Christmas Gift Guide 2014

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Ah Christmas... a favorite time of the year for most of us here at GeekOut. It's a time for giving and receiving, when commercialism reigns supreme. And as we do every year, we like to put a simple list together to help our fellow geeks because we all know how hard it is to give someone who has a lot of hobbies a gift that they would actually appreciate. Let's kick it off with's Bim's list.

Bim says...

Master Sword Replica

Couple days ago, I saw something cool posted on Facebook. It was a replica of the Master Sword. And first thing that went through my head was "Wish I could get one of these but shipping is normally so expensive. Plus taxes just add too much to the cost." Then I realized, my friend was talking about a supplier of replicas who make them with wood and enamel paint locally. That blew my mind!

If you have a friend who knows what a Triforce is, he would love this gift.

You can get the Master Sword for Php 3,286.38 (somewhere in the neighborhood of $70-$80) from Hello Knightmare's Etsy store. You can also order a scabbard because why the hell not. 

Samus Aran figure by Figma

Whether your giftee is a video game fan or action figure collector, he'll be happy with this beautiful Samus Aran/ Metroid action figure. It's made by Figma, a company known for quality figures. Figma figures have some of the best joints and the best plastic around. 

Samus stands at around 6" tall. It comes with a Figma stand, 5 left hand options, two blast effects, a missile attachment for the blaster, and the morph ball. That's a lot of stuff.

You can get one at Abubot.ph for only Php 1,450. Stock is limited so buy soon.

Roccat Arvo

A gaming keyboard need not be expensive. I present to you the Roccat Arvo, a compact gaming keyboard! When you pick one of these bad boys up, first thing you'll notice is that it is puny. The way it achieves its size is it integrates the arrow keys into the numerical keypad. It is specifically built for gaming, and you'll probably have a horrible time working on an Excel spreadsheet on it. However, if you don't have a lot of desk space, this is perfect.

It has macro button beneath the space bar, which you can customize and set yourself. That would be perfect for games that require you to press a lot of things.

Another good thing about it is its anti-ghosting feature, which just pretty much all your input, no matter how close to each you press them, will be go through to your PC and it will be read as opposed to b losing input because of rapid key presses.

It's a couple years old so it isn't easy to find, but you should be able to pick one up for Php 2,120 at PC Bodega.

Nerf CS-18 Rapidstrike

I've been on a Nerf high lately. Painted my first Nerf gun. Bought a Sledgefire because it was on sale. Was gifted a Strongarm. Got a Stryfe from a gift receipt. And I'm loving it! Shooting a Nerf into something that topples over is the most cathartic feeling in the world. You know what's better than all that? Shooting something that topples over at full-goddamn-auto.

The Nerf Rapidstrike comes with an 18-dart clip, a nice hefty frame, and a full-auto flywheel system. I've been told the Nerf Rapidstrike is easy to mod if you have a basic understanding of electronics, and most kids are these days. You can overcome the voltage ceiling, making your flywheel motors run faster and shoot darts farther and harder.

You can still probably find these guys at Toys R' Us or Toy Kingdom going for Php 3,000.00 - Php 3,500.00.

 

Gino says...

Funko POP! Vinyl Figures

I don't know how but Funko's line of POP! vinyl figures has exploded in popularity in recent months. They are so hot right now. They're adorable and highly collectible, but the best part about this line is the dizzying number of franchises involved. Where else can you get figures of The Beatles, Tupac, CM Punk, Walter White, Elsa, Ghostface, White Lantern Flash, Hannibal Lecter, Smaug, the frickin' Colossal Titan, and a headless Hershel Greene from The Walking Dead in the same vinyl figure line?

There's something for everyone. Looking for a gift for kids? There's a ton of Disney characters to choose from. For your comic book geek friend? There's an endless array of DC and Marvel figures. For your friend who loves awesome TV shows? BAM, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead Pops. Gamer friend? Hello there, Mass Effect and WoW Pops. Your drunk uncle? Elvis, Scarface, or Robocop.

Most Funko POP! vinyl figures are Php550 but there are exclusives, chase variants, and retired ones that can range from Php900 to Php2,500. Some really rare ones can go beyond that, but you don't really need to give a headless Ned Stark (current estimated value: $190) to your godchild.

You can get these at Big Boys, Filbar's, and other places where you can get toys and collectibles. Don't worry, there's a lot of them. Because Funko Pops are so hot right now.

 

Slangards says...

Funko Pop! Vinyl Bobbleheads

If you've been to any toy or comic shop in the past 6 months, then you've probably seen these around. They've become the biggest fad in toy collecting that I've seen since the first Transformers movie came out, and it's easy to see why.

No matter what species of geek your loved one is, TV geek, Film geek, 80's cartoon geek, Comic Hero geek, you're bound to find a Funko Pop! figure that relates to their interest. I've recently bought some Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men figures, and they make for a beautiful little desktop time sink at 4" tall.

They start at Php 500 to Php 600 depending on where you buy them. Toystores in Shoppesville Plus in Greenhills are a good place to get them, or you can order from the Abubot.ph website if you can't get there. Convention exclusives, the larger deluxe Figures (like Baymax), and the vehicles (like the Batmobile) cost something like Php 1,500 and up.

Munchkin

If you're not the type of people to go out drinking on a Friday night, but have run out of TV shows to binge watch, you might want to try board games.

Munchkin is an excellent entry into the hobby, combining the more fast-paced sword and sorcery elements of the classic role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, while doing away with some of the more time consuming aspects like rolling for initiative, skill checks, and turn based combat.

A round of Munchkin can easily been completed in about an hour, with each player taking a turn "kicking open the door" by flipping a card to find out if they're facing a monster. If they beat the monster with a combination of their skills and gear, they gain a level and treasure. The game ends when one player reaches level 10 (if the other players don't backstab him back to level 1 before that).

The basic set (without the gameboard and game pieces) costs Php 1,220 at www.gaminglib.com. They can deliver anywhere in the Philippines. You can also get expansion sets of cards to make it a little more nuts.

The Art of Big Hero 6

 If your loved one is a fan of animation (or film), these fantastic coffee table books featuring concept art from various movies are a great idea for gifts. If I had the cash, I'd have gotten "The Art of..." books for all of the Marvel movies, all of the Pixar/Disney films, and select animated features from Blue Sky and Dreamworks, and put them all on a nice big bookshelf.

 The one that I saw last was The Art of Big Hero 6, which has shot straight to the top of my wants list after seeing the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, it's an animated feature that is VERY loosely based on a short-lived Marvel comic book series. It is easily one of the best films, animated or otherwise, of 2014.

The book includes sketches, storyboards, and concept art/sculpture of the characters and designs in the film, and is detailed by insights from the creators. I totally want it in my life (hint hint hint, Wendee). It's currently available at Fully Booked for Php 1,840. Also available is The Art of the Book of Life (Php 1,575) and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Php 2,099).

 

Larry says...

Bootlegos

I'm sure by now you've already seen these babies everywhere. Now normally I'd advise against getting fakes, but honestly the quality of some of the figs are not that bad, especially the Sheng Yuan and DeCool brands. Also, you get access to characters not even LEGO has come out yet, like these 4 above. The main clincher, of course, is the price. These figures cost P35 (if you buy them in sets at DV) to P50 (the SRP of most stores selling 'em), compared to the P250 average of official LEGO minifigures. BUT OF COURSE, if you have money to burn (and you want those huge sets with high brick count), go for the originals! 

Smash Up

Ever heard of Magic: The Gathering? Of course you have. Smash Up is basically a simplified version of it. You take control of 2 factions (ranging from zombies to robots to time travellers, more factions added every few months) and use them to destroy bases, which earns you points depending on your army strength. First one to reach 15 points wins the game and is entitled to free pizza for a year! (Okay I might have added that last provision but you have to admit, it sounds like a good idea, yeah?) You can buy the game at Greenhills for roughly P1200-P1500 for the starter kit and P900 for the expansions.

Local comics 

There are a TON of good, local books out there, ready to be read. Go to any National Bookstore branch, at Uno Morato in Quezon City, or check out Visprint at Facebook and pick up books by Budjette Tan, Arnold Arre, Rob Cham, Ian Sta. Maria, Apol Sta. Maria, Mervin Malonzo, and many others. I promise, you won't regret it.

Funko POPs

Yeah, I know, two of my comrades have already mentioned POPs but just to be sure, I am going to be that asshat who repeats it one more time. Just because.

 

HPN says...

Kawai ES100


What:

Kawai ES100
- It's a 88-key digital piano with weighted/graded key action from Kawai, a well-regarded Japanese piano maker, digital and analog alike. It's a classy, understated, no-frills black slab of a piano - does not have LCD screens, light-up keys, or knobs - with 192-note polyphony (i.e. it can play 192 notes at the same time - good news for pieces with a lot of sustained notes) and the audio samples were created using individual keys (as opposed to some makers who "stretch" smaller audio samples across different keys).

For:

- that music nerd in your life who wants to play a piano but does not have the space nor budget for a digital or analog piano. Perfect for people with limited furniture space and condo dwellers and those in the market for non-kitschy digital pianos. Not so ideal as a gig piano unless your venue has monitors (the built-in speakers, though good, are small) and you have a car and bag to lug its ~15kg weight around.

Where and how much:
- PhP30k cash or straight at Lyric Piano Philippines, PhP32k for installment.

Why:

- Holy fuckballs that's expensive. BUT - US SRP is at USD 800 to 1000, depending on where you get it. Factor in shipping and stuff, and you should get a local SRP of PhP50k. Yes, that's different from the stated price above - it's because Lyric Piano is running an introductory promo that's really near or below the US SRP. True, they've been running it for a couple of months now and there's no assurance on how long the promotion will last, so if you're shopping for one, better decide soon.

Why should you get this over [insert brand here]? This is subjective, but I like how the ES100's action has the right mix of mush and resistance across the entire press duration and beyond (you'll see it once you do a double-tap). I find the weighted/graded key implementation of some brands as still springy or linear. I also like the fact that the monitor ports are in front - no need to reach around to plug in earphones.

Another factor to consider is the overall bang-for-money of the whole package. Comparable units from other brands only come with the unit itself - no damper pedal, no stand, no music sheet rest - for at least PhP45k. The ES100 comes with all of those, and the damper pedal is a heavy-duty full-sized one that can do half-presses, not one of those small plastic squares. To get something similar with other brands, be prepared to fork over somewhere near or above PhP50k.

True, you don't get fancy effects or USB ports and a buttload of buttons but at the end of the day, the question that needs to be answered is "Is this a good sounding, nice playing, value-for-money piano?". I believe the ES100 is.

 

Mark N. says...

Comixology E-gift Card
USD 10.00 - USD 500.00

The biggest surprise I encountered this year was my move to digital comics. I still buy the single issues of the must-have monthly titles but for older arcs and classic runs on both superhero books and non-cape titles, Comixology has been the best thing to ever happen to me. They regularly offer sales and discounted bundles on hot titles and that's what makes it a much more sensible option. For instance, I got the digitized Days of Future Past graphic novel for around Php 200.00 back when the movie came out. That's a steal right there!

It also eliminates the biggest recurring problem with all my hobbies... storage. Mumble grumble...

So yeah, It'd be cool to get an eGift Card from Comixology. Preset gift amounts range from USD 10.000 (If you kind of like me) to USD 500.00 (If you really love me and want my firstborn child). All you have to do is go to comixology.com, go the the eGift Card link, and burn your credit card for that geek in your life.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for the PS4
Php 2,400.00-ish

I would love to test out my new PS4's capabilities on this game. It's Lord of the Rings meets Assassin's Creed meets Arkham City. That may be the best threesome to date!

Next-gen graphics? Yep.
Next-gen gameplay? Yep.
Next-gen orgasmic sounds from my mouth? Ouuuurgh!

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game board game
Php 2,600.00

If you're still a sucker for the whole zombie apocalypse craze, then this is the definitive survival horror tabletop experience for you. Seriously, it's that good! I got the opportunity to sit down and play a demo version of the game and my review will be up soon. By the time you read it www.gaminglibrary.com should have their hands on copies of the game. Order it or go to Makati Beer & Boardgames to try it out with me. It has horror, action, abundance of player choices, narrative, and best of all... treachery! Mwahahaha!

Special thanks to the guys of Makati Beer and Boardgames for hosting my group for the game demo.

   

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