"Dear Santa… 10 Geek Gifts We Want"
One of the bonuses of working at Draw & Code is that we get to play video games and explore the latest tech as part of our job. So, what do you get the ultimate tech-fiends for Christmas? From the frivolous to the fun, we asked members of the team to come up with their ideal Christmas technology and games wishlist. Here’s what they picked:
#1 – PlayStation VR
An absolute must-have for this Christmas, PlayStation VR costs a lot (although the Black Friday discounts are continuing it seems) but it offers one of the slickest ways to get involved with virtual reality. A sleek design with a comfortable fit, stunning vivid gameplay that almost matches the high-end PC headsets (playing at 120 FPS isn’t bad) there are many reasons why you should definitely consider Playstation VR. With titles like the horrific Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and the wonderous Robinson: The Journey, there is more than enough on offer to woo the hardcore gamer.
#2 – Nintendo Switch
For those who don’t want to stick a screen on their head, the Nintendo Switch delivers. As a portable gaming device it cannot be bettered. With over 500 accessible games including a rip-roaring indie dev scene and the usual Nintendo exclusives like Mario and Zelda, there is nothing to not like about the Switch.
#3 – Star Wars – Jedi Challenges AR kit
If you’re a Star Wars fanatic, this Lenovo-powered AR headset experience will be your dream-come-true. You are never too old to complete the training with Jedi Challenges – it uses augmented reality to let you wield a lightsaber against holographic enemies right in your living room. You can also play Holo Chess (just remember to let the Wookie win) or take charge of your forces in a strategy game. Unboxing a shiny silver lightsaber for Christmas doesn’t sound too bad an idea? However, over £200 on a piece of hardware that will only ever be used for these games and also requires your smartphone to power it isn’t the platform you are looking for.
#4 – Hyper X Cloud gaming headset
A slightly more sensible gift is the Hyper X Cloud gaming headset. One of the team here at Draw & Code described it as the ‘most comfortable gaming headset and most impressive audio device’ that he has ever owned. Compatible with all your devices, comfortable to wear and boasting passive noise cancellation optimised for pro-gaming. The microphone is also detachable making it perfect to switch between console and mobile use when on the go.
#5 Toshiba LED 4K Ultra HD Smart TV
There’s a Currys advert on TV that says the true meaning of Christmas is 4K TV. And who are we to argue with that beautiful sentiment? Future-proof your TV experience with the Toshiba LED 4K Smart TV. Currently at £329, this TV comes with many features such as Toshiba’s Smart Portal which boasts a ton of features including the ability to record shows to USB to watch back later on like a 21st century VHS. Nice.
#6 – Meccano Max robot
With the impending robot uprising around the corner, what better time to teach your children early on about the joys of artificial intelligence? Meccano combines AI and customisable programming to create MAX. Not only does this Johnny 5-esque toy come with built-in infrared sensors to help it sense obstacles and navigate surfaces as it rolls around on sturdy smart wheels, it then challenges your kids to play games and even learns from them. It’s great to see Meccano, the original tech toy and a Liverpool-born brand, back on form and super-relevant to today’s kids.
#7 – Merge Cube AR toy
Let’s start with a disclaimer – Draw & Code have developed three games for the Merge Cube augmented reality platform. However, as an accessible piece of immersive tech that is available at stocking-filler prices, it is simply unbeatable. There are already a lot of games, puzzles and immersive videos available for the Merge platform (that also includes the Merge VR mobile headset) and it’s the only immersive tech platform designed for the ground up with pre-teens in mind.
#8 – DJI Spark drone
At £449, the DJI Spark is not the cheapest drone on the market, but it is head-scratchingly intelligent in terms of its abilities and can be mastered in minutes by novice flyers. Sounding like a robot wasp, this drone has the ability to track you and act as your own personal filming helicopter that never leaves your side. That is the future we deserve.
#9 – Anki Cosmo robot
Anki are famed as the modern Scalextric with their smartphone-controlled toy car racing systems, now they are muscling in on the STEM market with the Cosmo. Essentially a bulldozer with a personality, the Cosmo is a similar take on the AI-powered toy robot to Meccano’s Max. I wonder what would happen if you got the two of them to talk to each other? I’ll put that on the must-try list.
#10 Beasts of Balance connected board game
A crowd-funding success story and a product of the great table-top games resurgence, Beasts of Balance purports to be an augmented reality game (hmmm, that may be stretching the definition of AR) and is 100% a hoot. Coming across like Jenga meets The Lion King and Monument Valley, you stack toy animals and watch them mount up on the accompanying iPad app. A lot better than Pie Face, that’s for sure!