Steam sales are upon us again and my backlog grows heavy. My poor hard drive bows and sags under the burden of cheaply bought games, the projected time to completion if I actually sat down and tried to plow through my waiting collection probably numbers into the hundreds of hours at this point. Some of these games are just waiting for the right time, some might get picked up and fiddled with for 45 minutes and summarily uninstalled, others might sit in cloud storage limbo forever. And you know what? I'm over it.
I'm over being guilty about the backlog. If we were talking about full price $60 games sitting untouched in shrink wrap, that would be one thing, but when it comes to picking up games for pennies on the dollar? No way. When you're spending $2.50 here for some indie curiosity, or $10 there for a game that retailed at five times that price just eight months ago, I'm not going to beat myself up anymore and I don't think you should either.
It's not a bad thing to stock up for the proverbial winter. Just because you haven't played some games you own or don't have time right now to devote to a long title doesn't mean that will always be the case. I know I personally have Metro: Last Light
waiting for me in my Steam library. I loved the original, but you know what, I just haven't been assed to get around to the sequel yet. In fact, I'm not still not ready for it. But I know that even though I might not feel like an atmospheric single-player game right now, I know I will be someday. Maybe next fall, when it's cold outside and nobody wants to do anything and I'm stupidly considering some flashy November release for $60, I'll be in just the right mood to explore Moscow's decrepit subway system. When the time is right and I have both the time and the attitude for the game, I'll be glad I picked it up for $6 when it was available, and I'll have something to keep my mind off other, more expensive, impulse buys.
Steam sales are also the perfect chance to finally sate your curiosity. Have you heard a lot of wonderful things about Gone Home
but could never quite cough up $20 for a two hour game? Well, you finally have a chance to experience that touching story for the price of a non-fat latte. Is something like Goat Simulator
the kind of stupid thing you think you'd love but could never justify paying real money for? Just wait until it's down for $2 and go for it.
Even if you never play some of these games, Steam Sales are the perfect opportunity to show support to developers and genres you want to see more of. I'll be honest, I'll probably never have the time or inclination to really get good at Skullgirls
, but I did pick it up the other day when it was on sale for less than $5. Who knows, maybe I'll really enjoy it and get some good play time out of it. Otherwise, I'm happy just to support a weird little development team working on a niche genre that requires some serious work and patience to survive in. I picked up the PC version of Spelunky
even though I already have it on 360, in part for the convenience of having access to it on any of my computers, and also just to support the developer of that fantastic game. It's a masterpiece and I don't mind throwing a few extra sheckles at Derick Yu to support whatever he's making next.
I know that some people might not care about that sort of thing at all, and that's fine. I'm not saying we all have to be patrons of the videogame arts and toss money at toiling, starving developers to keep them producing things. But it's also worth considering, especially for smaller teams and niche genres. Steam sales can be a real second-chance for a lot of games to become profitable. Some indie titles depend on the shot in the arm to pay for whatever they're making next. Bigger developers can use it to show their publishers that yes, there is a market for turn-based RPGs based on the works of Franz Kafka after all, it just needs to be priced right and given a chance.
So ignore the backlog shame, this is the time to buy some mother fucking games and feel good about it.
That said, it pays to shop smart. Take a look at your wish-list, think about games you've been curious about in the past, and start setting prices. Think about how much each game would actually be worth to you and mentally ear-mark it or even write it down. Steam sales can get absolutely bananas, and while it might seem greedy to scoff at a "mere" 50% off sale, it isn't uncommon for games to come down 75% or more. The best deals usually come from limited time flash-sales and community votes, so it may be worth skipping a regular sale and waiting for it to come down even cheaper.
Remember, the sale lasts until the 30th, and if the last few rounds of Gaben Madness have taught us anything, it's that we can expect repeat sales and "last-chance" offers of the best deals on the last days, so don't worry too much about missing out on a deal. Be patient, set a price you'd be willing to pay for a game, and wait for that sweet flash sale or community vote result.
This might also be a great time to look through your Steam inventory for any extra cards, TF2
swag, or any other knick-knacks you don't need. Put them on the market place priced to move, and you could very well buy some full priced triple AAA games with electric funbucks generated from some hats you never wear or some trading cards you could care less about. Also, make sure to vote every chance there is to generate free cards and sign up for the Summer Adventure thing while you're at it. It's a crapshoot, but you may end up with some free games and it doesn't take any kind of effort, so why not!
In a weird way, Steam sales become kind of a fun game in their own right! Keeping an eye on what's available, taking chances on future sales, maximizing the value of your inventory to trade for real games, not a bad diversion for a week and a half!
* - Will Nintendo's next console be this beast with two backs? Will I ever stop giggling at that? These are questions nobody knows the answer to, but CTG867 certainly has some interesting ideas about them. A - Woah! Zer0t0nin weights in with a MASSIVE history of the Metal Gear series. In a series as convoluted and crazy as MGS, it can certainly help to brush up on the events of each game. I can't help but feel this blog would have been a lot better as a 3-part series or something though, it's pure information overload all lumped into one mega blog. A - Well, technically not one blog, but a main blog and an addendum! Look, when you break the blog editor with the size of your post, it may be time to consider putting it out as a series! A - BetterBuckleUp is a little sick of people asking the "wrong" questions about No Man's Sky, but I think he's laying it on a little thick here. I have a better question, how the hell did he format his blog to display a right justified picture with text still appearing on the left side? R - An early review of Divinity Original Sin by Samsneeze. Looks interesting! N - Amazon France might have dropped the ball and leaked the release of a Last of Us PS4 bundle. Seems like a great opportunity for gamers that missed the PS3 but are thinking of joining the PS4 crowd (BLOODBORNE) to catch up on one of the best games for the system. I'd probably be down. R - Painkiller is a fun little series with it's share of problems. There may be bugs, but how can you not love a stake-launching cannon? C - A nice video blog, but zero ACTUAL blog. Not a lot of interaction in the comments from what I can see as well. Shame-shame. F - The fail is thick and tasty here. A stumbling "test" first blog, zero response to helpful comments, and a bio section with links to spamy broken English sites. PERFECT.
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