Winter Sale Weirdness and Steam Awards

Right, Steam Sale. They have a lot of new things I don’t recall seeing last year. Either that or I totally forgot they existed.

extremely cozy cottage.png

One of them is the Extremely Cozy Cottage, which is like a Steam Sale Advent Calendar. Quite honestly, it’s only because my wife is from a catholic family that I even know what and advent calendar is. I totally wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. So far it’s given me a steam emoji, a profile background, and an odd consumable sort of thing?

chocolate orange

Is weird. I like chocolate oranges though, real ones anyway.

They also have the Steam Awards up for voting. The results aren’t going to be announced until early February though. I’m guessing first week or so since that’s when the items expire? I’m sure I’ll go over the winners then, if I notice.

  • Game of the Year
    • I voted for Monster Hunter: World. Honestly it was the only thing on the list that I’ve played, so yeah.
  • VR Game of the Year
    • I just voted for Skyrim VR. I really don’t have an opinion here, but of the things on the list that’s the one I’d most want to play. VR’s to expensive, yo.
  • Labor of Love
    • I stuck with No Man’s Sky on this one. They’re really invested a lot of time turning this one around. Path of Exile would also be a decent choice. I like Stardew Valley and all, and it’s certainly a labor of love for Eric Barone, but it other than multiplayer we haven’t had much movement on it this year. I don’t even know why GTA 5 or DotA 2 are on the list.
  • Best Developer
    • This category was unique in that it has 10 options instead of five. I voted for Digital Extremes, the developer of Warframe. CD Project Red would have been my alternate choice.
  • Best Environment
    • I remember not liking the description of this particular category, and I believe I nominated Alien: Isolation. I ended up voting for Subnautica, though I’ve only played it for maybe 5 minutes.
  • Better With Friends
    • Still Payday 2. It’s the title I nominated too.
  • Best Alternate History
    • I haven’t played any of these titles, so I just voted for Civ 6 and moved on.
  • Most Fun With a Machine
    • I’ve only played two of these, Euro Truck Sim, which was meh, and Space Engineers, like a year or so ago. I voted for Factorio, because why not?

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Speaking of Payday 2, I finally managed to get that rare vault spawn I’ve been after the last couple of days. Had to up the difficulty to increase the spawn chance, which means we pretty much had to stealth it. I tend to die quickly at the higher difficulty levels, especially when I’m using my stealth gear.

Either way, I’m off to bed. I’ve got a lot of things I want to get done tomorrow, and I’d like to be able to sleep plenty before I do them. Despite having some time off, Tuesday is pretty much spoken for in it’s entirety. Y’all stay safe.

Page Views and Steam Sales

Okay, so I loosely monitor the views and stats for the blog. It doesn’t really inform the choices I make in writing, I just find it entertaining because it always seems the most random things get the most views.

Sometimes it’s fairly easy to figure out what’s going on by looking at the referrers section. A few of my spikes were the result of being linked somewhere else on the internet. Other blogs, mostly.

One that surprised me though was my post about ES6 and the Creation Engine. That post got a fair amount of search traffic for reasons that are still a mystery to me. I wouldn’t think that my opinion was all that interesting, really. Very recently I keep getting hits on, of all things, that Big Boy appliances post.

I mean, I thought it was mildly amusing, but why?

I suppose I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. It just seems like a really odd post to have acquired so many views. A few people even watched the video. Such an odd outcome for a post about a passing curiosity.

In unrelated news, the Steam Winter Sale is now live. This means it’s time to do some voting and maybe pick up a few odds and ends for Something New posts. I’ve very briefly looked through my wishlist, though, and not much was standing out.

It’s also time to vote for the Steam awards, the same ones we did nominations for a while back. My voting now mostly follows my nominations. I mean, I wouldn’t have nominated it if I didn’t think it was a good pick.

I’ll probably go over it again anyway, as there are a few things I thought were amusing or interesting.

I’ve also noticed Steam selling VR hard, again. I’d love to use VR, if, y’know, the headsets didn’t cost $600+ apiece. I’m sure the kids would inevitably find a way to damage it anyway, and I’m not sure my PC has quite enough power to push it. I actually tried streaming Elite VR to my phone at one point, but never could get it to work quite right.

Either way, it’s off to bed with me. Tomorrow is going to be fairly busy and I’d like to get it out of the way. I could use some downtime. I’ve been quite irritable lately. Y’all take care, don’t give all your money to Valve.

Stay at Home Day – A Random Update Post

Quite honestly today is one of those days that I commit to actively avoiding a public appearance. I’m not willing to take my chances with the crowds of people willing to engage in the rampant consumerism that is Black Friday.

Of course my alternative, then, is sitting at home converting video and beginning the editing process. Honestly I’m not a huge fan. It’s a little better since the footage I’m going over isn’t actually me. I rather dislike hearing myself in recordings.

I’ve also been arguing with RetroPie. For some dang reason I lose input when I load a proper psx bios file. It takes input just fine when it can’t find one and loads whatever it’s backup option is, it just has compatibility issues. I’ve spent several hours dealing with it yesterday and today to no avail. I did however figure out why the SNES emulator was running slightly slow.

Apparently the charger in the kit I was given is right on the edge of being able to supply the Pi 3 under heavy load and it was tripping the low power alarm. When this happens is disables the arm turbo which impacts emulator performance. For better or worse I found a way to tell it to ignore the low power warning which cleared up the slowdown. I have no idea what the long term effects of that might be.

Having nothing to do with any of that, the lizard on my desk is coming up on the end of his first shedding. The only bit left is peeling off his head now and makes it look like he’s wearing a mask. He also does even less than before. The relatively cool nature of the weather probably isn’t helping.

We’ve got right around four weeks until Christmas and I’m trying to create some kind of vague content plan for that time. All these extra activities have reduced gaming time to the extent that there is noticeably less gaming stuff for me to talk about. On the upside, some of the gaming stuff I do talk about will have some related video content. Among the things I’m considering are a compilation of Christmas Payday 2 missions, at least one post on Secrets of Grindea, possibly a post on Phantasy Star Online 2, and maybe one or two other posts on random things I pick up during the current Steam sale. Picking up a bunch of fairly cheap but interesting fodder on sale really helps keep the Something New posts rolling.

On the note, the last three videos I’m converting are approaching completion, so I need to go have a look. Y’all take care.


Steam Award Nominations

If there’s one I can say about Valve, it’s that I always seem to at least attempt to participate in their twice-ish annual sale shenanigans. This time around we’ve got the Steam Award Nominations. The awards themselves seem to be in February.

  • Game of the Year
    • Okay, so Steam is auto-populating this list with things I own and have played. In fact, it’s possible to nominate anything in the Steam store. I myself am nominating Monster Hunter World. There simply isn’t anything else in my library that is comparable to this in play time and experience
  • VR Game of the Year
    • Yeah, I don’t own a VR headset so I nominated Elite Dangerous as the thing I’d most like to play in VR.
  • Labor of Love Award
    • I gotta go with No Man’s Sky with this one. They took something that was the most hated game on the internet and with a series of free updates made most people admit that, okay, maybe it isn’t all that bad.
  • Best Developer Award
    • I picked Digital Extremes. Their ability and willingness to continue developing Warframe and keep the servers on while not charging more for new things continues to impress me. They would be will within their rights to charge extra for things like Plains of Eidolon and Fortuna but they don’t. We all lift together, I guess.
  • Best Environment Award
    • I’m a little lost here. I’m having a hard time thinking of anything where “breathtaking scenery tells a better story than a thousand … heroes.” I think I’m going with Alien: Isolation simply because of it’s attention to detail in the surroundings. Everything else I’m coming up with is very exposition heavy.
  • Better with Friends Award
    • Man there’s so many things I could list here. I don’t play much of the single player persuasion much these days, so I’ve had to stop and think about the things in my library that I’m loathe to play by myself because it’s just not the same. To that end, I chose Payday 2. It’s simply not a game I really find interesting by myself because the co-op chaos management is what makes it fun.
  • Best Alternate History Award
    • I, uh. I don’t really have anything that’s enough in the past and remotely historical to qualify. After a lot of looking I found The Beueau: XCOM Declassified which technically takes place in the past? Guess I’ll go with that. It was either that or Civ 5.
  • Most Fun with a Machine Award
    • Who’s coming up with this categories? Y’know what, I finished the original Portal for the first time this year. Problem solved. It’s got tons of robots and machines.

I realize many of these categories could probably be interpreted far more broadly than I have here, but I’ve got other things to go get done too. This blog post was brought to you by Rakuno from Shards of Imagination, who posted it on the Blaugust discord channel as a writing prompt.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

The Curse of the Digital Marketplace

So I’ve been using Steam for several years now and every once in a while I swing by and check on the stats for my account. They aren’t super accurate at times either. Games owned says 241, but that must include DLC and such cause my actual games library is showing as 192 on Steam.

  • Worth: $3317 ($1075 with sales)
  • Games owned: 241
  • Games played: 158 (65%)
  • Hours on record: 3,568.3h (148d for the curious)

I typically go long enough that I don’t have a good idea what it was last time I checked it. I’m also generally shocked about some of the things I do remember or have learned.

I mean, full retail price of my library is more than the last car I bought. Quick math says that’s about $17.28 per title. That’s probably super inflated by the titles I actually bought though. I think the price range breakdown demonstrates my purchasing habits fairly well. Curiosity aside, Steam says I’ve spent $1,920. Which is a lot closer to the minimum cost than the max cost.

products by cost

It’s quite obvious from this that I don’t often buy things at full retail. In fact, only one of those four was bought at that price. XCOM 2, I purchased at launch for full retail. ARK was from Humble Monthly, if I recall. MHW was a gift and NMS was purchased at 50% off. With that siad, it’s also worth pointing out that this is organized according to current cost I belive, not what I paid for it or what it launched at.

xcom 2 sectoid fixed.png

I actually spent a little time playing with numbers and was surprised to discover that the 50+ and 0.01-2 brackets had average ratings well below that of every other bracket, which was right around 80% positive.

The thing is when I was buying physical games more than a decade ago, the idea of owning something I never played was incomprehensible. If I cared enough to buy a game it was because I intended to go home and play it, generally right away.

Today digital distribution has changed things, mostly positively I believe. Small and/or independent developers no longer have to fight for shelf space in store. I mean, sure, some “spots” on the shelf are still better than others, but a digital marketplace has theoretically infinite shelf space.

Resale and bundling has changed somewhat too. You get sites like the well known Humble Bundle that rotate through bundles built around a certain theme. These enable you to purchase 6-30 titles for as little as $15-$20. In a lot of cases it’s designed so that you spend the highest minimum amount to get something that’s popular and/or discounted and it happens to also include several other titles you may or may not want. There are plenty of others too, indiegala comes to mind.

Then places like Green Man Gaming, which is a third party seller of keys. I don’t know exactly how they make a profit, but it’s at least reliable and above the table, so to speak.

So here I sit, having never played 83 of the games I own. I literally haven’t played more of my Steam games that I think I ever owned for PS1. What a strange world we live in.