The Naughty List
To game is to constantly struggle against frustration. To PC game is doubly so. You can easily increase that suffering by introducing the MiniStick, a cheap and plastic joystick you Velcro directly to your keyboard’s arrow keys. The MiniStick does work, pressing the movement keys as you shove the stick around, until the Velcro weakens, and then your target has disfigured their electronic equipment for nothing. And if they own an ergonomic keyboard or use the WASD movement keys instead (as all right-thinking PC gamers do), the problems increase, and it serves them right for not having a wireless PC controller in the first place. Finding this in their stocking will have your target idly wondering what White Elephant gift exchange they unwittingly entered and lost.
$9.95 at The MiniStick
Mini controller rings
You know what gamers don’t do? Accessorize. And if they did so with a ring, it would either belong to Green Lantern or have the dark language of Mordor inscribed on the side. These, however, are just stupid. Gifting someone with rings that only superficially resemble their beloved game controller nicely registers your thinly veiled contempt, and when presented with an annoyingly cheerful and earnest “I thought these were just so you!” enthusiasm, they will start questioning all their life decisions. These are also available as necklaces, earrings, and keychains for the particularly malicious.
$16 at Etsy
Xbox 360 controller bra
Let us assume you have a girlfriend … or a female friend you can give lingerie to without it getting weird. Let us also assume she’s a gamer, and that you are a very lucky man indeed. This is what you don’t buy her. As funny as it might seem to talk about “stick clicking,” “twitch gaming,” and “pressing Start” in this context, you will never see her wear this. More importantly, you will never see her not wear this ever again. Besides, she’s probably a total PlayStation fangirl, anyway. The really cute ones always are, I hear.
$25 at Etsy
Dota 2 Inflatable Donkey (aka Flying Courier)
Time for some real talk. If you honestly consider buying someone an inflatable animal in a nonironic way, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with that person. Yes, it’s Dota 2, and yes, Flying Couriers can be indispensable in Dota 2 (as in real life), but c’mon now. It’s a blow-up donkey. But if you’ve got a frenemy who just won’t shut up about Dota 2, it might just be your moral obligation to gift him with a thinly veiled, video game-themed sex toy. And make sure his mother finds it.
$39.99 at ThinkGeek
Konami Code tie
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War teaches us that to secretly assassinate someone’s dignity, give a gift they will think is superawesome while every other human on the planet knows better. A tie for Christmas seems innocuous enough, but a tie emblazoned with the most beloved cheat code in gaming history will be like a shiny red button with a “Do Not Press!” sign. You will attain your motiveless revenge as, slowly but surely, everyone your victim meets asks him to explain what the hell his tie means, and he bears witness to their bored, unimpressed reaction. Plus, you’ve made him wear a tie.
$33.70 at Zazzle