$99 - $129
Be it Christmas or your friends upcoming birthday, you’ll be needing a go-to list of retro gaming gifts that can help you with any of your gift buying needs.
These retro gaming gifts range from a handful of pennies all the way up to a small loan, so don’t feel as though this is the normal price to spend on retro gamers.
This list will fit all budgets, and believe us when we say that any gift on this list will go down well, because I have personally tested every single one.
So let’s jump right in with the ultimate retro gaming gifts list!
Table of Contents
1. A Handheld History
Hands down, the best retro gaming gift of the year has to be our very own coffee table book, A Handheld History.
We maybe biased but we have proudly crafted a premium, hardback coffee table book about the history of handhelds.
We have partnered with talented journalists, the gaming industries best artists and well known influencers to give you a nostalgic tome that takes you back through the best handheld games consoles of all time.
Big names like our very own Brandon Saltalamacchia, Jason Bradbury, Kevin Kenson and Ashens were involved within this book, researching and crafting beautiful stories about consoles, accessories and well known retro games.
With over 260 pages of incredible content this thick book will go down well with any retro gamer, especially if they have (or had) a passion for handheld gaming, as we cover most in this book.
We also bring weird and wacky handhelds into the spotlight that you may have never seen before.
You will also be supporting Retro Dodo and the future of the A Handheld History series should you snag a copy, so let me personally say a big thank you if you do!
A Handheld History retails for $40.
2. Retroid Pocket 2S
One of the best retro handhelds of the year is the Retroid Pocket 2S, a $99 console that runs Android OS, featuring a 4:3 display, an incredibly design that comes in many nostalgic colours and enough power to emulate retro games up to and including Gamecube games.
It’s incredibly easy to setup, and the emulators will install automatically once you get through the simple step by step process after you turn it on.
GoRetroid have been creating great, affordable handhelds for many years, but this one is their best yet. You can even upgrade it to 4GB of RAM for an extra $20 to make it even more powerful.
It’s a portable device too, no bigger than a traditional smartphone, and with the added flared shoulder buttons and slim design, it makes it comfortable to hold and easy to use for hours on end thanks to it’s good battery life.
All you need to do to get started is to install ROM’s using the SD card slot, and it will pull them into the designated folders and shows them off in the launcher in a Nintendo Switch like manner.
Because it uses Android as its operating system you can also download android games and even stream on it from your home consoles should you want to do that.
It’s a superb handheld, at a superb $99 – $119 price.
3. Grid Studios Retro Gaming Art
You may have seen these floating around our instagram recently and that’s because the more they release them, the more I want to collect them all.
These are retro art pieces from a company called Grid Studios, they simply take apart broken retro tech and frame them in a way that looks like insect taxidermy.
They layout every piece of retro tech, for example we have the Gameboy Advance SP edition that look absolutely stunning and it’s a great way to use broken consoles in a way that can be seen as art and maybe even preservation.
Alongside that they package these up incredibly well, to a point where you could call this product a premium piece of art, everything is assembled very well.
I personally have four of these and none of the parts have fallen off the backboard or broken, nor has the frame for that matter, so i can comfortably say these are some of the best retro gaming pieces of art that you can buy.
4. LEGO PAC-MAN Arcade
One of my favourite retro gaming gifts of the year is one i purchased for myself, and that’s the brand new LEGO PAC-MAN Arcade Cabinet, coming in at a whopping 2651 pieces of pure nostalgia.
It’s a big set. This isn’t for the faint hearted, a set only LEGO making experts should snag.
The set is a fun, long lasting adventure down memory lane, starting you off with building the arcade topper, featuring PAC-MAN himself, Blinky and Clyde.
This toper spins when pressing a button, and turning your enemies into ghosts, just like in the game.
The cabinet itself is very intricate, kicking off with building the exterior cabinet, and then moving onto the incredible advanced game which can be activated by spinning the lever on the side.
This will move the snake like pieces around the map, just like the game, it will also slowly move the cherry as if it’s lurring you in to eat it.
Then finally you get ontot he arcade stick, and the buttons which activate a light piece at the front which resembles the infamous coin slot.
There’s also a little easter egg in the back, which we won’t spoil for you, but it can be seen in our video review above.
It’s one of the best LEGO sets for retro gamers, and starts at
5. Nitro Deck Nintendo Switch Grip
The CRKD Nitro Deck is a brand new premium grip for your Nintendo Switch, making it bigger, better and more beastly!
Released in September 2023 this grip is the first from CRKD, and it is now my go to grip for playing on the Switch for many reasons.
Firstly, their grips start at $59.99 for their basic editions, and their nostalgic series (different colours and a added carry case) starts at $89.99 making them affordable accessories with many benefits.
The first great upgrade is the ergonomics. It adds wide grips and well placed buttons to your tiny console, making it more comfortable for long periods of time.
The analogue sticks are removable should you want to change the design/texture, and there’s even mappable keys on the back should you want to play competitively.
The install process is silky smooth too, allowing you to slide in your Switch into the middle and two springs will slot your console in with a nostalgic click that reminds me of a Gameboy cartridge.
The shoulder buttons are a little loud, and the kick stand low quality, but putting those minor flaws aside, it’s a superb grip that’s comfortable, looks incredible and adds so much needed style to your normal or OLED Switch.
6. 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard
8BitDo are renowned for creating superb products, we’ve reviewed many in the past. One of their most recent “retro” reveals is the brand new Retro Mechanical Keyboard.
It’s styled after the original Nintendo Entertainment System, with many nostalgic nods to the past and large A + B buttons that can me mapped to whatever you please, great for those that like to smash their keyboards?
Again, it’s another subtle nod to the classic NES controller.
The keyboard itself is built on a aluminium interior, with high quality Kailh Box White Switches, a number of knobs that can be twist ad turned and detailing that will please many retro gaming fans.
The keyboard works on PC, Mac and Android devices, it retails for $99 on Amazon.
It’s the perfect gifts for retro gamers who want to pimp out their desk setup a little!
7. ANBERNIC RG Nano
It’s a tiny little Gameboy-like handheld, with a crisp, bright 1.5″ display, a metal body, a tiny little processor and 1000 MAH’s of battery.
This thing can play your Gameboy games, classic NES games, Playstation 1 games and a whole bunch more, all in the palm of your hand in a indestructible armoured shell.
This is what Nintendo should make, but they’re too slow, ANBERNIC got their first.
You add your own games by installing your own ROM’s to the SD-card and using the built in emulator to play them.
It’s also great for kids because its metal shell is near impossible to break and it only lasts a few hours on a single charge so you know they’re not going to be up all night playing it!
Yes, it will get a little cramped at times, but this comes into its own when you’re waiting for a train, or you’re a little bored on your lunch break, or your travelling light for the weekend.
It works well, performs great up to Playstation 1 emulation and it can fit on your keys!
The ANBERNIC RG Nano starts at approximately $65.
8. Evercade VS
The Evercade VS uses cartridges to play old retro games from the past. Evercade’s goal for the VS console is to bring back the physical culture of games and to help the return of couch coop games in modern day homes.
The console itself can connect up to four controllers and even two cartridges at the same time. Previously Evercade built a handheld, but now they want you to play with friends and family using the exact same cartridges as the handheld.
They have over 200 games available for the console and handheld so choosing something that you love won’t be a problem. THe user interface is incredibly easy to use making it great for children and for us oldies that wan’t that nostalgic feeling again.
The games we played were emulated flawlessly with no hiccups at all, making the gaming experience a refreshing experience on a HDTV.
The console itself retails for £99 and the cartridges start at around 20. These cartridge come with a selection of games, so you’ll have a wide number of choices when you pick up a single cartridge.
Overall it’s a refreshing console to play on in a time where everything is so digital and the fact that they’re bringing back physical cartridges and user manuals really makes me enjoy collecting games again.
9. Zelda Game & Watch
The Nintendo Game & Watch series has had some love recently, with their latest release being this, The Legend of Zelda Game & Watch, and although it wasn’t released this year, it still makes a great addition to this list.
This is a respectful nod to one of NIntendo’s first ever handhelds which was released back in the 80’s, now they have modernised it with a bright display, longer battery life, USB-C charging and multiple games in one.
That’s right, this one here features three Zelda games, that’s The Legend Of Zelda, The Adventure Of Link and finally Links Awakening.
Playing Links Awakening on this tiny device just feels incredibly nostalgic, and i can actually see what i’m doing now.
Not only that it has Vermin and a couple of interactive timers should you want to use this as a clock, which was one of the main selling points in the past, be sure to check out the history of Game & Watch to learn more about it.
It’s a great little product for handheld enthusiasts that want to take their favourite Zelda games with the in a unique manner, and it only costs just over $55.
Just don’t expect super long battery life on this thing, the beautiful screen will only give you a few hours of life on a single charge.
10. Quarter Arcades – Replica Quarter Scale Cabinets
One of the coolest products that we have seen this year is the TMNT Quarter Scale Arcade Cabinets by Numskull Designs.
We were lucky enough to test these units early, and have reviewed many of their products in the past, but these two cabinets here are our favourites.
They are 1/4 scale replicas of the original TMNT cabinets from the good ol’ days, featuring everything you would expect from a exact replica.
The screens feature the classic scan lines, you can play with up to three friends, it has little USB ports at the front behind the coin slots so that you can play with controllers, and these things even light up too!
Numskull have the official licensing for the TMNT games and even the soundtracks too, making it feel like you’re playing on the real thing.
They’re not cheap, starting at around $299, but it’s the perfect “big” gift for anyone born in the 80’s and 80’s.
It will certainly turn heads at your next dinner party, the cabinet design is flawless, and it charges via USB-C too.
11. LEGO The Mighty Bowser
If you’re a lover of Super Mario and a LEGO fan then this LEGO Bowser has to be the ultimate gift.
It features over 2,800 pieces which is bigger than LEGO’s popular Nintendo Entertainment System set from last year!
Throughout the build you will be greeted with epic easter eggs and hidden compartments. Once built it comes with a bunch of playability features.
Firstly the bowser itself can be picked up and has limbs that can move and bend allowing you to place it in random positions depending on your setup.
You can even control the head, neck and eyes using a hidden button, this will help give your Bowser even more character.
The Mighty Bowser can even shoot a fireball from its mouth, the press of another hidden button will fire a projectile to protect itself.
12. Funkey S
Imagine a tiny Gameboy Advance SP. Yeah, that’s basically what the Funkey S is. It’s technically the world’s smallest foldable games console too!
Put simply, the Funkey S is a retro handheld emulator that can emulate a wide number of games consoles up to and including the Playstation 1.
Yeah, you read that right, this little device can play your best PS1 games with no problems at all. It uses ROM files to do so and it comes ready to load straight out of the box with an easy to use user interface that makes it playable for all ages.
The build quality is also really good, and when you shut the clamshell, it sounds like original GBA SP!
This is a great gift for video game collectors and those that like playing games on the go.
13. 8BitDo Pro Controller (Atomic Purple)
The 8Bitdo Pro Controller is a superb wireless controller for retro gaming enthusiasts, and recently 8BitDo revealed a transparent purple edition that will certainly get retro gamers excited.
Not only is this controller incredibly comfortable, but it has also taken its style from the original GameBoy and can connect to any of your modern-day consoles, including the Nintendo Switch.
So, if you’re fed up of those tiny annoying joy-cons, then you can pick up one of these and your friend or family member will be completing Link’s Awakening in no time!
8Bitdo is renowned for creating some of the best Bluetooth controllers on the market, and their designs are like no others on the market. They’re oozing with nostalgia!
It can even connect to smartphones and the upcoming Analogue Pocket, which is another console that you should definitely consider having in your collection!
14. Analogue Pocket
The most wanted handheld of the year is undoubtedly the Analogue Pocket, not only because its an incredible piece of technology, but because it keeps selling out shortly after it releases units.
Release in December 2021 it sold out in just a couple of hours thanks to the fact it can play your old Gameboy games, alongside adapters for other cartridges and a few months later it opened up the ability to play ROM’s thanks to its FPGA technology.
The screen and overall build quality is what blew me away.
It’s as if Nintendo resurrected the Gameboy themselves, using premium materials, an incredibly bright high resolution screen and a nostalgic presence that comes with the square design and heavy weight.
It truly is one of the best ways to play Gameboy games this year, but it comes with a price, retailing for around $200.
They have revealed a Glow in the Dark version, alongside new transparent editions too, so if you’re lucky there’s plenty to choose from if you can find a seller… but that’s the only downfall is that they’re hard to get.
But if you do manage to snag this handheld unicorn, I promise you won’t be dissapointed.
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A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.