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Here's what to get the nerd in your life for the holidays

From one nerd to another, here's the skinny.
Credit: Destiny Johnson

PORTLAND, Ore. — Are you low-key panicking about buying the nerd in your life that perfect gift? First of all, it really is the thought that counts, second of all, take a deep breath because I got you.

Is your nerd a gamer?

Great because even though 2020 was kind of a bummer all around, some really awesome games graced many different systems this year.

If your nerd is a console gamer you are in luck because the new Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 have come out. My tip to you is to remember that console gamers are pretty loyal, usually, so probably make sure if you’re picking up a new console that you’re getting the next generation of the console they currently have.

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X sport high price tags at $500 for the machine.

PS5’s digital edition is more expensive and has no game drive for traditional disc games, instead you buy and store all of your games online. PlayStation 5 is backward compatible with the Playstation 4 games.

Xbox also allows you to pay $35 a month for 24 months for both the Xbox All Access account and the console. However, with Xbox, the machine is backward compatible with the last four years of Xbox games.

Look, Xboxs and PlayStations are in high demand for the holidays but you can keep an eye out for them at this link here. You could always put the receipt in a box or a stocking for your nerd.

There are tons of lists about the best games of 2020 but let me save you some time here:

PlayStation games

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

This game was beautiful and really well-received. It is an action-adventure game with an approachable amount of roleplaying and decision making ability without being incredibly overwhelming like some RPGs can be. Definitely a great game for your casual player.

The Last of Us Part II

I can speak from experience that The Last Of Us (the first one) is an incredible game. It is also a roleplaying game set in a world where a zombie virus has laid the world to waste. You play as a human survivor, and in the second part, you play as the little girl you were protecting in the first game. This game is beautiful and we love a female (queer) protagonist.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy games are not for everyone because they are heavy fantasy roleplaying games. But if your nerd likes things like Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, etc. they will enjoy this game. It is arguably one of the best in the Final Fantasy franchise with some of the most loveable and recognizable characters, and you can sink hours into it.

Xbox games


Okay, so this is silly and I’ll admit to putting this in here because this game holds some REAL nostalgia for me. I played the arcade version as a kid in a pool hall I was at a lot – but this game actually got great reviews. You’re a toad in space and you, uh, battle. It’s a platformer game that harkens back to games like Earthworm Jim and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Doom Eternal

So, this is a sequel to a reboot of Doom from 2016. It is a first-person shooter action roleplaying game. It is stunning and fast-paced with an immersive atmosphere. You can expect new weapons and lots of demons.

Mortal Kombat 11

This is a classic game that almost anyone can get into. You know exactly what you’re getting into with a game like Mortal Kombat. The premise is simple but anyone who remembers playing any of the previous 10 versions of this game can relate to the insatiable need to beat it. Definitely a great game for your classic gamer.

For your casual gamer nerd, you can’t beat the Nintendo Switch. It comes in two options: Switch for $300 and the Switch Lite for $200.

On the classic Switch you can remove the Joy-Cons and turn them into multiplayer controllers, it also can be used as a console on the television and comes with a dock to do so, on the Switch Lite, you cannot remove the Joy-Cons, which means it is a solo play system and it does not work as a console. Think of it as more of a long Gameboy.

As an avid Switch player, I have thoughts about games.

Nintendo Switch games

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I have sunk literally over 455 hours into this game. It is addictive and it is the best pandemic play (yeah, we’re probably going to be housebound for a while longer) because there are no consequences. It is Sims lite and you can vibe however you’d like by playing casually or redesigning your kitchen to give it a witchy aesthetic like me.

Credit: Destiny Johnson

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This game is gorgeous and for the person in your life who is a little bit more of a serious gamer. It is a roleplaying relatively open-world game. You can get lost on so many side quests while venturing to save a princess. It’s got combat and you can ride a horse and cook, need I say more?

Untitled Goose Game

This game is good fun for all. You play as a naughty goose who wreaks havoc and solves puzzles. There is little to no direction and it really makes you use your noggin. It’s a quick game but so fun.

PC games

Is your nerd a PC gamer? Get them a giftcard to Steam, which is a website where you can purchase PC games. (Is this a copout because I can’t hang with the cool kid PC gamers? Yes. Is it still good advice? Yes.)


Is your nerd a comic lover? Well good news for you, your local comic shop wants to hear from you! Call your local comic book shop and let them know what your nerd loves and they will be able to point you in the right direction. Comic shops are small businesses and like all small businesses, they suffered during the pandemic so you’d be getting a great gift for your nerd and supporting a great business in your neighborhood.

This year I enjoyed Join the Future from Aftershock Comics, A Map to the Sun by Portland-local Sloane Leong, and Show's End from Mad Cave Studios just to name a few!

Speaking of comics, you could spend some quality time gathered around the digital fireplace and watch Nerd News with Destiny on YouTube. I review comics, talk movie trailers, games, etc. Come be a nerd with me.