The Player 2 2021 Gift Guide
It is that crazy time of year, time to shower your friends, family and yourself with cool goodies and gadgets. But if you are stuck for ideas then the P2 crew are here to help. Check our picks for the best pressies under the tree.
Under $50 - Videogame Themed Beer
This one is clearly for the eighteen-and-over crowd. At least, unless you’re getting a (non-pastry) imperial stout or something, in which case give it to a fifteen-year-old, tell them to just age it a few years and then sit back and enjoy the look of befuddlement that will inevitably creep its way onto their face.
Seriously, though, things like VB and Carlton Draught are the Candy Crush Sagas of the beer world. When it comes to gaming and boozing alike, the good stuff is available to all, but is weirdly the domain of true geeks. This may help explain why there are so many beers that play with videogame-like branding. I mean, just look at these cans! And the best bit? All of them (at least at time of writing) are available to ship around Australia. The only thing to be cautious of is the intensity – a triple IPA coming in at over 100 IBUs or a barley wine with an abv well in the double-digits may be a bit much for most people – but it’s likely that these novelty types aren’t going to get too wild anyway. Still, it’s a shame that I couldn’t find any Mortal Kombat beers easily available locally.
Over $50 - PS5 Replacement Shell and Controller
A lot depends on this, and by a lot I mostly mean one very specific thing – has the recipient in mind been fortunate enough to get their hands on Sony’s current console? Frankly, how demand for a machine that just looks so noxiously, mind-bendingly stupid has remained so high is kind of mind-boggling.
There is a plus side, though. Thanks to the slightly convoluted way in which Sony has decided that storage space should be expanded, those horrendous toy-spaceship white flaps are easily removable, and… replaceable. Sony probably wouldn’t approve, of course (and has since filed a patent for its own replacement shells, but that’s pretty useless until they go on sale), but you could probably find someone who wouldn’t approve of removing a pile of fresh human shit from the middle of the floor – this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. The PS5 looks surprisingly more bearable when dressed in just black, and you can also throw in a controller to match!
Sky's the limit - A Kojima Developed Pub Game
Yes, if you’re at all familiar with his work then you’d be aware that Hideo Kojoma’s productions can be a little bit… off-kilter. The thing is, that for all of the anime-obsessed scientists, stupid poop jokes and (admittedly kind of cool) finger guns that appear in these games, they… well… they seem to serve mostly as an entertaining dressing for what is often some quite insightful and prophetic material? Death Stranding landing just months before Covid became a part of all of our lives was almost a cruel joke. Likewise, if you look back at the Metal Gear games, much of the silliness has become increasingly transparent, a shell with which to Trojan Horse in some commentary that, while convoluted, was actually spot-on.
Really, though, what I think I (and most sane, rational people) really want, is for Kojima to make a game where people just generally chill and have a pretty good time with no apocalyptic stuff, no slow decay of society, and for that to somehow come to pass as actual reality later on in the decade. If you have a cool hundred mil lying around, don’t just do this for a loved one – do it for all of humanity.
Under $50 - Pokemon 25th Anniversary Kanto Starters Backpack
Kids and big kids alike have all (most likely) got some fond memories of the original Pokemon titles. Now you can carry Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Pikachu on your back with the Pokemon 25th Anniversary Kanto Starters Backpack. Load it up with all of your goods and look like the coolest kid (or big kid) in town – showing your love for the greatest slate of Pokemon at the same time.
Over $50 - A DualSense Controller
The Dualsense controller for the PS5 is without any doubt the best controller out there right now due to the incredible haptic features it possesses. In the last 12 months PlayStation has expanded the range of options for players with the Midnight Black, and Cosmic Red options (which look fantastic BTW) to sit alongside the standard white. The one flaw with the Dualsense is that battery life isn’t exceptional. As well as having a second controller for any couch co-op time, it may be necessary to enable extended playthroughs with that battery depleting at a not-particularly-ideal right. With great power comes… great battery depletion.
Sky's the limit - Remedy
In a gaming landscape where corporate consolidation is rife, Remedy is one of the very few premium AAA studios to remain independent. Last year I predicted that Bluepoint would get scooped up by PlayStation *nailed it!*, and I expect a similar fate to eventually befall the house of Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Jesse Faden. Predicting where they may land is a much harder task, with them currently enjoying strong relationships with Epic Games (Alan Wake Remastered), Xbox and Smilegate (Crossfire X), and 505 Games (Control), which has given the company a level of financial security that they’ve never previously enjoyed. The question is whether they’re comfortable with that, or Sam Lake and co. want more. Are you cashed up? Maybe you can buy them out and give them permanent independence!
Stephen del Prado
Under $50 - A Bottle of Umeshu
If you’ve never had plum wine made from the delicious ume fruit, it’s time to treat yo’self. Pick up a bottle of Kokuto Umeshu for a real treat, with brown sugar and black rum to give it a knockout flavour. For those looking for something a bit more traditional, a nice bottle of Choya Classic will satiate anyone’s sweet tooth, while Choya Single Year cuts down the sweetness to reveal a flavour profile with more tartness. Enjoy it neat, over ice or with some ice and soda water – it’s not quite the same as sitting in a gutter outside a 7/11 in Tokyo drinking from a 1-litre carton of the stuff that cost you under a tenner, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
Over $50 - Bose Frames
If you jump back to the 2019 Gift Guide, I touted the amazing experience I was having with a pair of Bose Frames. Smash cut to 2021 and that pair has seen much better days. Living on in zombie form via sticky tape and now completely unable to connect to my iPhone, my 2019 Bose Frames fell off my head one too many times to make it another year. Enter the new and improved Bose Frames, which address many of the weaknesses of the previous models. If ‘Speed Dealer’ is the look you’re going for, I must recommend the Tempo model which are also great for bike riding and exercise in general, while the fashion-conscious can choose from the Soprano and Tenor models.
Under $50 - A Vinyl Album
Look, is it really a Hewso Christmas without a vinyl suggestion? Of course not and this year there have been some cracking new albums, game soundtracks and musical scores all making their way to the greatest musical format ever produced. Don’t fight the tide, my friends, jump on board the Vinyl bandwagon, there is plenty of room and we can’t wait for you to join in.
For a good selection of classic albums, soundtracks and scores I can’t recommend Tone n Brew Records enough. Quick delivery, great selection and good prices.
Over $50 - Bose Sleepbuds
Look, getting to sleep can be tough. In recent years, thanks to a medical condition, I have been struggling to sleep at all, with every small distraction keeping me up and awake. That was until I got a set of Bose Sleepbuds. These tiny little earbuds play relaxing sounds like rainfall or a running creek to help you nod off in no time, blocking external sounds in the process. They fit neatly into your ear so side sleeping is no problem and come in a neat little charging box. My sleep problems are no more now, I can’t say enough for them.
Give someone you love the gift of sleep, they will love you for it.
Sky's the limit - An Arcade Machine
The ultimate dream for any gamer of my age is to own their very own Arcade Machine and now that dream is possible. Head over to A Man and His Cave to check out an amazing range of different Arcade machines to suit any gamer’s lair.
I went with the Four Player version of the “Xenon” and I can tell you it is a fantastic machine that works perfectly. The is a lot of joy to be had to relive my Arcade youth with my kids and it is frankly one of the coolest things I own. I cannot recommend it enough.