It's that time of the year again! The Steam Summer sale is on offering bargains and incentives galore to part with your hard earned cash to increase your virtual bookshelf of PC games. Whilst I wouldnt say I've over-indulged, I have purchased 17 games and 14 DLC for a total of $96.71. That's not bad value for money..as long as I actually play the games. I'm hoping that one or two more titles will go on flash or daily sale so I can spend the remaining $21 in my Steam wallet wisely.
I will confess I bought into the Steam Trading Card gimmick as well, and was enjoying playing my games (or leaving them on the title screen whilst doing something else) to collect card drops, and then going to the Steam Market to pick up the remaining cards for the badge, background and additional Summer Sale card. It was kids play that cost a few extra dollars, but it also helped add some extra bling to both my son's and my account. But then I ran into a little hitch with Steam. It was my first such hitch in eight years of membership. I'm not going to say what that was (because I hold Steam in high regard and as you will see it's not the point of this post) but I went to Steam Support seeking resolution and what was a fundamental issue that could easily be resolved, and I was basically told too bad. And that got me thinking: how much money am I putting into my gaming? And I went through my Steam account and did some unsettling self-analysis.
My Steam profile indicates I have 796 games. My count, once you discard unwanted betas and free mods Ive tried but then can't remove from my account is 782. Not all have been purchased on Steam, but I have been a very loyal customer over the years. Steam's excellent discounts through daily, weekly and Summer & Winter sales offer reasonably new games (less than six months old) for up to 75% off. My Origin account has fewer games than I have fingers and toes, and despite how good GOG appears to be, I have not bought into their model. However, of late there are sites such as Humble Bundle (how good was their Telltale Weekly Deal?), Indie Royale and Indie Gala amoung others that, for $5 or so you also get that many games, with most redeemable on Steam. Gamersgate and Green Man Gaming also sell games redeemable on Steam and I have purchased through those sites. But whatever way you look at it, I have purchased a monumental amount of digital games.
'Righto! Time to play these!', I exclaimed and set up a Steam category called '50 Games'. The plan was to enter 50 quality games that I have not yet played but jolly well should. There are actually 141 games in that category. I also prepared another category for Adventure Games (my favourite genre as a kid) that I haven't played and it totals to 72 games. I then made another category for the remaining games with Steam Achievements (which is at times the reason I may buy a game) and that totals 254 games. There are also 14 games in a co-op / multiplayer folder. That leaves another 207 games in the standard folder and in all honestly are probably never going to be played. The good news is I have actually completed 94 games on Steam.
Going back to the 50 (well 141) games here are some of the titles in that category: Alan Wake, Assassins Creed 3 (the whole franchise, actually), Batman Arkham City, Bioshock 1 & 2, Borderlands 2, Deus Ex : Human Revolution, Dishonored, Fallout New Vegas, Far Cry 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Hitman Absolution, Just Cause 2, Mark of the Ninja, Max Payne 3, Metro 2033, Portal 2, Rage, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R trilogy, Saints Row The Third, Serious Sam 3, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, Torchlight 2, Dawn of War II Trilogy, The Witcher 1 & 2 and X-Com: Enemy Unknown.
Why on Earth am I buying more games?
I wasn't an immediate fan of Steam Achievements when they were first released but over the years it has become a well-executed feature and at times is a reason I have purchased a game. 'It's only $2.50 and it has Steam achievements!' I would declare and then I would buy it. And it's probably one of the 254 games in the Steam Achievement folder detailed above. I have chased achievements as well. My profile indicates I have 2555 achievements at 30% completion rate. A manual count suggests 2534 out of 17938 at a 14.1% completion rate. I've been an achievement tracker on a site called Steam Score (http://steamscore.net/76561197974960409) and while I may be in the top 2.5% of achievement gatherers, my percentage rate is a lot lower than most. Why? Because I buy a tonne of games and then don't play them.
Whilst a big sale is meant to make you throw caution to the wind and buy first, ask later, this sale may have finally reined it in for me. As you can see from my last post, attempts to tackle my backlog have failed miserably. I would love to buy Bioshock Infinite, but how about I play the other two first? Grid 2 looks good, but so do four or five other unplayed car games I have. Metro Last Light looks very atmospheric, but so does Metro 2033 which sits in my account. I think I've run out of steam.....
Play and enjoy the games I have, boost my completion rate up a bit and perhaps re-tune the mindset to realise that a $2.50 game (even if discounted by 75-80%) isn't a bargain as it may never get played. I've downloaded Call of Juarez: Gunslinger whilst writing this up. At $12 it is my most expensive purchase of the current sale. Let's see if I play it..and finish it..and get a stack of achievements.
One step at a time.
Game on, comrades.