Hey Poor Player Holiday Buyers Guide 2021 – Go On, Splurge

For The Not So Poor Players

holiday buyers guide

Welcome to the Hey Poor Player Holiday Gift Guide. From Monday, November 8th through Friday, November 19th, we’ll be bringing you a guide to all the games, accessories, systems, and other hot items players will be looking for this holiday season. With Black Friday and other Holiday sales set to start in the coming weeks, we thought now was the perfect time to help draw attention to just what you players should be looking for in the coming weeks. So whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or maybe something for yourself, we’ve got you covered.

Today we’re covering some purchases that are a little excessive. Things for the not-so-poor players. They’re not all incredibly expensive, some are downright affordable. Instead, these are items which seem perhaps a bit pricey unless they’re perfect for you, but which are still incredibly cool and worthy of your consideration. Just find a few hundred dollars in your couch cushions? Come into some money? Win the lottery? Or just have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket? This is the guide for you.


Arcade1Up Arcade Cabinets


holiday buyers guide

Price: Varies

Arcade1Up seems to have found a market that no one knew existed until a few years ago. People willing to buy a bunch of expensive arcade cabinets to put in their homes? Plenty of people owned a single game, or maybe a MAME cabinet with a revolving list, but multiple cabinets? It seemed unheard of. That they did it with cabinets which aren’t even full size seems bonkers.

Yet when you play one of these, it starts to make sense. While a bit smaller than the original cabinets, that just allows them to better fit into people’s homes. They’re close enough to the experience players remember from the arcade scene all those years ago, especially for people who often haven’t visited an arcade in twenty years. That they’ve managed to hit on an absolute dynamite list of cabinets, from Turtles in Time, to X-Men, to Marvel vs. Capcom, and many more, just helps to push them that much further. They’ve got pinball machines now, and a light gun game is coming soon. The Ridge Racer cabinet has a wheel built-in. Arcade1Up keeps trying new things, and most just keep working. Sure, you could build a MAME cabinet with an old broken shell for less, most likely, but that requires you to know what to do. For those of us who are a bit less technically inclined, this cabinet is a perfect fit.


Custom Xbox Controller From Xbox Design Lab


holiday buyers guide

Price: Starting at $69.99

Building your own custom controller is inherently a splurge. There’s really no way to do it for less money than an off-the-shelf model, and considering the parts involved, it’s not going to perform any differently. The only reason to order one of these things is for the aesthetic appeal. If you like looking at it.

What aesthetics these are, though. I know I’m not the only player who has spent far too many hours staring at that design website, trying color combinations out, and deciding what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not the creative type, Microsoft has a few pre-made models available, designed to reflect the colors of a number of this year’s hit Xbox titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator, Psychonauts 2, Life is Strange: True Colors, and Sable. Don’t go in expecting better performance, this isn’t the Elite Controller. Still, the added price is low enough that it doesn’t feel out of bounds. That may be enough.


Legend of Zelda Game & Watch


holiday buyers guide

Price: $49.99

Similar to the Mario Game & Watch Nintendo released last year, this little gem is one of Nintendo’s only releases to celebrate the series’ 35th anniversary this year. It’s a cool way to celebrate, packing three classic Zelda titles into a highly portable frame, with a unique retro look. It’s also not insanely expensive, actually being the cheapest item on this list.

Why is this here? Well, there are about a million ways to play these games. Whether we’re talking about the 3DS, the Switch, the Wii U, the Wii, Nintendo puts these games on everything. For the vast majority of players, this isn’t about playing these titles. If they power it on at all, it will be brief and then end up on a shelf collecting dust. It’s about the thing, not the games. This might be the cheapest option to play these titles for someone who has no current gaming hardware, but that’s not really the market Nintendo is targeting here. Most of those potential players will never even know it exists. Still, it is very cool looking, and if the Mario version is anything to go by, it should at least run the games well enough to offer a good time.


Mega Man X 30th Anniversary – Legacy Cartridge from iam8bit


holiday buyers guide

Price: $100.00

Mega Man fans looking for a little treat for the holidays may have found what they’re looking for. iam8bit has long created stunning collector’s releases, but the fairly recent trend of doing actual official new printings of games from the 90s is still a cool one. This purchase gets you a legitimate SNES cartridge, which will play in your original system if you still have it. It’s in a box, it has a manual, some extra retro goodies may be included. 1 in 8 orders will even receive a special glow in the dark blue cartridge, which I personally want incredibly badly.

The arguments against this thing are long. It’s not an original retro release of the game, so it doesn’t really replace that for collectors. You have to bust out, or buy, your SNES in order to play it. A part of you probably doesn’t want to play it, for fear of messing up its valuable as a collectible. There are also far easier ways to play this game, like the Mega Man X Collection, which is on almost every current platform. Does that make me actually want it any less, though? No, not really.


Playdate System (Preorder)


holiday buyers guide

Price: $179.00

Like most of the hardware we featured in our other article today, you aren’t getting a Playdate in 2021 unless you’re willing to pay a scalper. Don’t pay a scalper. Like the Steam Deck, though, preorders are a rolling affair which stay open. You can get on the list now and basically get in line for one, which will ship sometime in 2022. Perhaps not the best present, but definitely cool if you’re looking for one for yourself.

Why did the Playdate make this list? Well, we’ve talked about the hardware a number of times this year. It’s a very cool little system. It’s also $179.00 for a black and white handheld without a backlight. The main appeal is a crank, which is quite cool but also quite odd. Even with 24 included games over the system’s first season, that’s a big ask for some. If you do put the money up, though, it looks like you’ll get something truly unique and hopefully pretty special. We can’t wait to get our hands on one.



Andrew Thornton
Andrew has been writing about video games for nearly twenty years, contributing to publications such as DarkStation, Games Are Fun, and the E-mpire Ltd. network. He enjoys most genres but is always pulled back to classic RPG's, with his favorite games ever including Suikoden II, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Phantasy Star IV. Don't worry though, he thinks new games are cool too, with more recent favorites like Hades, Rocket League, and Splatoon 2 stealing hundreds of hours of his life. When he isn't playing games he's often watching classic movies, catching a basketball game, or reading the first twenty pages of a book before getting busy and forgetting about it.

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