Gifts guide cover

The festive season is truly one of the highlights of the year; a span of time dedicated to relaxing, eating too much food, and buying presents for the people in your life. And with Christmas looming ahead on Friday, many of us have probably entered a frenzied, last-minute-shopping mode. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for gifts for the nerd in your life.

The criteria are simple: Nothing over R500, and nothing that has to be ordered online. So, get out your naughty and nice list and hit the jump.

5: Star Wars figurines – R220

Let’s start off with something really self-explanatory: Star Wars. The new movie is just out, and that means that a massive wave of merchandising has crashed on the shelves. Some may see this as an exploitative cash-grab, but have you seen BB-8 by Sphero?

SW Toys

For our budget, lets look at the 3.75 inch figurines of various characters from The Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi,  available at your local GAME Store. These figures are actually quite similar in style to the older Kenner range of tie-in figures, with their limited articulation and few accessories. They won’t be used in epic stop-motion battles, but they will look great guarding a desk. My advice? Get figures with a mask, like Captain Phasma, Boba Fett, Kylo Ren, or Stormtroopers. The quality on the human characters’ faces looks a little… derpy.

4: Books – R 150 and up

Books are a little more subjective than the other items on the list, but they still make excellent gifts. I had a word with NAG Online’s own Miklós and Fick Senior for some extra recommendations.

Book shop

Miklós suggested the ultra-nerdy Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Exclusive Books has it in paperback, or ebook format if you prefer. He also recommended The Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition, either the 2015 edition, or an earlier one. I own a copy of an older edition, and it makes for great reading.

As for me, I recommend John Dies at the End, by David Wong. It’s great, it’s all over the place, and it’s a fantastically funny and well written fever-dream of a novel. Exclusive Books lists it on their website, so it’s probably in stores too. I also recommend The Long Earth, by Stephen Baxter and the late Terry Pratchett. Pratchett’s Discworld series is usually the first to be mentioned when recommending his books, but The Long Earth is a spectacular sci-fi adventure, and doesn’t require readers to catch up on 30+ years of backstory.

Fick Senior apparently now hates reading, and quickly changed the subject.

3: Steam gift – R50 and up

Okay, okay: yes, you buy this one online. I’m breaking my own rules, and everyone is happy at how pedantic you are for pointing that out, Chris. [LOL! – Ed]

Steam Christmas

Do I need to go into detail here? Most of us are reading this on a PC, and I have a slight suspicion that most of us game on a PC. And therefore: most of you will have a few items on a Steam wishlist, tantalisingly marked down for the holidays. Just pick a friend, buy a game, and gift it to them on Christmas. If it’s a friend who has Steam Family Sharing enabled for you, pick something you’ll both enjoy, so that the gift keeps on giving. [Plus there’s a Steam Holiday Sale on RIGHT THIS MOMENT. – Ed]

2: Digital soundtracks – about $0,99 per track

Yes, something else you buy online; once again I’m breaking my own rules. Keep quiet Chris. Anyway, you know what’s old-fashioned? Listening to your favorite video game soundtracks on YouTube, or after torrenting them. Instead, why not kill two birds with one stone by supporting the artists, and by giving someone the gift of sweet, sweet, soundtrack awesomeness?


You can thank NAG Online’s one and only Miklós for this idea, because I never even knew this was a thing one could do. To get you started, here’s a link to an iTunes chart of the best 2014 Video Game Soundtracks, and another link to EA Games Soundtracks. Here’s one for FEZ, (Miklós’ recommended it), and here’s an important link showing you how to gift items on iTunes.

1: A badass colouring in book – R150 to R200

Gifts that are homemade truly come from the heart. But gifts that are professionally printed and bound in a neat package come even further from the heart.

Here's one to get you started

Here’s one to get you started

Let’s not mince words: colouring in is awesome, it’s relaxing, and helps put the mind in a zen-like state. But modern books are too small, or they deal with cartoons and movies we might not have any connection with. The solution is just to make your own. Seriously, just Google “X Lineart” (where ‘X’ is a popular franchise), save the image, and get it printed at an office shop near you.

So take your pick: Marvel characters, DC characters, Star Wars vehicles, random dinosaurs, anything you know the recipient will like. Just spend a night Googling and saving pictures, and have them printed in an afternoon. Of course, copyrights for something like this would be a nightmare to navigate, and that’s why I’m not selling these by the dozens. Miklos also recommended an artist named Del, who sells mind-blowing Star Wars mandalas. Follow the link; it’s worth paying money for.

And that brings a wrap to this emergency buyers guide. I hope it helps, and I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, and happy holidays.