With two-thirds of the UK population now playing video games on a regular basis, the chances are you'll have a gamer to buy for this Christmas. But if somone else has bagged Call of Duty, Kinectimals and Red Dead Redemption off their Xmas list, you might well be stuck for present ideas. Have no fear – here's a hand-picked selection of game-related goodies, perfect for any child (or adult) of the digital era.
Mega Bloks Halo Collection
Megabrands, various prices
If your favourite gamer has a complete collection of Halo titles, a little treat from this impressive range of figures and vehicles will go down well – however old they are. Amid the collection are favourite craft from both the United Nations Space Command and evil alien Covenant forces. I've been sent two of the vehicles – the Arctic Rocket Warthog (£19.99) and The UNSC Scorpion (£29.99) – and they're nicely detailed and interesting to put together. My sons are too young to play the games, but they've thoroughly enjoyed bashing the tanks into one another, ruining hours of my hard work. The build quality is reasonable, if not quite up to Lego standards (though you'd be paying twice as much for Lego Halo, of course), and there are lots of nice little features thoughout the range, such as hinged cockpit windows and firing rockets. Personally, I'm waiting for a Red Dead Redemption or Bioshock series (build your own Big daddy!), but this will certainly do in the meantime.
Street Fighter Artworks book
Japan just has the best video game books, and this lavish example is packed with character and background artwork from the past 20 years of Capcom's fighting game series. The A4 book boasts more than 300 pages with 1,500 illustrations, including an array of fascinating concept sketches from the publisher's veteran artists – many of them never seen before. And if your gamer friend loves it, Play Asia also stocks a similarly beautiful book dedicated to the latest title in the series, Street Fighter IV. Perfect coffee table accessories for the modern digital home.
Mario Kart Projector keyrings
Tomy, £2.50 each
Shaped like miniature Wii remotes, these teeny gashapon (or capsule toys) project one of six Mario Kart characters onto your wall, or any flat surface. They're great stocking fillers for Mario fanatics, and if you buy from a specialist retailer such as Gacha World, you get to pick exactly the kart you want, rather than grabbing a random one from the box in your local comic shop. If you can't find these, there are also some nice little Mario Kart pull-back cars, also available in gashapon form. Buy two and have races across the table after Christmas dinner.
SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam
Someone special in your life is almost certainly blasting their way through Call of Duty: Black Ops at the moment – if so, they'll love this book by John Plaster. He was a member of a special operations group, like those depicted in the Black Ops campaign, operating in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Plaster advised developer Treyarch on the game's Cold War plot and was a huge influence on the project. It's an engrossing read, with lots of intriguing detail about covert CIA dealings.
Game clothing can be pretty grotty, but these Zelda T-shirts from online retailer Cafepress are not bad at all. Available in several different colours, the shirt has an old skool graphic of a sword along beside the classic line: "It's dangerous to go alone. Take this." If you know someone who has loved the Zelda series of action RPGs from the very beginning, they'll wear it with pride – despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it will be meaningless to almost everyone else who sees it.
Virgin Books, £12.99
If you know someone who constantly gets into arguments at dinner parties about why video games are a valid cultural product, this is the book to get them. Chatfield is an absolute genius and his brilliant, engaging analysis of the games industry is utterly unique. It might also be a good gift for anyone in your life who isn't as convinced by games as you are. By the time they've read it, they'll be fighting you for the joypad. On second thoughts, that's maybe not the best idea.
Metal Gear Solid bag
Tokyo Toys, £34.99
This officially licensed heavy-duty messenger bag will ensure your favourite Metal Gear Solid fanatic has something nice to carry their stuff around in. Depecting Snake in all his rugged splendour, it'll apparently hold a 17in laptop, so your loved one can check their top secret intel wherever they are. Otherwise, it's just the thing for packed lunches. Comes with an adjustable shoulder strap – which cold probably double as a stealth weapon or escape rope, should the situation demand it.
Settlers of Catan
Mayfair games, £25
Many fans of military strategy titles like Advance Wars and StarCraft have already discovered this hugely successful multi-award-winning board game, in which players trade resources to build powerful settlements. Because the hex-based playing area can be laid out differently every time, the challenge is always changing, creating a deep, varied strategy experience. It's a great choice for families with older children, and may well start up an interest in other similarly high brow board games that have inspired video game designers, including the ancient Chinese classic, Go. Oh, and one called "chess", or something.
The King of Kong
Revolver Entertainment, around £5
Seth Gordon's engaging documentary has been available for a couple of years now, but there are still gamers who haven't seen it, which is a heinous cultural crime. King of Kong follows the rivalry between legendary Donkey Kong champion Billy Mitchell and newcomer Steve Wiebe as they seek to better each other's scores. A Profound examination of gamer psychology – and also painfully funny at times.
And the ultimate present...
Customisable retro arcade machine
Liberty Games, £1995
Nothing says "I love you" to a gamer like buying them an arcade cabinet of their own – and this one is very special indeed. Manufactured by Liberty Games in Surrey, this full-sized machine can be customised to the user's precise specifications. Choose the colour of the cabinet, the artwork, even the name that goes across the header – and because the technology inside the machine is a powerful PC rather than a single dedicated arcade board, it can store and play hundreds of different titles. You're free to select your own retro gaming library or you can just settle with the 200 pre-installed classics – the machine also has its own Wi-Fi internet connection so you can download new titles when you fancy. Each game is playable via the authentic, arcade-standard joystick and button controls (owners can even opt for illuminated buttons). Sound comes courtesy of a built-in Logitech x-240 2.1 speaker system, while the monitor is a 27in LCD display. Awesome – but if you live with the intended recipient, hiding it until Christmas morning might be tricky.