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Holiday Wish Guide: Nintendo Gifts for Gamers & Pop Culture Fans


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Last month, our oldest daughter, Addie, accompanied me on a special trip to the North American Headquarters of Nintendo, nestled into the wooded Seattle suburb of Redmond, Washington. While Addie loved it and made memories that will last a lifetime, for me the visit rekindled some feelings from the past – a kid who grew up a Nintendo loyalist and had a few different Nintendo Christmases. The original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and it’s successor, the Super NES (SNES) were both Christmas gifts… and in 1997, my future wife and I both presented each other with wrapped Nintendo 64 (N64) systems under the tree. This year, nostalgia is mighty, and as Nintendo looks ahead to the 2017 release of their new Switch gaming system, there’s much fun to be had, with plenty of Nintendo goodness available right now, and perfect for last-minute gifting. And it all swings back to the beginning…

At Nintendo HQ
James Zahn (The Rock Father) with Rock Daughter Addie and Mario & Luigi at Nintendo HQ

nesclassic1NES Classic Editon: Of all the Nintendo gifts you could give, this is probably at the top of the list… and the most difficult to find. I was lucky enough to have purchased one from the employee store at Nintendo HQ when we were there (which happened to be on release date, 11/11), and honestly, I haven’t seen another one since. Featuring 30 classic games packed into a miniature version of the original 1985 system, this thing is fantastic, especially since it’s a quick connection to the TV thanks to HDMI. Rumor has it that Best Buy and Target will be the places to look for these at the $59.99 MSRP this week.

Nintendo 3DS XL: With screens that are 90% larger than the original 3DS, this dual-screen handheld system takes the legacy of the classic Game Boy into new realms, with the top screen displaying compatible games in 3D without the need for special eyewear. There’s so much you can do with this thing, it’s been hard to pry it from The Rock Daughters’ hands, but the funny thing is – despite all the incredible modern games available, the kids’ favorite is the 1985 version of Super Mario Bros.! MSRP: $199 | Shop at Best Buy

And if you’ve got a 3DS, some new games will be required…

starrushSuper Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS: This portable version of the hit Wii U game includes the most Mario levels ever featured in a hand-held game. Even the most hard-core players will have a blast completing the game’s numerous challenges.

Mario Party Star Rush encourages families to play together, with new features that make it possible for up to four people to play together simultaneously. This fast-paced, portable multiplayer game offers something for everyone and can be played for a quick session or a full afternoon of fun. No more waiting your turn or determining who goes next

amiibo Figures: Fun for gamers and non-gamers alike, Nintendo’s amiibo figures have become sought-after collectibles, allowing for a connection between old-school players and new ones, along with kids (like our youngest) who like to use them without the games, and collectors that love to have them on display.


There’s over 100 figures available right now, with more already announced for the coming year! See them all here.

Hot Wheels Mario Bros. Character Car
Hot Wheels Mario Character Car – Photo by James Zahn

Accessories, toys, clothing and more: We’ve already given the girls’ baby cousin a Mario onesie for Christmas, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From cool vehicles and action figures by JAKKS Pacific, to Super Mario Bros. Hot Wheels Character Cars by Mattel, to travel mugs, glassware, wall art and beyond, there’s something Nintendo for everyone. 

Want more great gift ideas? Check out the Nintendo Holiday Gift Guide, and head out to your favorite retailer to find many of these items in-stock and ready to rock!

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