9 gift ideas for the Classic Nerd in your life

9 gift ideas for the Classic Nerd in your life

First of all, we're sorry. We know you've already seen a bazillion gift guides for all the different people who might be on your holiday shopping list.

But this one comes from the heart — we're old, nerdy, and tired of receiving boring gifts. OK, we'll actually take any gift no matter what it is, but the ideas we're throwing down below are ones that we'd truly enjoy receiving.

So if you're struggling to come up with gift ideas for the grumpy geek in your inner circle, hopefully these will help.

Here are nine gift ideas for the Classic Nerd in your life.

A portable device for retro games: $50-$150

Sponsored Ad - Miyoo Mini Handheld Game Console Portable Retro Video Games Consoles Rechargeable Hand Held Classic System ...

When I was a kid, every piece of important data had to be hardwired into cartridges. And you know what? It was amazing that they could get an entire game on a cartridge 5 inches tall and just about 5 inches wide (and nearly an inch thick).

Thanks to modern technology, they've been able to shrink those cartridges down so small that you can now play thousands of games on a device the size of a Game Boy (pretty sure that's how it works).

Grabbing one of these will grant your giftee waves of nostalgia and endless hours of entertainment, all in an affordable, mobile package.

There are actually a ton of options out there, but we like the Miyoo Mini Plus, and have recommended it before. For under $100, it comes with thousands of games that span everything from the NES to the Genesis to the PlayStation 1, plus solid battery life.

And if your recipient is just a little bit tech savvy, they can add pretty much any game files they want.

Something from Heroes & Villains: $30-$75

D&D Roll to Hit Natural Tee

I can walk past every booth at Comic-Con without batting an eyelash, unless they have cool shirts, in which case I buy all of them.

Cool t-shirts (and other accessories) are how we can express to the world that we shouldn't be bothered unless you know what a Warp Whistle is, and Heroes & Villains has them in spades.

They're constantly changing out designs, so you might need to do a little digging and find a franchise you know your gift recipient is into, but there's plenty here to choose from at any given time.

They also have some pretty great accessories, but again, stock changes over time, so don't hesitate if you see the right thing.

For another clothing option, check out RSVLTS.

Classic gaming controllers for the Nintendo Switch: $30-$50

Super Nintendo Entertainment System Controller 1

While they're pretty cool on their own, reminder here that you need to have a Nintendo Switch available to use these bad boys. I'm sure there's a way to hack them to work with other devices, but I would never risk harming these wonderful accessories.

One of the best parts of having a Switch, plus a Switch Online subscription (preferably with the Expansion Pack add-on), is the access you get to all of the classic games from consoles including the NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis.

Look, I know we just hyped emulators earlier in this article, but the nice thing here is you're not dealing with some random file you downloaded off a sketchy site — Nintendo supports everything for the classic console games, so you'll have a smooth experience. Plus, you can now save your game whenever you want and even use a rewind function should you choose. Is it cheating? Kind of, but old-school games always cheated against the player, so seems fair.

And the cherry on top is getting one, or all of, the classic controllers. They look and feel exactly like the real thing, but now they're wireless and work with all the retro games available with Nintendo Switch Online (plus some regular Switch games).

Personally, I picked up the NES and SNES controllers right away, but chances are your favorite old nerd will like any of them. That said, maybe try to find out which of the classic consoles was their favorite.

SEGA Genesis Control Pad 1

And a little word to the wise: The best place to get these is from Nintendo's online shop. Amazon prices get hiked up.

A licensed stay-hot (or cold) mug from Corksicle: $30-$50

As you age, you realize there are few things in life nearly as satisfying as the simplicity of your hot drink staying warm. Corksicle's handled mugs rule at this — as do their tumblers and stemless wine cups.

What's most important here is ensuring you get one of the licensed products they offer — they're subtly branded, functional, and keep your coffee nice and toasty.

We recommend the one above, themed after the Mandalorian, but there are several others, including some killer Marvel-themed options.

A gift card to Alamo Drafthouse

If you're one of those people who hates giving gift cards to people, I'm sorry that you hate yourself for much. Why do you bring yourself so much pain?

The only thing wrong with receiving a gift card is if you get something way off base, like if someone got me a gift card for tuba lessons (actually, that sounds awesome, but you get the idea). And for the nerdy person you're shopping for this year, show them you really understand them with an Alamo Drafthouse gift card.

For any real fan, this is the preferred way to see movies. You're required to not be too loud or you'll get kicked out, you can just write down which beer you want and it magically shows up, and they often show classic sci-fi movies that haven't been in theaters for decades. Just make sure you put enough on the card to cover both a meal and the movie — at least $50.

Don't have an Alamo in your town? A lot of places have similar concepts now, so do a little digging. Nothing like that at all where you live? Time to move.

New collectible toys that will never be opened: $20-$???

Transformers ReAction Figure Wave 4 - Fallen Leader Optimus Prime

There is nothing like getting that brand new toy you special ordered, smelling a whiff of that fresh plastic, and then setting it on your shelf never to be touched again.

This isn't about finding some rare item that becomes an investment, this is just about finding something cool that your giftee can look at and go, "That is so neat!" every now and then. Seriously, that's all it is, and it makes for a great gift.

The challenge here is the options are almost a little too broad, so hopefully you have an inkling of the franchises and genres your recipient loves.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

• The ReAction line from Super7 has some classic and unique options, and can actually be pretty affordable.

McFarlane Toys (yes, that McFarlane) also creates some killer items.

• If you haven't bought anything from NECA yet, well hurry the hell up.

Gaming subscriptions: $30-$160

person holding black game controller
Photo by Sam Pak / Unsplash

In ye olden days, you bought a game and it was yours forever and you could do whatever you wanted with it. There were no online matches, no downloadable content, and no reason to cough up a monthly subscription just to get stuff that should be included when shelling out hundreds of dollars for a video game console.

But this is the terrifying dystopia we now live in — you can make life a little easier by gifting the right gaming subscription this year. In many cases, this will simply look like a gift card you buy, or you might be able to do it online.

Again, just make sure you're getting the right one. Don't be the grandma who gets the grandkids a gift card for PlayStation Plus when they have an Xbox. As a quick guide, the main three are: PlayStation Plus, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and Nintendo Switch Online.

There are usually tiers, and frankly the cheapest one will almost always be just fine — but bonus points if you can afford to sprinkle in a little luxury.

Actual DVDs — Blu-ray of course: $10-$50

Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV-VI (Blu-ray + DVD)

With the streaming landscape turning into a hellscape, sometimes I long for the days when I could just pay once, get a movie, and own it forever. I didn't have to sign up for a free trial or worry about it getting taken down or any of that crap.

So while it might feel like you're back in 2005, getting a classic nerd a nice Blu-ray for a movie they love is totally back. The original Star Wars trilogy would be an excellent choice, for example.

You might also consider some other nerdy classics, like the Dark Knight Trilogy, The Princess Bride, or for all the freaks out there, Young Frankenstein.

Cool socks: $15-$30

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Still at a loss? It's nearly impossible to go wrong with a good pair of geeky socks. We like our feet to be warm, and you never know when a fellow nerd might peek a little bit of your ankle and give you one of those little knowing nods.

Rock 'Em has a great selection, but you should also check out Sockologie and Old School Tees.

What cool gifts with an old-school twist are you hoping to get this year?