I am of course a Jew, so finding anything at all under “the tree”, and indeed finding “a tree” in my house, would be a distressing indication that someone had broken into my house and forcibly Pagano-Christianed me. Which isn’t a thing, right? I hope it’s not a thing. However, like all good late capitalists, there are Things I Want. Just give them to me for my birthday.
1. PlayStation 4
I’ve somehow managed to get away without a PS4 this year, but Destiny and Shadow of Mordor are tempting me; I guess if you’re offering to buy me a gift, I’ll take the white one.
2. Gingerline Clandestine Dining Experience
Games doesn’t just mean things you play on a computer, or even with a board and some wooden pieces after too many cherry liqueur truffles. Gingerline, a London-based “secret dinner experience”, promises to introduce gamelike challenges and puzzles before you get to your dinner. Which, after a Pagano-Christian festival of excess, might be just the ticket.
3. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, by Edward Tufte
If you’re interested in making games, you need to think about design, about how information can be packed densely-yet-readably into the visual field, and how conveying information can be pleasing and even beautiful. Edward Tufte is the acknowledged king of data visualisation – his books are must-reads for anyone who wants to start thinking about good design.
4. Samsung Gear VR Headset
£150 (not yet released), samsung.com
5. Saitek X52 Flight Control System
Virtual reality is coming along nicely; the recent $2bn Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift is the big story here, but the Gear VR Gaming Headset is something to be going along with. And, of course, if you’re going to play Elite, a VR headset in combination with the Saitek X52 joystick gives the most absurdly “real” gaming experience.
6. Apple iPad Air 2
from £399, store.apple.com/uk
There are so many great games available on the App Store – so an iPad Air is a great choice.
7. Dragon Age: Inquisition
I’m looking forward to the new instalment of Dragon Age: Inquisition. These games do really fascinating things with story and create brilliantly rounded characters.
8. Asus ROG G750JS
It’s been a long time since I had a gaming PC – probably not since Myst, if I’m honest – and it’s time to get back on that. A lot of wonderful indie games are available only on Steam for PC, so even though I love my Mac as much as I bah-humbug over Christmas, this is the year for a Windows gaming laptop for me.
If you love games, you might start thinking “I wonder how these things are made? I wonder if I can get even a little taste of the coding through which these modern-day cathedrals are constructed?” If so, consider the Kano mini-computer; pleasingly reminiscent of my childhood Spectrum 48K, it’s designed to make starting to learn coding easy and fun for children and adults.
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