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Posted November 24, 2016 by Zachary Clarke in Feature
 
 

Merch Christmas Gifts Guide


Ever find you know that one person that purchases all the games they want? Or maybe you just want to think outside the box a little and get something a bit different, while still catering to their videogame obsession? Well here is the guide for you!

Initially when preparing this guide, I was making a comprehensive list of different types of merchandise; figures, plushes, books, posters, etc, but upon doing research it became clear that there is a large and diverse quantity of products out there and it would be nearly impossible to cater for every type of gift giver and receiver out there. Instead this guide is focused on pointing you in the direction of some cool stores (both retail and online) where you can find some of the best gaming related gifts around.

Let’s start with the basics. These days there is no shortage of pop culture stores in major shopping centres and they all carry a broad range of products covering most of the well-known gaming franchises. EB Games and their sister store, Zing, are going to be the most common when you go walking around town, but don’t forget to check out some smaller franchises like Critical Hit, Minotaur, Popcultcha that sometimes stock a broader range of niche or imported products. If you are in the market for Pop Vinyls, Nintendo plushies or Retro Game themed T-Shirts, these are the stores to look out for.

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ThinkGeek has been one of my go to for geeky gifts for a long time. What this site does best is that it doesn’t just offer products that will look fantastic on a shelf, or a wall, but it has a range of goods that have practical functions. A serving bowl set that come together to form a giant Pokeball, a USB charging station modeled after a Starcraft Protoss Pylon and Portal bookends are some of the products that stand out as being both functional and freaking awesome! Also, keep in mind, if you are wary of shopping online or just don’t want to pay the shipping costs for a single item coming from the USA, you can find a lot of these products at the aforementioned local pop culture stores, but their website certainly offers a broader range.

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Similar to ThinkGeek, Fangamer offers a broad range of merchandise from clothes, books, CD’s, mugs, bags and much much more, but what Fangamer does is focus on slightly nicher franchises – in particular indie titles. Things like the Octodad tie and Power Glove oven mitts add sufficient geekiness to items I use almost daily. And those that recall what I named my “Game of the Year” last year will not be surprised how enamoured I am in their range of Undertale products.

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Iam8Bit doesn’t have the breadth as some other sites but it offers some high quality products, based on a small but eclectic set of games like Uncharted 4, Guild Wars 2, REZ Infinite and Hyper Light Drifter.  Not only do they offer cool pieces of apparel like tees and socks, but they also offer maps, pins books and for the true hipster/audiophile in your life – vinyl soundtracks.

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I have already listed a number of places that sell clothing and apparel, and there is a plethora of geeky clothing websites online, but Insert Coin stands out thanks to their products all being officially licensed. Personally, I can’t go past any of the replica items like Joel’s shirt from The Last of Us, Rayman’s hoody and best of all… Chie “Best Girl” Mihara’s jacket from Persona 4 – these manage to simultaneously be both extremely obvious to fans of the given franchises, while super subtle to those who are unaware.

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Have you heard of Etsy? If not it is effectively an online marketplace that people use to sell their handmade goods, and wouldn’t you know, they have a section dedicated to video games related goods. You can spend hours browsing some of the creative wonders that people work on. Handmade plushies, custom controllers, jewellery made out of game cartridges – the list goes on. This is a fantastic place to find something far less common than your standard mass-produced product, or even get ideas for things you may want to try making yourself! Keep in mind, if you do go down this route, you are dealing with individual people not a large corporation with dedicated customer service teams, so take the “buyer beware” mentality in assessing whether to buy off an individual seller.

I have only scratched the surface when it comes to the world of merchandise of course, but hopefully this guide has given you some ideas for what is on offer this holiday season to buy for your friends and family (or just yourself).


Zachary Clarke

 
Zach is a unabashed Nintendo fanatic, however that doesn't mean he doesn't partake in the forbidden fruits of Playstation & Xbox consoles... he even plays on PC from time to time. Zach has dabbled in the video game industry in a number of ways over the past few years, from writting content for Gonintendo & Another Castle, to running the Society for Electronic Entertainment at the University of Melbourne. There is nothing more he loves than getting together, either online or offline with a bunch of fellow gamers, to yell at each other until we just want to punch one another in the throat while discussing video games.


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