13 greats gifts for the geek guys and gals in your life

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13 greats gifts for the geek guys and gals in your life

Welcome to the 2017 TechCrunch Holiday Gift Guide! We check out a lot of really cool stuff here at TechCrunch, so we figured we ought to put that experience to good use and help you get your holiday shopping done quickly. We’ll have many more guides rolling out over the coming weeks… so check back often!

It’s 2017, and the golden age of the geek continues. We all carry supercomputers in our pockets. Superheroes rule the box office. Star Wars is getting a friggin’ theme park. If there’s not something — some show, some band, some video game — that you geek out about, you’re probably the exception. We, at TechCrunch, are geeks — and proud.

Got a geek in your life you want to buy a gift for? We’ve got you covered. We put our heads together to think of some things we’d universally be thrilled to get.

Tap that right arrow key to view the gallery — or if you’re on mobile, just scroll.


For the puzzle geek: Escape rooms!

Remember Myst? Or those Flash-based, click-your-mouse-around-to-escape-a-locked-room games that were all the rage a few years back?

Imagine that concept, but in real life.

Escape Rooms set you and your friends (generally groups of 6-10 people) in a “locked” (not really locked, because, you know, laws) room, with a series of escalating challenges that will hopefully lead to your eventual escape. Some have you escaping a prison; others have you trying to break out of an office building as the security system clamps down around you.

Most major cities have at least one escape room nowadays, with many a chain popping up around the nation. Quality varies widely, though, so check reviews.

If you’re around San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts has three Escape Rooms that are unrivaled in their quality and creativity — that’s their Houdini room pictured at left. Their rooms are good enough that I’d recommend you do a few other ones before these just so your bar isn’t set impossibly high right off the bat.


For the pop culture geek: Pins!

Partly because of Disney embracing them and partly because manufacturing them has gotten easier in the last few years, pins are everywhere these days. I love’m because they’re usually only a few bucks, and they’re a great way to say “hey, I like this thing” without looking like a walking billboard.

Plus, Etsy makers have limited run pins for EVERYTHING someone might like. Find out the person’s favorite movie or video game or Netflix show or whatever, type “[name of that thing] enamel pin” into Etsy, and you’re set. Are they licensed? Probably not. Are they awesome anyway? Yep.

Pictured: Stranger Things, Rebel insignia, FF7 Cloud, Finn and Jake


For the comic geek: Marvel Universe

With the Marvel cinematic universe breaking box office records left and right, more and more people are falling into the comic book rabbit hole.

But binge reading paper copies of comics is tough — even once you figure out which of the zillion storylines you want to read, just tracking down a copy can be a pain. Thus, Marvel Unlimited was born.

$10 a month gets your friend all-they-can-eat access to a friggin’ massive mountain of comics on their iPad, iPhone, Android device or computer. The catch? It’s only Marvel stuff — but with about 20,000 comics in the library, it should still keep them busy for a while.



It’d be easy to write off LEGO as kids stuff — many of us grew up playin’ with them (and stepping on them), after all.

But LEGO has done a pretty great job of growing up with its audience. They’ve got sets these days that can take days or weeks to build, and… well, they’re wonderful. They’re juuuust challenging enough to be fun without being frustrating. If you split up the building duties between a friend or two while watching movies, it’s a great hangout activity.

And there’s something for all sorts of fandoms! For the Disney fans, there’s a 4,000 piece Disney Castle that’ll tower over anything you built as a kid. For the Star Wars geeks, there’s a mind-boggling 7,500 piece Millenium Falcon (pictured) that’ll take over your entire kitchen table. And Minecraft! Marvel! Simpsons! Doctor Who!


For the DIY Geek: Raspberry Pi

Know any builders/tinkerers/coders/do-it-yourselfers? Consider getting them a Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi is a tiny, cheap computer that can be repurposed as the brains of pretty much any electronics project. Want it to be a media box? It can do that. Want to build a tiny classic console replica that runs 10,000 games instead of 10? It can do that too. Or it can be the brains of a robot, or a security alarm, or a plant watering system, or…

It’s only limited by your own skill set and there are maaaany books about getting started, making it a pretty great thing for both experienced builders and those just looking to dabble.

There are multiple models, so buying them can be a bit confusing, so just know: the safest bet is probably the Raspberry Pi Model 3 (roughly $35) or the tiny-but-awesome Raspberry Pi Zero ($5). The latter is less powerful, but it’s a killer way to get started without worrying (too much) about having to worry about frying the board.


For the Space Geek: SpaceX luggage tags

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is a geek favorite, if only because we’re all sort of sitting here fingers-crossed that he can get us to another planet before this one falls into the sun or whatever.

These SpaceX luggage tags celebrate the company’s endeavors in a clever way: yes, they look like luggage tags, but they also look like the autonomous landing pads that SpaceX’s rockets land on for recovery.

Each one is named after one of the landing pads,  “Just Read the Instructions” and “Of Course I Still Love You.”*

* Fun trivia, both borrow their names from spaceships in Iain M. Banks’ SciFi novel The Player of Games. $20 gets you two tags in the SpaceX shop.


For the sweet-toothed geek: Skoshbox

This is a favorite of mine to give folks who are particularly tough to buy for.

Japan has a pretty much endless array of fun snacks that you aren’t likely to find stateside. I’ve seen everything from a zillion different flavors of Pocky, to a corn snack that was supposed to taste like squid (it just tasted like gross corn), to chocolates shaped like Mario’s head, to a kit of powders that you mix with water to make gummi candies on the spot.

Skoshbox tracks down all sorts of fun Japanese snacks and delivers them to your recipient’s door. They’ve got smaller boxes that start at around $12 a month, or massive boxes that go for $35.


For the all-around geek: Loot Crate

If you know that your friend tends to like video games and comics and the like but have no idea where to go beyond that, boxes like Loot Crate are a bit of a cheat code.

Loot Crate packages swag from all sorts of popular fandoms and sends it out monthly in one big box. Some of their items are exclusive and only available as part of their boxes.

They’ve also started doing subscription boxes for a few specific fandoms (like Harry Potter and Stranger Things) if you want to tighten up the focus a bit. The price of each box changes a bit depending on how many you commit to, but the base box averages around ~14 bucks a month.


For every geek with feet: Socks of their favorite thing!

As kids, socks seemed like the worst Christmas present ever.

As adults, they’re wonderful. Socks are fun now! Want Charizard to keep your toes warm? Sure. Need to wear a suit for work but want to rock a rebel alliance insignia under it all? You can do that. Plus: they’re one size fits most (which simplifies things over buying, say, a shirt), and you can find themed socks for just about anything someone might be into.

Pictured: Stance’s Star Wars collection


For the geek who's always tearing their gadgets apart: a really good DIY toolkit

Most gadget geeks I know have an obsession with taking things apart to see how they work (and, hopefully, successfully putting it back together again).

Whether you’re swapping out a dead battery our just taking a look inside, there always seems to be that point where you can’t dig any deeper because you need some weird-ass bit you’ve never seen before.

Enter iFixit. These folks tear apart gadgets for a living (they make most of the gadget teardowns you’ll see floating around the web) so they know what you need — and they’ve put it all together into pre-packaged kits. They’ve got a $20 essentials kit that’ll get you into most modern devices, or a massive $100 kit with 128 bits to get into pretty much anything.


For the SciFi geek: these re-printed masterpieces

Got a friend who’s into SciFi but hasn’t read the classics? Penguin Random House has done a hardcover re-release of six SciFi masterpieces:

– Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

– Frank Herbert’s Dune

– William Gibson’s Neuromancer

– Ursula K. Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness

– T.H. White’s The Once and Future King

– Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land

If you can figure out which ones they haven’t read yet, these are all pretty much guaranteed wins


For the geek on-the-go: A big ol' battery pack

These things are a staple of gift guides everywhere for a reason: everyone needs one (or five). Smartphones get more battery-hungry every day, all while battery packs get bigger and cheaper. If you’ve got a friend who can’t stop looking at their phone, get them a big ol’ USB battery. A 10,000mAh battery from a good company like Anker will set you back less than $30 bucks, and will re-juice your friend’s phone multiple times between charges.


For the lil' geek: Luke's Landspeeder by Radio Flyer

And for the younger geeks out there: I always wanted Power Wheels as a kid. I never got one. Sure, my backyard was less “yard” and more “rocky hillside filled with poison oak and ticks,” but still.

If I saw this rideable Radio Flyer recreation of Luke’s Landspeeder as a kid, my head would have exploded right off my body. It costs around $450 and might be hard to track down… but if there’s a young Star Wars geek in your life, just do it.