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Send your opponents back to school with our favorite gaming gadgets

The dog days of summer may still be ahead, but just on the other side sits autumn, which means one thing for gamers: more new releases than you can shake a control stick at. With the promise of classes starting up again for students, all those hot new games will provide some much-needed relaxation and relief from the academic onslaught. In anticipation of the fall gaming bonanza, here is our list of some of the hottest gaming gear available so you can make the most of it.

PS4 Last of Us Bundle ($440 – $470) or Xbox One Starter Bundle ($349)


With strong showings at E3 this year anticipating a lot of exciting releases for this coming fall, there is no better time than now to take the plunge with the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Retailers offer various bundles that package the console with one or more games. Which bundle you choose largely depends on your gaming proclivities. For PlayStation 4, however, the most bang for your buck that we know of comes from Walmart, where you can select not one, but three games from a range of popular titles such as Batman: Arkham Knight, The Last of Us Remastered, and Evolve. That should be more than enough to keep you busy for months. Read about more PS 4 bundles here, and Xbox One packages here.

Buy them now from Walmart:

PS4 Bundle Xbox One Starter Bundle

Nintendo 3DS XL Starter Bundle ($285)


With more processing power, the addition of an analog control nub, and head-tracking to make the glasses-free 3D really work, Nintendo perfected its 3DS handheld with the recent New XL version. Despite the dominance of smartphones as a near-universal gaming platform, the 3DS has managed to carve out a strong niche for itself as the best dedicated gaming handheld out there. The best bundle we can find comes from GameStop, packaging the handheld with both the latest Super Smash Bros. and an excellent remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Ocarina of Time’s bizarre follow-up on the N64). You’ll have to purchase an AC adapter separately, unless you already owned a previous version of the 3DS. Read our full review here.

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Wii U Bundle ($300)


Nintendo may already be gearing up for its next console, the mysterious NX, but the Wii U still has a lot to offer, including a pretty fantastic library of games now. Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Super Mario 3D Land anchor the repertoire with expected standards, while Splatoon and Affordable Space Adventures offer some more unexpected delights. Most bundles include two games, one of which is always Nintendo Land, a delightful collection of Nintendo-game-themed mini-games. Read our full review here.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Best Buy GameStop

Gameband Minecraft Redstone ($80)


For the Minecraft freak in your life, the Gameband is a high-quality, programmable LED watch that houses a USB drive with a self-contained copy of Minecraft along with various mods and all of your created content. Just plug in to any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer and you’ll be busting blocks within minutes. Minecraft is currently the first and only game offered by Gameband, but we have it on good authority that others are on the way. Read our full review here.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Best Buy GameStop Microsoft Store

KontrolFreek Grips for Xbox One and PS4 ($13)


For fans of games that require quick reflexes and precision control, such as first-person shooters, the console’s stock gamepads don’t always cut it. Saving you from shelling out for expensive, custom controllers, KontrolFreek offers an inexpensive mod to get greater utility out of your PlayStation and Xbox’s stock options with extensions that snap right onto the analog thumbsticks. The Alpha model for PS4 and Xbox One is the most minimal option, increasing the surface area and improving the grip on the factory thumbsticks. For a more serious change with shooter enthusiasts in mind, the FPS Freek Sniper adds a lot more height, increasing range of motion by over 150 percent for fine-grained control.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Best Buy Gamestop

Turtle Beach Elite 800 ($300)


Graphics may get all the hype, but sound can be just as integral to enjoying gaming. Whether you want to confidently bark crystal-clear orders at your teammates in Call of Duty or appreciate the nuanced and terrifying sound design of Bloodborne, a high quality headset can do wonders for your experience. Turtle Beach has established itself as the premiere manufacturer of gaming headsets, and the Elite 800/800X (for PS4 and Xbox One, respectively) are its top of the line, with features like multiple EQ settings, positional audio, and active noise cancellation. Solid construction and design ensures comfort for long sessions. Turtle Beach also offers a range of less expensive options, but the Elite 800 are about as good as gaming headsets get. Read our full review here.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Best Buy Walmart

Steam Link & Controller ($100)


Valve’s long-anticipated entry into gaming hardware makes the best case yet for bringing PC gaming into the living room. The Steam Link uses your home network to stream games from your computer to your TV with a minimal amount of setup. PC gamers are really excited, however, for the Steam Controller, which innovates on the familiar gamepad form by adding two touchpads in place of analog thumbsticks. This allows for mouse-like precision with a gamepad, opening up games for couch play that before would have required a keyboard and mouse, such as Civilization. Both the Steam Link and Controller are available for pre-order from Valve. Read more here.

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GAEMS Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment ($350)


If you want to game on the go, but a tablet or handheld just isn’t enough hardware for you, the GAEMS Vanguard “Personal Gaming Environment” might be what you need. This cushioned suitcase features a built-in 19-inch, 1080p LCD screen and room enough for the PlayStation or Xbox console of your choice, along with controller and cables. You’ll need an outlet to plug in, but otherwise you are free to play the latest console games anywhere. The built-in speakers are impressive for their size, and there are also two headphone jacks. Of course, a price tag of $350, not including the console, is definitely expensive. GAEMS also offers a $200 Sentry model that has a 15-inch, 720p LCD screen, but is too small to accommodate the Xbox One or original, larger PlayStation 3. That’s certainly still a luxury purchase, but it’s an elegant and well-made solution for portable console gaming, and an absolute steal compared to the custom, modded alternatives. Read our full review here.

Buy it now from:

Amazon GameStop Microsoft Store Walmart