Heatstroke: how we survived the Steam summer sale

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 14:05 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Loosen your death grip on your wallet and take your credit card out of the shredder; the Steam sale is over. We are safe. How did you weather the hottest bargains of the year? The VG247 crew reports.

Every year Valve throws the lid open on its bargain bin and the damn thing turns out to be filled with treasures. You start with a $3 indie; move up to a 50% discounted new release, and before you know it you’re scrolling through an enormous list of unplayed games wondering why you do this to yourself, and more importantly, to your credit card.

“I’m not buying anything in the Steam sale this year,” you said. Me, too. So did Dave. Pat, Sam and Steph didn’t expect to buy anything, either. We’re all grown-ass adults, with bills to pay, families to feed, and in Sam’s case, lenses to buy.

Yeah, we pretty much all bought something.

Pat bought Torchlight 2.

“It was less than €5. Seemed wise,” was the EIC’s only explanation but since I have all the insider goss, I’m going to tell you that he has a bit of a thing about ye olde Diabloesques, especially when he has a deadline he’s procrastinating. I’m only amazed Torchlight 2 wasn’t in his library before now, and also that I didn’t think to gift it to him, thereby potentially sweetening my chances for promotion. Pat likes dungeon crawling so much that when I once offered to write an editorial called “More like DiaBLOWS” he listened to my arguments and then wondered aloud whether we really need an Australian news editor. When Blizzard’s servers were compromised last year, he didn’t bat an eye until he found out his level 42 Witch Doctor was at risk, at which point he threw a minor wobbly.

Torchlight 2 is, by all accounts, as fun or perhaps even more fun than Diablo 3. I expect it’s going to eat his life for at least a fortnight, during which he won’t be around to shout at us when we make egregious typos. Best €5 the company has ever spent.

Dave needs a new PC.

Dave promised not to buy anything this year because he’s saving up for a very special event. We humoured him about this because we’re a kind and supportive crew, you know? And we’re absolutely not rubbing it in that he weakened about six seconds in.

Happily for Dave’s Bank of Scotland-issue piggie bank, he’s not exactly got Deep Blue in his office at the moment. His poor wee laptop cannot run, for example, Skyrim, and so our charming UK editor says he “desperately needs a powerful new rig” – a plea which has fallen on deaf ears.

So Dave’s purchases definitely strayed to the undemanding specs side of things – McPixel, the first game ever to be released through Greenlight; DLC Quest; System Shock 2 – which everyone everywhere should have played as it is a classic of the genre, Dave – and a redacted indie multiplayer affair which is a gift for a friend with a better gaming machine.

Steph has impeccable taste.

Steph’s Steam collection is a thing of beauty because she purchases games with the utmost discretion. I bet she never wakes up after a late night beer-fuelled shopping spree and finds she’s Kickstarted three new kinds of ice cream maker. Obviously that never happens to anybody else on staff, either.

Her purchases this year include Hotline Miami, which was on sale for a criminal (gettit) less than $4, and which was recommended to her by a well-respected friend for its “perfect balance of aesthetics, atmosphere, great story telling and it has a brilliant soundtrack”. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Unless this friend wants a job, in which case, yes I could have.

Steph also nabbed Dust: An Elysian Tail, which she had forgotten even existed but has been pining after for some time; Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, since she’s a huge fan of the original and it has escaped Atari’s clutches again; and Civilization 3 Complete Edition. Like me, Steph isn’t a big strategy buff, but unlike me she is big on self-education and improvement and lashed out a whole $1.24 to help correct this.

Brenna has joined the master race.

You know what I love about Steam sales? The chance to re-buy games I have already paid for once, but for my PC. My PC doesn’t take a minute to load between each environment and friends, I have to tell you, I am only growing more impatient as I grow older. I tried to do a replay of both Dragon Age games after BioWare got rid of all the bug that had ruined my original saves and it made me want to pick up my PlayStation 3 and hurl it out the window. Bring on next-gen, but in the meantime let me put this ridiculous amount of RAM to work. To this end I picked up the complete edition of Dragon Age: Origins; I want to get the second one, too, and make a master save for import to Dragon Age: Inquisition with all my delicious choices intact.

I also got Dark Souls, because I want to install the mod that says “Thanks Obama” every time you die. That’s worth $12 to me. (In seriousness, there are some great mods for the PC version which make it look balls-out fantastic, and I love Dark Souls so much I’d probably buy a pool of vomit in a can if the logo was on the side.)

Sam didn’t buy anything.

He probably spent all his money on lenses again.

How did you make out this year? Did you stay strong? Did you nab any particularly excellent bargains?

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