The best gaming gear for graduates

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Just because they’re out of college doesn’t mean that the grads in your life won’t have time for gaming – it’s a great way to blow off steam after a hard day at work, or after a particularly grueling job search. But now that they’re older they could definitely up their accessories game a bit, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite gaming items that will upgrade their experience, and a few hot titles that will give them plenty to do this and talk about this summer.

8BitDo Pro 2

8BitDo

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.

Buy 8BitDo Pro 2 at Amazon – $50

Logitech G435

The Logitech G435 gaming headset against a purple background.

Engadget

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.

Buy Logitech G435 at Amazon – $80

Elgato Stream Deck Mini

The Elgato Stream Deck Mini controller against a purple and blue background.

Elgato

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.

Buy Stream Deck Mini at Amazon – $80

Logitech Litra Glow

The Logitech Litra Glow light attached to the top of a monitor, next to a webcam.

Logitech

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.

Buy Litra Glow at Amazon – $60

Timbuk2 CS03 Crossbody Sling

A man wearing a gray jacket with the Timbuk2 Crossbody sling across the chest.

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 haved on a pair of bags collaborated 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.

Buy Timbuk2 CS03 crossbody at Amazon – $80

SteelSeries Rival 5 Gaming Mouse

The black SteelSeries Rival 5 gaming mouse on a black mousepad.

SteelSeries

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.

Buy Rival 5 mouse at Amazon – $60

Razer Huntsman Mini

The Razer Huntsman Mini keyboard with rainbow backlights sitting on a black desk pad.

Razer

Your gamer shouldn’t have to settle for the keyboard that came with their laptop. They shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than a premium mechanical keyboard, and you don’t have to break the bank to get them one. The Huntsman Mini is a small 60 percent deck with optical switches. That’s not word salad – this just means it’s a smaller keyboard without a number pad or arrows, and it uses lasers under each key for a super fast response time. It’s a great keyboard to have in a gaming arsenal for travel purposes, but it’s good enough that gamers might make it a full-time accessory.

Buy Huntsman Mini at Amazon – $120

Video games

Pokémon Arceus Legends

A flying bird Pokemon holding on to a human hanging on to a kite, flying in a pink sky.

Nintendo

With the school year over and done with, grads have a bit of time on their hands, so why not give them a game to kick back and relax with when they’re not searching for a job? Players who grew up with the Pokémon franchise will appreciate this fresh take on the world, with action-oriented gameplay and a storyline that takes place in the distant past of the Sinnoh region from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Even if they haven’t played a Pokémon game before, Legends can make a good entry point to the franchise that will get them ready for this fall’s new generation of creatures in Scarlet and Violet.

Buy Pokémon Arceus Legends at Amazon – $60

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Nintendo

Kirby titles have gotten a lot easier over the years, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a game for the old-school gamers who like more of a challenge. This epic title has Kirby exploring a post-apocalyptic world, battling enemies and gaining new abilities. If your grad has ever wondered if Kirby could eat a car, this is the Switch game to get them. Fans are even calling it the best Kirby game since the ’90s, so it’s sure to keep your loved one busy over the summer.

Buy Kirby and the Forgotten Land at Amazon – $60

Elden Ring

Elden Ring

FromSoftware

Your grad has probably been super busy this year so far, studying for finals and getting ready for graduation. So it’s likely they haven’t dipped their toe into the massive, immersive experience that is Elden Ring. This epic title can be brutally difficult with a big learning curve, which makes it less for casual gamers than for those players who have a lot of time on their hands… like someone just out of school. Soon enough they’ll be slammed with job offers, so give them this soon-to-be-classic while they can fully enjoy it.

Buy Elden Ring at Amazon – $60

Leave a Comment