You can feel it, lurking just outside the range of vision. Some eldritch sense imbued in all gamers can sense the disturbance that makes them eye their bank accounts in fear. The Steam Summer Sale is lurking, waiting to make us broke, and it’s probably striking this week. Here’s how to participate without losing the rent.
For those wondering, rumors are abounding that it’ll kick in as of June 19th, and it’ll be the usual deeply-discounted affair, so much so payment processors are bracing for a bump in traffic. It’s safe to assume anything that’s remotely popular over the last six months will be seeing a 20% discount, and that the bundles will be getting even more crammed this year as a direct result of the sale competition going on across PC gaming sites. So, how do you get some games and still have money for food? Remembering last year’s advice, here’s an expansion on that theme.
Be Honest With Yourself
We all have piles of shame, and a lot of that is thanks to Steam and its deep discounts. But while throwing money at a developer is arguably always a good thing, keep the games you haven’t played yet in mind and be serious about whether you’ll play what you buy. Lying to yourself that someday you’ll play Dear Esther is all well and good until you actually put money behind it.
Don’t Buy A Bundle Unless You Want Every Game
Granted, this will be kind of hard with the ridiculous bundles Steam creates, like last year’s Sega megabundle which was basically every first-party Genesis game for twenty bucks. I bought that thing and after I did so, I realized “Crap, I didn’t even like half these games when I was a kid.” Granted, that still meant I paid about a buck a game I liked. But even so, lesson learned.
Play The Demo!
Especially with smaller games, play the demo. I did this last year and I found even five minutes with a demo sharpened my decision-making abilities considerably. If a demo’s not available, a Let’s Play usually is; it’s not quite the same thing, but it’s usually a good guide to the quirks and virtues of a certain game.
Try At Least One Weird Title
That said, one of the pleasures of the sale is seeing what games have dropped far enough in price that you’re willing to try them out. My personal recommendation this year is the bizarre driving/strategy/puzzle game Spintires, which is all about avoiding getting stuck in the mud, and figuring out how to get out of the mud when you’re stuck in it. It’s what some of the team from the original Halo have been up to. Really.
But it’s how you can find the strange experiences that make PC gaming distinct, and try them out for a much more reasonable price. And that’s part of the reason the Steam sale exists in the first place.
So, happy bargain hunting, and we’ll have a post up when the sale kicks in for you to mention the best games you’ve found cheap. Just remember when the electric bill is due.