Be it Christmas or your friends upcoming birthday, you’ll be needing a go-to list of retro gaming gifts that you can scout in order to hunt down the ultimate retro present.
We’re avid retro gamers, so this list is going to be easy for us to make.
But for those of you not into your games or nerdy accessories, we hope this list helps you find a gift that will whack a big smile on someones face when they open it on that special day.
These retro gaming gifts range from a handful of pennies all the way up to a small loan, so don’t feel as though this is the normal price to spend on retro gamers.
This list will fit all budgets, and believe us when we say that any gift on this list will go down well.
So let’s jump right in with the ultimate retro gaming gifts list!
The RG351MP is by far our go to handheld at the moment, not because of the ability to emulate everything up to N64 games, but because it’s easy to pick up and play and comes in a stunning blue metal shell.
For those of you new to the best retro handhelds coming out of China, these things are blowing up in popularity recently and the RG351MP is the best of the affordable bunch.
These retro handhelds come pre-loaded with tens of thousands of games, and can play Gameboy, PS1, N64, Mega Drive, SNES, NES and more, that’s right, it’s the ultimate handheld for retro gamers!
Coming in at $140, it’s not a cheap gift, but we can promise you it’s one of the best gifts you can give to someone who loves playing old school games. The RG351MP has a huge 3.5″ display, two Nintendo Switch analogue sticks, and four shoulder buttons alongside a great screen that has the perfect resolution to play your old games.
We’ve been using ours every week for the past few months, and we can’t get enough of it!
2. Grid Studios Retro Art
You may have seen these floating around our instagram recently and that’s because the more they release them, the more I want to collect them all.
These are retro art pieces from a company called Grid Studios, they simply take a part broken retro tech and frame them in a way that looks like insect taxidermy.
They layout every piece of retro tech, for example we have the Gameboy Advance edition that look absolutely stunning and it’s a great way to use broken consoles in a way that can be seen as art and maybe even preservation.
Alongside that they package these up incredibly well, to a point where you could call this product a premium piece of art, everything is laid out very well.
I personally have three of these and none of the parts have fallen off or broken, nor has the frame for that matter, so i can comfortably say these are some of the best retro gaming pieces of art you can buy, even if it does cost you a pretty penny.
They are somewhat hard to get hold of too, due to demand and the struggle to get hold of broken tech, but I can assure you this is one of the best gifts to buy a retro gamer, their products are incredible.
3. Evercade VS
The Evercade VS is a new retro games console launching in December, but lucky for us we’ve had the chance to review it before hand, just for you.
The Evercade VS uses cartridges to play old retro games from the past. Evercade’s goal for the VS console is to bring back the physical culture of games and to help the return of couch coop games in modern day homes.
The console itself can connect up to four controllers and even two cartridges at the same time. Previously Evercade built a handheld, but now they want you to play with friends and family using the exact same cartridges as the handheld.
They have over 200 games available for the console and handheld so choosing something that you love won’t be a problem. THe user interface is incredibly easy to use making it great for children and for us oldies that wan’t that nostalgic feeling again.
The games we played were emulated flawlessly with no hiccups at all, making the gaming experience a refreshing experience on a HDTV.
The console itself retails for £99 and the cartriges start at around 20. These cartridge come with a selection of games, so you’ll have a wide number of choices when you pick up a single cartridge.
Overall it’s a refreshing console to play on in a time where everything is so digital and the fact that they’re bringing back physical cartridges and user manuals really makes me enjoy collecting games again.
4. Zelda Game & Watch
Nintendo recently released a new handheld, no not the Switch OLED, but this, the Legend of Zelda Game and Watch.
This is a respectful nod to one of NIntendo’s first ever handhelds which was released back in the 80’s, now in 2021 they have modernised it with a bright display, longer battery life, USB-C charging and multiple games in one.
That’s right, this one here features three Zelda games, that’s The Legend Of Zelda, The Adventure Of Link and finally Links Awaekning.
Playing Links Awakening on this tiny device just feels incredible. Not only that it has Vermin and a couple of interactive timers should you want to use this as a clock.
This is a great gift for Zelda fans and handheld collectors. It’s a great product that we can’t help but love, yes it doesn’t do much but it’s a piece that’s going in my collection anyway.
5. Power Idolz
You have seen these awesome phone chargers on our Twitter lately and that’s because we managed to get our hands on the Sonic Pow Idolz.
These are created by Numskull Designs and are quite simply wireless phone chargers that look like video game and movie characters.
The one we have here is Sonic but what’s unique about this wireless charger is that it has the body of a the original SOnic The Hedgehog on Mega Drive. This is where the charger is situated, so when your phone sits on the game, it charges.
Overall it’s a great affordable product that fits all ages, they’re also launching VHS version too like this Back To The Future version and this Jaws version. Like many of Numskull’s products they like to bring out new variants quite frequently so if these do interest you, keep an eye on the links below!
It’s a simple, yet thoughtful gift!
6. LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System
If you’re a retro gamer and a LEGO fan then this LEGO Nintendo Entertainment Systems has to be the ultimate gift.
It features over 2,600 pieces, an old school TV, a controller, a Super Mario cartridge and the NES itself. It’s a very intricate set, primarily aimed at adults who know how to handle lots of tiny pieces.
Throughout the build you will be greated with epic easter eggs and hidden compartments. Once built it comes with a bunch of playability features!
Firstly, the TV can comes with a lever that when twisted moves the screen around and rein-acts one of the best NES games of all time that is the original Super Mario Bros. He even jumps over blocks!
Secondly, the cartridge actually goes into the NES, allowing you to give it a blow, insert, and then push down like the good ol’ days.
If you have a creative family member or friends that you really want to spoilt this year, this is one of the best retro gaming gifts of the year for sure.
7. Pixel Frames
We all want to make our gaming rooms look as awesome as possible, right? And for us, sometimes posters just don’t make the cut.
So we picked up ourselves these awesome Pixel Frames.
They’re dioramas inside of a frame that makes it look as if the game is being viewed from a 3D perspective.
They have a wide selection of games to choose from too!
For example, our favourites are the Sonic The Hedgehog variants, but there are also Street Fighter, Mega Man, Castlevania, Contra, Altered Beast and more scenes from your favourite titles to choose from!
These will only set you back around $20 too, making them the perfect affordable gifts for your gaming friends and family.
8. Retro Gaming Books
Books are one of the best retro gaming gifts to give, they last for years, and give hours upon hours of entertainment.
The best retro gaming books around are published by Bitmap Books, a high end, premium publisher which partners with the world’s best gaming illustrators.
They are renowned for creating durable, colourful and precise books about all kinds of games consoles. In our collection we currently have ones about the Sega Mega Drive, Micro Machines and the Neo Geo Console.
They have one coming out before Christmas about the infamous Gameboy, and we think this could be one of their best sellers.
If your friend or family likes retro games and loves to read, then this is the perfect gift, Bitmap Books, do not disappoint!
9. Funkey S
Imagine a tiny Gameboy Advance SP. Yeah, that’s basically what the Funkey S is. It’s technically the world’s smallest foldable games console too!
Put simply, the Funkey S is a retro handheld emulator that can emulate a wide number of games consoles up to and including the Playstation 1.
Yeah, you read that right, this little device can play your best PS1 games with no problems at all. It uses ROM files to do so and it comes ready to load straight out of the box with an easy to use user interface that makes it playable for all ages.
The build quality is also really good, and when you shut the clamshell, it sounds like original GBA SP!
This is a great gift for video game collectors and those that like playing games on the go.
10. Retro Fighters DC Controller
Retro Fighters are well known for upgrading the controllers of old retro consoles, and because we can’t get enough of the best Dreamcast games, we just had to get hold of their new StrikerDC controllers.
The quality is beyond superb, and it plugs straight into your old Dreamcast console. The analogue sticks, the DPAD, and even the buttons have been modifed in order to give you a more comfortable feel.
The Dreamcast controller is great, but it could be better, and that’s exactly what Retro Fighters has done. They’ve brung modern technology into a retro controller, and it’s beautiful.
Your VMU can even fit in this thing, and the infamous tactile triggers have also been upgraded. This is hands down the best Dreamcast accessory you can buy.
11. 8BitDo Pro Controller
The 8Bitdo Pro Controller is a superb wireless controller for retro gaming enthusiasts.
Not only is this controller incredibly comfortable, but it has also taken its style from the original GameBoy and can connect to any of your modern-day consoles, including the Nintendo Switch.
So, if you’re fed up of those tiny annoying joy-cons, then you can pick up one of these and your friend or family member will be completing Link’s Awakening in no time!
8Bitdo is renowned for creating some of the best Bluetooth controllers on the market, and their designs are like no others on the market. They’re oozing with nostalgia!
It can even connect to smartphones and the upcoming Analogue Pocket, which is another console that you should definitely consider having in your collection!
12. SEGA Mega Drive Mini
The Sega Mega Drive Mini is a brand new remake of the old 90’s console that was undoubtedly one of the best retro games consoles of all time.
This remake comes in a miniature version packed full of 40 playable games straight out the box.
Simply connect this scaled-down unit to your TV’s HDMI port and you’ll be playing the likes of Sonic The Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, and Dynamite Heady in crispy 720p on the big screen.
It comes with two controllers should you want to play with friends and it has the ability to switch to “Japanese mode” which changes all games to Japanese and unlocks the Japanese versions of the games which most western gamers have never even played!
Now that would make a pretty exciting present for a retro gaming enthusiast.
Plus it looks great in your gaming setup. Sega has done a splendid job with this console, and it comes with the old nostalgic box design too, ready to be displayed (or played to the death!).
13. TUBBZ Cosplaying Ducks
POP! figures are so last year; the latest collectable on the block is Tubbz.
We’re talking cosplaying ducks with a touch of retro.
And no, we’re not ‘quackers’.
Created by Numskull, these ducks are the perfect retro gaming gifts for those that like to show off their love of gaming characters in a slightly adorable manner.
Some of the characters that you can purchase are Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Dr Neo Cortex, Batman, Blanka, and many more!
These feathery friends are well designed, they look great on your desk, and they even come in an actual bathtub display allowing them to be stacked and given pride of place on your mantlepiece!
A cheap, affordable present that will certainly put smiles on faces and happily sits in our retro gaming gifts list!
For those that go beyond the 90’s gaming scene, there are incredible 1/4 scale replica arcades cabinets by Numskull.
We have two of these arcade cabinets and can confirm that not only do they play perfectly because they use the original game ROMs, but they also look amazing in your geek room or game cave!
We have the Pac-Man and Galaga versions; both are great, and both light up on the top section when turned on, making them look even cooler when on show.
An arcade cabinet is not a cheap present, but they will keep you entertained for hours, even in 30 years time.
They make great ornaments and are a great way to entertain guests. Plus the detail in the design on these things is so on point they look just like the real thing!
Next up on our list of the best retro gaming gifts is a handheld console that plays games from a variety of different consoles.
And the best part is that you actually have to buy the cartridges, so you get a box with an instruction booklet and everything.
I miss that new instruction booklet smell and reading through the game plot and controls like back in the old days!
That’s right, I did say I missed the smell…
Each game cart comes with about 10-20 games, so when you work out the cost of an individual game, you’re looking at a price of around $1 – $3 per title.
That’s great value for money, and it will make the recipient of your gift feel like they’re getting a better deal than they actually are!
The console fits nicely in your hand and has large buttons that are perfect for mashing while trying to send Earthworm Jim on his adventures or controlling Worms on the battlefield.
Check out our full review on the Evercade here, and click below to buy!
16. Paladone Retro Gaming Lights
These had to be on our retro gaming gifts list! Could you get any more retro than Crash Bandicoot?
These little things are adorable lights that can be places all around your home with ease, adding a bit of geeky goodness to any room.
Each light comes with batteries and a stand. There’s a wide number of retro gaming characters to choose from, covering everything from the Crash franchise to The Legend of Zelda.
They are quite small but come fairly cheap, so they’re great for placing on a desk or for any readers who might have kids.
If little hands break them, then they’re only $15 to replace!
The characters are all designed with a big head, making them look very unique and filled to the brim with nostalgic vibes which we absolutely love.
The bigger the head, the more nostalgia you can cram in…
…which is why the Retro Dodo team all have massive bonces!
17. Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch Lite is without doubt the ultimate retro gaming gift. It might not be “retro” but it can play a lot of new retro games that have came out over the last few years.
Take the Pokemon Lets Go games that came out in November 2019; you can pair the Switch Lite with SNES controllers and create retro gaming experience with a modern touch.
And because it’s smaller than the original Nintendo Switch, you can take it where-ever you want in your pocket without lugging around a larger handheld.
It’s cheaper too, but it does lose the ability to go dock mode.
Unfortunately, that means that there is no TV/dock syncing ability with the Lite, but you can always use a classic HDMI cable and pair up a couple of old joy-cons if you’re desperate to see your games on the big screen.
But this is one of the best handheld consoles out there and will give years and years of entertainment for whomever you buy one for.
Plus, you can get lots of accessories for this thing to make it look really cool, just like we’ve done here.
18. Custom Gameboy Color
One of our personal favourite retro gaming gifts of all time has to be the Game Boy Color.
It holds a small place in our hearts because it was what started our passion for gaming back in the day.
I suppose you could say that this handheld started Retro Dodo.
And what better way to resurrect the original Game Boy Color than by modifying it into a modern-day masterpiece!
Our good friend Aaron over at CHROMA_WORKS is a retro gaming enthusiast who turns the old Game Boy Color into a modern day handheld by adding in a backlit display and a rechargeable battery.
Say goodbye to those old nasty batteries!
He has a few variants, but the all crystal white version is our personal favourite.
Consider signing up for email notifications to get notified when pre-orders go live.
Or, if you’re local to Los Angeles, feel free to stop into Retro Game Camp in Little Tokyo to see and purchase a CHROMA_WORKS Game Boy Color in person.
These don’t come cheap, but if you want to keep the nostalgia of the design and want to be able to actually see the screen, then this custom Game Boy will one of the finest handheld consoles to add to your collection.
We’ll be adding to this list on a monthly basis, so make sure to pop back to get even more inspiration.