How I Survived the Summer Steam Sale

The Summer 2012 Steam Sale wasn’t nearly as complicated as the winter 2011 sale. No collectibles or weird contests that had you buying games to earn achievements that would result in discounts to buy even more games--just simple sales. There were daily deals, flash sales and sale voting, which gave you plenty of opportunities to buy games cheap. In most cases if a game popped up in the daily deals, it would also appear as a flash sale later on.

I set aside $50 on my birthday in June in preparation for the sale and I spent every penny. Here’s the breakdown:

Mafia 2 – 7.49
Trine 2 – 3.74
Dear Esther – 2.49
Shining Force 2 – 1.79
Dungeon Siege 3 – 4.99
Torchlight  - 3.74
The Walking Dead – 14.99

With my last ten bucks I picked up this Aperture Science coffee mug, because I always wanted one.

In the weeks between my birthday in June and the sale I also picked up Wizorb and Sword & Sworcery (the latter through an indie bundle deal). This year I focused on games I could jump in and out of or that could be played in a relatively short amount of time. You gotta be choosy when you’re a gaming dad.

I wanted to be as disciplined with my playing as I was with my buying, but so far that’s not working. My plan was to play one, maybe two, games at a time before starting something else. So far I have started Mafia 2, Trine 2, Dungeon Seige 3, Torchlight, Wizorb and Sword & Sworcery. I have so little gaming time these days that it’s hard to stick to one thing at a time. The danger is that I won’t come back and finish games I started. Poor Witcher 2 is sitting on my hard drive half completed. But I guess I’d rather play a little bit of a lot of games than a lot of just one.

Thankfully, many of the games above are short. I beat Mafia 2 in a few days thanks to easy mode and having to stay home with my son. I could have beat it sooner if there was some sort of fast travel option. The game has an open world that’s not really open. There are only story missions. There’s nothing to do outside of them. No reason to cruise the city. I get that making you drive aids immersion, but it also aids boredom after a while. LA Noire had a similar problem. Neither game really needs the open world. At least LA Noire let you fast travel after a while.

Other than the constant driving (seriously, some missions consisted of drive to the bar, drive home, the end), I liked Mafia 2. It’s messy and kind of dumb and full of cliches, but it also takes a road less traveled in mafia stories. The two main characters are a couple of screw ups. They see some success, but this isn’t a story about climbing the mafia ladder. You do not end up as a don, or some kind of bigshot boss. Vito and Joe might make some nice cash in a few spots, but even then they continue to screw up and piss people off. They let their emotions and simple-minded thinking rule them. These guys don’t ever stop to consider the big picture. They’re low level thugs. Henchmen hoping to be something more, but incapable of ever actually succeeding. It’s a story of dudes in lower to middle management positions. That’s not too common in mafia stories. So it was definitely worth $7.49.

Also I didn’t find this out till later because I didn’t play Mafia 1, but there’s a cool nod to the first game about 3/4ths of the way through. Just google “Mafia 1 in Mafia 2” and you’ll find a YouTube clip of it.

What did you pick up during the Steam sale? Have you finished any of your purchased games yet?