Feed A Friend For An Hour or Let Them Game A Lot Longer

After the last Gaming Goddess podcast talking about ideas for Christmas, I decided to put together this post about gifting video games. It’s fairly common to compare the value of items to food. Yeah. Food is really important, but nowadays eating out is a luxury more than ever. With that in mind, I also thought about all the people probably buying restaurant gift-cards as Christmas presents and the rest fell into place. I’ll even start small. A quarter-pounder meal at McDonald’s will cost you $5.79. You could enjoy a meal of fake food for an hour with that, I figure or you could get a video game that lasts a lot longer. At the very least, even if it’s a quick game, you won’t be shoveling all that bad-for-you food in your mouth. Here’s a short-list of Retro and Indie recommendations I have at approximately the price of the meal I mentioned above(or less).


Out There Somewhere$1.99

For a scant $1.99, you can pick up this short, but satisfying indie platformer with a retro aesthetic. Imagine if you will a 2D Portal and you might end up with something like Out There Somewhere by MiniBoss. The game is very solid. A good retro soundtrack, tight controls and a puzzling twist of using a gun that allows you to teleport to the location the bullet impacts. It even allows a bit of momentum to follow you through the teleport. by timing your jump just right, you can blast at walls and jump on top of them. I enjoyed this game a lot and am always hoping they make another, longer-lasting one.

Life Is Strange™_20150201202703

Life Is Strange$4.99

For only five dollars you can buy one of the best story-driven narratives to come along in a long time. Granted, this is an episodic story-game told in 5 parts, but nothing says you can’t tease your giftee with only the first episode. An amazing game that I hardly need to describe, as so many people have heard about this gem by DONTNOD Entertainment. This game will have you on the edge of your seat as you immerse yourself in it. I personally describe this game as a kind of Twin Peaks with Sci-Fi elements told in a slightly WB drama kind of way.


Avernum 6$4.99

If old-school cRPG is your flavor of choice, you can’t go wrong with Avernum. Created originally by a one-man indie studio, Avernum is much loved by fans of this genre. Avernum appears outdated with its graphics, but it delivers a potent mix of classic cRPG gameplay with incredibly deep story and many… many hours of gameplay. This isn’t a game to buy just because you couldn’t find anything better. The Avernum and Geneforge series by Spiderweb Software are terrific games that harken to the days of Baldur’s Gate and other classics, but with its own uniqueness.



If you want to try a short, but uniquely intriguing indie game, you can try Home. Actually, I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a lovely little experiment of sorts as it’s a psychological horror game set in 2 dimensions with a retro, pixel aesthetic. I was so happy to have experienced it. Home by Benjamin Rivers has also made its way to multiple platforms like PS4, Vita and iOS. I recommend setting aside a night to play this straight through. It will take you roughly two hours, but you should do it uninterrupted, while immersing yourself in it and getting rid of any and all distractions. If you like it, give Ben a shout-out on his Twitter.



If you like break-away, unique strategy and mangement games with serious depth, this might be for you or your Might and Magic III obsessed friend. Eador is a bit hard to describe. It’s definitely a turn-based strategy game, but it also has some grand-strategy and roleplaying elements in it as well. This game has a newer, shinier and more expensive brother, but Genesis by Snowbird Games was the first and is still a tremendously deep and rich experience.


Dungeons of Dredmor – $4.99

If you or the giftee likes a good roguelike, Dungeons of Dredmor by Gaslamp Games is a good contender. I really like the pixelated cartoon aesthetic, the great tongue-in-cheek writing and the deep-ish level of attributes and stats on gear. At heart, I’m not a lover of roguelikes; I tend to lean more towards an RPG-feel that I get from Tales of Maj’eyal (which is slightly over my price margin at $6.99, but I felt deserved to be mentioned alongside Dredmor).

There are so many great games out there. This list is but a tiny taste for you. I have some other great recommendations coming soon, like the indie alternatives to big-budget hits.

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Jeremy Stratton

Jeremy Stratton

Jeremy's lived long enough to see his favorite games making a comeback in High Definition and Indie games with old-school ideals. He also loves cooking and photography.

  • The “more expensive” Eador game that you mentioned is actually only $3.99 on Steam as I write this comment, so you can actually pick it up on the Holiday sale for a great price!

    Awesome recommendations – I learned a lot from this post! :)