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Love/Hate: Steam

10:00 AM on 12.25.2009 // Zyrshnikashnu

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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:

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.


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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