Mostly Everything

Just finished my geeky holiday shopping! Budget: USD $30.00

When I was a kid, Christmas presents didn’t mean the act of opening everything on the morning of the 25th. For me, the holidays was a careful chore which I’d gladly do with my dad as I would “hint” what I wanted (in the 80’s it was Sky Commanders, Ninja Turtles and GI Joe’s) and we’d go from store to store (I remember the 3rd floor toy section of Landmark clearly) and I’d tell him what I wanted. It was a better choice for me to sacrifice the “surprise” (of getting something I did not really want) versus knowing what was exactly in the package.

Fast forward to today, and I envy the leisure my parents had in shopping for gifts. December, in this modern age, is horrible. The last time I bought something in Rustan’s, I had to wait for 2 days to get it wrapped (P.S. I’m a guy, I don’t know these things). Traffic is compounded by 10 and the mall is just crazy.

So the past two years really got me thinking how I could make shopping more efficient and meaningful for friends. So I did a quick run through of the company I keep and to no surprise, a lot of them belong to the category of “Geeks” under a sub-category of “Gamers.”


Gamers like video games.

And I could get them something from Datablitz.

But that’s old skool.

In the age of the Internet, we go for digital downloads. Every holiday season, the Steam Store goes crazy-insane with game sales. For the uninitiated, Steam is like “Facebook for PC Gamers” (no not the Farmville type!) and everyday there are new deals at 50%-75% off. It’s just a matter of knowing what games go on sale and what types of genres your friends want.

So for the holidays, I bought 10 friends 10 games via Steam. Total Budget: USD $30.00 (INSANE!) That’s roughly USD $2.49 per game ++ at over 75% off. Steam allows you to “gift” any title to your friend’s email or Steam account (sign up here). No lines. No duplicates (the system tells you if your friend already owns a game you want to buy for ’em; as a corollary, it also tells you what your friend’s wish list is for the holidays). No hassle. Did everything in less than 10 minutes. Since these are digital goods, there’s no delivery fee!

For the non-geeks reading this, I’m sure you have loved ones who would really appreciate PC games for the holidays. It may be a bit weird at first, but trust me, it works. Think of the time and money you can save while still getting exactly what your friends want.

Mostly Everything

The first original game I bought … was CRAP.

At home I have these big iBox containers which I use to store my junk. I have 6 of these stacked up at the foot of my bed. It’s semi-OC: one has all the plugs and cables, another has gadgets, and manuals, another one with my lens filters, so on and so forth. Rummaging through my stuff (I was packing for a long trip next week) I found the box of my very first original PC game titled “Rise of the Robots.” Anyone remember this? I remember buying this in a gaming shop in Hong Kong during the mid 90’s. It was this vs Wing Commander IV. At that time, I had no patience for flight simulators and the thought of robots beating each other up in the area was absolute childhood fanfare.

And so this is the box (sadly contents are lost in time):