Tuesday, 5 July 2011

This one time, at Steam Camp...

So, from the 30th of June to the 10th of July is the 2011 Steam Summer Sale, and while it's on, I'm going to write about it (Though I'm thinking of changing my 'Date-appropriate post' tag to 'Opportune moment', which would allow me more leeway for just writing about things within a couple of weeks of significant related events).
They're referring to the sale as the Steam Summer Camp. There are Summer Camp activities, in the form of 6-7 themed achievements each day which get you prize tickets which can be exchanged for downloadable content for games and also get you entered into the Grand Prize Giveaway whereby 100 people will be given the top 10 items on their Steam wishlist.
Also, of course, it's a sale. It's a Steam sale. Things are really cheap. Various games each day, also reductions of up to 90% on certain packs of multiple games, and various publishers have their entire back catalogues reduced. Of course, sometimes some of these publishers' games are among the daily sales, so then they're reduced twice. So in general it's probably best to wait until the last day of the sale before buying any of those, just in case they're on daily sale later.

So, the combination of all these factors means I've been playing a lot of video games these past few days. I mean given the Grand Prize Giveaway I thought I'd actually put some stuff on my wishlist. So I had to look around at things to decide what to put on it, and also I looked around the games that were on sale, and some I bought and some had free demos, so, yeah. So far I've bought four games - no wait, technically five, but one of them was free - and downloaded four free demos.

Specifically, demos:
Audiosurf - select a track from all the music on your computer, travel along it picking up coloured blocks which you have to stick together to get your score up. Simple and fun, demo consists of the full game but it only lets you play three songs and then you have to buy the full game if you want more. I quite want this.
Bioshock - Haven't actually played this one yet. But I've heard it's supposed to be kind of good?
Dwarfs!? - Basically, you are the overseer of a dwarven mining colony. The diggers dig randomly, getting gold and minerals, but sometimes they will dig their way into caves, which may contain treasure, or nothing, or bad things, like water, lava or monsters.
For more of a look at this, watch this video: WTF is Dwarfs?!?
Demo doesn't allow you to play the bonus modes, you're supposed to only get 2 of the campaign missions, but actually you can get round that by completing a previous one and then clicking next mission rather than selecting the later missions ffrom the main menu, and in arcade mode you can only play 5 minute sessions.
I definitely want the full version of this game.
Psychonauts - You're a young and highly gifted psychic and a summer camp for psychics. It's pretty cool. Demo is just what I assume is basically just teh first mission. This definitely grabs me as well. Particularly because this is that most rare of things in the video game world. This is a game that Yahtzee actually liked.

And, full games:
Toki Tori - Puzzle game in which you're a little yellow bird searching for eggs. Doesn't sound particularly inspiring when I put it like that, but it's fun and some of the puzzles are actually rather difficult. Also it had one of the Summer Camp achievements and also it was 87p. That's within pretty much anyone's price range.
Sonic Adventure Director's Cut - All of Sega's back catalogue is reduced, but the other Sonic games on Steam I have in the Sonic Mega Collection Plus for PS2. But this I didn't, and Sonic is good. £4.01 as I recall, more than I generally pay for games on Steam, but still not bad. Haven't actually played this one yet.
Alien Swarm - I've heard it's fun, and it's free, so why not?
Magicka - You're a wizard! Naturally this is something which appeals to me. Basically, you have access to eight magical elements which you can combine for different effects, also you can learn specific spells called magicks separate to this. So that's fun, being a wizard is cool as expected. What was unexpected is that the game is also hilarious at times. I'm probably going to end up writing a full blog post about his one at a later date. It was £2.71 I think on Sunday. Also had a Summer Camp achievement and I'd heard very good things and I was not disappointed.
Trine - Another fantasy game. You have three characters - a warrior, a wizard, and a thief. You can switch between them. Basically the warrior can hit things with a sword, the thief has extra mobility thanks to a grappling hook, and the wizard solves physics puzzles by levitating blocks. Or at least, that's my impression so far, from playing the demo (I downloaded the demo first, then decided I was willing to pay £1.69 for the full game, also Camp achievement. I may have lowered my standards slightly for that and the low price, but it's a fun game nonetheless)

So, back to the sale in general, this sort of thing is one of the things I love about Steam, that they allow you to get games this cheap sometimes, and also randomly basically give stuff away. Yes, you need Summer Camp achievements, but each day they've had one achievement out of game that basically anyone could get no matter what games they owned, so anyone who wants can get a minimum of 10 prize tickets (Well, 9 if they don't have facebook, since one of the achievements was to link your accounts). And then more if people do have the relevant games, which have included the now free to play Team Fortress 2 (Which I will be writing a post on soon, hopefully), and also some things which were on sale and therefore very cheap, like Toki Tori.
Of course, it also comes with a downside - you buys lots of games because they're cheap, and then don't have time to play them all. This is an issue I have. But, on the other hand, since I pretty much only buy games which are on sale, the cost of games I haven't gotten around to playing yet is probably somewhere in the region of £10, which isn't that bad, really. Of course, if loads of people do this sort of thing... it's probably a rather shrewd and effective means of making more money. Getting people to buy cheap games which they wouldn't buy if they weren't cheap.
But I don't begrudge them that either, because they're providing loads of people with all these games for cheap. Also Steam itself is just really useful.

Now, if you'll excuse me, the full version of Trine just finished downloading, and I think we're into a new Steam day, so I need to check the new daily deals and achievements.
Edit: My impression of Steam time was out by a couple of hours. But still, Trine.

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