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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Jeremy Freeman, TruTV
A New Game Show Helps Contestants Pay Off Their Student Loans
Jeremy Freeman, TruTV
Jeremy Freeman, TruTV

Most game shows offer flashy prizes—a trip to Maui, a million dollars, or a brand new car—but TruTV’s latest venture is giving away something much more practical: the opportunity to get out of student loan debt. Set to premiere July 10 on TruTV, Paid Off is designed to help contestants with college degrees win hard cash to put towards their loan payments, MarketWatch reports.

The show gives college graduates with student loan debt "the chance to test the depth of their degrees in a fun, fast-paced trivia game show,” according to TruTV’s description. In each episode, three contestants compete in rounds of trivia, with one contestant eliminated each round.

One Family Feud-style segment asks contestants to guess the most popular answer to college-related poll questions like “What’s the best job you can have while in college?” (Answer: Server.) Other segments test contestants' general trivia knowledge. In one, for example, a contestant is given 20 seconds to guess whether certain characters are from Goodfellas or the children’s show Thomas & Friends. Some segments also give them the chance to answer questions related to their college major.

Game show host Michael Torpey behind a podium
TruTV

Based on the number of questions they answer correctly, the last contestant standing can win enough money to pay off the entirety of their student debt. (However, like most game shows, all prizes are taxable, so they won't take home the full amount they win.)

Paid Off was created by actor Michael Torpey, who is best known for his portrayal of the sadistic corrections officer Thomas Humphrey in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Torpey, who also hosts the show, says the cause is personal to him.

“My wife and I struggled with student debt and could only pay it off because—true story—I booked an underpants commercial,” Torpey says in the show’s pilot episode. “But what about the other 45 million Americans with student loans? Sadly, there just aren’t that many underpants commercials. That is why I made this game show.”

The show is likely to draw some criticism for its seemingly flippant handling of a serious issue that affects roughly one in four Americans. But according to Torpey, that’s all part of the plan. The host told MarketWatch that the show is designed “to be so stupid that the people in power look at it and say, ‘That guy is making us look like a bunch of dum dums, we’ve got to do something about this.’”

Paid Off will premiere on Tuesday, July 10 at 10 p.m. Eastern time (9 p.m. Central time).

[h/t MarketWatch]

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Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images
Want to Live as Long as an Olympian? Become a Chess Grandmaster
Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images
Kena Betancur, AFP/Getty Images

It’s well known that physical fitness can help prolong your life, so it’s not surprising that elite athletes, like Olympians, tend to have longer lifespans than your average couch potato. But it seems that “mind sports” can help keep you alive longer, too. According to BPS Research Digest, a recent study suggests that international chess grandmasters have lifespans comparable to Olympic athletes.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, examined the survival rates of 1208 mostly male chess grandmasters and 15,157 Olympic medalists from 28 countries, and analyzed their life expectancy at 30 years and 60 years after they attained their grandmaster titles. They found that both grandmasters and Olympic medalists exhibited significant lifespan advantages over the general population. In fact, there was no statistical difference between the relative survival rates of chess champions and athletic champions.

There are several variables that the study couldn’t take into account that may be linked to chess players’ long lifespans, though. Grandmasters often employ nutritionists and physical trainers to keep them at their best, according to the researchers, and exercise regularly. Economic and social status can also influence lifespans, and becoming a world-champion chess player likely results in a boost in both areas.

Some research has shown that keeping your mind sharp can help you in old age. Certain kinds of brain training might lower the risk of developing dementia, and one study found that board game players in particular have slightly lower rates of dementia.

If keeping the mind sharp with chess really does extend lifespans, the same effect might apply as well to elite players of other “mind sports,” like Go, poker, or competitive video games. We’ll need more research to find out.

[h/t BPS Research Digest]

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