It’s not too late … thanks to Slate, for this list of the best free online video games. We particularly like Gamma Bros, which brings back those groovy 1980s shoot-the-alien-invaders. Only question is, will your friend/wife/brother/lover appreciate a card with just a URL scribbled on it?
Someone called us media planning dorks lately, and that hurt, because while we may be socially inept, we’re certainly not dull or slow-witted. No matter. We dorks dig BoardGameGeek.com, a site dedicated to games you can play with real people without involving Intel Quad-Core processors. We’re thinking of approaching them to develop a media planning game, and then pass off our client work to teenage kids who can whiz through advertising CPM options while rolling dice. Cheap outsourcing, eh?
Check out the so-cool Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game. Unless you know what an Intel Quad-Core processor is … and then, you probably only play with computers. Dork.
Customized shoes from NikeId.com. In all your favorite colors. Nike defends the $130 sneaker from Steve & Barry’s with a cool site that allows complete customization of nearly every Nike brand.
Some creative dorks we know just launched a brilliant gift guide for your artistic friends who already have everything. Alas, the USB turntable, perfect for converting your old vinyl into something that works on an iPod, is sold out.
There’s a reason people go nuts before Christmas, and it’s called evolution. No sane person with the average U.S. household income of $43,000 would consider blowing 0.23% of it on grilling utensils in early winter, but we furrow our brow ridges and want them anyway. Most of us have phones plugged into walls and miraculous miniature cell phones in our pockets, but we lust for the next generation iPhone because, well, its screen has pretty colors.
Holiday shopping is related to hoarding, and psychologists say hoarding is a subset of obsessive-compulsive disorder, an evolutionary instinct run amok. Hoarding works great in the wild, because the animals that collect energy and shelter tend to live longer and have healthy offspring. For instance, the Arctic gray jay bird stores more than 100,000 mouthfuls of berries and bugs to make it through winter. Humans buy junk because, almost certainly, in the recent Ice Age our cavepeople ancestors had a choice to store food and pelts before winter or not … and the ones who hoarded mountains of material were the sole survivors. Our great-great-great-great grandpas and grandmas shopped pelts til they dropped. Peaceful, loving, anticommercial types just froze in the cold.
So this holiday season, don’t fight the urge. Go get your Heritage Professional Barbecue Grill Tool Set, your Amazon Kindle, your Down Ice Scraper Mitt. It’s good for today’s economy. And tomorrow, your future great-great-great-grandchildren are counting on it.
Saul Griffith is one of these renaissance MIT types who starts business incubators, makes it big and gets profiled by Fortune. Today he is figuring out new ways to generate power from high-altitude wind.
But we like his Howtoons the best. Howtoons is a comic book / blog that teaches kids ages 8 to 15 how to make cool stuff, like a marshmallow shooter, out of household items. Griffith started this as a little side project, since he was disappointed in the current education for children on how to do anything real with science other than log on to computers. If you want to slip a little engineering to your kids this Christmas, check the book out at Amazon.