Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gamers' Wisdom

Ever wondered about those people with hundreds and hundreds of games on Steam? Chances are, those games are just sitting there, not getting the love and attention they deserve. In my experiences, I have found that with games, especially indie games, quantity does NOT equal quality. Therefore I decided to come up with this little guide for all you impulse buyers out there. I call it:

How Not To Be Tricked into Buying Games On Steam Just Because They Cost 99 Cents, But Rather How To Buy Games You'll Actually Play.

That's my working title. You can just call it Gamers' Wisdom for short.

Gamers' libraries have been known to fill up quickly with massive amounts of games, due to the quadrennial multi-week-long sales that Steam is famous for. And don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining; Steam sales are the best thing that has happened to PC gamers since Half-Life 2. All I'm saying is, its easy to get swept away in the ever-growing rapids of little green "90% off" buttons. If you have a limited budget, there are more efficient ways of buying games. Let's start with the basics:

1. Buying Wisely on Steam.

Always take advantage of the sales when they come around. You can buy all kinds of games for a massively discounted price, which is why these sales are such a great time to buy. The games on clearance usually change every day, so you get a nice variety.

Even if it's not during a sale, the most important thing to do is to buy enjoyable games with plenty of playtime in them, for as low as you can. This means you want to definitely pick up games on this list:

Terraria: Often sells for less than 3 dollars, retail price $10. It has 50-100 hours of playtime in it.
FTL: Great space strategy game, will keep you hooked for a long time. Often sells for 5 dollars or less, with a retail price of $10. It boasts 100+ hours of playtime.
Rust: Once the full game comes out, chances are it will go on sale seasonally like the rest. Currently it's in alpha, but nevertheless it's a fantastic game with hundreds and hundreds of hours in it. For now, we can look past the $20 price tag.
Rogue Legacy: Often sells for 5 dollars or less, and it's procedurally generated so every time you play it, it's different. It uses a unique tech and leveling system that will keep you hooked for 50-100 hours.
The Binding of Isaac: One of my all-time favorite games, Isaac is another procedurally generated game with a rather dark setting. It sells for $4.99 retail, and will provide 100+ hours of play.

These are all games that offer a hearty amount of game time, for a comparatively low price. They all have great replay value; in fact, Rogue Legacy and Isaac are practically built off of replaying. Keep your eyes open for these games when they are on sale.

2. Humble Bundle <>

This is a donation-driven website that will often sell bundles of 5 to 6 full-sized games for less than 5 dollars. That's $1 a game, for games like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Scribblenauts Unlimited. I'm sure you think it seems too good to be true, so let me explain it in a little more detail. Basically, large game development companies like THQ and Warner Bros. lend out the rights to their games for a week or two, in order for Humble Bundle to sell them at a ridiculously low price and then donate a good portion of the proceeds to charity. It's always good to keep your eye on Humble Bundle, because they too often have weekly deals going on, even if they aren't in the midst of a big sale.

3. Free games

When indie game developers just start out, they tend to release a free game or two, so that they can get a feel for their own skill from others' critical, and unfiltered, viewpoints. Take Edmund McMillen, for example. McMillen is one of the most renowned indie developers out there, and his biggest hit, Super Meat Boy, was prototyped as a free flash game.

This being said, free game websites are some of the best places to find creative and unique games. The infamous Slender games started out as free, and Octodad has undoubtedly gotten plenty of publicity after Pewdiepie played it. Obviously, I'm going to have to mention the site that so many kids grew up on, However, years later, I have a more (ahem) mature perspective. Although I realize that Addicting Games has stood the test of time, the games usually lack longevity and substance, favoring instant gratification over any form of story. Nevertheless, it's a good place to find a hundred or so free games with a few hours of gameplay.

As a side note, keep one eye on alternative popular gaming clients. Remember to check Desura, Uplay and Origin regularly for low-priced games. Sometimes, as is the case for Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 4, games are Origin-exclusive, so obviously that's where you're going to find the sales.

Remember, if you buy entertaining games for a low price, you always benefit in the end. You have more money to work with, and maybe you'll even to be able to pay rent when the spring sale rolls around. Either way, I hope this guide has been helpful. Stay posted for the usual indie game reviews!

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