//Tropico 4 Steam Sale//
A month and a half ago, Jack shared a post about the joy of a particular bundle of games available through Steam. Steam, if you don’t recall, is a game distribution system (named after a famous game engine created by developer Valve). In that deal, Jack bought 7 excellent games for just $5.63 — titles that would have cost at least $70 if purchased individually; possibly much more. I recently got a deal through Steam. It wasn’t seven games, but one: Tropico 4. It’s a game I’ve wanted for quite a while. Apologies in advance to the 90% of readers who couldn’t care less about video games.
Tropico 4 is a real-time strategy (RTS) game. But it’s a lot different from the traditional RTS fare like Red Alert or StarCraft. Tropico 4′s gameplay dynamics are more like a mix of RollerCoaster Tycoon and the Civilization series. Normally, Tropico 4 retails for $29.99 on Steam. That’s not a “made up pie-in-the-sky” price. At Wal-Mart, I saw it priced even higher sometime in December. During Steam’s sale last week, I was able to buy it for just $5.99 US. I could have bought all the extra downloadable content (DLC) but, frankly, didn’t want to spend another buck just to waste a gig of bandwidth downloading “bonus” stuff I’d never use.
OK, so it sounds like a fun game and you want to buy it for $5.99. Well, sorry, but the sale is long over. Wow, I just lost the remaining 10% of readers. The point of this post isn’t a “deal alert”. It’s to highlight a key fact: if you want a particular video game, try waiting and set up an alert on Steam Chances are good that it’ll go on sale sometime in the next few months. You might even be rewarded with an “80% off” sale like I was — or better!
Playing video games is an extremely affordable hobby if you do it properly. Here are a few other tips for making it cheaper, besides the obvious “buy games used”:
- Don’t load up on swag – you can dump tons of money into gaming gear that is useless. Sure, I’ll never be the best sniper on TF2 without an Alienware desktop and Sensei mouse, but gaming is about relaxing and having fun. (And I’ve still managed to get 20 kills in a single life on TF2 while using my quad-core laptop and $10 wireless mouse. I’m apparently a dangerous guy with a sniper rifle.)
- Get comfortable with playing “behind the curve” (except in rare situations like my Halo 4 deal). I didn’t own an Xbox 360 until 2011. Admittedly, I didn’t have much leisure time up to that point anyway.
- Purchase the stuff that’ll get used. I bought my 250 gig Xbox plus over 10 games (good ones like Halo 3, Fable 3, Alan Wake, BioShock 2, etc.) for $299 plus tax. When divided out by the number of hours my partner and I have played the system and the games, the cost works out to pennies per hour. Final Fantasy 13, alone, took about 40 hours. While I managed to get the Kinect for an excellent price of just $99 (which was an excellent price in 2011 and I also scored $25 in Shoppers Optimum Points), I’m really not certain that its usage has justified the expense. It’s been really fun on three occasions when we had guests but, going back, I wouldn’t buy it again.