Saturday Morning Gaming: It’s The Annual Steam Autumn Sale

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Steam figured out a way to get you to look at games that you might not have ever noticed before.

It’s the virtual experience of walking through the old computer game store (remember the computer game store? Good times) and just picking up a box. Hey, just walk through the store. Maybe you’ll see something.

And, see something I did. Oh! It’s a first person shooter! Oh! It’s an action slasher with RPG elements! Oh! It’s a board game! Oh! It’s resource management! Oh! It’s a puzzle game that helps you relax! OH MY GOSH IT’S AN RPG WITH BRANCHING STORYLINES!!!

And, next thing you know, you’ve added over 50 games to your wishlist.

And then… it’s time for the Steam Sale.

This is where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? Here’s how I got my game queue down under 20 (and I didn’t do it via the “buy everything!” route). I looked at each game and asked myself “would you buy this game if it were 50% off?”

And if the answer was “no”, I removed it from my queue. There ain’t no point in having games in your wishlist that you would only buy if it were on 90% off sale. If it’s a $10 game and you wouldn’t pay five bucks for it? What is it doing in your queue? Get rid of it. Heck, it might even be an exercise worth doing for 66% off. If it’s a $15 game and you wouldn’t pay five bucks for it? Why is it in your wishlist at all?

And it was with that insight that I got the number of games in my wishlist down under 20. I recommend this to anybody.

As for what I *DID* get, I picked up Dawn of War: Game of the Year edition for $3.24 (I enjoy Warhammer and this is a starcrafty take on Warhammer 40,000 and for $3.24, how can you go wrong?) as well as Grim Dawn for $8.74 (I was still somewhat confused by how poorly Blizzard responded to the whole backlash to the Diablo phone game thing and saw a number of people suggest Grim Dawn as an excellent “spiritual successor” to Diablo II). Both games are in the “Overwhelmingly Positive” ballpark (one is “Overwhelmingly Positive” overall and “Very Positive” in recent and the other is vice-versa).

And so that’s what I’m going to be playing.

So… what are you playing?

(Image is “Christmas Candy Store” by Wilson Hui. Used under a creative commons license.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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17 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Gaming: It’s The Annual Steam Autumn Sale

    • I’ve been playing it and having a lot of fun. I was as pessimistic as anyone when it was announced (I audibly groaned when I heard multiplayer), and didn’t pre-order, but watched a few streamers and darn it if they didn’t look like they were enjoying themselves. So when I found out some friends bought it, I jumped in and don’t regret it.

      Yes, it has bugs and glaring flaws, but it’s a Bethesda game, so what did people expect? The exploration aspect feels very similar to FO4, but you can group with people. The backstory is interesting enough. And while I don’t think they needed to go the no NPC route, it reminds me of System Shock where you’re always just too late to see other humans or they’re just out of reach. I don’t really miss the much maligned flat dialog trees of FO4. Quests are similar, fetch something from other there, kill something over here. The bestiary is already much more diverse than anything the previous game offered, and I haven’t even seen everything yet.

      My biggest concern has always been end game. MMOs need to have a good end game to keep the long time players interested. I’m still not sure what’s intended to keep players around once they’ve seen everything.

      I hope the price drops aren’t indication of Bethesda dropping support. With a few patches, I think they could address many of the issues generating complaints.

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    • That’s because it’s incredibly buggy even by Bethesda’s lax standards, the underlying engine was not designed for this (and there was not sufficient time to adjust it), the world is both far bigger than FO4 and incredibly empty because they removed all NPCs bar robots and holotapes and added 23 players, it was not what their core user base wanted…

      It’s a tech demo they charged AAA prices for.

      That’s not even getting into the flawed gameplay design. It’s not an MMO — not with 24 players spread over that large a map. It clearly had it’s roots in RUST and other survival PvP, but between the large map and the clearly late-stage changing of PvP to as optional as possible, it’s removed the actual bits of survival PvP that made those games fun. And as it wasn’t designed as an RPG, the storyline and “things to do” other than wander around is pretty minimal.

      It’s neither one nor the other. It’s user base wanted co-op Fallout, it’s Devs clearly wanted a tech demo, management clearly thought Rust and DayZ was gonna be the new hotness, and the game engine screamed “I’m not designed for this!”

      Some people are undoubtedly loving it. But not AAA numbers worth of people.

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        • Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the room where the “Lessons Learned” whiteboard happens to be.

          You’d be infuriated, I’m sure.

          It’s hard to tell where the project went off the rails, so it’s really hard to tell which group really needs to learn a lesson. Did they have a way too ambitious deadline? Did they change game design mid-stream, moving from a heavily focused PvP Rust game to a mixed PvP/PvE RPG? Were they just using the IP, or were they relying on Fallout 4 game assets? Were they designing a triple-A game, or were they looking for a smaller market?

          Who screwed the pooch the most? Marketing? Development? Game design? Engine development?

          No telling.

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          • I just want to know if there’s a couple of people in the room who might say something like “our core group of fans told us that this wouldn’t work. There were two schools of thought for this. The first is that they had insight into what the audience is likely to enjoy enough to spend money on given a crowded marketplace. The other is that they were being whiny little pissbabies and the game is only doing poorly because they had a coordinated review bombing campaign. If it’s the former, how can we better listen to our customers? If it’s the latter, how can we better discredit them?”

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  1. I picked up Total War: Warhammer, Tomb Raider: 20 year celebration, Kingdoms and Castles, and Grim Dawn.

    Oh, and Rollercoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill pack for nostalgia. I want to get off Mister Toad’s Wild Ride.

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  2. I grabbed Left 4 Dead 2 for $1.99. I really liked the feel of the original. It’s a fast-zombie movie.with four fun characters. From what I’ve heard, the second one is more like an action movie than a horror movie. Who needs to hit zombies with guitars? I’ll stick with the shotgun.

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  3. Red Dead Redemption 2 insight: Steal wagons and sell them to the wagon fence. You’re out shooting crows and trying to collect flight feathers so you can make your small game arrows, right? Well, while you’re riding around doing that, if you happen to see a wagon with only one person on it, why not steal it? (Cover your face with your bandana first!)

    Sell it to the fence, take the bandana off, then get back to shooting birds. You’ll be making enough money to pay off your bounty in no time!

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    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cultural reaction to a video game like what’s happening with Red Dead Redemption 2. People are talking about it – not as a cultural phenomenon like Pokemon GO, or in terms of scandal like every other Rockstar game, but about the gameplay world and the experience of playing it.

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  4. Grim Dawn is a pretty good game. I was playing it pretty heavily for a few months, and I am sure I will get back to it.

    I got Dawn of War from a recent Humble Bundle. I have not had a chance to sit down with it yet, but I remember trying it out back when it was released. It is an RTS, but without the base building.

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  5. I just rediscovered Northgard in my library (it’s 33% off! The expansion is 15% off!).It’s kind of a “Civilization-meets-Starcraft” kind of game. When I initially picked it up, it didn’t really hook me so it sat unplayed for a very long time. However, late Sunday morning something just clicked and I played it for about four hours straight.

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