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It's that magical time of year again. New games are releasing, people are eating entirely too much food, and stress levels are through the roof. Okay, so admittedly, that sounds like most of the year, but it's the holiday season! With Thanksgiving this Thursday, the holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week. 

In the modern day, shopping for the gamer in your life can be difficult. We've assembled a list, however, of games that are sure to be popular gifts. As always, we want to give the qualifier that you should make sure the recipient has the proper system and doesn't already own the game.

God of War: Ragnarok (PS5, PS4) 

The follow up to the 2018 Game of the Year is looking to follow in the footsteps of its parent. Ragnarok picks up a few years after the end of the last game and continues the story of Kratos and his son, Atreus. The combat is strong, the writing is sound, and the acting is stellar. 

God of War: Ragnarok will make for a great gift this year, but if you haven't played the first one, you're likely to feel pretty lost. Want to be the coolest family member this year? Get both of them. 

Age Recommendation: 16+

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet (Switch)

The franchise that will never die. So long as they keep thinking up cute concepts for Pokemon, the franchise is immortal. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have been dogged a bit by some performance issues when the Switch is used in handheld mode. Fans remain hopeful that some patches after release will get the performance issues taken care of, although that has historically not been Gamefreak's strong suit.

Screenshot from Pokemon Scarlet and Violet of a trainer standing near Scyther, Scizor, and Kleavor

Trainer standing near Scyther, Scizor, and Kleavor

Performance issues aside, Pokemon is Pokemon and it will remain beloved. It's been a popular gift since Red and Blue back in the late 90s, and that's not changing this year.

Age Recommendation: 6+

Harvestella (Switch/PC)

We don't want the entirety of our list to be filled with games everyone knows and has heard of. Harvestella is an interesting combination of a farming simulator, ala Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, and a JRPG like Bravely Default. Admittedly, the game is way more JRPG than it is a farming sim, but it's proving to be quite popular.

Fighting a Conellu in Harvestella

Attacking a Conellu in Harvestella

If you've got a gamer in your life that enjoys complex stories and likes more casual games, they may enjoy Harvestella.

Age Recommendation: 13+

Inscryption (Switch)

Inscryption has been out for a while on PC. I have to be very careful about how much I say because the real selling point of Inscryption is in how much it subverts your expectations. 

Releasing on the Switch, Inscryption is primed to meet a new audience and I think it's going to prove popular. It's weird yet intriguing. Straightforward, yet amazingly complex. If you've ever enjoyed a trading card game, you'll like Inscryption. It releases for the Switch on December 1st.

Age Recommendation: 13+

Sonic Frontiers (PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) 

I can't believe I'm putting a Sonic the Hedgehog game on this list in the year 2022. Where Pokemon continues to be good and therefore refuses to die, Sonic has been bleeding out on the floor for the better part of twenty years and just keeps sticking around. 

Nevertheless, Sonic Frontiers has been met with popular reviews and opinions. Is it going to resurrect the franchise? No. Is it a fun game people will enjoy this holiday season? Definitely.

Age Recommendation: 6+

Vampire Survivors (PC)

In the spirit of every game on our list not costing between 40 and 70 dollars, we wanted to include some cheaper titles too. Vampire Survivors released in October this year, and it is the best five dollars you'll spend on gaming this year. 

With a simple to understand, difficult to master gameplay loop, Vampire Survivors is easy to pick up for 20 minutes or for two hours. It's not going to change your life, but it could make for a great stocking stuffer. 

Age Recommendation: 10+ 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

For the eight hundredth year in a row, a Call of Duty game makes another holiday wish list. Like clockwork, Activision puts out a new Call of Duty game every year. Why do they do that? Because the franchise is incredibly popular and has shown itself to be a mainstay.

Modern Warfare II Launch Art

Launch art for Modern Warfare II

People love these games. They've loved them since the first Modern Warfare, which was released back in 2007 when certain people who shall go unnamed were graduating high school. 

Age Recommendation: 16+