New Experiences, Served Steamed

When it comes to videogames, I’ve always been a console guy. In terms of priorities when choosing how I want to play games, it has always been handhelds first, then home consoles. PC games have rarely, if ever, featured at all. That’s just the way it is. Real Time Strategy titles and MOBAs aren’t my thing and just about every other worthwhile title that comes to PC also hits the home console market in due time. Less hassle. Increasingly often, they also come to the Playstation Vita, which is an even better place to play them if you ask me. And yet late last year, I finally got a Steam account and bought a game on PC.

Why, you may ask? The short answer is Samurai Gunn, a four-player pixelated brawler I knew would eventually come to PS4 in the long run but just looked so good that I downloaded it through Steam anyway. Countless hours of ridiculous fun with friends followed, but Samurai Gunn just isn’t all that great to play solo and my Steam account was looking a little bare. So I picked up a $50 retail Steam voucher and decided to dive into some of the low-tech PC games I had seen on the big-name Game of the Year lists last year. That $50 bought me the following three games, with precisely three cents to spare. Here are my brief thoughts on them:

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is the kind of game that could probably only work on PC. A first person experience that both is and isn’t a game, The Stanley Parable digs its self-aware tendrils into every crevice of the gamer’s specifically-trained brain and dances around gleefully. Its designers evidently anticipated just about every possible way the average player would attempt to outsmart it, up to and including editing bits of the game’s code, which just shows another level of attention to detail. To say any more would be to ruin some of the game’s appeal, but I will mention that no game has ever made me feel so foolish for being so dedicated to the endless chase of Trophies /Achievements etc.

Gone Home

Gone Home has received much critical acclaim, including’s game of the year award, and while it probably wouldn’t have made my top ten list for last year had I played it on release, there can be little doubting that it is impeccably well made. The pacing of the story is near-perfect, the deliberately deceptive atmosphere feels just right and the ’90s references are almost worth the price of the game alone. The family at the centre of this first person adventure title feels as real as any I’ve ever seen in a game. Gone Home didn’t quite “get me” on an emotional level the way it has some other people, but I am seriously glad I’ve played it.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

This one did get me. Technically Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons isn’t a PC exclusive, as it is also available on the PS3 and Xbox 360. I just bought it through Steam because that’s where I had credit, and the game had been personally recommended by more than one source. Brothers is short, but immensely satisfying. Controlling two brothers with one controller allows for some nice puzzles but it is the way it the scheme is used for narrative purposes that really separates Brothers from other games like it. I finished it in one 3 hour daytime sitting, after which I just had to take a breath and bask in the thought that our current gaming climate allows such wonderful experiences to exist.

I now feel like a gap in my gaming life has been filled, as small as that gap may have been realistically.

Also, I LOVE that Steam has a built-in screenshot sharing feature! These pictures are all mine!

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