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Love/Hate: Steam


10:00 AM on 12.25.2009
Love/Hate: Steam photo



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I own 34 games on Steam. Thirty-four. I only made my Steam account two years ago when I purchased The Orange Box, and now I own 34 games. That's a purchase rate of 1.3 games per month, and I love/hate it.

Before Steam, I made a decidedly unmanly three to five game purchases per year between my PC and my PS2 (and later PS3). At that rate, I was a wanna-be gamer, only going through the motions of keeping up with current games while I was secretly playing Age of Empires behind closed doors. 



I kept this up for years, and two things changed at about the same time:
1. I went to college and had to get a job.
2. I purchased a shiny new laptop.

Suddenly, I had disposable income and a computer with discrete graphics! I was so excited, I went out and bought a PS3.

Wait, what? Fast forward a month or two, because that's not relevant at all.

Come October, everybody I knew who knew anything about games was yammering about The Orange Box. "It's Half-Life and Half-Life and Half-Life and two others for fifty bucks, man!" was what I heard. I was skeptical about a videogame named after a color and a figure (would you play The Turquoise Octahedron?), but I thought I'd check it out. Now, like I said, at that point I was only pretending to be involved in the game world, so I had no clue what this "Half-Life" thing was really all about (other than the rate of decay of an atom), so I wound up purchasing The Orange Box mainly for Portal and Team Fortress 2.

Hot damn, was that a good buy.

Anyway, The Orange Hexahedron made me install this program called "Steam" and I had to launch all of my games with it. A bit of an annoyance, really, but it seemed to work.



Eventually, I found my way over to the store. "This is a lot of games to sort through", I thought, so I went straight for the free section. As it turns out, there's not a lot of good free stuff, but there's a ton of cheap content.

Before long, Steam was screaming at me every time I turned it on: "BUY AUDIOSURF," it commanded. "BUY IT RIGHT THE FUCK NOW." Always one to respond well to uncomfortable amounts of pressure, I checked it out. "Hey, this looks like fun", I commented to my invisible audience. "And at ten bucks, I can't go wrong!" And so begins my exposure to Steam deals.

It only snowballed from there. Every now and then, Steam would yell at me again:
BUY THESE UBISOFT GAMES, BITCH!
ORIGINAL HALF-LIFE IS ONLY $0.98 TODAY. YOU'RE FUCKING STUPID IF YOU DON'T GET IT.
HOLY SHIT LOOK AT ALL THESE INDIE GAMES! YOU NEED THEM ALL.
OMG MONKEY ISLAND! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED IT YET.
BUY OVERLORD OR I WILL MURDER YOUR FAMILY.
TORCHLIGHT IS ONLY $10 NOW, YOU CHEAP BASTARD.

So, naturally, I did what it told me.



And this, Steam, is why I love/hate you. I have thirty-four games on Steam alone. Thirty-four awesome games that I enjoy playing. Guess how many of those games I've finished. Go ahead, guess. I'll give you a hint: It's a lot less than thirty-four.

Done guessing? Too bad, you don't get the answer.

I may have a little disposable income, and Steam may give me some fantastic deals every goddamn weekend, but I don't have disposable time. For instance, Borderlands was my most anticipated game of October. However, due to school and work obligations, I didn't have a ton of time to play it. No biggie; I can chip away at it for several weeks and stretch out the experience over a long time until.

OMFG LEFT 4 DEAD 2 IS OUT!

Okay, I'll switch gears for a bit, play some L4D2 for a while, go back to Borderlands in a couple of weeks, no problem ...

Is that Overlord? And Raising Hell? AND Overlord II? Excuse me just a moment, I need to kill things in a completely different manner.

Okay, I'll finish Overlord, then go back to some other stuff. No big deal ...

Torchlight for $10, you say? The game everyone's been telling me to get? The one with the mod kit?

Okay, I'll play Torchlight for a bit ...

And so on. Steam, you've given me the chance to play so many great games on a reasonable budget, and for that I love you. However, you've eaten all of my free time and made it impossible for me to enjoy just one game at a time, and for that I hate you.






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