Just because someone you love likes to play video games doesn’t mean they want to walk around town looking like a gamer.
You know the kind of look I’m talking about — a shirt with Mario on it, a pair of Sonic the Hedgehog shoes, an Overwatch hat, a mug that says something like “I’d rather be building additional pylons” on it. That kind of style is cool with a lot of people, but for some gamers that kind of overtly game-y merch is just too much.
This gift guide is for the sensible gamer, the kind that wants to display their appreciation of games but not be too obvious about it, and maybe even get a stylish without looking like a billboard. This is the gift guide for gamers who don’t want to loudly pronounce to the world that they’re gamers.
The best way to market some video game merch to people who don’t want to be walking advertisements is to take something very obscure from that game and turn it into a realistic-looking brand. Fortnite players will undoubtedly recognize the name Tomato Town on the Tomato Town Pizzeria shirt but the uninitiated will just think it’s repping some cool pizza place. And who doesn’t like pizza?
Price: $19.99 on Etsy
There’s something about a nice pint glass that makes drinks seem better. There are tons of options for etched glasses online featuring all kinds of logos are references to games, including this pint glass etched with the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim logo. Company will probably just think it’s some brewery logo. If Skyrim isn’t a good fit, there are a lot of other game-related designs on Etsy.
Price: $14 on Etsy
If you live on the planet earth, chances are you live in an area where it rains, and chances are you could use an umbrella, even if you already have one. This umbrella’s red and white design is the same as the logo of the fictional company Umbrella Corp. from the Resident Evil games — the same corporation that was responsible for many of the series zombie outbreaks.
Price: $34.70 on Amazon
4. Destiny hat
A great video game hat is one that you would wear even if you didn’t play the game or if you didn’t even know that it was from a game. This Destiny 2 Warlock logo hat is simply a cool design that only Destiny fans will recognize is from the game.
Price: $24.99 on Lids
Every great spy needs a spy watch. Not only does this watch tell time, it will make the wearer feel like James Bond in GoldenEye every time they bring their hand up to check the time or set off a well-placed mine.
Price: $19.99 on Amazon
Musterbrand’s whole thing is helping people dress up like their favorite video game characters without going too far with it. This Hylian knit hoodie in particular, which is based off the design of one of Link’s capes in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, successfully takes fashion from the fantasy game and translates it into something modern and accessible.
Price: $89.99 on Musterbrand
Anyone who plays Rocket League will recognize “Sorry!” or a handful of other phrases from the game’s quick-access chat feature, and how spamming it will result in the player’s chat being temporarily disabled. This particular sticker is great for Rocket League players who are apologetic drivers in real life.
Price: $5 on Etsy
For the nerd who is also a jock, the Metal Gear Solid-inspired Foxhound varsity jacket is a comfy way to represent your allegiance to the high-tech special forces unit from Metal Gear without really referencing the game itself.
Price: $45.26 on Etsy
In case you haven’t played Night in the Woods, Sharkle is a little app that the main character Mae has on her computer. Indie game shirts are great for street cred with indie gamers but going even deeper than that and grabbing a shirt that’s a deep cut within the deep cut is going above and beyond. People who even know games won’t know this is a gaming shirt.
Price: $25 on Compress Merch
It’s not usually this easy to look like the commander of a futuristic sci-fi spaceship. This N7 jacket is inspired by Mass Effect, the N7 signifying that the wearer is a highly trained special forces member of the Systems Alliance military. To outsiders, though, this jacket just looks cool, and the N7 looks like it could be the logo of some up and coming fashion brand.