘90s or earlier, though, the distinction is clearer. — J.D.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at 

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