Last-minute gamer gift: The Humble Indie Bundle

Indie video-game creators team up to create a bargain gift for your friends—or yourself.


Fruzsina Eördögh


Published Dec 23, 2011   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 11:30 pm CDT

Now that you’ve shopped for everyone else, it’s time to get yourself something—and give back to a community of independent game developers who could use your support, too.

Started last year, the Humble Indie Bundle is a downloadable package of independently created video games offered for a limited time only. A portion of the sales—an amount you pick—goes to charity. Oh, and you set the price for the bundle, too.

This year’s bundle includes community favorites like Cave Story+ and Super Meat Boy. (You can check out all the games offered on the Humble Bundle site.) Interested gamers have five days left to purchase this bundle.

Forthwith, the top 5 reasons why you should participate.

1. It’s always a good time.

Indie video game designer Erin Robinson told the Daily Dot she’s purchased every Humble Bundle, “even the ones I was on the fence about at first.”

Video game journalist Leigh Alexander called the Humble Indie Bundle a “win-win for everyone,” writing in an email that “gamers have the opportunity to experience games they might not otherwise have tried.”

Arthur Moy, a gamer and aspiring pixel artist, says he purchased a Bundle last year, and was excited to purchase this year’s bundle. “It’s totally worth paying more than the average price,” tweeted Moy.

Video game theorist and blogger Owen Grieve said he saves the games “for a rainy afternoon when I want something fun and new to play,” and has purchased various bundles in the past because there’s always “one or two games in each bundle that I really want, and the rest are nice bonuses.”

This Daily Dot reporter is personally excited for Gratuitous Space Battles, and the breakout game of this year (besides Minecraft), Super Meat Boy.

“Spots are extremely competitive and we do our best to fill them with games that we think our audience will love,” wrote cofounder Jeffrey Rosen in an email to the Daily Dot about the video game selection process.

2. It’s a steal of a deal.

“The pay-what-you-want angle means that even if I own 4 of the games already, I’m still getting a bargain on the rest, and that’s what always wins me over,” wrote indie designer Robinson.

Game theorist and blogger Grieve wrote, “I usually pay about $5-10, which is really dirt cheap considering what’s on offer … but is always above the average anyway.”

The Humble Indie Bundle can be purchased for as little as one dollar, though shelling out such a low amount is generally frowned upon. According to the Humble Indie Bundle website, if each game was purchased separately at typical market prices, the price would be $165.

3. It’s got that “indie” factor; all the cool kids are doing it.

“The participants are a veritable ‘who’s who’ of indie gaming,” wrote video game journalist Alexander, adding that part of the bundle’s success is developers get the “opportunity to reach new audiences.”

Indie game designer Robinson says the Humble Indie bundle has changed the way she thinks about game sales, specifically, how high the demand for cross-platform games is.

“Making sure my current game project could be made cross-platform was a consideration from the very beginning, and I don’t think that would have happened without the Humble Bundle,” wrote Robinson.

4. It’s for charity!

“Gamers have shown through initiatives like Child’s Play or Extra Life that their commitment and dedication to their hobby can translate to charitable work, and I think this is a great example of that” wrote video game journalist Alexander.

“They’ve done a good thing by including these charities. It’s just another selling point: I’m getting this great deal and I can benefit a good cause. The Humble Bundle may be a triumph of marketing, but it’s backed up by solid games and a solid opportunity to do some good,” said indie designer Robinson.

This year’s charities are Child’s Play and the American Red Cross.

5. Stuck on gift ideas for Christmas? Give the Humble Bundle!

The Humble Indie bundle has a nifty button that allows your purchase to actually be a gift.

Or, if you purchase the bundle, and don’t like some of the games, you can give them away. That’s what indie designer Robinson does with the games she doesn’t like, “since there’s no DRM,” or digital-rights management software, to prevent making a copy for a friend.

That aspect of the Humble Bundle has generated some recent controversy, observed blogger and theorist Grieve. Believe it or not, some participants sell their games on eBay. “They get people pirating the bundles too, which is truly bizarre,” he noted. Why not just buy the games directly at a price you pick—and kick in some money to the charities involved, too?

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*First Published: Dec 23, 2011, 9:00 am CST