Steam sales, iOS games, kneejerk buys and my ever-growing backlog

*WARNING: This is pretty rambly. Read at your own risk.* 
 
So how about these Steam summer camp sales, huh? Look at all this stuff! As I'm writing this,   I could buy the complete Half-Life collection for ten bucks, Bad Company 2 for five bucks, both Bioshock games for ten bucks, the complete Valve catalog for 50 bucks, Magicka for three bucks and I could keep listing stuff all day, couldn't I? Oh look, a Facebook update bleeping noise on my iPod Touch. Let's take a look. Okay, no, I don't care that Jane Doe got a DUI driving back from a pre-pre-Fourth of July party, why did Fred think that was something he should message me about? Oh well, while I'm here I might as well check the app store. Hell, I have to update Game Center anyway. Oh look, Angry Birds, 99 cents. Already got that, okay, whatever. Oh, Transformers Dark of the Moon (or, to be more precise, TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON: EA'S MOBILE DIVISION NEEDS A NEW CAPS LOCK KEY EDITION)...99 cents. Cars 2, 99 cents. Angry Birds Seasons, 99 cents. Fruit Ninja, 99 cents. Tiny Wings, 99 cents, Dungeon Hunter 2 99 cents,Tertris,99cents,Cuttherope99centssims399cents99cents99CENTS 99CENTS 99CENTS. LOOK AT WHAT A STEAL ALL THESE ASSUREDLY FANTASTIC GAMES ARE BUY BUY BUY. 
 

PRETTY MUCH THIS 
PRETTY MUCH THIS 
 Okay, that might have been a slight exaggeration. The only game I've bought from the Steam sale so far is Knights of the Old Republic (fingers crossed for Two Worlds II) and the only iOS games I've bought in the last few days were Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars and Dungeon Hunter 2. But the point I'm trying to make is how digital distribution platforms are completely changing the gaming market. Kneejerk purchases are much easier to make when all it takes is three button presses or screen taps and the entry of a password, from the comfort of your computer chair, couch, bed, sex dungeon or whatever other place you have a laptop or iPhone on hand. No chance to have second thoughts making the long walk from the game section of the Wal-Mart to the checkout, no input from model citizens about why Aliens vs. Predator isn't a good buy, none of that. It's just you, your credit card and the Steam shopping cart. And the prices! Good lord, those fabulous prices! iOS games barely ever run above ten dollars for experiences that are, at times, superior to full-fledged console titles (I heartily recommend The Battle for Wesnoth to anyone with a penchant for turn based strategy and RPGs. Free on PC, less than five bucks on iOS for hundreds of hours of gameplay). Steam's daily, midweek, weekend and holiday sales, in addition to their no-tax policy, has turned the platform into the only place I buy PC games now. It's so cheap and easy.   And herein is my problem
LOOK AT ALL THESE FANTASTIC DEALS! 
LOOK AT ALL THESE FANTASTIC DEALS! 
 The low prices and the ease of purchasing games has greatly affected my gaming habits. It used to be that I would put tons of hours into every single game I would buy, savoring every last aspect of it, as my small allowance only really allowed me a game a month or so. But now, with more money coming into my pockets and the advent of faster internet and these digital platforms, that's all changed. My backlog stretches behind me like the tail of a comet (okay, dumb simile. Tail of a dragon? Mantle of a god king? Screw it), full of games that I'll, in all probability, never play again, never have the time to put hundreds of hours into. Why and when did I buy Medieval II? Why the hell do I have STALKER sitting on my desktop? What is this Aralon HD and why is it in my iPod games folder?  
 
They say goldfish have a three second attention span (that's what the first Google result says, so I'm going to go with that. Icthyologists can suck it up). Now, I'm not going to go saying I have a three second attention span (look! a bunny!), because I actually have a very long attention span (I wrote this long-ass thing, after all) compared to a lot of people I know. But with games I have a very selective attention span. I'll pay for something generally considered amazing, play  for half an hour and then never play it again. Conversely, I'll pay for something somewhat mediocre and then play it for dozens of hours. It's probably telling that when I set up my replacement Xbox yesterday, I didn't play the unopened copy of Bioshock sitting in my drawer, nor did I play Fallout 3 or Dragon Age. I played Just Cause 2, a game I've already played close to hundred hours of.  
 
So, actually, nothing really has changed in the way I consume games. I still do savor and play certain games for far longer than any sane person would. It's just that now the digital platforms have made it easy for me to buy things out of sheer impulse. It's easier to buy and easier to ignore a game when its nothing more than a folder of gigabytes on a hard drive than when its a box on my shelf.  
 
Oh, look, the Steam sale has rolled over. Let's see what today has to offer. Ooh, the entire Assassin's Creed collection for less than 30 bucks. Tempting. Torchlight for only three bucks? It's a fucking STEAL! Oh wait, I already have that, right, maybe I should actually play it sometime. Tropico 3 Gold Edition? For only 4.99? Good lord, it's like Christmas! Hang on. TWO WORLDS II FOR $17? I will probably play you for slightly less than an hour! What a DEAL! Shut up and take my money, Valve! 
  
BaneFireLord out.
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