Of all the people you might have to buy gifts for this Christmas, the sullen teenage girl just might be the most challenging. For what, exactly, do sullen teenage girls like? They are so sullen! It can be hard to tell if they like anything at all.
Of course, you can't really blame them for being sullen -- anyone who has worked with teenagers knows that most teenage girls have plenty of reasons to be standoffish. They have advanced far beyond the boys around them (who mostly spend their time staring at the ground and mumbling about Modern Warfare), while at the same time their parents are always lecturing them about "their potential" and "getting better friends" and "not dating 24-year-olds".
Hopefully, some of these gifts will raise their spirits, and help them remember a time when they weren't so grouchy all the time. Though of course, any gift recommendation should be taken with the consideration that, even if it's a complete flop, it's been purchased from a store that has plenty of other cool things, should her sullenness choose to return it.
This one is pretty straightforward -- it's a pin that says "Push me far enough and i'll delete all of your video game save files." For many a teenager, this is one of the most serious threats you can make -- hours of progress, lost in an instant! Any sullen teenage girl needs a good handful of threats to keep undesirable teenage boys away, and this is among the most potent. $US1.50 at Etsy.com.
Here's a bid to appeal to the secret soft side of any sullen teenager. Kan Gao's PC RPG/adventure game is a little bit Chrono Trigger, a little bit Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and all heart. The story of two doctors who travel through a dying man's memories to help him realise a final dream, To The Moon is a game that can pierce through the even the most jaded, exhaustedly teenaged exterior. Take a chance on this one, and hopefully she will too. $US11.99 online.
There are more sullen teenagers in Square Enix's The World Ends With You than probably any other game outside of the Persona series. The characters are all too cool for school (literally), bumming around the Shibuya district, collecting pins and rocking out frantic battles against tons of invisible spirit enemies. This t-shirt, modelled after one of the "player pins" in the game, is both a cool reference on its own but also just a neat t-shirt, game reference notwithstanding. And what sullen teenager's wardrobe is complete without at least one black t-shirt with a skull on it? $US17.95 at SharkRobot.com.
Everyone likes to be scared, the young among us perhaps more than anyone. Frictional's PC/Mac game Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the most truly frightening games of the last couple of years, a puzzle/horror game that asks players to make their way through a dark, haunted castle in search of their lost memories. Any of the beasts in the castle can kill you in a few seconds, and so what starts as a tense game of exploration quickly becomes a pulse-pounding, silent fight for survival. Hiding in the dark, staring at the floor as your sanity runs out, praying that the slavering beast behind you can't see you in the shadow. $US20 online.
Eleanor from Bioshock 2 was one of the strongest and most interesting (and unfortunately, most overlooked) female video game characters from 2010, and this painting is a cool tribute to her. It's not clear who she is -- this could just be a painting of a woman in a diving suit! -- but fans of the game will know who she really is: the arse-kickingest video game daughter since Half Life 2's Alyx Vance. She's a great role model, and she's totally cool to boot.
This is an original painting, so if it's sold out, try this cool Signed Little Sister print from the same game, which is available for $US15. Eleanor painting is $US25 at Etsy.com.
This one is a bit mature for the younger end of the teenage spectrum, but older kids of both gender will get a lot out of Atlus' weird romantic horror game, which was easily one of the most thematically interesting and creative games of 2011.
Players take control of Vincent, a hapless and indecisive 30-year old who must choose between his long-term (and possibly pregnant) girlfriend Katherine and his new flame, a young and volatile bombshell named Catherine. What follows is a dark and funny game of choice and consequences, as Vincent's dreams are invaded by increasingly difficult climbing puzzles, each of which symbolises his growing anxiety and life-paralysis. Oh, and if he messes up in the dream, he dies in real life.
Catherine should provide some insight into the minds of the foot-shuffling teenage boys mentioned earlier, and it's wickedly funny and has a great soundtrack to boot. It is an adult game, in that it contains adult language and revolves around sex and love, but it's not porny or even overly sexual, despite the titillating cover. Catherine is smart, adult stuff, but mostly PG-13. Anyone from 16 or 17 on up should have no problem with it.