Advertisement
Engadget
Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

The best gaming gifts for dads this Father's Day

Any of these gift ideas will make dad's game time more fun.

Engadget

Father’s Day is, ideally, a day for dad to have some fun and few things are more fun than a good game. If your father figure likes to spend his free time in other worlds, there are several gifts you could buy to make his play time more enjoyable. Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of our favorite gaming-related gear, from consoles and controllers, to artwork and coffee table books.

Quick Overview
See 9 more
8BitDo's Ultimate controller notably uses magnetic Hall effect sensors in its joysticks, which means it’s much less susceptible to developing the dreaded “stick drift” than traditional controllers.
$56 at Amazon

The 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller is a versatile alternative to Nintendo’s Switch Pro Controller that also works easily on PC. It connects over Bluetooth, a wireless dongle, or a USB cable and notably uses magnetic Hall effect sensors in its joysticks, which means it’s much less susceptible to developing the dreaded “stick drift” than traditional controllers. While it might feel a little cramped for those with particularly large hands, its shape doesn’t have any weird curves or quirks, and all its inputs are appropriately crisp to press. Battery life is solid at 20-ish hours, too, and the whole thing comes with a slick charging dock. If dad wants to get hardcore, 8BitDo’s companion app offers a wealth of customization options, such as adjusting the sensitivity of the triggers or assigning macros to certain buttons. 8BitDo sells a few cheaper variants of this controller as well, but those sacrifice the Hall effect sticks, among other features. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer

If dad has a soft spot for classic gaming hardware, a frame from Grid Studio might be a nice way to spruce up his space.
$269 at Grid Studio

If dad has a soft spot for classic gaming hardware, a frame from Grid Studio might be a nice way to spruce up his space. This is a company that deconstructs classic gadgets and neatly showcases their individual components in a piece of wall art. Each part is labeled for good measure. For gaming specifically, the selection includes consoles like the original Game Boy and PSP and controllers like the Wiimote and Sega Dreamcast pad. (Several non-gaming gadgets are available, too.) These don’t come cheap, and they might make dad cringe if he fancies himself a preservationist, but Grid’s artwork generally strikes the right balance between a nerdy nostalgia trip and tasteful decor. — J.D.

Busy dads, especially one with younger kids, probably don't have much time to sit in front of a gaming PC. That's where the Steam Deck comes in handy thanks to its portability.
$399 at Valve

Busy dads, especially one with younger kids, probably don't have much time to sit in front of a gaming PC. That's where the Steam Deck comes in handy. Valve's portable gaming system puts a ton of games into their hands, and it has enough power to play most indie titles and some AAA ones. Mostly, though, we found it to be a great way to clear out a PC gaming backlog — perhaps as they’re holding a little one who will only nap in their arms.

With the Steam Deck, they can carve out slices of gaming time when they have time to breathe. I've personally found it very useful in that wonderful period right after putting the kids down to sleep. They can play PC games in bed without moving a muscle! And if they already have a PC, they can also stream demanding games directly from it. While there are a few Steam Deck competitors on the horizon – we're particularly intrigued by the ASUS ROG Ally – there's something to be said about the simplicity of Valve's experience. It's the most console-like way to enjoy PC games so far. (If handhelds aren't their thing, take a look at our gaming console guide too!) — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Reporter

The Game Console 2.0 is a good coffee-table book for any dad who enjoys looking back on gaming’s history.
$26 at Amazon

The Game Console 2.0 is a good coffee-table book for any dad who enjoys looking back on gaming’s history. It’s a visual tour of more than 100 different consoles, from the Magnavox Odyssey to the PlayStation 5 to less-remembered fare like the Tapwave Zodiac. The author, Evan Amos, is best known for taking many of the stock photos of gaming hardware you’d find on Wikipedia (and beyond), so it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the shots in his book are consistently clean and sharp. Each console has some light yet interesting background detail, and Amos neatly organizes the systems he documents by console generation. It’s not the deepest dive into the industry’s past, but it should be a pleasure for any gaming enthusiast to flip through every now and then. — J.D.

Microsoft's pitch with Game Pass Ultimate is hard to pass up. For $15 a month, you get access to a large library of Xbox and PC titles, including day-one releases from Microsoft studios.
$45 at Amazon

Microsoft's pitch with Game Pass Ultimate is hard to pass up. For $15 a month, you get access to a large library of Xbox and PC titles, including day-one releases from Microsoft studios. Now that new game prices have crept up to $70, Game Pass Ultimate seems like a better deal than ever. It's a useful way to dive into new and older games, and it's also helpful for keeping kids busy once they turn into little gamers. If they end up liking a particular title, there are discounts if dad wants to permanently add something to their library.

Game Pass Ultimate also unlocks Xbox cloud streaming, which I've found to be useful on the road (all you need is a laptop and an Xbox controller to get some playtime!). It's also helpful for previewing a game quickly, without waiting for it to be downloaded and installed. Progress is also stored on Microsoft's servers, so dad can also pick up and keep playing if they choose to download a cloud title eventually. — D.H.

There are a million different games worth gifting for Father’s Day, but if dad never got around to playing Metroid Prime back in the GameCube days, getting him the recent Switch remaster is a fantastic way to rectify that.
$39 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$39 at Walmart

There are a million different games worth gifting for Father’s Day, but if dad never got around to playing Metroid Prime back in the GameCube days, getting him the recent Switch remaster is a fantastic way to rectify that. This new version sharpens up the original’s already stunning art direction and includes a more modern dual-stick control scheme. The first-person adventure at the heart of it all remains one of the most entrancing games ever made. It channels the isolation and wonder of the series’ NES roots, and manages to be thrilling even as it encourages you to slow down and take in the world’s details. While it has its share of action, it’s not a first-person shooter so much as a first-person exploration game. Some 20 years after Prime’s initial release, few titles have made encountering an alien world through someone else’s eyes feel more authentic. — J.D.

Scuf makes a number of customizable controllers, and you can personalize almost every part of them, down to the color of the thumbsticks.
$220 at Scuf

There’s no shortage of customizable gift ideas you’ll find for Father’s Day, but if your dad likes to spend time gaming, a custom pillow, frame or plaque may not be as useful as a customized controller. Scuf makes a number of controllers, and you can personalize almost every part of them, down to the color of the thumbsticks. The wireless Instinct Pro works with Xbox, PC, Mac and mobile OSes, and we like its remappable paddles and its adjustable instant triggers, which remove pull down and make it feel more like a mouse click. It’s a more than capable controller that any gamer would love to receive, but the cherry on top will be customizing it with their favorite colors and hues. — Valentina Palladino, Senior Commerce Editor

The new wireless Arctis Pro has better sound quality and a plethora of new adjustment options. They also support 360-degree spatial audio on Windows PCs and the PlayStation 5.
$299 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$292 at Walmart

SteelSeeries' previous high-end gaming headphones, the Arctis Pro, were some of the best we've ever heard. The company's new Nova Pro headsets improve on that design with better sound quality, and a plethora of new adjustment options. They also support 360-degree spatial audio on Windows PCs and the PlayStation 5. We're recommending the $350 wireless model since it allows for more freedom – useful for parents who may also need to rush off to console a crying child at night – but if they don't mind a cable the $250 wired model sounds just as good. And if dad would prefer a headset he can use in more ways than one, our best gaming headsets guide has a ton of all-purpose options. — D.H.

Photo by Jeff Dunn / Engadget
The Razer Basilisk V3 is a comfortable and responsive mouse for any dad who does a lot of PC gaming.
$50 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$70 at Razer

The Razer Basilisk V3 is a comfortable and responsive mouse for any dad who does a lot of PC gaming. The top pick in our best gaming mouse guide has a sturdy frame that should fit all but the smallest of hands and well-sized buttons that are satisfying to press. While it’s not the lightest mouse, and won’t be the absolute fastest for twitchy shooting games, it tracks smoothly and accurately. And outside of games, the fact that its scroll wheel can tilt side-to-side and swap to a free-spinning mode makes it a handy option for navigating large documents and Excel sheets. Just note that, like many gaming mice, it’s made for righties first. — J.D.

We love the Switch, but it's not the most ergonomic thing out there. A Satisfye ZenGrip can help dad stave off sore wrists and tingly fingers while running around Tears of the Kingdom or Super Mario Odyssey.
$90 at Amazon

The Switch is a wonderful device, but it’s not the most ergonomic thing out there. If dad has complained about this before, a Satisfye ZenGrip can help him stave off sore wrists and tingly fingers while running around Tears of the Kingdom or Super Mario Odyssey. This is a molded, hard plastic grip that slots around a Switch and makes it feel more like you’re holding a very wide Xbox or PlayStation controller instead of a flat rectangle. It won’t make the buttons feel any better, and it certainly adds a bit of bulk, but it’s solidly constructed and sized for medium or large hands. Unlike many other Switch grips, the design won’t scuff the console when removed, plus it leaves enough room for the Switch’s fans. Satisfye sells grips for all three Switch models in various colors as well as bundles that pair the accessory with a specially designed case. — J.D.

Engadget
If dad likes to game on his phone, the Backbone One will give him a more natural way to play.
$85 at Amazon

If dad likes to game on his phone, the Backbone One will give him a more natural way to play. This is a mobile gamepad that attaches directly to a phone’s Lightning or USB-C port and works with any game that supports controllers. It has all the inputs needed to play modern games, and while its buttons won’t feel as luxurious as a full-size pad, they’re still responsive and properly spaced given the size constraints. The contoured grips are comfy to hold over time, plus there’s a built-in headphone jack and charging port for your phone. For beefy mobile games or streaming PS5 and Xbox games, it’ll be much less fiddly than touch controls. — J.D.

It’s best viewed as a show piece on a shelf rather than something dad would play seriously, but one of My Arcade’s Micro Player mini arcade cabinets is an adorable way for him to display a retro favorite.
$31 at Amazon

It’s best viewed as a show piece on a shelf rather than something dad would play seriously, but one of My Arcade’s Micro Player mini arcade cabinets is an adorable way for him to display a retro favorite. While there are certainly cheaper and more convenient ways to play old games, these 6.75-inch cabinets don’t feel flimsy and generally convey the spirit of each game well. (Just note that the artwork is usually “inspired by” the game in question, not a replica of its original cabinet.) Their buttons are surprisingly responsive and, while the 2.75-inch screen looks washed out from an angle, it’s bright and colorful enough to be usable. There’s a speaker and headphone jack built in, plus each joystick is removable if dad would rather use the mini d-pad instead. The line includes several classics, including Pac-Man, Galaga, Street Fighter II and Space Invaders, among many others. — J.D.

Photo by Jessica Conditt / Engadget
Panic's Playdate won't ever compete with the Nintendo Switch, but it's undoubtedly one of the most intriguing pieces of gaming we've seen recently.
$199 at Panic

Panic's Playdate won't ever compete with the Nintendo Switch, or even the PlayStation Vita, when it comes to graphics or the depth of its library. But it's undoubtedly one of the most intriguing pieces of gaming we've seen recently. Imagine a super-slim version of the Game Boy with a sharp screen and a cute crank on the side, and you've got the Playdate.

While it only has two buttons and a directional pad, most games are built to use the crank, perhaps to steer a surf board as you're trying to catch some waves, or to direct a bumbling robot as he tries (and fails) to reach his date on time. It's a limited system (it doesn't even have a backlight!), but those limitations have led to some truly unique gaming experiences. — D.H.

Stonemaier Games
If dad wants to get more into tabletop games and doesn’t mind going beyond the usual high-fantasy fare, Wingspan is worth a look.
$44 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$50 at Walmart

If dad wants to get more into tabletop games and doesn’t mind going beyond the usual high-fantasy fare, Wingspan is worth a look. This is a popular, award-winning “engine builder” that casts up to five players as bird lovers trying to attract feathered friends to their wildlife preserve. The rules are straightforward enough to appeal to newbies, but there are numerous strategies you can take to win, so the game is easily replayable. Plus, the whole thing is gorgeous, with 170 illustrated bird cards, pastel egg pieces and a faux-birdhouse for dice rolls. It’s also possible to play the game solo. — J.D.