Holiday Gift Guide: The Gamer

There’s one race no one wants to run, and it’s the race against time to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. Well, buckle up, because we’re got you covered with all the games and accessories you need to keep your racing gamer gassed up as we head into 2024. 

For the Nintendo Switch Gamer

Mario Kart 8 initially launched for the ill-fated Nintendo WiiU. Like so many WiiU titles, it made the transition to the Switch with a kart full of DLC as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, eventually becoming the single best-selling title on Nintendo’s handheld hybrid console. On the off chance that the gamer in your life hasn’t fired off a blue shell in the latest version of Nintendo’s long-running kart racer, now is the time. Nintendo just rolled out the final courses (and playable drivers) in the game’s Booster Course Pass DLC. That adds a whopping 48 additional courses to the game’s original 48.

For the PlayStation 5 Gamer

If your racing gamer hasn’t spent every gaming moment grinding out wins in Gran Turismo 7, we’d start there. Gran Turismo 7 is the eighth main installment in the series that stretches back to the original PlayStation

Need an alternative? We’d check out The Crew: Motorfest which features a Hawaiian holiday full of racing with tracks and gameplay that blend fairly realistic racing mechanics with wacky arcade action. 

For the Xbox Series X/S Gamer

For Xbox-based racers, your best bet is one of two flavors of Forza. 2021’s Forza Horizon 5 is a bit old for this holiday season, but if your racing gamer hasn’t given it a go, now is the time. Forza Motorsport is a 2023 entry in the series that, while shiny and new, has been a divisive game for the fans. Still, the Forza series is one of the best reasons for racing fans to snag an Xbox, so either one is go in our opinion. 

For the Retro Gamer

Everything old is new again, at least if you didn’t play it the first time around. For those looking for a great racing game on an older system, we’ve got a few recommendations courtesy of our regular Racing Game History series. On the PlayStation 3, you can’t go wrong with Motorstorm, a dirt-track racer that launched alongside Sony’s third console and remains an underrated classic. On the Nintendo 64, we recommend Cruis’n World, the second installment in the Cruis’n series that ratcheted up the wackiness dial compared to the original, Cruis’n USA. Want to go even further back? Rad Racer on the Nintendo Entertainment System will blow your racing gamer’s mind, particularly when you explain it came from the same minds who would later go on to create Final Fantasy. Buying these games brand new is a difficult and pricey proposition. Retro game shops and eBay are going to be your best bet. 

For the Simulation Gamer

For some of us, the joy we derive from gaming has little to do with white-knuckle action or split second timing. We just wanna see the numbers go up. For the racing game fan who feels most at home in Microsoft Excel, we recommend F1 Race Manager. Point in fact, we recommended everyone give this game a try when we reviewed it near its launch date earlier this year—and we stand by that. But those among us who light up like a Christmas tree when hours of careful planning results in a few less seconds on our lap time are likely to get the most out of this excellent simulation game. 

For the Gamer Who Needs a Comfy Place to Sit
While your brain is on the track taking that next virtual turn, your butt is back in the real world. Don’t let it get sore! Give your backside the support it needs to keep racing sessions going long into the night. We recommend the custom gaming chair collaboration between Red Bull and Secretlab. The TITAN Evo Oracle Red Bull Racing Edition gaming chair isn’t just a mouthful to say, it’s a comfy and stylish throne for any virtual racer with Red Bull’s distinctive livery. 

For the Gamer Who Wants Added Immersion 

If regular controllers were immersive enough we never would have developed third-party steering wheels, pedals, or shifters. To boost the immersion for your next Gran Turismo session, we recommend the Logitech Playseat Challenge X. This racing cockpit doesn’t just put you in the driver’s seat, it is the driver’s seat. Naturally, the Challenge X works with other Logitech driving peripherals, allowing you to customize your sim rig just like those (significantly) more expensive racing simulators. If you have Cadillac taste but a Kia budget, this might just be the place to start living that racing simulator life. 

For the eSports Gamer

Earlier this year, we spoke to McLaren’s reigning F1 Esports champion, Lucas Blakeley, about the kit he uses to bring home wins. For headsets, he prefers a Logitech Pro X. And his rig? Logitech steering wheels and pedals. As far as monitors, Blakeley stresses the importance of a high refresh rate. That’s why he uses a Dell 240hz monitor with almost no discernible input delay.  

If Money is No Object

If you’re looking to gift your gamer with something that won’t fit under the tree, we recommend a racing simulator from Cool Performance. These rigs will set you back several thousand dollars (actually they’re sold in pounds) before you start customizing them with displays, customer shifters, or streaming accessories. Still, you can’t beat the immersion of using the same simulator your favorite F1 team is likely using as well.