I love Steam. I really do. I bow down to Gabe Newell and Valve. Top notch thinking there.

But as much as I love Steam, their annual sales do things to me.

Before my friend Tom convinced me to get an account I had never been much of a computer gamer. I had a steadfast love of consoles and preferred to get my kicks with a controller in hand. Now, don’t think that I’m some kind of grand PC convert. I still prefer a nice console format and it’s not just because I’m not very good at PC gaming. I’m not actually good at any gaming.

At best I am a casual gamer.

I don’t just play casual games. Give me some credit. There is a reason I own both a PS3 and a 360. But I tend to play games only occasionally. I don’t have the time to play as much as I would like between law school, internships, etc. Believe me, the backlog I have accumulated in hardcopies and on Steam would make many a gamer cry.

But damned if I don’t turn into a hardcore gaming horder come the annual Steam sales.

If it drops down below $5 I will buy it. At this point I hardly even think twice about it. If it looks halfway decent and if I can shell out just $2.50 for a copy then I am sold. Done deal. Give it to me. Doesn’t matter what the genre might be or how the gameplay works. Hell, I even buy games I already have. After the last Steam Sale – the annual Fall sale which came barely a month after the annual Halloween sale – I now own Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in three formats, Metro 2033 in two, and Homefront in two. For no reason other than, “Hey, it was cheap.”

By the end of the Fall Holiday Sale I was even buying games in my sleep.

My sleep.

I woke up one morning just after Thanksgiving – I think it was two days after Thanksgiving – and I suddenly found that I owned Psychonauts. This is a game that had been on my wishlist for forever and I just never got around to buying. I was tempted to get it at the beginning of the sale because it had dropped to $5.99. But I held out. I was certain it would drop further to a solid 75% off price tag. Unfortunately, it never did.

Except, it did.

During a short, three or four hour sale, Psychonauts had dropped to $2.50. And apparently, I had been refreshing the main store page on my phone occasionally ever few hours while I slept. So though I slept through most of the sale, Unconscious Sam was looking out for Conscious Sam.

But this is what Steam does to me. It makes me slightly unhinged and damned determined to pick up any deal I possibly can simply because a.) I sorta want that game and b.) because it’s only $2.50, or $4.99 or… you get the picture.

I know I’m not the only one. Maybe the only one who buys games in the middle of the night while still asleep but I’m not the only one who compulsivley buys during Steam Sales. I watch as notification after notification popping up on my Steam page reads ‘So and so purchased this game’ and ‘so and so purchased that game.’ We all do it.

Steam has done this to all of us.

All in all I walked away from this last sale pretty well. A friend of mine did me a great service and actually bought the Walking Dead for me. So, my bank account wasn’t quite so wounded. (My study habits, though, have greatly suffered.) But if I had had any less self control and decided to break my personal ‘if it’s under $5 buy it now, if not, wait for the next sale’ rule… it could have been a financial catastrophe.

So reader, beware. You’re in for a sale.

… and if you’re not careful a few days later you’ll be lamenting your increased backlog and wondering where all your money went.

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