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Best Video Games for Christmas 2021

Best Video Games for Christmas 2021

Best Video Games for Christmas
Give the kid or long-time gamer in your life what they really want for Christmas: a video game. This guide breaks down several game types, so you can choose the right game to slip into a stocking or put under the tree this year. We’ve put together a selection of video games for everyone on your list, no matter what console they use, including games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.
Best Video Games for Christmas

Video Games as Christmas Presents:

Video Game Rating System

Like movies and TV shows, video games all have a rating, so you can make sure your gift is age and sensitivity appropriate. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gives each game an abbreviated rating, which is found on game covers and in the product description online. The chart below shows the general breakdown.

Rating Age Description
Early Childhood (EC) 3+ Intended for young children.
Everyone (E) 6+ May contain mild cartoon or fantasy violence and infrequent mild language.
Everyone 10+ (E10+) 10+ May contain slightly stronger cartoon or fantasy violence, minimal mild language, and suggestive themes.
Teen (T) 13+ May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and infrequent use of strong language.
Mature (M) 17+ May contain violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and strong language.
Adults Only (AO) 18+ May contain prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, or gambling with real currency.
Rating Pending (RP) n/a No released game will carry this rating. It is used solely for promotional materials before the ESRB submits an actual rating.


Popular Types of Video Games:

Action-Adventure Games

Action-adventure games feature gorgeously crafted worlds and have the player focus on exploring, collecting, and fighting their way through them. These adventures blend intriguing stories with fun and exciting gameplay for an experience that appeals to many different kinds of gamers. Some action-adventure games even feature open worlds that require hundreds of hours to unlock every secret and collectible.

Oftentimes, RPG elements are included to make the experience more rewarding, with characters able to level up skills, customize weapons and armor, and become more powerful.

2021’s must-play titles include Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morales, Marvel’s Avengers, Ghost of Tsushima, Gods & Monsters, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Most games are available for X Box 1, PS4, and PC.

Shooter Games

Bullets fly and explosions rock the screen in these games that feature non-stop action and guns, lots of guns. Shooters are either 1st-person (camera is the character’s perspective) or 3rd-person (camera is behind the character).

Shooters typically have a story-focused campaign that promises hours of entertainment, but the real draw is competitive multiplayer matches that pit your aim and reflexes against players from around the world. Cooperative modes also exist in many games that let players team up to complete missions or objectives. Many shooters are rated “Mature” and are not meant for young gamers.

This year, PS4, Xbox One, and PC owners can expect Apex Legends, Left 4 Dead 2, Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant, and Doom Eternal to deliver the adrenaline boost they’re seeking. If you’re buying for a “Fortnite” gamer, go with a gift card for their gaming service of choice which will let them buy in-game items and other exclusive content.

Sports & Racing Games

Want something that’s fun for gamers and everyone else in the family? Sports and racing games are where it’s at. Nearly every major sport is covered by a successful franchise – “Madden” football, “FIFA” soccer, and “NBA” basketball, with an updated game every year.

Look for titles containing “20” to make sure you’re getting the latest editions. As for racing games, “Forza Horizon 4” for Xbox One offers hundreds of cars and an open-world experience that’s engaging and dynamic. This highly rated installment from Microsoft is the must-play racing game this year.

Fighter Games

It used to be that anyone could beat a fighting game with a lot of button mashing and a little bit of luck, but today’s fighter games require skill, timing, and memory if you want to make it to the top. The most popular fighter games are typically updated additions to long-running series. “WWE 2K20” delivers all the over-the-top moves and personality of the pro-wrestling ring right to your living room.

However, the “most-wanted fighting game of the year award” goes to Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Season 2.” This Nintendo Switch exclusive promises the biggest roster of Nintendo characters yet and will give the gamer on your list endless hours of fun.

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games, or RPGs, are games that require a real time commitment. Heavy on story and character development, these games embrace character customization, typically by gaining experience to unlock new skills and gameplay options. While RPG elements can be found in many games, traditional RPGs embrace imaginative fantasy worlds and encourage exploration.

The RPG standouts this year are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, Disco Elysium, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, and Persona 5 Royal.

Music & Party Games

Get the party started with music and party games that everyone can enjoy. These games play better with a group of people and are a great way to break the ice and have some fun.

While get-up-and-move games aren’t as common now as they were during the reign of the Nintendo Wii, there’s one big release this year that’s worth checking out. Paper Mario: The Origami King or the Switch is the latest in the popular series and will be perfect for a little friendly competition at their next get-together.

Kids’ & Family Games

As a parent, it can be hard to find games that are age-appropriate for your kids but still give them the entertainment experience they’re looking for. Checking the ratings of the games you consider is one of the best ways to stay on the right track.

However, there are a few games that are proven crowd-pleasers among young gamers. Chances are you’ve heard of “Minecraft,” the virtual building block game that fosters creativity and has taken the world by storm. Lego video games are another great place to start, with kid-friendly versions of everything from Harry Potter to The Avengers. Keep the kids happy this Christmas with games they’re sure to love.

Does your gamer need a new system to help them enjoy their Christmas video games? Check out our collection of the Best Electronic Gifts for Christmas.