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Aftermath: Steam Autumn Sale 2012

The Steam Autumn sale has struck my wallet like a fall wildfire hitting a national forest preserve.  On top of that, Origin (EA's Steam competitor) has been running some pretty enticing sales as well.  Considering I happen to have a less-than-part-time job, something resembling income now, I was able to partake frugally.  (Yes, I know piracy is even more frugal, but unlikely the majority of PC gamers (just ask Ubisoft) I prefer to support the industry.)

Here's what I ended up buying:
  • Cities In Motion Complete (2012) - $13.54.  I know, if I have Tropico 4, why do I need another city builder?  Well, part of that is because this is not a city builder.  It's a Transportation Tycoon kind of game. I've found these can be quite relaxing, and Cities Of Motion has been on my wish list for quite some time.  (Nearly all of these games have, actually.) 
  • Age Of Wonders Trilogy Pack, Dead Hungry Diner - $12.72.  Four games for less than $15!  The former, the Age Of Wonders series, is one of the tried and true successors of Master Of Magic to do a very good job of it.  It's also a somewhat old game.  But, last I checked (via GameTap, when I had it) the game runs just fine on modern computers.  The latter, Dead Hungry Diner, is a clone of Diner Dash.  I'm rather impressed with how well Diner Dash did, commercially, and felt it would be prudent to give Dead Hungry Diner a try.  My experience with this genre is that it is somewhat casual, true, but they keep the mind well occupied and, in terms of establishing flow, that's pretty good!  In the case of clone games, the best method is to grab the best clone you know of for that genre and ignore the rest, and Dead Hungry Diner is a pretty good guess for a kind of game I never really play.
  • Fable III (and DLC) - $18.63.  I finished the first, twice, and briefly enjoyed the second (unfortunately never ported to PC) so I decided to make a run on the third.  Peter Molyneux is one of the more interesting game developers out there, in more ways than one, and what I enjoy about Fable is the sheer detail dedicated to simulating your quasi-heroic.  Looked at another way, Fable is that it is essentially a modern day Hero's Quest, and memories of my days of playing that Sierra series warms the cockles of my heart.  That said, I do wish the game was a bit deeper - so far, I've only an option of taking a fireball glove?  What if I want to mix magic and melee, is that impossible?  Perhaps it opens up a bit further as I go, or perhaps the consolitus infesting the game mechanics is terminal.  (I can't help but think I should be playing it on a gamepad.)
  • Deponia - $7.36.  Recently, I've been watching Let's Plays of Space Quest V and VI (V was so much better than VI) and this put me somewhat in an adventure game mood.  I nearly removed this game from my wish list when I realized I still had half of the new Monkey Island laying around, unfinished, but something about the artwork in the demo reel of the game decided to make me splurge here.  This game looks very much to be a fine tradition of Lucasarts-style adventure gaming.  Hey, it was less than $10, fair enough.
  • Elemental: Fallen Enchantress - $21.67.  Alright, so the original Elemental was a train wreck, to the point where the CEO of the company came out and apologized: he thought it was ready, but it sadly wasn't!  Fallen Enchantress is basically Elemental, two years later, re-released with all the spit and polish it should have had.  The metacritic rating of nearly 80 would indicate that the time is right.  All that history for a mere $20?  Right on!   I you ever played Master Of Magic then you'll immediately know the appeal here, though I understand Elemental went considerably deeper, wider, and potentially off-target.  Still, had known this game was going to go on sale, I would have left the Age Of Wonders pack alone: Fallen Enchantress may well be the best take to the Master Of Magic spiritual successor genre.
  • Borderlands 2 - $32.51.  Marriages of roleplaying game and first person shooter generally work out quite well.  Deus Ex,Vampire: Bloodlines, and so on.  Of course, there are exceptions, such as Hellgate: London, but even there the FPS/RPG fusion worked well even if the game itself didn't pan out in the long run.  The original Borderlands showed that Gearbox really knew how to do it right, with a great deal of spit and polish putting out a game with rather good loot mechanics that managed to marry the idea of first person shooter gunplay and roleplaying game min/maxing wonderfully.  Borderlands 2 more than stays the course, it improves on the original, with more of everything and even more polished.  $30 is a price I was reserving for the truly epic, and Borderlands 2 delivers.
  • Torchlight II, Mark Of The Ninja - $18.95.  In most ways, these games have the least amount to do with eachother.  Torchlight II is a Diablo clone while Mark Of The Ninja is a side-scrolling sneaker platformer.  However, they do share one core resemblance: they're indy games that have broken the charts by being remarkably well executed.  As I type this, Mark Of The Ninja is actually at the very top of Metacritic's scores for recently-released PC games!  Overall, a great bargain, worth getting.
  • Civilization V: Gods And Kings Expansion - $8.12.  I mentioned earlier in this blog how I'm loathe to play Civ V without this expansion, as I've read that it improves the game enough that you won't want to go back, and it seems a shame to burn out on the substandard experience.  It was on sale for 50% off at the beginning of this autumn sale, but I realized if it hit Daily or Flash sale status it may come down even more, to 75% off.  Sure enough, it has, so I snapped it up for cheap.  (All games listed here were bought on Daily or Flash sale status.)
  • The Sims 3, the last three expansions, my Origin purchase, $59.96.  Seasons and Supernatural have been on my wish list a long time, but there's no way I'm paying $40 for each.  I managed to avoid buying the game when Origin had a "Black Friday" sale, putting expansions on sale for 50% off.  However, they sweetened the deal even further in a "Cyber Monday" sale, in which Showtime was included, I was sold. I bought Supernatural, Seasons, and Showtime.  Combined with what I already had, I now have all the Sims 3 expansions that aren't "stuff" packs... at least, until they come out with another one in a few months.  Ugh, even though I never bought a Sims 3 product for less than 50% off, there's no way I can possibly get as much enjoyment out of this game as I paid for it - well played, EA, well played.
Total damage: $193.46

A terrible price, but still less than 4-6 AAA games bought when they were first released.  Considering that each game was at least half-off, I suppose you could say I saved that much money too.  Quite charitable if you do, really: an entertainment purchase is still frivilous.  At least I've the benefit of having a less-than-part-time (substitute) job to put a little dosh in my pockets for binges like this but, suffice to say, I'm wiped out until next payday.

It's not that I'm without restraint.  Believe it or not, there's also quite a few titles that I narrowly avoided buying, such as:
  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, for 66% off, I avoided because I've got more than enough 4X games to play now between Age Of Wonders, Civilization V, and Elemental.  Besides, what about the Sins Of The Solar Empire trinity?  Why wasn't that included?
  • Dishonored, for 50% off, is perhaps the top-rated game of the year.  However, I still don't want to spend $30 on it because I know I'll finish it off in one day flat.  $20 is the point where I'd be willing to buy a great game with such poor longevity.  Even better: rent it, if I can.
  • F3ar, for 50% (66%?) off.  I played the first two, but I understand Fear 3 falls flatter than ever, and is hobbled by a mandatory coop mode.   At least the price is right for a game I'd probably play through once and drop... but, you know, I'm not really a major fan of horror games anyway.  This isn't even survival horror, it's a straight up FPS with horror dressing.
  • Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, for 50% (66%?) off.  You know, if they didn't release a demo, that might have got my money.  Having played the demo, I'm not impressed.  This game needs both another year of refinement (the hovercraft AI in particular is atrocious) and a better hook for the main strategy mode (just taking the same difficulty islands over and over again is monotonous).
  • King's Bounty: Warriors Of The North, for 50% off.  A mere $15, yet.  Reviews say that, boringly enough, they stayed the course of the first two King's Bounties.  But, you know, that's not too bad - the series has a very nice formula, the best "Heroes of Might and Magic" clone out there, IMHO.  Still, I had to pass up on it because I already own King's Bounty I and II and have yet to finish them.  If I'm not able to bring myself to finish those games, what makes me think I could finish this one?
Oh well, they'll probably all be back on sale again for Christmas.  I should have another paycheck before then.

I'm in a state of game overload right now.  If some more games I've really, really wanted to play hit 66-75% off, I'll probably snap them up.  But, considering what I passed up, it would take something pretty epic.  About the only ones that could really threaten me now are Mass Effect 3 (which I have been hounding lately) and Scribblenauts Unlimited.

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