Nintendo Merchandise Gift Guide: 16 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Nintendo Fan

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It's holiday 2019 already. Christmas is almost upon us, and it's time to start thinking about all the rad Nintendo merchandise you're going to gift that special someone. Luckily, we've done a lot of the leg work and put together a list of 16 awesome gifts to kickstart your holiday journey. 

The Nintendo Switch has been out for two years now, but 2019 was an extra-good year for Nintendo fans. Just in the past 10 months alone, we've seen several high-quality new titles added to the system's library, ranging from epic RPGs to games that let you build your own levels. The 3DS even got an excellent new title earlier in the year.

But what to do when that special someone already bought the latest games? We've got you covered there, too, with a selection of non-game merchandise to suit a variety of interests and tastes.

Let's see what we've got below. 

Nintendo Switch Lite

Rating: 4.5/5 stars (322 total ratings)
Price: $199.95
Buy it from: Amazon

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a more portable variant of the standard Nintendo Switch. While it sacrifices the ability to connect to a TV and it lacks HD Rumble — which means there's a handful of games it can't play — it's also a heck of a lot easier to carry around. It's also generally more comfortable to play in handheld mode.

Otherwise, it does everything the same, with a display that's just a bit clearer than the original Switch, longer battery life, and improved backlight and sound settings.

If you're buying for someone who mostly plays portable systems or who needs their own Switch outside the family unit, then this is definitely a better buy than the base model — not least because it's $100 less than the original Switch. Check out our full review and detailed comparisons here.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Rating: 4.6/5 (350 total ratings)
Price: $43.94
Buy it from: Amazon

With all the big releases and epic adventures that released on Nintendo Switch this year, it's easy to forget Mario's lovable dino-sidekick Yoshi had their own game release this year as well.

Yoshi's Crafted World follows in the footsteps of Yoshi's Woolly World on the Wii U and 3DS, sending Yoshi across a variety of absolutely gorgeous worlds stuffed full of detail to retrieve some special Gems stolen by an evil Magikoopa.

Crafted World goes beyond Woolly World in the detail department, though. Every item in the game is a handicraft item, made from cardboard, straws — anything and everything you'd expect to see in a craft project of some kind. Most of these are used in puzzles of some kind or can be interacted with to earn a special item or coins as well, and it's easily the best use of graphics and environment in a game this year.

Like most Yoshi games, Crafted World isn't designed for your hardcore challenge seeker. It's fairly easy, though trying to find all the collectibles is a challenge in itself. Still, someone who appreciates solid and fun design and is happy to just get lost in the world for a while would be a good match for Yoshi's Crafted World.

If you need more information about it, head over to our review for a more thorough description.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Rating: 5 stars (496 total ratings)
Price: $57.85
Buy it from: Amazon

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an absolute must-have for any fan of RPGs or strategy games. It accommodates players of all skill and interest levels, and that's not something many strategy games do. It's a marriage of traditional Fire Emblem strategy gameplay with an RPG-style school setting that offers players an unprecedented level of customization. 

Then there's the story. Three Houses boasts a sprawling storyline split into four main branches depending on the player's choices. Each branch shares a similar first part, then they all diverge wildly, covering completely separate storylines and characters.

There's no "true" ending here, giving extra weight to the initial House choice and which students players choose to recruit into their armies. Fortunately, there are ways to shorten subsequent playthroughs, so experiencing each story won't just be a slog.

It's also one of the most accessible Fire Emblem games to date. There's Classic mode, where dead units stay dead, and Casual mode, where characters who drop to 0 HP just retreat. Then there's Normal and Hard difficulty, with the soul-shattering Maddening mode recently added as the highest difficulty level in the game. Stat crunching menu lovers can spend time optimizing every student, or you can skip the instructions part and let the game do it for you.

You can see our review of it as well if you need some more specific details, and we even have a range of Three Houses guides to point your happy recipient in the right direction should they need some assistance.

I Am Ferdinand Von Aegir T-Shirt

Ratings: 90% 5/5 stars (118 total ratings)
Price: $17.36
Buy it from: Redbubble

Maybe the person on your list already has Fire Emblem: Three Houses. If so, and if they're active on the Internet at all, they're probably familiar with this little gem of a phrase.

For a bit of context, Ferdinand is a character in the Black Eagles House, the son of the imperial prime minister and someone who has rather a good opinion of himself. Every character has a sound byte play when you first choose them during your turn. Dorothea, the former opera songstress, says, "That's my cue!" while the ever-impatient Lysithea says "Let's make this quick...".

Ferdinand? He says "I am Ferdinand Von Aegir!" That's it. That's all his enemies need to know, because for Ferdinand, the entire world is encapsulated in that one statement.

Naturally, this immediately turned Ferdinand and his catchphrase into a meme and even webcomic material. There isn't much Three Houses merchandise available, but this one, with its humor and stronger connections to the gameplay experience itself, is definitely one of the better pieces out there.

Etrian Odyssey Nexus

Ratings: 4.5/5 stars (50 total ratings)
Price: $29.97
Buy it from: Amazon

The 3DS still saw some new releases in early 2019 as well, with Etrian Odyssey Nexus being one of the more prominent ones. It's a celebration of, and possibly farewell to, Atlus' long-running Etrian Odyssey series that first debuted back on the original DS.

Etrian Odyssey Nexus is a throwback to traditional, first-person dungeon crawler RPG mixes, where you put together a party of five adventurers and explore a series of labyrinths. The exploration is the real star here, since Etrian Odyssey games require you to draw your map as you explore, documenting shortcuts, secrets, walls — or not, if you don't want to (but you should).

These labyrinths aren't for the fainthearted, either. Etrian Odyssey is known for being one of the more challenging RPG series on the 3DS, and Nexus is no exception (though as always, the difficulty can be changed at any time to suit your needs).

Overcoming the challenges in each labyrinth requires some careful party planning, and that's one of the game's biggest strengths. You have access to over a dozen unique classes pulled from all the previous Etrian Odyssey games, each with its own set of skill trees that offers a ton of customization options. No two EO parties will be the same and each offers a tremendous level of freedom in how each player approaches the game and keep things fresh for a long time.

We go into more detail in our review here.

Keep Calm and Have an Apple Gel Mug

Rating: 95% 5-star ratings (out of 66)
Price: $15.76
Buy it from: Redbubble

2019 has been an excellent year for RPGs on the Switch, but one that sort of got lost in the shuffle is Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. It's a remaster of a game that's largely considered the best in the long-running Tales of series, and it made its debut on a Nintendo system with the Switch earlier this year.

For a while, Apple Gels are quite literally your lifeblood in the game, being the most basic — and affordable — method of restoring your health and keeping you going. This mug does the same thing for whatever your essential building block of life might be, whether it's coffee, tea, or something else entirely.

It's a fun little reminder to take a break and give yourself a nice little treat in the middle of the day. 

Luigi's Mansion 3

Rating: 4.5/5 stars (145 total ratings)
Price: $59.99
Buy it from: Amazon

Luigi's Mansion first appeared on the GameCube way back in 2001, and despite being well-received, it's only seen two sequels since then. It's kind of okay, though, because the most recent of those, Luigi's Mansion 3, is a polished game that's an absolute blast to play from start to finish.

Luigi, Mario, Peach, and some Toads are on vacation at the ominously named Last Resort Hotel. Everything seems perfect until night falls, the hotel owner reveals she's in alliance with Luigi's old nemesis King Boo, and everyone except Luigi has been sealed inside portraits.

Fortunately, Luigi soon recovers his trusty Poltergust vacuum that lets him suck up ghosts and basically everything else. From there, it's up to the player to explore all 17 floors in the massive haunted hotel, uncovering secrets, solving puzzles, playing with toilets, and fighting off hordes of ghosts.

It's definitely one of the better-looking games on the Switch. You're rewarded for paying attention to the details as well since many puzzle solutions are found by carefully examining what's around you. All in all, Luigi's Mansion 3 is just plain fun for any age.

The Art of Super Mario Odyssey

Rating: 4.5/5 (9 reviews)
Price: $34.98 (Hardcover)
Buy it from: Amazon

Super Mario Odyssey, the beloved plumber's first Nintendo Switch outing, has been around for two years now, and many players have seen all there is to see. What they may not have seen, though, is how it all came to be.

Publisher Dark Horse Books recently put out The Art of Super Mario Odyssey, an in-depth art book presenting the various kingdoms Mario ventures to in a completely new light.

And it's not light on content either, with 368 pages worth of material. From finished products and concept art, to cut designs and stories from the development team, this artbook is a must-have for Mario Odyssey fans.

Pokemon Sitting Cuties Plush

Ratings: Generally 5 stars (number of ratings varies depending on which plush)
Price: $10.99
Buy it from: The Pokemon Center

The National Pokedex in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield might not include all 1,000+ Pokemon this time around, but the spirit of Gotta Catch 'Em All is alive and well with The Pokemon Center's line of Pokemon Sitting Cuties.

Right now, the line includes every Pokemon from Generations 1 and 2, which equates to 253 different plushies. These range in size from 5-inches to roughly 8-inches, but all are $10.99.

As you'd expect, they all sit up somehow, which makes them easy to display or even just to sit around without worrying about them falling over and becoming the dog's next meal.

The size also means these could be great individual stocking stuffers or grouped together as more than one, and they won't take up much space for the recipient either.

Poke Ball Classics

If that certain someone isn't a plushie fan or can't carry their favorite stuffie around with them, the Poke Ball Classics collection is a consideration. It's a range of professional attire and accessories for adults (or those who have to pretend to be adults during the day).

Though the wallet is shown above, the line contains a number of choices.

It's a great reminder of the child at heart, that the things we love don't have to fall away just because time passes and we grow up. And they look cool, which is always a bonus.

The NES Encyclopedia

Rating: 4.5 stars (12 reviews)
Price: $37.04 (Hardcover) or $29.95 (Paperback)
Buy it from: Amazon

This is the quintessential guide to everything Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). There's a comprehensive, but concise, overview of that period in gaming and the system itself, along with a detailed entry for every NES game released  all 714 of them  plus the 160 unlicensed games. It's the only book of its kind.

The author is considered an expert in retro gaming as well, so you know it's coming not just from a reliable author, but from someone with personal experience of, and passion for, the topic. The enthusiasm for retro gaming is only getting stronger, so this would be a perfect gift for someone who already has the latest Nintendo products and even the NES Classic.

Plus, the author is currently compiling an SNES Encyclopedia, which means we just sorted your Christmas 2020 plans for you as well. You're welcome.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)

Rating: 4.5/5 stars (540 total ratings)
Price: $49.94
Buy it from: Amazon

Speaking of love for retro, Nintendo released an enhanced version of the classic The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on the Switch this year. Structurally, it's almost exactly like the Game Boy and Game Boy Color original, but that's not a bad thing. It isn't considered one of the best games in the storied Zelda series for nothing, and it places a greater emphasis on exploration and storytelling than many of the Zelda games that followed it.

Link wakes up on a strange island and finds out he has to also wake up a mysterious creature known as the Wind Fish. He can't figure out why everyone on the island reminds him of people in Hyrule — or why creatures from other Nintendo franchises are wandering around. It's a surreal adventure tightly woven around some wildly unique personalities.

While the core gameplay remains largely untouched, the game's visuals and soundtrack received some excellent upgrades. The entire game looks like a mix of toybox and diorama style in what, alongside Crafted World, stands out as one of the year's most innovative use of visuals in a game.

If you can't tell already, we liked it. A lot. You can see all the reasons why here if you're interested.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition

Rating: 5/5 stars (239 total ratings)
Price: $49.99
Buy it from: Amazon

Dragon Quest XI was one of the best RPGs that launched on the PlayStation 4 last year. Though Dragon Quest traditionally doesn't push too many boundaries in terms of RPG conventions, DQXI brought the series forward by leaps and bounds, with more character interactions, a bigger world, and a particularly potent plot twist that turns those conventions upside down.

And now it's on the Nintendo Switch. It isn't just the regular game, either. The "definitive edition" moniker is well earned, as the Switch version includes new content, side chapters fleshing out every main character's story, a section that lets you explore elements from previous Dragon Quest worlds, and even the ability to play almost the entire game with SNES-style graphics.

Players take control of the nameless Hero, the Luminary of ancient legends reincarnated for reasons unknown. There's a bit of a hitch in this setup, though, since the Hero ends up in prison precisely because he's the Luminary. From there, players meet up with an eclectic and fantastic cast of characters and travel around the (huge) world to uncover the mystery behind the Luminary and the dark plans unfolding behind the scenes.

This is a meaty game, with a long main storyline on top of an extended post-game set of challenges

Dragon Quest XI Luminary's Crest Slim Fit T-Shirt

Rating: 90% 5 stars (150 total ratings)
Price: $18.81
Buy it from: Redbubble

Like Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest still hasn't quite reached a level of popularity in the West that generates a wealth of merchandise. But the Luminary, the hero of Dragon Quest XI, is probably a bit more well known now thanks to his debut in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Whether your intended recipient has played DQXI or just knows the Luminary as that quirky character with the random moveset from Smash, the Luminary's Crest T-shirt from Redbubble is a great way to show off some of that Dragon Quest fan love. The design itself is central to the game, plus it's understated enough to be something you could wear anywhere, unlike some of the character-centric shirts that tend to be just a tad too loud for normal wear.

The Art of Bravely Default

Rating: 5/5 stars (11 total ratings)
Price: $23.49 (Hardcover)
Buy it from: Amazon

Bravely Default isn't a new game, but it's only just now we're getting the lovely art book we've needed since the game launched. Bravely Default itself is a solid RPG, but one of the best things about it is how completely gorgeous it is, alongside the way the story plays with RPG storytelling and its Final Fantasy roots.

Dark Horse Books — the same ones that published the Mario Odyssey art book — brings us 256 pages stuffed full of content. There's the usual art, of course, following location and character designs from conception through to the finished product. There's also never-before-localized commentary from the development team, covering the story and its origins plus general commentary on the development process.

This is a natural fit for anyone who's played Bravely Default, though should it already be on your intended recipient's shelf, Dark Horse published a similar book based on the game's sequel, Bravely Second.

Super Mario Maker 2

Rating: 4.5/5 stars (485 total ratings)
Price: $43.94
Buy it from: Amazon

We'd be remiss if we didn't include Super Mario Maker 2 in our list, the follow-up to the excellent Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. It's the game series that lets you design, play, and share your own Super Mario levels, using items and obstacles from throughout Mario history and offering multiple aesthetic styles to suit your creative needs.

As comprehensive as the original was, it might seem like there's no way to improve. But Super Mario Maker 2 did improve, adding even more items, even more ways to design your stages, multiplayer options, and a special new Super Mario 3D Land style that lets you create stages with 3D elements.

On top of that is a much more expanded single-player mode, one that goes far beyond simple tutorials to use for building and sharing stages. The idea is that Mario must help rebuild Peach's castle. While it exists mostly to teach players how to make their own stages, the included levels are easily some of the best designed Mario stages in general, essentially adding a new 2D Mario game on top of the Maker components.

Even those who spent hundreds of hours with the original found Super Mario Maker 2 to be exciting and fresh.

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And that's it for our Nintendo merchandise gift guide for this year. Hopefully, this list of awesome Nintendo products helped you find a gift for your favorite Nintendo fan — or at least got your gears turning! 

Published Nov. 13th 2019

Contributor

Josh Broadwell's gaming career began early--1993, to be exact--when he was introduced to the Super Nintendo and Super Mario World. Despite all the magnificent games the SNES and, later, the original PlayStation had to offer, it wasn't until the GameBoy Advance era that he finally discovered RPGs, which quickly became a favorite genre. He holds a BA in history, an MA in history, and is currently pursuing an MA in strategic communication.

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