Posts Tagged ‘Steam’


Steam Summer Sale: Damage Report

July 23, 2012

Real life obligations over the last year or so have made me miss out on the last few big Steam sales, so it came as no surprise that the one this summer has raised its wallet-assaulting head to bite me in the ass. Barely two days into it, and I knew I had to put my foot down or my family was going to end up living in a cardboard box by the end of the week. So, I gave myself a new rule: thou shall refrain from purchasing anything more than $5.00.

After that, it was easier to resist the temptations. Realistically speaking anyway, there’s really no wiggle room in my gaming schedule right now to play big games like Witcher 2, even at the very sweet price of about $10 and change. Instead, with my new rule in place I found myself mostly picking up games at about $2.50 to $3.75, many of which were classics, casual, or indies. This works much better for me. It also helps that I told myself some people spend more on a cup of coffee every day.

Of course, while my wallet may be spared this summer, my games list has expanded by almost a dozen games since the beginning of the sale. So unless someone invents one of those nifty remote controls like the one from “Click” or I can get my hands on a DeLorean with a flux capacitor, time is ever going to remain the limiting factor.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get on to the damage:

Back to the Future: The Game

Speaking of time traveling DeLoreans, this was the first title I fell victim to in this Steam sale. Picked it up when it was one of those flash deals, and the only game I was willing to drop a bit more than the agreed upon five dollar limit to buy. I’ve enjoyed other Telltale games in the past, and anyway, HUGE BttF fan here. HUGE.

From Dust

Who knew this little sandbox god game could be so addictive? Gorgeous too.

As the user, you can control certain types of matter (soil, water, lava), manipulating the environment to help your nomadic tribe accomplish goals or survive natural disasters like tsunamis or volcanic eruptions.

It was surprisingly challenging; I played until I got stuck, and also because I didn’t think my sense of decency could take watching any more of my poor little villagers get washed out to sea.

The Longest Journey + Dreamfall

I totally blame my The Secret World guildies for this one. While talking in-game about the great writing and dialogue of TSW, someone’s comment about it all being reminiscent of TLJ pretty much sold me. That and my new found gamer crush on Ragnar Tornquist led me to pick up this Funcom classic I’ve always known about but never played.

World of Goo

See, I love casual games like World of Goo or Plants vs. Zombies.

Thing is, I just can’t freakin’ stand playing them on a small screen like on a smartphone or even a tablet. On the other hand, on my computer with a mouse, I can do.


I’ve wanted to own Space Pirates and Zombies ever since I learned about it last year. Really love the gameplay, and the space setting.

Seeing as it was the final day of the sale, I decided to grab it. Also, I knew if I didn’t, I would have to live with the regret for the rest of my life until the next Steam sale.


By they way, I’m pissed off at all of you now. Why has no one told me about LIMBO before this?

This game makes me feel lucky. I mean, you can go through life fantasizing about the satisfying experience of one day spending $2.50 on a gem of an indie game which can keep you entertained for hours, and then one day BAM! it actually happens.

You play a boy in this puzzle-platformer, traversing dangerous environments and traps as he searches for his sister. I love the black-and-white film noire type presentation, and at times the game can get pretty creepy and just downright disturbing. I finished this game in about 5-6 hours, as some of the puzzles can be really frustrating, but always brilliant.


What can I say? Couldn’t resist (hmm, just how many times have I said this during the sale, now? Dangerous last words.)

Another one of those classics that I’ve never had the pleasure or joy of owning for myself, so I snapped it up the first chance I got. And just in time before Torchlight 2.

Dear Esther

I wish I could plaster my blog with screenshots from this game. Beautiful. Just, beautiful.

Gameplay-wise, I don’t even know if you can call Dear Esther a game. Completely story and exploration driven, you walk around this island in the Hebrides picking up fragments of the story whenever you hit a checkpoint and trigger a narration. There are no puzzles, no activities, and in fact you barely interact with the environment at all. The whole thing takes no more than two hours. Still, it is very atmospheric. Lonely and haunting, but in the good way. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery and the eargasm inducing music.

That said, of course I bought the game and soundtrack package for like $3-something. Considering Amazon sells the soundtrack alone for $7, I was quite happy with the deal.


This was very rough (as in unpolished), but I can see it being a fantastic time waster. Has high risk of becoming a dangerous obsession.

Still, in my whole life, I don’t think I’ve ever found myself sitting in front of the computer doing nothing else but listening to my music. But hey, if I ever find myself in that situation, I’ll be sure to keep this game in mind.


And here’s where I get to the part about how I love being part of this gaming community. Bastion was a gift from the very awesome and talented blogger Stargrace, who surprised me one day with the game and soundtrack pack.

Yep, the soundtrack too. She totally gets me! Thanks again, Stargrace ❤

Legend of Grimrock

Another surprise gift from another member of the gaming community. Thank you, Grey! Opening my inbox and seeing this brought me such joy and made my day. I am so very looking forward to playing this one.

These little gestures are just so unexpected, and it leaves me feeling so touched.


Speedy Thing Go In, Speedy Thing Come Out – Thoughts On Portal

May 2, 2011

Yeah, Portal. The first one. I’m late to the party, I know. While folks were finishing or have already finished the sequel late last week, I was just in the process of playing the original game for the first time ever, thanks to Anjin of Bullet Points, who gifted me the free Steam copy he got for pre-ordering Portal 2.

Though I’ve never played it, I’m aware of the context behind many of the memes this game has spawned over the last few years. I don’t think you can be a denizen of the net and not be familiar with phrases like “the cake is a lie” or the image of the hearts-bedecked Weighted Companion Cube. I also knew of the game’s concept, have seen the footage and watched briefly as other people played it, but it wasn’t until that I actually finished it for myself that I finally, truly began to understand the enormous popularity behind Portal.

It was bloody fun. I love obstacles and puzzle-type games, and the unusual physics in this game was exhilarating in both its innovation and simplicity. And what I didn’t expect was the humor — the dark and nebulous kind, ah, my favorite! By the time the credits were scrolling down my computer screen to the best game ending song ever, I was laughing so hard I almost had tears in my eyes. That’s not how I expected to finish this game — well, any game — at all.

I was also impressed by Portal’s entertaining, albeit short, storyline. Again, the storytelling was just so clever in its simplicity. I finished the game in a little more than 3 hours, but I didn’t mind; it was like settling back with a mini novella on a nice evening.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and start shopping around for good deals on Portal 2 now.


Of Puppies And Finding Refuge In Single-Player Games Before The Onslaught Of The MMO Storm!

January 19, 2011

Question: Do you always play the games you buy? Because I know I don’t. Damn Steam and their sales. They are the worst at making me commit this travesty. Every holiday season they hook me in with dirt cheap prices and I end up with another half dozen games in my cart, all purchased with a “buy now, play later” mentality. Except “later” becomes weeks and stretches into months until they become all but forgotten, sitting in your games library gathering the proverbial dust, all loaded and installed with nowhere to go.

Part of the problem is the MMOs I play. It almost goes without saying, when you play an MMO you’re committed to it for the long haul. At the very least, if you’re paying a sub you want to be getting the most out of your month. I fit in a single-player game every now and then, but that’s time usually made for new releases that I go out of the way to pay full price for at the store the day it comes out. It’s rare that I can find time for those other games relegated to the “later” pile.

Sometimes it takes some personal changes in your life to break the pattern. You see, I haven’t touched a single MMO in almost three weeks, with the exception of the Rift beta weekend — no World of Warcraft, no Star Trek Online, not even free-to-play Lord of the Rings Online.

Remember a week and a half ago, I mentioned getting a new puppy? Don’t let her face fool you, Mara is a little devil. Her type of coloring, a rich true red all over like that of an Irish Setter, is called “ruby.” The breeder told us there is a myth, that as in the world of humans, many owners of ruby Cavalier King Charles spaniels say these red-heads are more volatile, wild and fun to live with. I’m beginning to question whether or not this is really a “myth” at all. Mara the rambunctious little hellion constantly needs watching — every single hour, if she’s not needing to be taken out, she’s either escaping her puppy pen or trying to chew something she’s not supposed to.

Moral of the story? I can only play games with a big fat pause button. MMOs are out of the question, as there is nothing more embarrassing than having to sit back down to a wiped group, trying to explain “Sorry for going AFK guys, dog got into the laundry hamper and was trying to eat my panties.”

This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, to tackle those single-player games in my Steam library — games that include titles like The Witcher, Bully, and Bioshock 2…games that I actually really want to play. The puppy’s going to settle down sooner or later (GOOD GOD I sure hope so) and this lull could be my only chance before the MMOs take over my life again with a vengeance:

January 25: Rift Beta #5 – Battle of the Ascended, and Champions Online goes free-to-play. January 29: STO returns with Featured Episode Series 3 (I. Can’t. Wait.)

February 24: Rift head-start access for those who’ve preordered.

March…geez, do I really need to go into it again? March is full of goodies; apart from Rift releasing for real, I’m also heading out to PAX East, and my nose should be buried deep in the new Star Wars: The Old Republic novel by the end of the month. And with luck (though quite honestly, I’m not holding  my breath), SWTOR will come out late spring or early summer, and then it’ll be all over from there.

This is the calm before the storm for me (well, as calm as things can be with a 3-month-old puppy nipping at my heels everywhere I go), and if I don’t start making a dent in that to-play list now, I’ll likely not have another chance until summer.


Oh, The Insanity! – My Thoughts On Amnesia: The Dark Descent

January 18, 2011

Oh man, where do I start? Seriously. How can I even begin to describe the horror and the absolute delight I experienced this long weekend, playing one of the scariest games in recent memory?

Let’s just put it this way — Amnesia: The Dark Descent was unexpected surprise, something I probably wouldn’t have gotten for myself, so I have fellow blogger Victor Stillwater to thank for gifting it to me over Steam as my Secret Santa this Christmas. After playing the game, all I wanted to do was rave to someone about it, as I am wont to do with any good game I feel passionately about. My husband, being closest to me at the time, fell prey to my impulses as I stormed into the living room, wide-eyed and holding myself and babbling about how creeped out I was. I also told him that if he can somehow manage to tear himself away from World of Warcraft for long enough, he should really take a day or two to give this game a try.

He asked, “Why, is it scary like Resident Evil?”

Um, not quite. It’s scarier. At least in games like Resident Evil you’re given an arsenal to defend yourself against the hordes of zombies, and there’s enough explosive action to keep your mind off the frightening atmosphere at times. I’ve played many survival horror games in the past, but none like Amnesia. For one thing, this game gives you no access to any weapons — none at all. First and foremost, it is a game of wits, which you must keep about you in order to escape from the many grotesque monsters roaming Brennenburg Castle. That, or you can turn tail and run like hell.

Lord knows I did plenty of that.

Second of all, Amnesia features a stat called your sanity, which is a factor separate from your health status. Encountering monsters, witnessing scary events, or even staying in the darkness too long will deplete it, making it harder for you to move or see or until you pass out. So, think hiding in the shadows will offer you safety from the horrors? Think again. Surviving this game is a delicate balancing act; you are constantly gauging in your mind how long you should spend in the light or in the dark, and how you can get the most out of your limited supply of tinderboxes and lamp oil.

Before I played this game, one of my commenters warned me not to underestimate its ability to scare. In his words, the game is “atmospherically horrific like a mofo” and that it’s “what you don’t see that will freak you out.” Well, he was absolutely right about that. Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will find many homages to the author and his works in the Amnesia’s plot and structure, and the theme of losing one’s mind plays a central role in the mounting horror as the tale unfolds. The story is revealed almost backwards in flashbacks, Memento-style, as you play the main character trying to piece together the past events which landed you in this nightmare.

At its heart, Amnesia is a first-person adventure game, with a heavy focus on exploration and puzzle solving requiring the player to manipulate and interact with objects in the environment. I’m no stranger to this sort of gameplay, though the horror angle can be rather unsettling. The puzzles themselves aren’t too difficult, but they’re not really meant to be. The developers, Frictional Games, even tell you not to play to win — indeed, the enjoyment I had came more from the creepy experience than anything, and keeping a clear head can be tough when you’re in a room being distracted by mangled corpses or horrifying torture devices, all the while trying to keep your sanity intact and dodge monsters at the same time.

But just as I was warned, it’s what I didn’t see that made my skin crawl with the heebie-jeebies. That’s not to say the game itself isn’t full of frightening visuals (because as you can see from the screenshots — it is), but that alone usually doesn’t suffice to scare me. But the game doesn’t resort to cheesy action sequences and cheap jump scenes either — it doesn’t have to. What really did it for me are the horrors that are implied rather than shown, the kinda stuff that sends you packing on a fun and twisted all-expenses paid mind trip.

For best results, do as the game suggests and play in a dark room with a nice, comfy pair of over-the-ear headphones. Allow the sound effects and the spooky environment to take you away, let yourself become vulnerable and completely immerse yourself, and you’ll find the experience all the more terrifying.


Holiday Aftermath

December 27, 2010

It’s been absolutely craaaazy over here in the last week. I bought a house. My parents and grandfather visited us from overseas and my brother flew in from Toronto (it was a pretty big deal since I only see my parents an average of once a year and it’s been ages since the whole family has been together). And of course, on the day I finally see them all off safely to their hotel near DC — they were planning a trip the next day to the nation’s capital — my husband and I (and Strider the pup) were hit by that monster of a snowstorm that hammered the east coast on our way back home. We practically spent the night on the I-95 on our 11-hour trip that normally takes two-and-a-half, and today was spent with the neighbors digging our street out of of all this white stuff.

It was a stressful week but also joyous, and I’m grateful for health, love, friends and family, and the kindness of strangers. I’m also grateful to my readers, who have to put up with my sometimes nonsensical ramblings on this blog. I’m a little late here, but since I believe in better late than never, I want to wish you all a happy holidays, and hope everyone had a great time this weekend.

I also want to give a special shoutout to Victor Stillwater, my not-so-Secret-Santa who got me a Steam game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. And of course, many thanks to Stargrace of, who took the time to set up the Secret Santa event. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to participate this year, given my wacky moving schedule that could run anytime from mid-December to mid-January, but the ever-flexible and accommodating Stargrace did her thing and arranged the possibility of digital gift-giving!

I don’t know much about Amnesia, but it sounds like a rockin’ game from the descriptions of the gameplay on Wikipedia:

Amnesia is an exploration-based adventure game played from a first-person perspective…allowing for advanced physics based puzzles and interactions such as opening doors and fixing machinery.

Amnesia does not give the player access to weapons, giving them no defense against the gruesome creatures that wander Brennenburg Castle. As such, the player must use their wits to escape and hide from the monsters until they lose interest in finding the player. Players can also choose to hide in the shadows at the cost of slowly losing their sanity.

Separate from the player’s health bar is an indication of the character’s sanity. Being in darkness too long, witnessing unsettling events, or staring at the monsters for too long will reduce the character’s sanity. As the sanity level decreases, visual and auditory hallucinations start to occur and the player is noticed by monsters more easily…this forces the player to find a balance between the amount of time they spend in light and shadow. Sanity is restored to full once the player completes an objective or progresses the game’s story.

It sounds creepy, but it’s definitely my kind of game. Can’t wait to check it out! Thanks again, Victor!

Got some other great loot this year. No other games though, which is probably a good thing considering my already massive and ever-growing to-play list. But I did get some great gifts, including the newest generation Kindle (my brother was quick to pounce on my 2nd gen, reminiscent of the hand-me-down times of our youth), a beautiful pair of turquoise earrings from Thailand, some Body Shop bath soaps and lotions (mmm, mango scent!) and a Victoria’s Secret gift card courtesy of my husband because he thinks that I — and I quote — “don’t buy enough clothes for myself.” Thanks, sweetie, but Victoria’s Secret? Looks like I still wouldn’t exactly be buying clothes “for myself”.


Steam, You Evil, Evil Bastards

December 22, 2010

Today, I bought a house.

And this:

Ah hell, I figured I’m poor again anyway, what’s 10 dollars more? 🙂


Another One For The Backlog (Curse You, Steam, Curse You!)

June 26, 2010

With my busy schedule and an impending move on the horizon (not to mention the backlog of games I still have yet to play), I really, really shouldn’t have been checking out Steam’s Perils of Summer Sale. Curiosity got the better of me though, and I went to take a look, promising myself that I won’t get anything.  But that was before I saw The Witcher Enhanced Edition for sale for $6 and change, and well, I just couldn’t help myself.

This is one of those RPGs I’ve always wanted to play, but never got the chance. I have no idea when I’ll be able to get to this but I figured it couldn’t hurt grabbing it at this awesome price (I found it interesting that Victor also went through a similar thought process when that game caught his eye, I guess great minds think alike!) just to have it now and decide when to play later. Also, the development of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has also been on my radar screen ever since fall of last year, so getting the first installment out of the way is definitely on my to-do list (whenever that may be).