Tag Archives: Steam

Another Summer (Sale) Gone

You know, it doesn’t really feel like summer yet around here. I think we had fewer days at above 30°C here than below 15 in the last month… and a lot of clouds. Seriously, summer is only about to start, anyway.

Nevertheless, every year around this time, Steam has its summer sale. I never fully understood why they named it that. I guess the idea is that people buy games for cheap to tide them over the summer when it’s warm outside, and sunny, and you could sit on the porch or balcony reading, or drinking beer and having a barbecue, or going swimming, or any other of these horribly disgusting things. In short: to give them reasons to not leave the house when weather isn’t enough of a reason not to.


When I first got Steam, I spent a lot of money on my first few sales. But after a year or so, I petered out, and I don’t think I purchased anything at all last season. My backlog had increased to the point where it seemed silly to pile more games on top, and I felt like I had genuinely gotten everything on Steam that I wanted. My wishlist ended up containing the same few games that I apparently didn’t want that much, after all: even during sales, I wouldn’t pick them up.

Of course, things would not stay this way forever. New games get released all the time, and eventually, there would be new interesting sales. And the time was this summer, apparently. I held steadfast for the first couple of days. But then, the first game I wanted went on sale.

June 14: Grim Fandango Remastered + Soundtrack, €9.99 @ 50%

Grim Fandango and I have a history. It is one of my all time favorite games, but I lost access to it. I’m certain I owned the CDs at some point, but they got lost, probably during a move. Moves are the worst, there’s always some stuff that gets lost. When I heard that they would release a remastered version, I went back and forth on whether to get that one or find the original version. That topic (original vs. remastered re-release) is probably a blog post in itself… But when it was available at 50% discount, quite shortly after (re-)release, I had my first impulse buy of the summer season.

June 16: Baldur’s Gate 2 Enhanced Edition, €6.79 @ 66%
June 16: Deus Ex, Game of the Year Edition, €1.39 @ 80%

It looks obvious: After I got the first remastered edition of a classic game, I fell prey and got another one right away. The truth is more complicated. Again, I went back and forth. I’ve actually never played Baldur’s Gate, neither of the two. Shocking, I admit. The reason I bought this one is that it was actually cheaper than the original version on GoG. Now I can play Baldur’s Gate… maybe… eventually. This probably wasn’t the best spent money. Though The Deus Ex impulse buy was probably worse: to be honest, I only got it because it was so cheap, which I know is a horrible reason, but I’ll invoke “I’m not good with money” as an excuse. At least I’m not good with money when it’s about wasting small amounts.

June 18: Broken Sword 5: the Serpent’s Curse, €4.59 @ 80%
June 18: Shadowrun: Dragonfall (Director’s Cut), €4.49 @ 70%

Two more games on the pile of “playing vicariously”. Broken Sword is a game series I heard good things about, and I intend to play that one… eventually. Shadowrun is a bit of an embarrassing story. I actually backed the original Shadowrun Returns kickstarter (though just with the minimal amount you needed to get the game). They even delivered, and I played the resulting game… not at all. This makes buying Dragonfall really silly. But I feel like I would like to play the game, I just never get around to it. I think this is precisely how Steam makes money.

June 19: Pillars of Eternity, Champion Edition, €36.84 @ 33%

Now we’re getting into the whaling area. This is by far the most I have spent on a game this year. I heard really, really good things about it. I absolutely intend to play it. I just hope I actually get around to it. Which, by the way, will mean that Baldur’s Gate, a 3-days-old purchase at that point, will definitely have to wait much longer.

June 19: Icewind Dale, Enhanced Edition €6.79 @ 66%

As will Icewind Dale. To be honest, that buy doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m just great with my buying decisions!

June 20: Europa Universalis IV, El Dorado Content Pack, €1.49 @ 75%
June 20: For The Glory, €1.99 @ 80%

June 20: XCOM: Enemy Unknown + The Bureau: XCOM Declassified €6.79 @ 83%

Those first two buys make sense, actually. I love Europa Universalis and have some trust in Paradox Studio. Though I’m not hugely interested in their content packs (which are generally just new models for armies and things like that), I generally put them on my wishlist and buy them when they go on large discount. My reasoning is that I’m not willing to pay the full price, but I am willing to pay a little bit, basically as funding for a company that so far hasn’t disappointed me much. For the Glory follows the same reasoning: it’s an older Paradox game, and it means supporting them with a small amount of money, plus rounding off my Paradox collection, satisfying my collector and completionist drive. The last one though? I have no idea. I would love to be able to claim I was drunk, but all I was drunk on probably was spending and discounts. I liked the XCOM games when they came out in the 90ies, but that’s about all I know about those two new games, which is, let’s face it, as bad as nothing or even worse.

All right, let’s tally up.

Money spent: €81.15
Average discount: 62% (down from €215.89)

Overall, a mixed bag, but I don’t feel like Steam stole my money. That would be a silly notion, anyway, because they didn’t make me spend the money, after all. 3 of 8 (or €48.32 of 81.15) I would’ve definitely gotten sooner or later. A few more were on my shortlist of stuff to pick up at a discount. I stuck to my unofficial rule of “never buy anything on Steam at less than 50% discount”, except for Pillars of Eternity, which I actually really want to try, and which is still quite new, so I figured even a 33% discount was a tolerable option.

Will I play all those games I bought this sale season? Certainly not! But I have hope that at least some of them, I will, potentially even before winter. And in that respect, I can live with that outcome.

Steam is nice to me

As you might know by now, I have a love-hate relationship with Steam. They have lots of games, especially old ones that are hard to come by otherwise. But their prices are insanely high. Unless they have sales, then their prices are insanely low. They have many cool games I’d like to play at some point. But some of them come with ugly restrictions if you happen to live in the wrong country.

Steam is trying to show some goodwill though. They gave me a refund on Fallout 3, which I bought without realizing said restrictions. It’s “only” Steam wallet instead of a real money refund, but oh well. I admit that it was at least partially my fault. And I’ll find games to spend the money on. Also, you supposedly can combine several methods of payment, so I will be able to spend the full refund, instead of being stuck with 2,13 €.

So +1 for Steam in that respect. Now excuse me, I’ll have to play some games again I bought on Steam, or I’ll never be able to catch up and finish all of them that I bought during Winter Sale before the next sale comes around.

Steam Language Woes

Off to a good start into the new year…

I guess my reading comprehension is not as good as I thought it was. I failed on this sentence:

Low Violence: German low violence version only available with German language

The way I interpreted it was “there exists a low-violence version, which you’ll get if you install the game in German”. Which isn’t a problem, because I play all my games in their original language if at all possible. Typically it is, because that means English. However, the way the sentence was meant was “if you buy this game in Germany, you’ll get a version that is low-violence, AND it will only be playable in German”. That is a problem. (The game in question is Fallout 3, by the way.)

I’m not even arguing for or against low-violence versions. I personally find them silly; just slap a higher age limit on it, and you’re done. However, this discussion, and the fabrication of special low-violence versions for the German market has been around for more than 15 years by now, probably more than 20. I’m just utterly tired of this debate, ground to exhaustion if you will, and have decided that if I find a cut unacceptable, I’ll just drive the 10 kilometers to the next game shop on the Dutch side of the border.

I fell into a trap I should’ve known better, too. I knew Steam had a very obedient (almost anticipatory) attitude to German game violence rules. Incidentally, that was one of the reasons I boycotted them for the longest time. I though they had gotten better over recently, though. Especially since these days, more games seem to pass through the cut process without any cutting at all, and still make it onto Steam. Past are the days where all enemy soldiers were replaced by robots, and people didn’t die, but just sat down because they were “exhausted”. I foolishly thought that these days, they figured if you are German and understand English well enough to follow the game, you’re mature enough to not be scarred for life by game violence. I guess the wheels don’t turn that fast.

So now I’m stuck with a language version I don’t want. The reason for this is that, while for books and to a certain degree for movies, the German translation industry is really good, it totally sucks when it comes to games. I guess most game companies try to get translation for as cheap as possible, and it shows. After several bad impressions, I decided I’ll never play a game again that has been localized.

I wrote a mail to Steam support, explaining myself, and asking for a refund. Let’s see how this plays out.