Calling all gamers!
September 20, 2008 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Gamer-boyfriend birthday gift filter. He's a gammer, I am not. Therefore I'm clueless as to what one would want. He has a Steam account. He plays TF2..a lot. He also likes programing games. So, what's a good gift for my darling boy? He won't give me an answer when I ask what he wants. Please help! Note 1: I would love to get him a PS3, but can't afford one. Note 2: I'd like to keep it at ~$50
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (25 answers total)
What systems does he have?
posted by DonSlice at 3:18 PM on September 20, 2008

Response by poster: Wii, original X-Box, PS2.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 3:24 PM on September 20, 2008

Unreal Tournament 3 on Steam is only $20 right now (I think for just this weekend though). Bioshock is also a great first-person shooter, and I think it's also $20 at the moment. You could get him both of them.
posted by Verdandi at 3:28 PM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: When is his birthday? The next multiplayer game from Valve (the makers or TF2), Left for Dead, comes out in 2 months or so. Maybe you can gift a pre-order or IOU for that?
posted by cowbellemoo at 3:28 PM on September 20, 2008

Get him and his buddies a private TF2 server for a few months?
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 3:30 PM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: I'd get him something not related to gaming.

Buying a hobby-related gift for someone who is serious about his hobby is a fool's game. (It's the same for someone who's a wine geek or a baseball nut or a bird watcher.) You'll never understand the nuances that separate a great gamer gift from something that's — for reasons invisible to you — lame.

He must like some non-gaming stuff, right? He likes you, after all.
posted by purpleclover at 3:51 PM on September 20, 2008

Response by poster: Purpleclover: that's been my thinking, but I figured I'd get some gaming related ideas as well

The rest of you:Thank you... I've considered getting him games on Steam, I just need to find a way to find out want he wants, without being obvious, which for me is no easy task...and it will be more obvious since his birthday is in a week.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 4:01 PM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: Buying a hobby-related gift for someone who is serious about a hobby may be a fools game, but giving them cash with stipulation is not. Example: your boyfriend loves tattoos, his birthday is coming up, so are you going to run down to a shop you saw an ad for in the paper and pick out a badass looking panther for him to get, or are you going to find some creative way of telling him that you're putting up some cash for his next tat?

Case in point, gaming. Just get him a $50 gift card from EB or Gamestop or something, and think of a cute and surprising way to give it to him. That way you don't have to be stuck with figuring out what game he wants, but he still gets the game he wants.
posted by baphomet at 4:22 PM on September 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

What sort of games does he program? A book doesn't sound exciting, but the "Game Programming Gems" series have a lot of great information and stuff to try. The GPU Gems series is good if he's more into graphics (the first one is already available online free, though).

Team Fortress 2 posters or shirts may work.

2nd-ing the gift certificate idea as well.
posted by Gary at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: How about this. Surreptitiously determine his most played class in TF2.* Then buy him a toy or something that relates to that class. There are a ton of places online that do this, even though the Valve store is only OK (the shirts are kind of blah, imho, and the cool litograph is sold out).

Instead, try these searches for TF2 on zazzle or cafepress for some good stuff. (If he likes to play heavy, the "who touched sasha!" shirt is great.)

*If you know his in-game name, you can go to his profile by entering "". The first class shown on the screen under"Personal Class Stats _" will be his most played class, and it will show how many hours he has played each. Alternatively, right click on his Steam icon in the system tray. Choose "Community" to go to his Steam Profile. See the "Gameplay Stats _" area in the top right hand corner. Under Team Fortress 2, it will say "View Stats", click on it to get to that page.
posted by gemmy at 4:49 PM on September 20, 2008

You could get him Wii points (the cards are available at Target (and other places, I'm sure); a 2000 point card is $20) so he can purchase games through the "online store". They have lots of neat, inexpensive games there. If he likes old Nintendo games, there's Virtual Console, which is basically an Old Nintendo Game Emulator.
posted by Lucinda at 6:52 PM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: Has he played PORTAL? If he's got Team Fortress, he probably has, but it might be worth a look.

Seconding a LEFT 4 DEAD preorder (i'm a TF2 fan myself), or a $50 EB games card.
posted by ®@ at 7:28 PM on September 20, 2008

I would tend to second going for something gamer related, but not games. Far too easy to buy him a game he won't like (though it can be good obviously if you know of something he otherwise wouldn'tbuy himself).
If he's into TF2, the Valve merch is great. Can't beat having a headcrab clambering atop a speaker.
posted by opsin at 7:38 PM on September 20, 2008

Oh, I forgot, the Penny Arcade Store might be worth a look too. Not many gamers who aren't into that.
posted by opsin at 7:39 PM on September 20, 2008

Sigh, I promise - last post.
posted by opsin at 7:40 PM on September 20, 2008

The virtual console is really fun for the Wii. A friend bought me some Wii points and I have had a lot of fun playing Donkey Kong Country, among other things. Maybe couple that with the Classic Controller?
posted by radioamy at 8:13 PM on September 20, 2008

Subscription to a gaming magazine.
posted by msittig at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2008

World of Warcraft: The Frozen Throne expansion comes out November. Does he play WoW?
posted by abdulf at 9:42 PM on September 20, 2008

I'm sure he would love anything from Is this too far outside your price range?
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:50 PM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: Left 4 Dead pre-order gets a major Nthing for me.

I've had a chance to play it quite a bit and it's amazing for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life (i.e. killing zombies with three friends).
posted by slimepuppy at 5:48 AM on September 21, 2008

The WoW expansion is actually called Wrath of the Lich King. The Frozen Throne was the Warcraft III expansion pack.
posted by baphomet at 7:24 AM on September 21, 2008

Response by poster: If anyone is still around: when will you be able to pre-order Left For Dead on Steam? I've googled but I can only find info about the in-store game. Or do you know about how much it will be so I can get a gift certificate type thing to Steam? Thanks to everyone who answered
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 7:40 AM on September 21, 2008

From the site:

How can I purchase Steam Gifts for a different Steam user?

To give a gift to a friend or family member, locate the game you would like to gift on the Steam Storefront and then click the "purchase" button. As you are reviewing your order, you will see a notice that asks "Is this a gift?". Click the check box next to "Yes, it's a gift" and hit "next".

Unfortunately it looks like its not available for pre-ordering yet and they are not very forthcoming about when it will be available. The game is out in November so they can't hold off on pre-orders too long.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:58 AM on September 21, 2008

da Blob comes out on the 22nd for the Wii. It apears to fall into that rare genre of games that appeal to "Wii Fans" AND gamers. A gamer, I'm already stoked about left for dead, but if my SO handed me a copy of a sweet game we could play together, I'd be pretty excited.
posted by JimmyJames at 10:58 AM on September 21, 2008

If he's interested in game design, I can't reccomend the book Rules Of Play enough. It's smart, useful, and fun - and maybe not the kind of thing that he would get on his own.
posted by clcapps at 12:15 PM on September 21, 2008

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