How I Survived The Steam Summer Sale On A Mac

… I didn’t

So in case you didn’t know, I don’t have a PC. Well I have a PC I can use but I am an iMac user. In fact my decision to go to Apple computers was partly because I get too distracted by gaming on a PC to be productive. So how exactly did I manage to succumb to the wallet emptying frenzy of the Steam summer sale?

Well indie gaming played a big part of that. There are also some games that I have in preparation for them to come to Mac. But Steams support of the platform is growing very quickly. So here’s a quick list of what I managed to buy during the sale and a tiny bit before it too.


 

  • the walking dead 203 2Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Counter-Strike (including source, GO, etc)
  • Endless Space
  • Goat Simulator
  • Kill Fun Yeah (gifted)
  • candles amnesia 1Noir Syndrome
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch
  • Pixel Piracy
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Tomb Raider
  • The Walking Dead
  • goat simulator trailerThe Walking Dead: Season Two
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced

 

For a platform that doesn’t have a lot of gaming, I think that’s a very good haul. Tomb Raider is the only disappointment because I need OSX Mavericks to run it and I really don’t want to upgrade yet. But it was £2? And it stopped me getting the enhanced PS4 edition so I’m ok with that.

But, there were a few PC stragglers that I got too, partly because I’m sure they will come on Mac at some point. Those were Alan Wake/Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and Banished.

So despite having a non-gaming machine I still managed to get eighteen games. EIGHTEEN! If I had a PC you can imagine that I would have gone hambone on the finances.

The steam summer sale every year is met with fear and trepidation for ones financial wellbeing. Let’s be honest as well, the next generation of gaming is unlikely to fully hit us for another three months, maybe longer? So it makes sense to buy a heap load of games that I don’t actually have time to play.

the walking dead season 2 4The Black Friday-esque hysteria that gamers go through every time this happens is great. You can almost feel the shame dripping from the Facebook posts, Twitter updates and the like, of people who have realised they have a problem… I have a problem.

In all honesty I came in to the sale like a fully researched shopper. I wanted three of the games I actually purchased. Only three. Those were The Walking Dead games and Goat Simulator. Because the latter was finally Mac ready and the formers, well I don’t need an excuse to get those.

But I do find it interesting that I’m still buying games that I kind of had no intention of playing just because they looked okay and were at a decent price. A friend of mine text me saying he’d always wanted to play The Witcher because it looked interesting. I now own two of them. Endless Space was a nice looking game in the screenshots and the trailer, so I got it. Super Meat Boy was fun to watch and I imagine immensely frustrating to play. Pixel Piracy may have some sea legs behind it and Octodad has eight of those sea legs.

So looking back… I’ve mugged myself off quite successfully really and that is fantastic for gaming. I might have spent about £35-£45 all in all but I got a lot out of it, despite being a Mac gamer and arguably I got very good games out of it.

tomb raider 2Which is why it is sad that my best and favorite sale purchase didn’t come from Steam but from Xbox Live over the same period. That was Sonic Generations. What an excellently fun game that is!

The thing is with gaming, I find myself looking at co-op games more and more now, especially as more of my friends are separated by distance and family commitments that remote gaming is far more important and we still want to share the joy of a game. I don’t mean the kill all the noobs sharing but the working together sharing. And the increase of games on the Mac and the Steam sale combined really does start to link my PC playing friends and me closer together.

[clear]

All I need now is for GOG to hurry up and make the Rollercoaster Tycoon and Heroes of Might and Magic series available for Mac and I’m sorted.

[author]

Coma… Zombies… Run! The Walking Dead Series One.

So I have just watched series one of The Walking Dead. I must confess that I haven’t read the comic books so whatever thoughts I have about this stem directly from the series.

What do I think about it? I thought it was good. It was some fun entertainment but it does have a lot of problems (possibly teething problems) that need to be addressed in series two. Although having a longer run of episodes might help that.

My first problem is the whole coma thing. A guy wakes up from a coma and the world has gone to shit and the streets are deserted. It’s completely 28 Days Later in that respect, but in all honesty there probably isn’t a better way to drop a character or the audience into that situation. Nothing new but it is tried and tested.

Problem number 2. Wooden characters. I know that these characters may be in the comic books. But the definition of good and evil stretches quite easily in comics. While a guy can be an arrogant redneck racist (Merle) in a comic and get his just desserts, on television the character just comes across as stale and out of date. The Jim character is basically introduced to be killed. The whole grave digging and sunstroke angle is designed for you to feel empathy for him when he gets bitten. But he’s not needed other than to show dwindling numbers in the group. I’m surprised that the character wasn’t cut when they trimmed the fat, so to speak.  Again this goes for the guy who hits his wife and gets beaten up. His only purpose is to show how unstable Shane is becoming with Rick’s reappearance. Even Shane’s actions when he attacks Lori are pretty poor. It’s meant to aid the tension that will build between the two but instead of making you hate the character, you kind of hate the show for making the character do that. I may be spoilt though, when you see some of the characters (and actors) that are really multi dimensional from other current shows such as John Luther (Idris Elba) from Luther,  Tyrion Lannister (Peter Drinklage) from Game of Thrones and Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) from Broadwalk Empire.

However, I’m not all about the negative. There are several things that are really good about the show (which is probably why the lower points annoy me so much). The first episode with its feature on Morgan and Duane Jones is brilliant. The whole scene where he’s crying, shooting Walkers from the window after putting a picture of his wife up is absolutely beautifully acted and written. Genuine humanity there. Also, the character of Dale. In the last episode after Andrea decides to stay, his choice to stay is well acted. You can see how much of a betrayal he considers it that she would be so selfish as to rob others of her life. The entire last episode, where you finally get some answers, is very well done and you get a sense of the show progressing beyond the characters basic survival into something greater, as well as Noah Emmerich’s great guest starring role. By the way, I score huge geek points for getting the reference to the Wildfire complex*. Finally, the series itself is wonderfully shot, beautifully constructed and the make up is incredible. There is always a certain foregone conclusion when it comes to zombie movies that they are either comical or scary. This thankfully does neither and is all the better for it. The Walkers themselves are a nice combo between your run of the mill ‘zombie’ and the super fast terrifying ‘zombies’ of 28 Days Later and I Am Legend.

All of this does make me want to carry on into the second season. Now that the camp is unsettled, more knowledgeable and on the run, it does lead the show into some potentially great territory. Let’s hope it carries it forward and leaves some of the poor characterisation behind.

*Wildfire is the name of the top secret underground laboratory in Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. Originally designed for chemical warfare experimentation, it was used to try and find a cure for the spreading Andromeda epidemic.