Hey, Gamers! Or, uh, not gamers, I guess. This is another one of the weird times when my post targets non-gamers and I don’t know how to address my audience. But hi, if you’re here you either read my blog (thanks for that), or you’re wondering how to shop for that special gamer in your life. Originally, this post was for Christmas but it could also be for birthdays or just because. I know my family doesn’t really know where to shop for me and Josh, so I thought other families and friends might be going through the same thing. The links I include in this aren’t affiliate or anything, and most of the examples I use are going to be catered towards me or Josh because that’s what I know best, but I’ll try my best to generalise. Let’s get on with it!
Step 1) Think about the individual
So, what’s the gamer’s relationship to you? Are they allergic to anything? Do they particularly like candles or wax melts or music? Do they collect funko pops in general? I think it’s so important not to generalise here, unless you’re not close enough to the person to know this stuff. For example, I love candles but Josh hates them. I collect funko pops and while Josh thinks they’re cool… I’d probably enjoy his funko pops more than he would (as I discovered after getting him several funko pops). Gamers can be so diverse and it’s really important to know the basics before trying to gift them something, as is the case with anyone really.
Step 2) Ask them questions
Gosh, this one is so important. For example, my favourite thing is Persona 5 (it’s a turn-based video game), but my least favourite character used to be Goro Akechi, who is typically pretty well-liked across the fanbase. Therefore, say you already know what my favourite game is… and you go and get me something that has Akechi on… that’s not the best situation.
Another example is Fortnite. Fortnite is a pretty big game right now, and say you know someone is a gamer and think “hey, I’ll get them something to do with that Fortnite thing”, only to find out they absolutely hate the game.
I’ll provide some questions to ask that I think will help along with this process in case it’s overwhelming and you don’t know where to start:
For reference, Q is a new question whereas FQ is a follow-up question.
Q: What’s your favourite game?
FQ: What type of game is that?
Q: Is there a character you particularly like or dislike from that game?
Q: What do you play on (could be PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo- this would be a good question if you’re thinking about getting them a game).
Q: Is there any merch for that game that you’re liking the look of?
Q: What is your least favourite game right now?
For those who are like “oh I barely talk to them, I’m more comfortable with *relative*” or something along those lines, then I have a very simple solution for you: ask that relative. 8/10 they either know the answer or they can ask for you and it won’t be awkward. For example, my mother knows that Atlus made Persona 5 and Atlus is owned by Sega, who made Yakuza (Persona 5 is my favourite and Yakuza is Josh’s). She also knows that my least favourite character is Goro Akechi from Persona 5 (and she also knows that Oda is my least favourite character from Yakuza). My mum knows it is the 25th anniversary of Persona this year and that the Atlus store is officially opening again this month. If she asks me a question – say “what persona is your favourite to use?” – I would be thrilled to answer because she’s paying attention and wants to know more. For the record, the answer would be Mothman because my Mothman is superior… but she already knows that so uh, bad example.
Step 3- Know where to look.
And this is the step I’m mostly here for. I am addicted to looking online for more merch. Here are some general rules I go by:
Avoid Amazon unless you know the person and/ or the game well.
Check out the company’s website to see if they have an official store- a lot do and it’s not half as expensive as you’d expect.
Redbubble is likely your best bet. There are amazing things there for those who love gaming.
Etsy is a bit more personal, in my opinion. Go to Redbubble if you don’t know them too well, but Etsy if you do. It tends to be more on the expensive side but it’s so nice.
Here is the breakdown of some websites and the pros and cons, as well as situational information. I’ll try my best not to info dump, but feel free to skip to whichever part you’re looking for.
While Amazon is great for convenience and you probably know how to use Amazon, they aren’t the best for gaming merch. Twitch merch is great there. Highly recommend Amazon if you’re looking for streamers. However, here is an example of why it isn’t the best-
As you can see, not everything in the search find is related to Persona 5. There’s some completely random stuff there (although it may be tailored towards you (judging from the Harley Quinn duck), it’s not the best for those who don’t know the gamer or the game itself.
Pros to Amazon:
Convenience, especially if you have Amazon Prime. Next day delivery is obviously going to be a huge pro as you can order things when you need them instead of them just lying around your house.
Familiarity. You probably know already know the site.
Cons to Amazon:
If you don’t know the game very well, you could end up buying something that’s unrelated by accident.
Doesn’t have the best range of things for gamers.
You can shop for non-gamers too.
eBay is known for bargains so I don’t blame you for wanting to look here. However, I am yet to find a decent bargain on eBay for gamers. There’s some good generic stuff, and they do have a much wider range in comparison to Amazon. However, you never really know what you’re going to get. There’s been a few times where I’ve bought something and it was not what I was expecting. For example, I bought Persona Q2 on eBay and when I received it, it was the Japanese version and therefore I couldn’t play it. There’s a huge range of figures and cosplay there, but they’re not always going at a bargain price.
Pros to eBay:
Familiarity, in the same sense as Amazon. If you’re wanting to go there to shop for a gamer, you’ve probably already shopped there before.
You can do other shopping there for other people too.
Could potentially get a bargain.
Cons to eBay:
Possibility of getting scammed.
The quality of items isn’t always the best.
You might not get what you’re expecting.
Again, you might accidentally buy something unrelated to the game if you’re not familiar with it.
Ah, RedBubble. I shop here so much. Not only is it great for Gamers, but it’s also great for unique items. For example, Josh always gets compliments on his “I don’t need Google, my girlfriend knows everything” shirt, and I always get the chance to educate people about Dissociative Identity Disorder whenever I wear my “I have multiple personalities and none of them like you” shirt. My wish list is full of shirts, phone cases and stickers. I was never interested in stickers until a year or so ago, and now I have plenty. It’s also great for those who like anime (I know this because JoJo is Josh’s special interest right now and I needed to get him some stickers for a special project I’m working on).
Here are some cons to the site:
There’s not really a way of looking at a fandom as a whole, so you have to be careful what you type in.
It’s difficult if you’re looking for a game that has another meaning in another fandom. For example, Josh and I play a game called Dauntless, and the word dauntless is used in a series called Divergent (it’s a book series that gained some traction around the time that The Hunger Games was big). Because of this, it’s difficult to find Dauntless merch on the site.
Here are some pros:
Supporting small artists! Artists can upload their work for free and RedBubble can take care of the rest.
You can essentially do all of your shopping on this site, it’s so diverse.
You usually get a cute RedBubble sticker with your order.
You can get so much stuff. Stickers, shower curtains, mugs, phone cases.
I use RedBubble so much. My laptop has Persona 5 Stickers on, I’ve used them to get stickers for a super-secret project I’m doing for Josh for Christmas involving JoJo, my past couple of phone cases – apart from the one I currently have on because I got a new phone in a pretty colour so I needed a clear phone case to show that off – have been from RedBubble (a Ross Lynch one, a few Harley Quinn ones and a Persona 5 one). There’s an app that’s super easy to navigate too, if you think you’d use it a lot because like I said, it’s not just for gaming.
Etsy is beautiful. That’s honestly the main way I’d describe it. It’s very similar to RedBubble in the sense that you’re supporting small businesses and can do most of your shopping on there as it isn’t tailored to just gamers.
I find Etsy to be on the more expensive side in comparison to RedBubble, which makes sense because from what I can tell it’s just a place to get a bunch of small businesses together whereas RedBubble is a business in itself.
I find the products on Etsy to be more… classy. There’s a lot of themed bath bombs, well-made jewellery, themed candles and wax melts. There is definitely more traditionally masculine things too, but I can’t think of examples right now. Even if your gamer isn’t into things like that, there are also personalised controllers (though they are very expensive) and controller skins (stickers to put on controllers to customise them).
While I don’t tend to use Etsy as much as RedBubble, I have used it more for non-gamer things. For example, if I was shopping for both Josh and Hannah (Hannah is my best friend, she’s studying drama at uni so I’d probably get her some theatre stuff), then I would probably just go on Etsy to knock the two out in one. There’s also ‘normal’ stuff like nice bath bombs etc that a large number of people would like.
Pros to Etsy:
Supporting small businesses.
A wide range of products.
Great quality items (I am yet to be disappointed by things I’ve bought on Etsy).
Can buy things for non-gamers.
Cons to Etsy:
Products are often on the more expensive side in comparison to the previously mentioned sites.
The site might feel a bit difficult to navigate at first, especially if you don’t know what exactly you’re looking for.
Now, I can’t talk for all gaming companies here. However, I know each time I’ve looked for official merchandise on the official sites, I’ve been surprised by how cheap they were. I believe I once got a pretty good quality laptop bag for under £30 including shipping and something that I really can’t remember. I know back when we first got into The Witcher 3, belts were only like £10. Considering this is official merch, I think that’s amazing. I know not all gaming companies have a store (Atlus’ store has been down for a few years but is coming back this month!), but I think it’s always worth a look.
General google search:
If push comes to shove, google ‘*insert game here* merchandise’. It’s probably not the most consistent thing to do, but if you really don’t know what to get, googling is always a good place to start.
Important notes to take away:
Remember to ask the gamer that you’re buying for what games they like, if they have a favourite character etc. If you’re not comfortable with that, ask someone close to them. If they don’t know, they can ask for you. You don’t want to waste your money on V-bucks for someone who hates Fortnite (unless it’s a prank), and you don’t want to buy a figure of a character that your gamer can’t stand (again, unless it’s a prank).
Honestly, your best bet is always going to be to just listen to your gamer. Remember that it’s probably not ‘just a game’ to them. It’s so much more. Gaming is a wonderful medium and it helps people in so many different ways.
If you’re new here, maybe check out my post about why gaming isn’t so bad which is linked here:
And for my regular readers- that’s it for this post, Gamers! Remember to ‘like’ this post if you liked it, go follow 2nerds_1game on Twitch for some cool streaming content and follow this blog for more gaming content (if you don’t already). See you next post, Gamers!