CLOSE
Amazon
Amazon

11 Brilliant Gifts for the Gamer in Your Life

Amazon
Amazon

Tis the season to raid castles, avoid ghosts, build worlds, and save the princess. Treat that special someone who enjoys the occasional escape from reality to these 11 gifts.

1. MINECRAFT THINK GEEK WALL TORCH; $15

minecraft.jpg



Officially licensed by the makers of the widely popular game Minecraft, this battery-powered collectible is a working lamp that can be stationed on a desk or hang on a wall, just like the real deal. Non-crafters may think it’s strange, but your gamer will love the semi-obscure reference.

Find it: Amazon


2. CAPPER GUN BOTTLE OPENER; $20

Bartendo-7.jpg



Vintage gamers often reflect fondly on the days of tethered controllers and specialty accessories like the NES Zapper. The iconic beam gun has been modeled into a handy bottle opener for the now-legal duck hunters and button mashers by the folks at Ink Whiskey, who made a range of game-related products.

Find it: Ink Whiskey


3. NES CARTRIDGE FLASK; $20

drunkhunt.jpg



These Nintendo game cartridge-shaped flasks were made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Present your loved one with a vintage, parody product that's as functional as it is funny. It's also a great ice breaker at parties.

Find it: Ink Whiskey


4. XBOX LIVE 12-MONTH GOLD MEMBERSHIP; $45

xboxlive.jpg


Even after your giftee owns a game, they will need a way to play with others. Get them situated for an entire year of uninterrupted online play with this membership to the gaming community. Bonus: They'll also get discounts on games in the Xbox store.

Find it: Amazon


5. GAMEBOY COFFEE MUG; $15


Give your favorite gamer their fill of nostalgia with this handmade, ceramic mug. The detailed kitchenware is also available in other themes, including The Legend of Zelda, Tetris, and Pokemon.

Find it: Etsy


6. GETTING GAMERS: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VIDEO GAMES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE PEOPLE WHO PLAY THEM; $28 



Everyone likes to read about their own subculture. Help your giftee dig into the ‘whos’ and ‘whys’ of their hobby with this 320-page deep dive into the world of gaming.

Find it: Amazon


7. PLAYSTATION 4 1TB CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 3 BUNDLE; $530

713S3pss1WL._SL1500_.jpg


Call of Duty Black Ops 3 was the “biggest entertainment launch of 2015” with over $550 million in sales in three days. Splurge on this terabyte of harddrive space and cool limited edition console.

Find it: Amazon


8. HALO MASTER CHIEF HELMET; $136

710lMoNsonL._SL1500_.jpg


It’s not the Swarovski crystal-encrusted custom charity piece that recently sold for $34,000, but these PVC masks with LED lights are still pretty cool. The listing says that it will fit most adult and kid heads, so Halo fans big and small can cosplay as the popular character.

Find it: Amazon


9. SPACE INVADERS CUTTING BOARD; $125

il_570xN.546707849_rp6h.jpg


Very few games are as iconic as Space Invaders. Boost the cred of your friend’s kitchen with this custom cutting board, handcrafted from walnut and hard maple, wood glue, mineral oil, and beeswax. The seller makes other game-related wood pieces, including Megaman boards and Zelda coasters.

Find it: Etsy


10. ZEISS VR ONE VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSET; $120

1422485414000_1116545.jpg


The future is augmented reality and 3D gaming. There are already hundreds of VR apps and games in the App Store and the Google Play store, and as the technology advances there will be tons more, so do your buddy a favor and get them in on the ground floor this holiday season.

Find it: B&H Photo Video


11. DIY GAMER KIT; $98

benefit_3.jpg


Gaming and coding often go hand-in-hand with techies. When normal store-bought games are not enough, introduce them to the world of DIY gaming with this kit. It comes soldered or unsoldered, so it’s on you to know just how much of the physical labor your friend can handle.

Find it: Tech Will Save Us

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Cell Free Technology
arrow
technology
This Pixel Kit Will Let You Play Tetris With Jellyfish DNA
Cell Free Technology
Cell Free Technology

Forget playing Tetris on your phone. Now you can play it with jellyfish DNA. Bixels is a DIY game kit that lets you code your own games using synthetic biology, lighting up a digital display with the help of DNA.

Its 8-by-8 pixel grid is programmed to turn on with the help of the same protein that makes jellyfish glow, called green fluorescent protein (GFP). But you can program it to do more than just passively shine. You can use your phone and the associated app to excite Bixels' fluorescent proteins and make them glow at different frequencies, producing red, blue, and green colors. Essentially, you can program it like you would any computer, but instead of electronics powering the system, it's DNA.

Two blue boxes hold Bixel pixel grids.

Researchers use green fluorescent protein all the time in lab experiments as an imaging agent to illuminate biological processes for study. With Bixels, all you need is a little programming to turn the colorful lights (tubes filled with GFP) into custom images or interactive games like Tetris or Snake. You can also use it to develop your own scientific experiments. (For experiment ideas, Bixels' creator, the Irish company Cell-Free Technology, suggests the curricula from BioBuilder.)

A screenshot shows a user assembling a Bixel kit on video.

A pixel kit is housed in a cardboard box that looks like a Game Boy.

Bixels is designed to be used by people with all levels of scientific knowledge, helping make the world of biotechnology more accessible to the public. Eventually, Cell-Free Technology wants to create a bio-computer even more advanced than Bixels. "Our ultimate goal is to build a personal bio-computer which, unlike current wearable devices, truly interacts with our bodies," co-founder Helene Steiner said in a press release.

Bixels - Play tetris with DNA from Cell-Free Technology on Vimeo.

You can buy your own Bixel kit on Kickstarter for roughly $118. It's expected to ship in May 2018.

All images courtesy Cell-Free Technology

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
arrow
science
Play a Game to Help Scientists Defeat a Cancer-Causing Toxin
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images
Habibou Kouyate, Stringer, Getty Images

If you're used to fighting virtual zombies or flying spaceships on your computer, a new series of games available on Foldit may sound a little unconventional. The object of the Aflatoxin Challenge is to rearrange protein structures and create new enzymes. But its impact on the real world could make it the most important game you've ever played: The scientists behind it hope it will lead to a new way to fight one of the most ruthless causes of liver cancer.

As Fast Company reports, the citizen science project is a collaboration between Mars, Inc. and U.C. Davis, the University of Washington, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The team's online puzzles, which debuted on Foldit earlier this month, invite the public to create a new enzyme capable of finding and destroying carcinogens known as aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins form when certain fungi grow on crops like corn, nuts, and grains. Developing countries often don't have the resources to detect it in food, leaving around 4.5 billion people vulnerable to it. When people do eat food with high aflatoxin levels unknowingly, they can contract liver cancer. Roughly a quarter of all liver cancer cases around the world can be traced back to aflatoxin exposure.

The toxin's connection to agriculture is why the food giant Mars is so interested in fighting it. By working on a way to stop aflatoxins on a molecular level, the company could prevent its spread more efficiently than they would with less direct methods like planting drought-resistant crops or removing mold by hand.

The easiest way for scientists to eradicate an aflatoxin before it causes real harm is by making an enzyme that does the work for them. With the Aflatoxin Challenge, the hope is that by manipulating protein structures, online players will come up with an enzyme that attacks aflatoxins at a susceptible portion of their molecular structure called a lactone ring. Destroying the lactone ring makes aflatoxin much less toxic and essentially safe to eat.

The University of Washington launched Foldit in 2008. Since then, the online puzzle platform has been used to study a wide range of diseases including AIDS and Chikungunya. Everyone is welcome to contribute to the Foldit's new aflatoxin project for the next several weeks or so, after which scientists will synthesize genes based on the most impressive results to be used in future studies.

[h/t Fast Company]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios