My Wallet Hates Me

Last week, in my little discussion about multiplayer, I mentioned that I have a Steam account. I mean, of course I do. After all, if you play games on a computer of any kind, and don’t have a Steam account, then you’re missing out. Well, maybe not if the computer that you’re using is a Commodore 64, but you know what I’m getting at.

For those that don’t know, Steam is this really amazing game service, giving you access to a fairly huge library of games, friend recommendations, a pile of people to potentially play online with (or against), plus a bunch of other features. Think of it kind of like Netflix for your computer gaming needs, except don’t. Because that’s GameFly. Um, just think of it as pure awesome.

Also, think of it as a foul mistress. The first trap for any Steam user happens during their huge sales. Yes, you get amazing deals on games. But you end up with a pile of games that you’ll never touch, but only bought because they were 3 bucks. Or you’ll have a giant back-log of games that you really want to play, but just don’t have the time to get to them. Or, even worse, you’ll miss out on the deeply discounted price for a game you’ve really been hungering for, and then you wait, stalking your computer from afar, hoping that it comes back up on sale during the event.

What this means, at least for me, is that Steam is a way that I have been able to single-handedly fill up my free time while simultaneously destroy my wallet. Yes, the sales are great, and yes, you’ll get a pile of games for low prices. But, odds are, you’ll end up spending far more than you would have if you had just bought the game you were craving without the sale.

But it doesn’t end there. Steam also will sometimes send coupons. To my notice, this has been due to completing “badges”, which is kind of a pain in the butt, but the completionist in me just wants to collect them all (full disclosure: they aren’t actual badges that you can pin to a sash or anything like that. Just computer images. Thanks again for lying to me, childhood). And the coupons? You’ll find yourself getting a coupon for a game you may have never heard of, or had no inclination of ever picking up.

I know what you’re thinking. “You don’t have to use the coupon”. But, gentle reader, if I don’t, then it expires, and then I get nothing for nothing. Besides, sometimes those coupons will allow you to uncover a hidden gem that you might have completely passed over (like, for example, The Bridge).

And, let’s admit it. There’s just something ingrained into our society that makes coupons such a treat. After all, even if you weren’t going to buy it originally, picking it up at a 90% discount is saving money. It’s just smart economics.

Man, with this kind of thinking, I should tackle the federal deficit. Right after I get through my Steam library.

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