The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet


It’s not a big secret that I’m pretty fond of Steam. I was always primarily a console gamer, but that started to change about five years ago; I became more of a PC gamer, and Steam was a big part of why that happened, because all of a sudden, it wasn’t a giant pain in the balls to play games on the PC anymore.

Back in the day, to play a PC game, you had to install it off of a bunch of disks, which meant sitting there and manually changing disks every time one of them was finished, and then probably changing back to disk one at the end for who knows what reason. And if you lost one of the disks? You’re boned. If one of the disks has a bad sector? Boned. Did you lose the game’s absurd manual-cum-copy-protection-lookup? Boned. Then along came CD-ROM, and we were like, hey, great! No more disk swapping! And then came games on multiple goddamn CDs. Copy protection lookup codes fell out of favour after a while, too, but then — oh hey! Now games ship with tiny slips of paper with a 400-character "CD Key" that you can’t play the game without. Sweet!

Then once you get the game installed, it doesn’t run. Whoops missus — the game has about fourteen dependencies you need to go find and install manually. If you already have the dependencies, it still might not work; wait, you have v9.2.11c? We require 9.2.11e or better. Go download the entire 90MB redistributable. Or, wait, what is that — v9.2.12? That’s crazy shit. Downgrade that or I won’t work.

When Steam came out, it mostly fixed this shit. Now you press the "install game" button, and then the game works. It’s not 100% flawless, but it’s a whole hell of a lot better. Not to mention now I can buy the games right there from Steam instead of having to drive off to some goddamn "store" somewhere in the alleged "real world" and hope they have what I want, or order it from Amazon and wait for it to get here. So, since Steam fixed most of what was obnoxious about PC gaming, and then added awesome convenience to the process — along with giant goofy discounts — I pretty much converted to full-on PC gamer.

So when Valve started talking about making a Steam-based console, I sent off an e-mail to Gabe Newell to ask him if Chet and Erik are done with the scraper yet, because I needed it.

Now, nothing is known about the Steam Box yet, including whether or not it’s actually a thing that will ever exist. So I’m trying not to get too excited. But if I can be permitted to fantasise for a moment here — and it’s my goddamn blog; I’ll do what I want — and assume that the Steam Box will run all Steam games and not just, like, Half-Life 2 and Rag Doll Kung Fu like the Steam of 2006, and that I can just link it to my existing Steam account instead of having to open a new (game-less) account, and that it doesn’t cost The Entire Earth to acquire, I’m having trouble thinking of reasons not to get one.

And before anybody says "oh, but Darien, you say you won’t buy an Xbox because you can already play all those games on the PC, and this time you can literally play all those games on the PC," I have three things to say to you. Two of them are both just swear words, but the third one is: I have 313 games in my Steam library. If Microsoft offered me 313 free games with purchase of an Xbox 360, plus any games I bought in the future I could play on the PC or the Xbox at any time, plus (presumably) Steam Cloud data would be shared, so I can play the same save game on either platform, plus I don’t have to pay the idiotic monthly service fee… I’d buy an Xbox right goddamn now.

March 3rd, 2012 Posted by | Games | no comments

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