Humble Bundle is one of those ideas which is both simple and utterly brilliant. Periodically, the site will put up a bundle of indie games for the PC and give you the option of paying as much as you want for them.
You can decide not only the amount you pay but how it's split between the games’ creators, the site and the charities Child's Play and the EFF. You also have the option of paying over the average donation to get a little extra and... that's pretty much it.
You get a bunch of great games (and these games are great – the last bundle was worth it for the chilling Limbo alone), the creators get paid, the site gets its costs covered and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play (the charity Penny Arcade set up to help get computer games to children in hospital) get help. Literally the only way that this could be better would be if they sent you free cake for every order you placed.
The current Humble Bundle's a little different . Instead of games, it's music and works pretty well as a beginner's slope for the vast array of geeky music out there. Here's what it features:
Jonathan Coulton's Greatest Hit (And 13 Other Songs)
Coulton is the bard regent of geek music and if you've played Portal or Portal 2 you've heard his work with “Still Alive” and “Just Want You Gone”. Coulton's entire body of work is very strong, varying between funny, arch and desperately sad and this is a great place to start with him.
Hitoshi Sakamoto – Best of the Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles is a 2009 roleplaying game for the PS3. The game's background is loosely inspired by Europe in 1935, and puts the players in charge of a military unit of the neutral nation Gallia. Gallia has vast reserves of Ragnite, the ore that stands in for petrol in this universe and you must repel an invasion intent on seizing the country's Ragnite deposits. It's a highly acclaimed game, mixing steampunk and historical sensibilities with tactical play and the soundtrack's sweeping, heroic, orchestral stuff.
Christopher Tin – Calling All Dawns
If you're a Civ IV player then you know Christopher Tin's work. The classical composer wrote “Baba Yetu”, the game's theme, and won two Grammys for his crossover album, Calling All Dawns . Which, conveniently, is the album included in the bundle.
Album Raises New And Troubling Questions
They Might Be Giants are the best band you ever didn't know the name of. “Birdhouse in Your Soul”, “Boss Of Me” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” are their best known tracks but this album is packed full of the rarities and B-sides. It's a collection of unusual songs from an unusual band and it's another good jumping on point, especially if you like your geek music rocky instead of classical.
MC Frontalot – Favoritism
Front invented a musical sub genre; nerdcore rap. His work is wry, funny, deeply in love with language and crammed full of so many references and geek in-jokes you'll think Joss Whedon is recording under an assumed name. He isn't, because firstly your favourite characters never die in these songs and secondly because no one fronts quite as much as MC Frontalot. Also, Muppets, observe:
OK Go – Twelve Remixes of Four Songs
OK Go are very much the spiritual successors to They Might Be Giants; wry, funny and very smart. This is a collection of remixes of songs from the 2010 album Of The Blue Color Of The Sky as well as the original album versions. It's the smallest of the albums but there's some fun stuff here, most notably “White Knuckles” which, as anyone who's seen Cabin In The Woods will know, features prominently in the movie’s opening scenes. So why not listen to it here, safe in the knowledge that ghastly and creative horror movie death will not ensue once the song's done? Yay!
At time of writing, this Humble Bundle has sold 38, 000 copies and still has a few days to run. Both the EFF and Child's Play are great causes so if you want some good music for almost nothing? (You need to donate just over eight dollars to get the OK Go album, everything else is whatever you want to pay for it) Then this is for you. Besides, where else would you find philanthropy you can hum?