Building Up Steam

Personal / Sunday, June 1st, 2014

After years of avoiding it, I finally caved in and got myself a Steam account. Rampant sexism in gaming culture, graduate school classes, and not having the money always dissuaded me from motivating myself. There were and are plenty of games I’ve missed out on that I’d like to play (i.e. Assassin’s Creed, Epic Mickey, The Last of Us, etc.) but, as I stated, did not have the means for.

The concept of ownership over digital content is also something I think a lot about. I know that my copy of Borderlands 2 is mine. I can download it onto both my father’s PC, my laptop, and my PC, and play my files, and, as my friend cheerfully texted: “It’s all on the cloud!” Steam of course isn’t the first platform to go the all digital route, and clearly it isn’t disappearing any time soon. Yet my content is dependent on this service. Even though it’s mine, it relies on something that is completely out of my control. In the same way that once my last VCR gives in, all of my Disney VHS tapes will be obsolete to me, as they are not longer supported in the industry.

The newest one, the formatting war regarding 4K, is similar to when Blu-ray battled and won against HD DVD’s, where I’m sure there will be consumers who picked the wrong side. This isn’t the same issue as content ownership, but the idea of the choices being made without the consumer’s consent is off-putting for me. Though that’s the natural progression of things, I dislike it. Maybe that’s why boardgames are especially nice. You purchase it, and you have the box and its content, and you own it–you tangibly hold it and you can play it as many times and you never need to worry about a third party supporting it. I remember having a discussion with some of the executives at Focus Features about this as well… I was interning there when the UltraViolet cloud-based system was introduced. I’ll have to do a more thorough post on this topic in the future.

All I really wanted to say in this post was that I got a Steam account! I’ve finally got a functioning computer, a spot of cash, some time, and thus, a renewed interest. All during last semester, while taking a game design class, I’d wanted to play more, but I could never justify taking the time when my schoolwork was sitting there glaring at me. But, damn, there are just so many gorgeous games. I’m particularly excited to play games by Supergiant Games. Really, I’m a sucker for any RPG that has great a good story and stylization.

I managed to acquire a number of impressive indies from a Humble Bundle I’d purchased ages ago, and I splurged and bought Borderlands 2. When I first started grad school, I remember in week one that that game was one of the first things I asked people about. I love the style/shading/lookdev/whatever you wish to call it. And I have a friend who lives far away who will play with me! I’m excited to get back into gaming, and for that to not mean me hooking up my SNES, N64, or PS2 (not that I won’t do that too..). It’s sort of a small goal of mine this month to try to work gaming into my routine as a wind-down. Same with posting here more often.

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