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Polygon’s 2018 back to school gift guide

Non-boring school supplies for every student

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As much as we hate to admit it, summer break is coming to an end. Soon you’ll be heading back to class, or maybe starting at a new school. Whether you’re feeling intimidated, excited, or just worried about getting your summer reading done in time, there’s no denying that fall is coming, bringing that first day of school ever closer.

Most back to school guides focus on what you need for class, but we know that you’re just as interested in what you’ll be doing with your time that’s not spent in the pursuit of higher learning. From killing time between classes to unwinding on weekends, there’s a lot more to college than hitting the books. This is where you’ll find suggestions for laptops, tablets and other gear that do double duty for work and play, cozy decorations and swag for your dorm room, games to play with new friends and everything else you’ll need to make this the best year ever.

What are you looking for?

Gear Subscriptions Games Swag Decorations Laptops

How much do you want to spend?

$$ $ $$$

Custom Xbox controllers, $79.99+

So your roommate can't get "confused" about which Xbox controller is theirs.

Loot Crate subscription box, $8.99+

It's like a guaranteed monthly care package, but instead of candy and toiletries you get cool collectibles.

Space Invaders Tiny Arcade game, $19.99

You definitely can't fit an arcade cabinet in your dorm room; This tiny arcade game is the next best thing.

Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set, $19.99

Learning how to run a game of DnD is a much better use of your time than homework.

NES Classic Edition, $59.99

If you can find it in stock, the NES Classic is a great way to bond with your roommate (assuming they're cool with taking Luigi).

Nintendo Switch, $299.99

The portability of Nintendo's excellent console makes it perfect for banging out a few rounds of Mario Tennis between classes.

Xbox Game Pass, $9.99 for a 3-month subscription

The service gives you unlimited access to hundreds of Xbox games, now on sale for $9.99 for new subscribers.

Star Wars Floral Backpack, $40

At first glance it just looks like you're rocking a floral print, but Star Wars fans will recognize some familiar starcraft among the plants.

SNES Controller Wall Art, $29.99

A triptych design brings some class to this wall art inspired by the time-honored SNES controller.

ASUS VP28UQG Gaming Monitor, $299.99

4K resolution and 1ms response time make this a good gaming monitor, but it'll handle streaming Netflix and Twitch just as well. And homework, I guess.

Fire HD 8 Tablet 32 GB, $99.99

A tablet does triple duty: it's useful for class handouts, reading comics and playing mobile games.

Comixology Unlimited, $5.99/month

With access to thousands of digital comics and discounts on new releases, a Comixology Unlimited subscription is way more practical than trying to fit your comics collection in your dorm room.

PlayStation Koozie, $25

Show everyone where your allegiance lies in the console wars while keeping your beverage cool (or warm) in style.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf, $12.50

A silly hidden-identity game like Werewolf is the perfect icebreaker to get to know your new friends (or at least learn how good they are at lying).

Jackbox Party Pack 3, $14.99

The best of the Jackbox Party Packs (at least until the 5th edition comes out this fall), Jackbox Party Pack 3 can accomodate up to 8 players so no one gets left out.

MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, $1,599

MSI's lightweight Stealth Pro laptop is slim enough to take to class but powerful enough to handle your PC gaming needs.

Pokémon Snorlax Bean Bag Chair, $149.99

Look, school is stressful and some days you're just going to want to take a nap on a giant Pokémon. We've all been there.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 Headset, $129.99

A bluetooth headset with a retractable mic is versatile enough for gaming, talking on Discord, listening to Spotify and watching Netflix.

PacMan Fleece Blanket, $49.95

A Pac-Man fleece blanket is great for cozying up at bedtime — unless you're afraid of ghosts, that is.

Amazon Prime Student, $6.49/month

If you sign up with a .edu email address, you'll get a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime and half off a subscription when the trial ends.