Every guy deserves to take a break in front of the TV. But why just watch it when you can live it? Thanks to juiced-up graphics, massive doses of realism, and (finally!) legit virtual reality, video games are the ultimate playground for any and every guy, letting you do everything from dunk on Michael Jordan to save the world from a zombie apocalypse.
The gamer in your life will want in on the action this holiday. So pick up these red-hot video games and gaming accessories (across all platforms and consoles) for somebody special—or just grab them for yourself.
The birthplace of Sonic the Hedgehog gets the retro console treatment for today’s TVs, much like Nintendo’s NES and the Super Nintendo minis of past holidays. This Sega version includes 40 games, including the first three Sonic the Hedgehog titles, as well as Kid Chameleon, and it’s perfect for any gamer who remembers the 90s golden age of 16-bit gaming magic.
Nintendo makes it’s all-purpose console a little better for road trips with a smaller, sleeker version. This one doesn’t have the detachable Joycon controllers, and it doesn’t connect to your TV, but it’s perfect to take on the go and comes in several bold colors. And hey, any way you can play Mario or Zelda is never a bad thing.
Think of this as Wii Fit for the new era. Nintendo’s RingFit Adventure gets you up off your couch and stretching and moving as you work through a variety of different challenges. And yes, you will break a sweat playing this game, a bigger sweat than you think.
Looking for a gaming laptop that doesn’t have the bulky profile of, well, a gaming laptop? Then look no further. Microsoft’s new 15-inch Surface Laptop is slim and sleek despite its large screen, but its AMD Ryzen chips can still deliver solid gaming chops in a solid, versatile package that packs seriously snappy productivity punch, too.
LG’s first dual-screen phone to hit stateside was built for gamers, with a pair of screens, one that can easily become a fully customizable gamepad. An added bonus: This AT&T exclusive can let you watch two video apps on each of its screens at once, so come NCAA Tournament time, you won’t miss a second of the action.
The ultimate shooter-lotter, Gearbox’s Borderlands 3 picks up right after BL2 and lets you run and gun your way through a wild and diverse storyline, with phenomenal cartoony visuals. This game has a ton of personality, and more wild and ultra-fun-to-use guns than you can count.
Reenter the Star Wars universe in a story-driven adventure that delivers Dark Souls-style combat and fantastic set pieces, along with a vibe that feels distinctly Star Wars. It’s a perfect extension of the Star Wars universe from film to gaming.
The latest chapter in the Gears of War saga delivers a brand new protagonist, but still enough of Marcus Fenix that it feels connected to the three games that told the true Gears story. Gears’ gameplay gets some friendly tweaks, too, although this remains at its heart, the world’s finest cover-shooter.
It’s a grittier, more visceral Call of Duty this time around, and the adjustment works, as levels no longer let you shoot everything, but force more thinking and a smarter trigger finger. The visuals still look fantastic, though, and you feel more the part of a soldier as you battle through areas. Oh, and multiplayer is still fantastic, too.
2K’s latest NBA game has its share of annoyances (did they really need to spend the entire game trying to get you to buy more stuff?), but on-court, the basketball is the best it’s ever been, and the inclusion of WNBA teams adds another layer of fun. Can we have a WNBA franchise mode next year, too?
The latest Madden is arguably the greatest, with Superstar X-Factors finally giving you a reason to load up on stars. The gameplay has never been quite this electric on the field, and the usual suite of modes will keep you plenty busy, too.
The Super Nintendo classic gets a refresh that includes a completely new coat of paint for its Nintendo Switch debut. Play as Link and explore a wild, vast world filled with surprises and plenty of fairies.
The Marvel video game classic from the Xbox 360 era hits the Nintendo Switch in a new adventure that features all the characters you’ve come to love from the big screen, from the Guardians of the Galaxy to the X-Men to the Avengers. The game plays well both as a solo title or with friends, and the original story dives into plenty of fun with Thanos’ acolytes.
You’ll play plenty of video games this year but good luck finding one as unique as Astral Chain, a title that feels like a monster-filled anime come to life, complete with robust story scenes and some of the most unique brawling in a title this year.
Hideo Kojima’s first non-Metal Gear effort in what feels like forever is one of the most unique gaming experiences of the year, a journey that feels lonely but still engrosses you in a weird, weird Planet Earth where babies lodged in test tubes on your stomach pass as “equipment” to sense bad guys. Oh, and you’re whole objective in this game is to basically carry packages from place to place. Metal Gear this is not, but once you get into it, you may not stop playing.
It’s Fallout meets Borderlands meets absolutely terrific storytelling in this vast new title from Obsidian. The Outer Worlds doesn’t just have you exploring alone, though, as you’ll get AI companions that you can order around during battle, Mass Effect-lite style. A fantastic sense of humor pervades the entire experience, even though the story does make you think, too.
Forget your old PlayStation 4 controller and step into the future with the ASTRO C40 TR, a loaded device that thinks of everything, from customizable button layout to trigger stops that make gunplay perfect for your playstyle. This isn’t a controller. It’s an investment in your PS4 gameplay that you won’t regret.
Point blank, the finest controller for any console (or for your PC!) available. Xbox redoes its elite controller from a few years ago to deliver a whopping 40 hours of rechargeable battery juice, PC and Xbox console compatibility, overwhelming customization features and this tiniest of details: You can charge the Elite 2 while its in its case thanks to a USB-C port.
You’ve played sports games before, but never one with quite as many modes as the loaded NHL 20, which added three new modes for this year, including the addictive Eliminator mode. Custom shots look great, the rosters are overwhelming, and basically, this is hockey gaming at its finest.
Nintendo’s Pokemon series steps into the Switch era in an effort that’s quite simply the best-looking Pokemon game ever, feeling more like a live-action cartoon than any title before. And of course, new Pokemon abound. This one’s great for fans of the franchise, or newcomers who just might be interested in diving in.
Prep for the Olympics by working through some events with Mario, Luigi, Sonic, Bowser and the rest of Nintendo’s signature gang. The gameplay in the latest Mario & Sonic title is solid, and the best part is the story mode, which starts in 1964 with some old-school 2D gaming then pushes you closer to the modern era by mode’s end.
Sora, Goofy and Donald Duck return in the third proper installment of Square Enix and Disney’s epic series. This time, the visuals are bigger and better, the worlds are cooler (think Big Hero 6 and Tangled), and those Disney attractions summons never lose their luster.
Popcap reinvents the Plants vs. Zombies shooter one more time, this time introducing free roam areas and more classes. This is still a tower defense shooter at its core, though, and boy does it do tower defense incredibly well.
An absolutely loaded edition of Mortal Kombat that sets a standard for fighting game fun with a wealth of characters and an ultra-deep and engrossing story that’s worth playing for the story more than anything. A bonus: So many DLC fighters, including Batman villain Joker and Arnold’s Terminator (which yes, is perfectly on-brand for Men’s Health).
The Need for Speed franchise delivers an open world filled with night street races and the return of Ferrari. And sure, the storyline is hokey, like a bad Fast and Furious 2 script, but the racing feels on point, so you might not even notice.
Turn-based strategy role-playing games don’t come any better than the first Fire Emblem on Nintendo Switch, which features a captivating story, plenty of character customization, and… actual consequences. You’ll grow attached to characters and mourn their deaths, and that’s what continues to separate this franchise from the rest.
The Dark Souls formula gets a serious dose of speedy samurai refinement in Sekiro, which delivers nuanced combat and massive, engaging enemies. You’re playing for a killing blow in this one, not just snipping away at health points, making the combat a true thinking man’s battle conducted with quick reflexes and swift action.
The Wolfenstein series gets a very new look and feel in this coop-focused title driven by barbs and more over-the-top wildness than you’ve ever seen. Procedurally generated side missions add a new wrinkle to the action, and the shooting is as fast-paced as it’s ever been in the franchise.
What? A lamp in a video game guide? Have we lost our minds? No, because Ikea’s Symfonisk lamps are more than lamps; they’re stealth speakers that add brightness to a room, while also pairing with a Sonos Beam soundbar to deliver room-filling surround sound without the cluttered speaker look.
Dante (and Nero and newcomer V) is back in the fifth Devil May Cry title, and this one’s as wild as they come, starting with a crazy battle and continuing with monster combo after monster combo. The action is fast and furious as it’s ever been, and V adds a new feel to combat that’s refreshing even as it keeps you constantly off-balance.
Your other top on-the-go, super-portable gaming option, the Zenbook 14 delivers a near-bezel-less screen in a smaller-than-average chassis, Core-i7 power, and more a touchscreen touchpad that’s just plain fun to use (and yes, durable enough to take a gamer’s pounding). No, you’re not running games on high detail here, but you’re running them high enough to have plenty of fun (and GeForce graphics will give you more visual bells and whistles than you think too).
The super-colorful JRPG hits the Nintendo Switch, and it’s just as fun as it was on PlayStation, still a magical anime come to life. Come for the gameplay, stay for the absolutely terrific storytelling that, at times, has you sitting back to enjoy a dramatic anime tale.
The nation-building classic hits the Nintendo Switch and boy is it fun, whether you’re using the touch controls or the steady gamepad navigation, or playing on your big screen or the Switch’s small one. All the touches are here, and snappy performance keeps you engaged for hours upon hours.
Microsoft’s third go-round at a Crackdown game is as wild and completely nonsensical as it’s ever been, lots of guns and driving and crazy-high leaping in one insane package. No, the story won’t captivate you, but all that fast-paced gameplay will, because hey, it’s plenty of fun to make yourself a total badass in this title.
One of the best sports games out there continues to deliver a hyper-realistic hitting and batting experience with plenty of nuance and the new Moments mode is especially engaging if you dig baseball history. The downside is the lack of updates to Franchise mode, but we’re hoping for those next year.