Video-game players aren’t difficult people to shop for. Here are some picks for the gamer on your list.

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Video-game players aren’t difficult people to shop for. Most have something on their list that they’re hoping Santa delivers, and games are easy to find.

First, find out which game console your recipient owns — Sony’s PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox or Nintendo’s Wii U. (Heck, any one of those makes a solid gift if you’re willing to spend a few hundred bucks.) Then you’re ready to hit the stores. All of these picks are available at big-box retailers like Target and Best Buy or game stores such as GameStop.


This year’s revival of rock ’n roll games is good news for families looking to play together after the Christmas turkey has been destroyed.

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Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

“Rock Band 4” ($250) offers the full package — fake guitar/bass, drums and microphone — as well as an enormous library of downloadable songs. For PS4, Xbox One.

“Guitar Hero Live” ($150 for two-guitar bundle) is more fun for dueling Jimi Hendrix wannabes, with a new point of view from the stage of adoring or booing crowds (depending on how you’re doing). For PS4, Xbox One, Wii U.

Guitar Hero Live, $150
Guitar Hero Live, $150


These beefy solo adventures will keep players busy for months. All are rated M, for mature, so don’t plop your 6-year-old niece in front of them.

“Fallout 4” ($60) explores a vivid alternate Boston decades after a nuclear apocalypse. For PS4, Xbox One, PC.

“Rise of the Tomb Raider” ($60) continues the rebirth of the globe-trotting Lara Croft in a search for the secret to immortality. For Xbox One.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, $60
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, $60

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” ($60) is a sweeping espionage thriller that turns global politics into a seriously weird psychodrama. For PS4, Xbox One, PC.


Nintendo is still the best at creating games that children and parents alike can revel in.

“Super Mario Maker” ($60) invites players to create their own challenges featuring Mario and his friends — perfect for the aspiring game designer in your family. For Wii U.

“Yoshi’s Woolly World” ($60) stars Mario’s dinosaur buddy in an utterly charming romp that’s easy enough for Grandma but offers deeper challenges for more dedicated fans. For Wii U.


The “toys-to-life” genre — in which physical action figures come to life on the game screen — is a boon for gift-givers: If your recipient already owns one of the games, the add-on characters make great stocking stuffers.

Lego Dimensions, $100
Lego Dimensions, $100

“Lego Dimensions” ($100; add-ons $15–$25) mixes characters from a huge range of pop-culture worlds, including “The Lord of the Rings,” DC Comics and “The Lego Movie.” For PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U.

“Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars” ($65; add-ons $10–$40) welcomes Luke Skywalker, Yoda and the rest of the Lucasfilm gang to play with Disney toons and Marvel superheroes. For PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U.

“Skylanders SuperChargers” ($75; add-ons $13–$35), which started the whole trend, introduces land, air and sea vehicles to its delightful universe. For PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U, iOS.