For a truly unique and very much last-minute gift for anyone you know, look to CDM’s favorite game of year, the gorgeous, blood pressure-lowering title for Windows and – at long last – Mac. I may personally identify a little too much with the abstract protagonist of this game, as my holiday activities could well be described as floating around the universe, sucking particles into my gravity well as I grow in size. But whether or not I feel literally like an expanding bubble of matter, one of my favorite experiences this year was entering this ingenious physics-based game. It fuses visuals with a sparkling minimal electronic soundtrack by some favorite artists, from Gas to Loscil, and could be a perfect surprise hard drive stuffer for a Mac or Windows user – even if they’d be puzzled by, say, a sophisticated virtual analog instrument.

$10, Mac and Windows, instant download.

Osmos @ Hemisphere Games

I’m not doing this as an advertisement, either – I’m buying it and placing it on the hard drive of someone dear to me, who I’m fairly certain isn’t reading this blog and to whose laptop I have easy access.

Lastly, to help celebrate the holidays, we’ll have treats in the form of free downloads and tips leading from this weekend into the New Year. Among them, I’m pleased to offer the exclusive official Osmos soundtrack as a free CDM Sounds podcast. (I hoped to have that edited in time for today, but expect it by Monday. And yes, it’s the rare soundtrack that you’ll still want to hear after the game is over.)

Best gift I could have received: is back after a screw-up with our domain. It won’t happen again, and we’ll make it up to our visualist readers with extra content starting next week.

Thanks, everyone, and enjoy the season. Winter is, after all, a great time to bunker in and make music.