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Steam, the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
So yeah, Steam. It's pretty great.
Steam is a great way to download and play all your favorite games (well, not console exclusives obviously) for almost dirt cheap if you get them at the right time. Want Left 4 Dead for $7.50? Okay, wait for a sale, and that wish will come true. $8.50 for both Portal games? Yep. It'll happen. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for $29.99? Yeah, its happened before, and will happen again. The sales are amazing, and with a new one each day via Steam's Daily Deal, it doesn't get any better than this in the world of frugality (or poor high school/college studentness). The games aren't crappy either. There are sales all the time on triple-a titles from developers like Rockstar Games and THQ. But now you're saying, "What if my friend wants a game that's on a great sale, but can't afford it?" Well then, you and your generosity buy it for him. Yes, gifting is possible, and you can effectively barter and trade games for other games and what not. Or you could tell your friend "Tough luck" and tell him to get off his butt and get a job. Either way is fine.
Steam also has great features like integrated online and Valve anti-cheat, or VAC for multiplayer games. It has user profiles to show off your glorious amount of games, Team Fortress 2 hats, achievements (these are kind of worthless), and witty username. Steam Workshop is an amazing feature where anyone can make something for a game and upload it, and have people comment and rate it from 1-5 stars. Steam Greenlight was added in 2012, where the community decides what games get to be put on Steam or not. These are only a few examples of the awesomeness of Steam.
I have had Steam for around two years now, and it's really great. You don't wanna spend money? Try some of the numerous free-to-play games on Steam, including Valve's own hat col-Oops, I mean team based FPS, Team Fortress 2! Try some of Steam's more casual/indie games if you don't like violent games. Try Valve's Portal series, a somewhat casual puzzle game, but still tons of fun.There's something here for everyone, from the hardcore gamer to the unsure casual. Even me, an avid player of Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2 likes a good game of Peggle. Or Plants vs. Zombies. Which are both cheap when on sale on Steam. So you should go download it now.
Steam, the ultimate entertainment platform's rise to greatness
A bit of history here.
Steam got started when the game Counter-Strike was immensely popular, even more so than Call of Duty is now. Almost everyone with a computer was playing it, and loving it. After a while the game became hard to play because of all the updates. One half would download the update and be happily blasting away their opponents with a Desert Eagle or AWP, where the other half of the user base would be stuck with an outdated game and be unable to play. So, to solve this problem, Valve came up with the idea for Steam, an easy way to patch and update Counter-Strike. And thus Steam came into being. It was first available for download in 2002, for CS 1.6 beta testers. Half Life, being the original Valve game, found itself put on the platform along with its two expansion packs as well. This was obvious because Counter Strike was a Half Life mod originally. Mods for Counter-Strike and Half Life eventually found their way onto Steam as well, Day of Defeat being the first, followed by a plethora of other mods such as Ricochet and Team Fortress. Moving up from their old game engine, they tasked themselves with making a realistic physics engine that they could use in all their games. This led to the Source Engine, one of the best physics engines out there.
Steam Started accepting third-party games in 2005. In, 2007 big time publishers Capcom, id Software, and Eidios Interactive started to release their games on Steam, adding to its popularity. In October 2007, the Orange Box was released, containing Half Life 2 plus its episodic mini-sequels, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. With this achievements were also added to Steam. High-profile games were also being released at the same time as the Orange Box, like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Bioshock, which added to the awareness of Steam. Valve became heavily involved in the community and helped original creators of mods make source engine versions of their games. Day of Defeat: Source is one example. Valve also takes in community map makers and hat makers for Team Fortress 2, along with having the Steam Workshop, which allows a coder or modder to develop a weapon or a map for Team Fortress 2 and a few others such as Garry's Mod, and easily share it with others. Speaking of Valve reaching out to the community, Garry Newman created a physics sandbox using Source called Garry's Mod, and it used models and NPC's from Source games such as Counter-Strike Source. Instead of suing him, Valve instead offered to adopt the game and split the profits with him. Garry still works on Gmod and you can buy it on Steam.
Steam today has over 1,800 titles that range from the oldies, the latest and greatest, or obscure indie games. Once you buy a game on Steam, it can be played on any computer that you have logged into. But Mac users and Linux users may be saying, "No love for us?" well, fret no more. Steam has been available on Mac since early 2012. Not all games are playable on Mac, but most of Valve's games and some of the triple-a titles have Mac support. Linux is currently still in beta however, but will be released soon.
Buy some crap on Amazon to fund my next Steam Sale - Heh, just kidding. But really, that's probably what I'll spend it on
Comics starring your favorite Valve characters.
I want this. Someone buy it for me.
Woohoo, The Freeman himself! Comes with a headcrab too!
When I'm older this is what I'm buying my kid instead of a teddy bear.
Kinda derpy, but collectable.
And now for a totally unrealated quote from GabeN
"Uh...No, it's just me Gabe Newell"
Steamy and Valvey links. Click them for epic awesomeness.
- Steam's online storefront
You can download the Steam client here, and buy awesome games for great prices.
- Valve's official website
Learn more about ValvE here, and you could even apply for a job!
- Valve's online store
Buy some cool Valve merchandise here like a Headcrab hat, or an Aperture Science mug.
- Team Fortress 2's official website and wiki
If you get Steam, you have to try Team Fortress 2. C'mon, it's free.