I have to admit something. I’m relatively new to PC gaming. Yes, I said it. I’m new to this WASD, mouse and keyboard thing. My parents didn’t buy us computers when we were young. They were luddites. I was raised solely on console gaming and good old-fashioned arcades. That being the case, this is my first real Steam Summer Sale; meaning, the first time I’ve paid any attention. At first glance it just seemed like another sale to me. Steam often discounts games ridiculously low and when I am lucky enough to remember to check, I find great deals. So, I filled out my wishlist and went on with my day passively waiting for sales.
Fast forward to the 9th day of the sale and I am on pins and needles over what the next Flash Sale will be or what will be the next community vote. And then I ask myself, why the big change? How did I go from being a passive window shopper to the equivalent of a crazy old lady rushing a Walmart on Black Friday. One reason is I’m fallen behind on playing a lot of iconic games from this generation. If they were exclusively for PC I’ve missed them altogether. I kicked myself when I found Civ V on sale for 75% off in a flash sale, told myself when I get home from work I am going to buy this game and not to worry because I had eight hours and, I totally forgot. After, falling deeply in love with XCOM: Enemy Unknown I became increasingly interested in turn-based strategy games. I wanted to see more of what Firaxis had to offer. Never mind the fact that I’m three years late to the party of playing the epitome of strategy games. After that D’oh! moment I wanted to stay on top of the sales as they were happening.
But that wasn’t the only reason I’ve developed this sort of compulsive behavior over the Steam sale. Steam wisely gamified the summer sale. Valve has implemented a trading card component to shopping for games. It’s genius, not too invasive, and actually fun. Like most good gamification, if there is such a thing, it is effective without drawing attention to itself. What are these cards, what purpose do they serve? I’m not sure but I want them just the same. They probably go toward gaining a badge or reward. Valve also adds participation with the community sale vote. At first I was only voting on games I actually had considered buying in the past. Now I vote every time even if I have no intention of buying any of the games. The effects of the gamification works quickly. Adding gamification to a game sale is not a bad idea, proving when done right gamification can be unobjectionable.
A lot of gamers have been complaining that this is a bad Steam Summer Sale. There aren’t enough games. There are too many repeats. The price cuts on AAA games aren’t high enough. Now, I am a bargain game hunter. I am always looking for the best deals. If you wait long enough a game will be low enough to be a steal. My sentiment towards this attitude is: a sale is a sale after all. Any amount off is better than paying full price. And no sale is ever guaranteed. It might be that this summer sale is geared toward gamers like me: gamers that haven’t had the opportunity to play a lot of great games because they are on a budget and have rather limited time. I’ll now be able to play the critically acclaimed Sleeping Dogs and The Witcher 2, when before even twenty dollars felt steep. This sale is also great to try indie games that I wouldn’t necessarily buy at full price. So what if Monaco only went to 50% off. Indie game designers need to eat too. I don’t mind paying a little more for indie games than I would on discounted AAA games because that money goes directly to the people who have made that game. And I’m really excited to finally play Monaco.
I’ve even bought games I already own. I hate doing this. I cannot reiterate how much I hate paying for a game I have previously bought. I played The Walking Dead on Xbox 360. The new DLC is out and I desperately want to play but I don’t want to give Microsoft anymore money and I don’t want to continue my playthrough on a system at the end of it’s lifecycle. With patience and some strategic shopping I ended up getting The Walking Dead series for $6.24 and the new dlc 400 Days for $2.50 at GameStop. Now I’m caught up with The Walking Dead series, paying $8.74 when it could have cost me $29.98. Not too much of a lost. I’m even considering getting XCOM: Enemy Unknown again, even though I’ve beaten it and put nearly a hundred hours into it. I don’t like the idea of games I purchase being bound to one particular system. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson about buying downloadable console games.
I’m desperately trying to stay on budget and only get things that are on my wishlist. This has proven to be difficult. The Steam sale offers little surprises that I just can’t pass up. The newly released Gunpoint went on sale and even though I wasn’t planning to get it just yet, I had to snatch it up. Surgeon Simulator has also been getting a lot of good word of mouth. I suspected it had cool design mechanics but it was not high on my list of games to play. Now, I’m a simulating surgeon. I’ve checked off most things on my wishlist and hopefully I’ll have the willpower to stick to just those games.
My Steam library is steadily growing with quality games. Now, I just need to find the time to play all of them.