Empire Christmas Gift Guide 2017


by James Dyer |
Published on


Xbox One X



4K gaming has a new champion. Released at the start of November, the Xbox One X deploys native 4K and HDR to provide detail good enough to make you weep. What’s more, it also doubles as a 4K Blu-ray player, with built-in 4K Netflix to boot. With more under the bonnet than anything save a high end PC, the Xbox One X is currently the most powerful gaming console in the world, which is hard to argue with.

PlayStation 4 Pro


It may not have the raw horsepower of the Xbox One X but the PS4 Pro is still a beast and remains a full £100 cheaper than Microsoft’s offering. Throw in the ability to hook up a PSVR and platform exclusives like Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian and Bloodborne and you’d be a fool to rule Sony’s machine out of the race just yet.

Nintendo Classic Mini: SNES


Super Mario World! Street Fighter II! Donkey Kong Country! Star Fox! Yes, these and many, many more await if you decide to wind back the clock and purchase Nintendo’s retro-console-with-a-twist this Christmas. The twist? You no longer need to worry about the cartridges, with 21 games already pre-installed. New features allow you to rewind up to five minutes of gameplay and even swap the old-school controllers for the Wii’s, if you so wish.

Nintendo Switch


Fun-loving Nintendo re-wrote the rulebook when it came to the Switch, allowing both home-based and on-the-go play. If you didn’t initially buy it for the Zelda hype, Christmas is the perfect opportunity to grab this multi-functional console that gives you the option of playing with up to seven others. With no loading screen and games seamlessly transferring from your handset to the TV, there’ll be less thumb-twiddling and more turkey-eating this Christmas.

iPhone 8 Plus

From £799

You know the drill: a new iPhone always means a better camera, better battery life, and a bunch of snazzy new features. But Apple has gone even further this time around, pushing the boundaries of the virtual world with the augmented reality features included in iOS 11’s ARkit, throwing in effortless wireless charging – oh, and there’s even a new portrait lighting feature for the wannabe social media influencers amongst you. With its 5.5-inch Retina HD display, the Plus model is definitely the mobile movie watcher’s iPhone of choice.

Apple TV 4K

£179 / £199

Have you recently splashed out on a snazzy 4K TV? Then you’ll want to take a look at Apple’s new black box. With full access to iTunes and the App Store, all of your favourite films and shows are available in eye-melting detail, with a Siri remote to help you navigate and the option to sync your AirPods. Whether you decide to play games, use the workout trainer, or just relax with your latest Netflix addiction, you deserve to have it displayed in an ultra crisp fashion. The best part? All the movies you bought in HD get a bump to 4K free of charge!

Braven 105 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker



If you're the sort of person who requires film scores to soundtrack your life, the Braven 105 may be able to help. Waterproof to the level of IPX7 (meaning it can be immersed up to one metre of water), this snazzy little bluetooth speaker is designed to be take literally anywhere. It has a versatlie elastic strap which can be attached to a bag or belt; there's a screw for a tripod, should you wish to hold it on a stand; and the GoPro mount allows it to be fixed to pretty much anything, from a bicycle handlebar to a helmet to a dog. Perfect for playing John Williams' Jaws score in the pool.

Turtle Beach Stealth 700


Sometimes no amount of wall-mounted speakers can measure up to a good pair of cans, especially if you’re prone to late-night gaming sessions on a school night. With that fact in mind, Turtle Beach whipped up the Stealth 700 headphones, which not only belt out 7.1 surround sound with active noise cancelling, but do so with nary a wire to be seen. Available for both PS4 and Xbox One, the 700s are also one of the first headphones to use Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless tech to connect directly to the console, meaning no adapter required.

Thrustmaster TS-XW Racing Wheel


The TS-XW Racer Sparco P310 Competition Mod Racing Wheel might not have a name that trips off the tongue but if you’re a hardcore fan of racing games then this is about as real as it gets. A super high-end accessory, it certainly doesn’t come cheap but this is a 1:1 scale replica of a real Sparco racing wheel (featured on actual, you know, racecars) and boasts incredibly lifelike feedback via the dedicated onboard motors. With stemetall and suede finish, internal memory to keep players’ settings and a fully-adjustable three-pedal set, this may well be the most realistic racing wheel ever produced. It might cost a king's ransom but if you’re really serious about playing Forza 7 the way it was meant to be played, this is the kit to use.

Toys & Games

LEGO Millennium Falcon


The price tag might make you spit out your blue milk, but this isn’t your standard LEGO set. The Corellian ship is made up of – wait for it – 7,500 pieces, making it one of the biggest sets in the galaxy. The Millennium Falcon can be transformed from the iconic version into the one seen in Episodes VII and VIII, with enough room for four minifigures (there are 10 inside) in the cockpit. It doesn’t skimp on detail either, with secret compartments and passageways running throughout, as well as a gunnery station, weapons, and a Dejarik holographic game. You definitely won’t be bored this Christmas.

Sphero Lightning McQueen


Ka-Chow! If your house can’t fit any more Star Wars memorabilia, how about Lightning McQueen instead? If you have mini-mes who love Pixar’s Cars, set them up next to the red speedster and watch him react to the film. If you’re not currently responsible for small children, it doesn’t matter. Lightning can drift, perform doughnuts and has a reactive touch function that will definitely keep you amused after a hefty Christmas dinner.

Sphero R2-D2


We wouldn’t believe anyone who said they didn’t want their own personal Artoo. The little guy can wobble around and scoot forward and back by himself or under control of an app. A built-in speaker allows him to beep and boop to his heart’s delight, with LED lights on both his front and rear. Let him near similar app-controlled droids (like last year’s BB-8) and he’ll start chatting to them. He’ll even react to the original saga with you.

Porg Electronic Plush


Pretend all you like, but these little critters are here to stay. Furrier than BB-8 and far more tolerable than Jar Jar (we hope…), these bundles of fluff could just be this generation’s Ewoks. With The Last Jedi undoubtedly the most anticipated film of 2017, your Star Wars shelf (cupboard? Room?) won’t be complete without one of these bemused-looking beasts.

Settlers Of Catan


If you’ve ever hoped to build an empire based on bartering wool, Settlers Of Catan could be the game for you. More than 22 million copies of this German board game have been sold, turning horse trading and strategy into a thrilling and addictive tabletop sport. One of the most popular board games around, Catan claims Kristen Bell among its fanbase and there’s even a film adaptation currently in development.

A Game Of Thrones Board Game


“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die,” insists Cersei Lannister, a rule that is hopefully not taken too literally in this absorbing tabletop adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s world-beating book series-turned world-beating TV show. It’s a strategy game, set directly after the death of Robert Baratheon, in which you must use cunning, diplomacy and military might to claim the Iron Throne – though inevitably, you’ll have to get squabbles about who gets to play as the Starks out of the way first.

Anki Cozmo


Ever fancied owning a Terminator? Well, assuming you’re happy with one that doesn’t so much terminate people as move little blocks about and give you attitude then Cozmo might be just the ticket. Aimed at big kids and little kids alike, this AI-powered robot is part Wall-E and part construction tool, trundling about on its little tracks and interacting with power cubes — part chew toy, part educational coding tool. More intelligent than a tamagotchi and far more entertaining, Cozmo will be your friend for life. Or until it becomes fully self-aware and destroys us all.

Marvel Legends Mjolnir Electronic Hammer


Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor – though more accurately, whosoever holds this hammer, if he or she is willing to spend around ninety-nine quid or so (plus shipping), shall possess an awesome 1:1 replica of the Odinson’s magic hammer, complete with lights, sound effects, and voice-activated features. There are few more faithful recreations than this Thoreplica, just don’t try using it to fly.


Police Justice League Watch


We’re not entirely sure Batman or Superman wear a watch while fighting intergalactic beings, but we think Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent would be rather partial to one of these Limited Edition wrist-pieces. Its 50m water resistance probably wouldn’t suit Aquaman, but its ability to track different time zones would certainly be handy for Wonder Woman when away from Themyscira. Cased in stainless steel and covered with smoke-grey mineral glass, its darker hues definitely suit that of the DCEU-verse.

Classic Star Wars Kids’ T-Shirt


The 1977 original gets the vintage treatment with this classic poster tee. If you’re introducing your little Jedi(s) to the saga this Christmas, then why not get them the t-shirt, too? Available for Padawans between the ages of three and ten, your young apprentice will look better than all his/her mates. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it.

Star Wars Look-ALite Lamps


Whether you choose Chewie, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Yoda, Threepio or Kylo, the Force will be with you whenever you go to sleep. These rather amusing little lamps make a great addition to any young (or old) Star Wars fan’s room – even if there is the slight issue of you going over to the literal Dark Side every time you close your eyes...


The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (The Folio Society)


One beautifully-bound set to rule them all. Tokien’s trilogy needs no introduction but if you’re going to have the mother of all fantasy sagas gracing your mantlepiece you owe it to yourself to do things properly. The Folio Society’s gorgeously-illustrated edition was bound by elves deep within the printing presses of Mirkwood (probably) and deserves a position of honour in any fan’s collection. Preciousssss.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (The Folio Society)


If you couldn’t get enough of this year’s television adaptation, which saw Elisabeth Moss’ Offred condemned to a life of sexual slavery in the dystopian Republic of Gilead, then why not go back to the novel that started it all? Atwood’s 1986 book is a modern classic: a harrowing, captivating read that’s equal parts social commentary and cautionary tale. This Folio Society edition is glorious to behold as well.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (The Folio Society)


Another compelling series born from the pages of a modern masterpiece, American Gods’ screen adaptation only scratched the surface of Gaiman’s demented road trip saga but you can plough ahead right now by diving into the source material. Warring deities with mundane jobs and cosmic agendas abound in American Gods, plus this edition features stunning illustrations from artist Dave McKean.

Movie Geek: The Den Of Geek Guide To The Movieverse


They may be our sworn enemies in the world of film journalism, but we must admit, those den-dwelling geeks can write a decent book. This nerd nirvana gathers together some of Den Of Geek’s most beloved articles together with new material, deep-diving on all things cinematic, from blockbuster to arthouse – and comes with a foreword from their most famous fan, Mark Kermode.

Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film


There are hundreds of books professing to tell the full, century-long history of cinema, often in excruciating, tedious detail. But how many of them tell it in graphic novel form? Edinburgh-based comic-book artist and writer Edward Ross – casting himself as the bespectacled narrator – skips through decades of film theory from highbrow minds like André Bazin and Laura Mulvey in exhilarating form, leaving you wanting to rediscover lost filmic treasures immediately.

Stephen King’s It


It: Chapter One – as it has been retrospectively titled – became the biggest horror film of all time this year. Before Chapter Two arrives in 2019 with a new cast of adults, you should have time to get through all 1400-odd pages of Stephen King’s classic original novel, which should charm, beguile and thoroughly scare the pants off you all over again.

Star Wars: Where’s The Wookiee?


Any Star Wars fan worth their salt will already have a bookcase creaking with the weight of tie-in novelisations, visual dictionaries, technical journals, and the now non-canon Star Wars Legends series – but do you have a Where’s Wally parody? This fun all-ages illustrated book hides Chewie and his furry friends in a variety of crowded scenes from the galaxy far, far away. Some pages are infuriatingly hard – but sometimes, of course, it’s best to let the wookiee win.

The Art And Soul Of Blade Runner 2049


If any film this year deserved the hardcover coffee table treatment, it’s this one. Denis Villeneuve took Ridley Scott’s dystopian vision of a cyberpunk future and turned it into one of those every-frame-could-be-framed visual masterpieces; Villeneuve (who writes a foreword) allowed unprecedented access for this weighty tome, packed with concept art, storyboards, behind-the-scenes photography, and production stills, alongside insights from the cast and crew. It’ll have you reciting “INTERLINKED...WITHIN CELLS INTERLINKED” before you know it.

Empire Magazine Subscription

£24.99 for eight issues

Alright, so maybe we're tooting our own horn a little bit, but what better gift for a fan of the world's greatest movie magazine than, erm, a subscription to the world's greatest movie magazine? You'll get a different cover to those available on shelves and your copy will arrive a few days early. Good, eh? Check out our latest cover right here.

Video Games

Assassin’s Creed Origins


We were left wanting for an Assassin’s Creed game last year but the free-running killers are now back with a vengeance, shifting time and place to ancient Egypt. Take in your fill of pyramids, palm trees and the occasional sphinx as you murderise your way through pre-biblical times.

Call Of Duty WWII


After several years forcing players to duke it out in a near-future setting, Call Of Duty has returned to its roots for this year’s instalment and a welcome change it is. Sending players into the thick of World War II, you’ll storm the beaches at Normandy, battle through the French countryside and stick it to the Nazis. What better way to spend the festive season?

Super Mario Odyssey


Bowser wants to marry Princess Peach – and Mario is having none of it. The nefarious plans may sound familiar, but Nintendo’s latest Mario mission is a serious level-up from previous titles. The Switch’s Joy-Con controllers make for an immersive experience (that HD rumble really is something), but it’s Mario’s hat, ‘Cappy’, who steals the show here. Ever fancied being a Piranha Plant? Throw Cappy at different objects and characters and watch Mario turn into them. Odyssey is an incredibly infectious and seemingly infinite adventure with surprises at every turn and a huge variety of kingdoms to explore.

Star Wars Battlefront II


Quicker, easier, more seductive — who doesn’t want to embrace the Dark Side? In Star Wars Battlefront II you take on the role of an elite Imperial soldier, flying the Empire’s flag and butchering Rebels left and right. Once you’re done with that, plunge headfirst into the multiplayer for some frenetic Star Wars action. The perfect appetiser to prepare you for The Last Jedi’s sumptuous main course.

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild


You can basically up stakes and move to Hyrule in Zelda’s Switch debut, a game in which the elfin green hero and his world has never looked better. Romp across the plains, hack and slash your way through dungeons or simply while away the hours cooking stews over a campfire – the choice is entirely yours.

Destiny II



If you’re looking for one game to suck you in and drain every minute of free time out of your Christmas then Destiny II might just be that game. Improving on its predecessor in almost every way, this sends a whole new generation of Guardians against the Cabal, The Fallen, The Vex and The Hive with a near endless menu of activities to partake in as you hunt down that sweet, sweet loot.

Box Sets

Marvel Phase 1 & 2


As the Marvel Cinematic Universe trundles towards an Infinity War that threatens to destroy all of the Avengers (handily, in time with actor contract expirations), there’s hardly been a better time to revisit the superhero franchise with the mostest. These box sets neatly assemble the first 12 movies in the billion dollar series into two infinity stone-esque designs. Essential for Marvel completists.

Blue Planet II


Everyone’s ideal grandad, David Attenborough, is back narrating another BBC nature series of the kind of extraordinary scope, scale and drama that big-screen fiction filmmakers would yearn for. This latest series has already taken in sharks, penguins, cuttlefish with hypnotic powers, a fish with a transparent skull and a lake at the bottom of the ocean.

Game Of Thrones Season 1-7


The word on the Westerosi street is that the eighth and final season of Game Of Thrones won’t arrive on our screens until 2019. Plenty of time, then, to binge your way through all 63.5 hours of HBO’s tits’n’dragons epic, assembled in full here for the first time. Among its many pleasures, it’s a treat to track the various accents adopted by Aiden Gillen’s Lord Baelish, which morph between English, Irish and a slight whisper.

The Vietnam War by Ken Burns


Master documentarian Ken Burns has been working on his latest landmark series for ten years. Eschewing the usual uniformed talking heads, Burns gives voice to the people who were on the ground, with nearly 80 witnesses from both the American and Vietnamese sides telling the definitive story of a confusing war. These are 18 essential hours for war nerds and novices alike.

Middle-earth Box Set


This is an evergreen gift, an essential cornerstone of anyone’s Blu-ray collection and the comfort food of film franchises, something easily returned to on a cold winter’s night. Alongside the buttock-testing extended editions of all six movies, Peter Jackson is a director fond of special features and director’s commentaries, so this 30-disc should keep you easily occupied until the mooted Amazon reboot arrives.

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