Game Informer’s Back-To-School Buying Guide 2023

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ROG Ally

For many, the Steam Deck opened a new avenue, capably bringing the PC gaming experience into a user-friendly handheld experience. Since its launch, many competitors have joined the fray; ASUS makes a strong case for the next step forward. Running on Windows 11 makes it more familiar for many, and the included tech, from the 16 GB RAM to the slick graphics provided by an AMD Ryzen Z1 Series processor, leads to a smooth and enjoyable play experience. The Ally runs quietly and coolly and feels great in hand. The Full HD 120 Hz display looks beautiful, whether you’re loading up Steam games or tapping into your Xbox Game Pass titles. If you’re considering a jump into handheld PC play to bring along to school this year, it’s well worth a deeper look. $700


Optimus Prime Rise of the Beasts Signature Robot

Squarely targeted at the most dedicated collectors, Robosen’s pricey robotic Transformers figures have set a new bar for authenticity. Far more than a toy or statue, this representation of the Autobot leader is an actual moving and speaking (but not transforming) robot, capable of swinging weapons, shifting into new poses, and responding to your voice. New dialogue recorded by Peter Cullen (the character’s original voice actor) helps the figure take on a lifelike cinematic presence, and you can control his actions through 16 distinct commands or via a connected app. Standing at 16 inches in height, Prime towers even higher when mounted on his stand as he shifts between different postures and scenes. If the live-action movie characters aren’t your thing, check out Robosen’s takes on the original G1 characters, including Grimlock, Bumblebee, and a more classic take on Optimus Prime. $900


Foldable Gaming Chair

Whether you’re dealing with a tight dorm room, or a living room sofa that’s too far from the TV, it’s not always easy to set up a permanent comfortable seat close to your gaming screen. The foldable gaming chair aims to solve those unique cases, with a design built around comfort and easy stowaway between play periods. In practice, the chair feels like an exceptionally cushy outdoor chair, but one that includes a bevy of options, including a headphone hangar, a recessed controller space, a cupholder, and even a wine glass slot for the more discerning adult player. $149


Cyberpunk 2077: No Coincidence

Even as the long-awaited game expansion prepares to roll out, CD Projekt Red is expanding the Cyberpunk fiction in new directions. This new novel, by celebrated sci-fi author Rafał Kosik, pulls together a tense and intricate heist plot that feels grounded in the neon-soaked trappings of Night City. While largely standalone, the storytelling also sheds some added light on threads left behind from the game. If you’re considering a return to the bleak future of 2077 on your gaming screen, this additional yarn is a perfect accompaniment. $19 (paperback)


Marvel Legends Magneto Helmet

The master of magnetism boasts one of the most iconic pieces of headgear in the comic book canon. The version here aims to emulate the outfit seen in the upcoming X-Men ’97 animated series. The 1:1 recreation of the iconic X-Men villain’s telepathy-blocking helmet is striking, almost reflective, and well-suited to some smart lighting choices wherever you decide to display. Alternatively, the piece includes soft interior padding and an adjustable fit if you prefer to play pretend. We don’t recommend wearing it as you stride through the halls of your school or office, loudly pronouncing calls for mutant freedom, but you do you. $99

Purchase Purchase at GameStop

D&D: The Legend of Drizzt Tabletop Companions Boxed Set

Back before D&D had the huge following it does today, early heroes from the connected novels helped inspire countless tabletop adventures. On the 35th anniversary of the character’s first appearance, Drizzt Do’Urden and his most loyal friends are getting a boxed set of minis to celebrate. The venerable companions are looking great despite their age (drow are especially long-lived after all), arriving pre-painted and with a ton of tiny details. Drizzt and his loyal panther Guenhwyvar are present, alongside Wulfgar, Bruenor, Cattie-brie, and Regis. The elven ranger’s nemesis has also snuck into the box, so you can enact duels against the treacherous Artemis Entreri. $50


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