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Steam sale wrap-up post

Steam sales make me fall in love with PC gaming all over again. This most recent sale was no different. I acquired 21 new games, 17 of which were for myself. Steam has a way of making you feel like a real asshole by suggesting for each purchase that you could give it as a gift. I digress. 
I'm going to wrap-up the sale with a silly (and hopefully fun) list of awards. Enjoy and please add your own in the comments. 

Most fun indie game I discovered during the sale but otherwise has nothing to do with said sale: 


Desktop Dungeons

Derek Yu has a way of taking a simple concept and layering in cool unlockables and fun things to discover to really make it an experience to be savored. If you played Spelunky you know what I'm talking about. (If you haven't played Spelunky and own an Xbox 360, you will soon have an opportunity to experience it for yourself!) Desktop Dungeons is a roguelike mated with a puzzle game. In terms of appearances, it resembles a roguelike in nearly every way. You start with a top-down view of a a randomly generated dungeon. The only part of the dungeon you can see are the tiles immediately adjacent to your starting position. You proceed to uncover the remaining dungeon along with the loot and monsters therein. You must seek out monsters close to your level to avoid being killed and to advance in level so as to have a chance at killing the higher level monsters in the dungeon. Each dungeon has a boss monster--a level 10 baddie who must be killed to finish the dungeon. 
Late game in a dungeon 
Late game in a dungeon 
Each dungeon is very compact--much moreso than a typical roguelike--which plays directly into the puzzle aspect of the game. Health and mana are restored as you uncover previously dark tiles of the dungeon. The player must carefully manage how much of the dungeon has been explored to allow for health regeneration in the late game. 
The player will also find spells throughout the dungeon. They come complete with clever names like lemmisi (let me see), the spell which reveals three random tiles in the dungeon. These will also play heavily into the strategy. The game employs some other elements as well which I will leave for you to discover. 
Games last about 15-20 minutes and most end with the death of the player character. Those which end in completion of the dungeon are rewarded with cool unlocks. The game is free and is a great way to burn a couple of minutes here and there or to cleanse the palate between more robust gaming sessions. 
Official homepage 

Most disappointed purchase (despite being incredibly cheap)  

The graphics are serviceable. The rest... not so much. 
The graphics are serviceable. The rest... not so much. 

Gothic 3 

There were several disappointments coming out of this sale. Most of them were daily deals and were picked up on impulse (the idea not the service ;). Among these, the most disappointing game was, by a nose, Gothic 3. The reason this was more disappointing than the two Painkiller games I bought or Flatout: Ultimate Carnage is that I believed Gothic 3 had a chance to be something. The reviews weren't all that bad. Also, it was born of a highly regarded PC RPG series. In the very recent past, I have become enamored with the PC RPG or, to be a bit more contemporary, the Western RPG. It is a genre I couldn't wrap my mind around for a long time due to being funneled through stories for many years by Japanese RPGs. The breadth of possibilities was paradoxically crippling! No more though. Now, I count this as possibly my favorite genre. I have gotten much fun and play out of Fallout 3, Oblivion, Dragon Age, another game to be named later, and others. Gothic 3 had that spark... in my mind, at least. I'll admit to playing very little of the actual game. The few minutes I tried were a terrible 3D fantasy beat 'em up. Click to swing until the enemy falls down. Repeat until all enemies are down. *Yawn* 

Former Steam purchase not made during this sale but re-discovered during it nonetheless  

 The Witcher does a great job capturing the desperation of the commoners.
 The Witcher does a great job capturing the desperation of the commoners.

The Witcher 

The Witcher and I have a tumultuous relationship. We've had two false starts which is usually enough for me to stop trying. However, I felt strongly there was still something there. Now, we are in the honeymoon phase. The only reason I can muster for my lack of interest previously is that I never actually made it through the opening part of the game. (Yes, I know I have a short attention span.) Once you get through the tutorials and the first mission, the game opens up and stops holding your hand. You are thrown into a much larger region with plenty of quests to complete, people to talk to, and things to discover. The rhythm-based combat isn't perfect, but it becomes more satisfying as you learn spells ("signs" in the game's parlance). I strongly prefer it to the combat of Dragon Age (which admittedly is not saying much). Character advancement is very rewarding, and the story is adult in a way that makes even Dragon Age seem a little silly. I'm at about 15 hours currently, and I can see The Witcher and I going the distance. 
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the bizarre card-collecting sex mini-game. 

Most pleasant surprise  

No Caption Provided

Sam and Max: The Devil's Playhouse  

This shouldn't be a surprise as Telltale is at the top of their game. The point-and-click adventure genre hasn't had it this good since the '80s. Everything I have purchased from them has been a delight, but this latest season of Sam and Max is even a cut above the fantastic games they've been turning out for years now. It has a level of cinematic polish that caught me off guard. It would be redundant to say a Sam and Max is funny, but this one is especially so. Despite my rabid Monkey Island fandom, this has trumped even Telltale's Tales of Monkey Island as my favorite adventure game. 

Most bizarre game purchased  

 Part of the game involves drawing symbols on the screen with your color. I have never done this successfully.
 Part of the game involves drawing symbols on the screen with your color. I have never done this successfully.

The Void 

All I know about The Void is contained in this alarmingly short paragraph. You are dead. You are collecting hearts which will convert the color (which you must also collect) into a kind of color you can use in the world to either kill things or bring them to life. Also, all the characters appear to be nude and may be at least partially anatomically correct. It's twice as creepy as all that makes it sound. Enjoy! 
Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me about the awesome, terrible, and/or bizarre games you picked up from the sale!