During the season of gifting madness, it’s always handy to take a step back and let someone else tell you the best buys for those nearest and dearest to you. Here is the guide to buying some really fantastic gifts for that person in your life who loves all things Indie Gaming. Maybe they are an avid gamer, marketer or even a developer themselves? You will probably find something for them here!
1) Indie Games: The Complete Introduction to Indie Gaming by Mike Diver £15.58 on Amazon.
This well-seasoned writer from the British music and gaming industry discusses the industry as an emerging popular gaming genre. The book charts some of the history of independently made games as well as some of the ups and downs of the industry. It also charts some of the ‘behind the scenes’ work within small studios as well as emerging industry talents and technologies. A good all round gift.
I was lucky enough to get one of the very first Raspberry Pi boards and they have become a very popular and sophisticated system that many developers, gamers and kids use to access computing and coding at a low price. These days, you can buy the board or sets and add ons too. Everything from portable touch screens and keyboards to incredible sensors, switches, lights and cameras. I know a lot of people from my retro gaming community who use a Raspberry Pi for homemade arcade cabinets or emulators so they have become a powerful tool across the gaming sphere. You can even find ready made ‘How to’ guides for making lots of interesting products and then shop accordingly so it’s well worth having a look. A lot of kit can be purchased for a relatively modest budget.
3) Indie Game: The Movie available from buy.indiegamethemovie.com from $9.99.
This film charts the development process including its challenges and successes of the teams behind Super Meat Boy, Fez and Braid. Created in 2012 it won awards at the Sundance Film Festival of that year and is a factual, in depth view of the creation of an Indie game. It was the first feature film ever to be released on the Steam platform. It is a well reviewed film that would be an interesting watch for anyone interested in the industry or wanting to find out more about it.
4) Digital Gifting: Steam (Other platforms are available but may have limits on gifting), Xbox, Playstation etc £Varied.
Nothing says love like giving the gift of gaming. On Steam, you can give a game from a wish list or add funds to an account. If you prefer something more tangible, you can buy vouchers for Steam and major current generation consoles from many retailers that can be spent on Indie games if desired. If you feel like gifting with giving to charity, the Humble Bundle team usually have some excellent games which are discounted and you get to choose the proportion of the price that goes to charity and to the developer too.
5) GT Omega Racing Gamers Chair from £169.95.
People who spend a lot of time at their computer either playing or developing need to take care of their back and this really is the pinnacle of luxury that your bottom will be eternally grateful for. With customisable colours and features, the chairs are made of simulated leather and have lovely little padded bits that hug your spine. The armrests can be moved to suit and it is all very sturdy. It also reclines to 170degrees so you can have a little nap if you are running an all nighter! You could even go for one of the more elite models which provides even more contoured comfort.
6) Stress Reliever Toys – widely available at £Varied.
We’ve all been there (I more than most). You just can’t get past that “bit” of an Indie game. Or maybe you are the developer and you can’t figure out why the code that you have implemented just won’t work. Maybe you are even watching me stream an Indie game and getting immensely frustrated at my inability to time a simple double jump correctly. Rather than take it out on your expensive hardware, you can reach for a stress relieving toy and swear to your hearts content. A variety are available depending on what floats your boat from things to squish to things to twiddle.
7) Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques by Evan Skolnik £14.99 from Amazon.
I love a good well thought out story within a game and so this book could be essential reading for developers working on story rich games. The writer looks at the development of narrative for every part of the game design and breaks it down in to a handy reference. If you aren’t in step with your ability to tell a story this could be a handy way of improving and expanding on your narrative within the game you are creating.
8) Barbie Game Developer Doll – £14.99 on Amazon.
For the female developer and at times, player, the world can seem very ‘male’ at times. Although there have been lots of strides in the promotion of women in computing, it’s still a very male dominated world. However now even Barbie has got her code on. You can own your very own Game Dev Barbie complete with headset, nerd specs, laptop and tablet. It doesn’t come with any accompanying strong caffeine supply but I’m sure a toothpaste cap would suit her wonderfully.
9) Keep Calm, I’m a Games Developer Metal Keyring – £4.99 on Amazon.
What lets your friends and day job colleagues know of your Batman-esque alter ego better than a keyring. Using the much ‘loved’ Keep Calm catchphrase, this can adorn your keys or bag and let your day job pals know why you won’t be there after the release of your multi-million pound making game without the awkwardness of actual interaction. It is also made of metal and comes in a nice gift box so would make a sharp looking stocking filler or a weapon for self defence if all else fails!
10) Emperor Work Environment from about $10,000.
So, picture if you will that you are a millionaire. You have all these foolish books and toys. You have a palace to live in and a spare room going and feel like a new set up…and this is for you. Typically purchased for simulation of a variety of risky jobs, this immersive gaming system means you need not move ever again but to use the toilet and eat. The highest grade materials and components are combined to create a cocoon of gaming joy that would suit the gamer and indeed the developer too. You can get a heated seat, foot rest, tray, perimeter lights (chosen colour or RGB with remote), ability to have your logo added…all in one combined system for you to have for your own slice of escapism. It’s clearly not to most peoples budget, but I couldn’t resist adding it. Oh, and if you are a millionaire, I’d like mine in pink and black please.
So, there you have it. All retailers suggested are of course only…well…suggestions. You may be able to find some bargains if you hunt about the internet in some cases. Here’s wishing you a very happy holidays and I hope you get everything you ever wanted (providing you have been a good girl like I have).