Being a geek on Christmas

Here is a question: being a geek, do you often find that your family is at a complete loss when trying to buy you presents? I know mine is. Every single year.

I mean, it’s not like it is hard to figure out what I like don’t you think? I like video games, I like electronic gadgets, I like pen and paper RPG and tabletop battle games. I like SF books, anime, manga and graphic novels. And it’s not like I don’t have a blog which essentially outlines all my likes and dislikes in each of these categories. I’m an open book – I should be easy to buy gifts for. But apparently I’m not. All this stuff I enjoy – all the stuff I live and breathe is so alien and incomprehensible to most of my family members that it is as if we existed in some parallel universes. I usually have to tell everyone exactly what I want to get – an in most cases I don’t even know what to ask for. I mean, if I really want something I usually get it for myself unless it is prohibitively expensive. And if I sort-of want something, and request it specifically, then it is no longer a surprise.

Is that your experience as well? Does your non-geeky close ones actually take the effort to ask around/research good gifts you may like? Or do they take the easier route of having you write down the exact thing you want for them, or resort to gift-card / generic clothing gift ideas. Or are you fortunate enough to be surrounded by like minded folks who will actually get you awesomely geeky gifts without even asking.

Not that I’m complaining of course. I’m actually thankful for having a caring family which would actually bother trying to get me something. I’m just noticing that a lot of people out there find gift shopping for geeks incredibly difficult for some odd reason.

Speaking of gifts, question number two: how much did you spend on Steam Holiday Sale this year? Honestly, I must admit that once I see prices of semi-recent, well reviewed video games drop down to single digits I find it very hard to resist buying them. Just this past few days I have seen all the Overlord games for $3, all the Hitman games for less than $10, all the Fear games and expansions for just as much, Batman: Arkham Asylum for like $8, KoTOR for like a buck… It’s crazy. You see how deeply they cut the prices on some of these games, and you start wandering how do they even make profit on these sales. But I’m sure they do, just judging from how many times I clicked that purchase button myself. I mean, I bought a bunch of games for myself, I got some last minute supplemental gifts for my brother.

We are sort of conditioned to think that a video game is worth about $40-60 regardless of when it was published. In most retail chains, games stay the same price for their entire sales lifetime, and then just disappear once they are no longer relevant. Other items deeply discounted, and dropped into bargain bins – but this almost never happens to software. Which I guess is why Valve holiday sales make all of us go berserk. There is just no other place right now where you could get 15-20 games for the prince of one.

Thank you Valve for making Christmas time awesome every year. I hope you will enjoy my money, cause I’m sure enjoying the games I bought.

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6 Responses to Being a geek on Christmas

  1. ninjutsu63 UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    I got some pretty good gifts from my parents. Some were books they already knew I wanted. They were also able to pick out a couple of other cool looking book based on my tastes. Other gifts were pretty universal things that can be enjoyed even by non-geeks, like a Leatherman multi-tool.

    The biggest problem I have in picking out gifts for my geek friends is figuring out what they have and don’t have. Especially with things like books and games.

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  2. nitro2k01 SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says:

    I found my way back here because I was still subscribed to the old CAPS LOCK post. There are so many fine blawgs you just forget about…

    Anyway, my mom finally got it at 25 years of age (me, not her ;) ) and gave me a small pile of cash. Nice! Ended up buying a new camera. For my age (stated) gender (male) and demographic (some sort of geek) I’m particularly uninterested in games. And when it comes to animu and mango, I usually go the HAR-HAR-HAR route.

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  3. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Everyone in my family sends around lists of things we’d like. I usually include links to examples of the products. It is a great system, because not only are they baffled in what to get me, but I’m baffled in what to get my parents & sisters.

    Also, the steam sale has been awesome. I picked up Orange Box, deus ex 1 & 2, I added the games from the humble indie bundle 1 & 2, and picked up a “casual” game – flight control – all for less than $20!

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  4. road UNITED STATES Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    I don’t mind the crappy presents, I just wish they would stop using me for free tech-support. I seriously spent ~3 days of my 7 day vacation doing website maintenance, installing XP, removing malware, etc. I think they think I enjoy it…

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  5. road UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    Also, my wife has discovered that I usually like just about everything from thinkgeek.com. It’s usually a pretty safe bet and it’s easy to distribute the link to family members.

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  6. Douglas AUSTRALIA Google Chrome Windows says:

    This year, I said that I wouldn’t mind a Nintendo DSi XL for Christmas, the main inspiration for this being that, when we got them in where I worked, we as staff opened one up to have a look, and from that moment I was like “OMG WANT”, so the family got me one of those and some games to go with it. Ever since, I’ve been playing Professor Layton and Scribblenauts, amongst others… Scribblenauts is an awesome game, the fact that a shop assistant tried to kill me because I accidentally threw a piece of fruit at her was hilarious, as was the mobster that tried to kill me after I shot the mouse that was standing near him. Professor Layton, oh, how I simultaneously loathe it and adore it, the puzzles are incredibly hard sometimes but you want to solve them no matter what.

    Top prize goes to my sister, though, who bought me this.

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