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The best gaming gear for graduates

Whether they’re playing games for fun or a future career, these are the best items to get.

Updated ·6 min read
Engadget

The next graduating class is about to hit the workforce, but hopefully they’ll take the summer off to sleep, chill at the beach and… game. Now that they’re adults though, they don’t have to settle for discounted (though still solid) and hand-me-down accessories for their PC. They just accomplished something huge, so you can splurge to make sure their gaming lives can go as smoothly as we hope their job search will. We’ve picked the must-have accessories that will up your student’s game and let them know how proud you are of them as both recent grads and grownup gamers.

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8BitDo Pro 2

This PlayStation-styled controller is super comfortable to hold, pairs easily via Bluetooth and is compatible with a wide range of devices, from Windows and macOS machines to Android devices to the Nintendo Switch.
$50 at Amazon$50 at Best Buy

Your grad is fully out in the adult world now, so they really deserve a pro-level controller for their gaming activities — particularly one that’s flexible for all their needs, be it mobile or console gaming. 8BitDo makes a number of great solutions, but the one that we’d recommend above all else is the Pro 2. This PlayStation-styled controller is super comfortable to hold, pairs easily via Bluetooth and is compatible with a wide range of devices, from Windows and macOS machines to Android devices to the Nintendo Switch. If your grad is a tinkerer, the Pro 2 will even work with the Raspberry Pi. This is truly the Swiss Army knife of game controllers.

Logitech G435

The G435 connects to a computer via a Logitech Lightspeed dongle so your gamer won’t have to worry about Bluetooth lag or an unreliable connection.
$50 at Amazon$53 at Walmart

A headset is a must-have if you want the best game audio, but being tethered to a computer or console is not so much fun. Neither is the selection of colors available for most headsets, unless you’re a big fan of red and black all the time. Luckily, Logitech has this stylish wireless headset for around $80. The G435 connects to a computer via a Logitech Lightspeed dongle so your gamer won’t have to worry about Bluetooth lag or an unreliable connection. As for looks, it comes in cheery colors like blue or lilac, and the padded ear cups and headband will keep a head cool while not mussing up their hair.

Elgato Stream Deck Mini

If your grad is thinking about a career in streaming, they’re going to need the proper equipment to get started. It’s best to start out small, and the Stream Deck Mini is a nice, affordable way to dip their toe in the water.
$73 at Amazon$74 at Walmart

If your grad is thinking about a career in streaming, they’re going to need the proper equipment to get started. It’s best to start out small, and the Stream Deck Mini is a nice, affordable way to dip their toe in the water. The Deck’s six buttons give budding streamers one-touch access to popular functions like lighting, audio and emotes. And it’s super easy to set up — just drop and drag in the software. Becoming a famous streamer can be a lot of work, and the Stream Deck just makes it a bit easier to handle.

Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma

This dock ensures your new grad can plug all their needed peripherals into their USB-C laptop and know they’ll always work, and it looks pretty good too.
$330 at Razer

The end of college means that it’s time to settle down from lugging a laptop to the campus library and finally setting up a permanent workstation at home. But starting a career doesn’t mean your grad can’t have fun and, besides, they probably don’t have a lot of space to work with, so doubling up their gaming and work setups is essential. This dock ensures they can plug all the needed peripherals into their USB-C laptop and know they’ll always work, and it looks pretty good too.

Logitech Litra Glow

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget
This compact light can clip on the top of a laptop for on-the-go streaming while also providing soft all-over illumination — no telltale rings in your grad’s eyes when they stream.
$50 at Amazon$60 at Walmart

Another key item to a successful streaming career is the lighting. After all, someone can’t be an on-camera personality if you can’t see them on camera. But ring lights can be expensive, unwieldy or just hard to set up. Logitech makes all those problems go away with its Litra Glow streaming light. This compact light can clip on the top of a laptop for on-the-go streaming while also providing soft all-over illumination — no telltale rings in your grad’s eyes when they stream.

Timbuk2 CS03 Crossbody Sling

This crossbody bag may remind you of a fanny pack, but it has way more pockets for cords and game cards, and a padded lining to keep delicate LCD screens safe from scratches.
$72 at Amazon$80 at Timbuk2

No more classes means your grad can slim down in the backpack department. But if they’re a gamer they’re still going to need something with lots of pockets to store cables and cards. Gaming accessory maker SteelSeries and shoulder bag company Timbuk2 have collaborated on a pair of bags made for the gaming lifestyle, and the smaller CS03 is perfect for carrying around a Nintendo Switch, headphones and other mobile gaming accessories. This crossbody bag may remind you of a fanny pack, but it has way more pockets for cords and game cards, and a padded lining to keep delicate LCD screens safe from scratches.

SteelSeries Rival 5 Gaming Mouse

This mouse's curved shape feels great in the hand and the customizable lighting isn’t too flashy so it works for both home and office.
$40 at Amazon

Gaming mice are great for a lot more than just gaming — they’re great for school and work, so if your grad doesn’t already have one, why not upgrade them to the versatile Rival 5? Its curved shape feels great in the hand and the customizable lighting isn’t too flashy so it works for both home and office. Players will appreciate the array of nine programmable buttons that fit all genres of gaming, including popular titles like Fortnite and Genshin Impact to deeper strategy experiences like the Civilization series.

Razer Huntsman Mini Linear

Gamers and non-gamers alike will appreciate the Huntsman Mini’s swift key response, while everyone else nearby will appreciate the quiet linear switches.
$80 at Amazon

We’re big proponents of gaming keyboards here at Engadget, even if you don’t play on a PC all that much. That said, we understand that not everyone has the room for a giant deck at their home. That’s why the recent trend of 60 percent keyboards is a huge plus: now anyone can enjoy sweet, high-quality typing action without having to completely clear off a desk to get it. Gamers and non-gamers alike will appreciate the Huntsman Mini’s swift key response, while everyone else in the room will appreciate the quiet linear switches.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Graduations are big, momentous events, and so are new mainline Zelda games. Why not tie the two together by setting your recent grad with this epic, world-spanning title that is sure to keep them busy all summer?
$68 at Amazon$69 at Walmart

Graduations are big, momentous events, and so are new mainline Zelda games. Why not tie the two together by setting your recent grad with this epic, world-spanning title that is sure to keep them busy all summer? (And we mean busy – have you seen the latest trailer?) It’ll be a nice bit of immersive escapism while they’re trying to figure out what to do next with their life.

Switch Sports

Graduates are adults now, and being an adult means bills, working and taking care of your health. This collection of games can keep them moving without making exercise feel like a chore.
$45 at Amazon$45 at Walmart

Your grad is an adult now, and being an adult means bills, working and taking care of your health. Rather than let it be just another dull chore they have to deal with, why not keep them active with this collection of games that will get them moving? All your favorite motion-controlled sports are here, including golf, tennis and yes, bowling. It’ll be a great chance to bond too, as you regale your grad with tales of long ago Wii Sports glory.

Final Fantasy XVI

It’s been seven years since the last major Final Fantasy game, which makes this the perfect gift for a college grad who’s just finished up four years of attending lectures, writing papers and passing exams.
$70 at Amazon$70 at Walmart

It’s been seven years since the last major Final Fantasy game, which makes this the perfect gift for a college grad who’s just finished up four years of attending lectures, writing papers and passing exams. Unfortunately, it isn’t out until the end of June, so you’ll have to pre-order and hope your grad can wait a little longer for their much-anticipated present. But high school grads should be good to go on the release date, with plenty of adventure to tide them over until school restarts in September.

Originally published