Summer Sale Season Recap

Another Summer Sale is now over, and – as usual – I probably bought too many games to even conceivably play before the next sale season happens in about six months. Still, grabbing deals is at least half the fun for me, and grab deals I did!

Purchases on Steam

This is the first major sale since we’ve started paying a whole lot of attention to our monthly entertainment spending (although, if we’re honest, I’ve always paid at least some attention to discretionary spending). Of course, having the sale bridge months meant that I could pick up a few things early, and then pick up a few more when my wallet gets refilled on the first.

I kept my purchases on Steam just under $75 (before tax and not including the bit of trading card money I had stashed in my wallet). That netted me 17 games (as well as one DLC), giving an average price of just under $4.50 per game. In a somewhat unusual turn of events for me, I’ve already played around with four of them – I tried out Heavenworld, Fantasy Match Puzzle and Stacklands on my PC, and have been dabbling in Kitaria Fables on the Deck.

Fanatical Purchases

No matter how large my library gets, I’m still unable to resist a bundle, and Fanatical’s “build your own” bundles get me more often than any other these days. I grabbed five games for $7.99 in the Build Your Own Slayer Bundle and then five more for the ridiculously low price of $2.99 in the Build Your Own Indie-Pendence Bundle. I also grabbed PCI: Public Crime Investigation while it was just a dollar more than what I had been hoping for in the Steam sale (in which it wasn’t discounted at all this time around). Overally, I’m very pleased with what I picked up for $22 in total.

Now, I realize I’m in a privileged position to be able to drop just shy of $100 on my hobby for no particular reason other than I love a sale. When AAA titles cost more than half that, and I cannot remember the last time I actually enjoyed a AAA title as much as I enjoy quirky indie games, I am not going to feel bad about purchasing 28 new-to-me games, even if most of them are probably not getting played anytime soon.

Steam Winter Sale 2021

It seems like I’ve done a whole bunch of planning and debating for the past several major Steam sales. For me, part of the fun is poking into the hidden corners of Steam and looking for the best deals and the hidden gems. Normally, I play around with whatever my budget is, and end up hitting that check out button at least one more time than I had planned on.

This time around, I just wasn’t feeling it. I plucked a shopping cart directly from my wish list, and didn’t spend all that much time reconsidering my choices. I usually only grab one “bigger” (read, more expensive) title whereas this year, I picked up both Craftopia and The Colonists. The only really cheap title I picked up this go around was Alchemist Simulator, and I rounded out my shopping cart with Lamplight City, which has been on my wish list forever but has stubbornly refused to dip lower than 40% off, and Penko Park, which I’ve been wanting to pick up since enjoying both New Pokemon Snap and Alekon so much this past year.

Of course, I also never get away with just one cart full, but even my afterthought purchases were far fewer than average this year. I grabbed Keplerth (another title that spent a considerable amount of time on my wish list) after noticing it’s due to leave early access sometime this month. Finally, I bought Stolen Realm after my co-op partner and I decided to play through that next.

Outside of Steam (and of course, the Epic freebies that I picked up almost every day they were available), my only Winter-Sale-season purchase was the Deckbuilder Bundle on Fanatical. I grabbed that one mainly for The Magister, which is almost twice the price of the entire bundle on sale. I also activated Mystic Vale, and held onto the keys for System Crash, Cat Lady, and A Long Way Down. The rest I gave away on my Discord before wrapping that up for the time being.

I usually allow myself about $100 for each of the major sales, and I came in pretty significantly under that amount this year. Now, I just need to put some time aside to play all these games.

I also received a few gifted games during the sale. I’ve already talked quite a bit about PowerWash Simulator, which I’m enjoying far more than I expected to. Satisfactory is another title I’ve been keeping an eye on, and I expect I’ll lose quite a number of hours to in the future. I don’t find myself reaching for puzzle games as often as I once did, but Gorogoa looks amazing, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t picked it up before now.

Steam Summer Sale 2021

I have – mostly – been doing better about impulse purchases since I really took stock of both my game-buying and game-playing habits about a year and a half ago, but I definitely allow myself a good-sized splurge twice a year. Both the Steam Summer Sale and the Steam Winter Sale are less exciting than they once were for me, but I still always manage to fill up a cart or two with stuff that has caught my eye.

Towards the end of June, I did pare down my wishlist significantly (at least, as it pertained to games that were already released), but I’m not sure if that made deciding what to pick up easier or harder this time around.

My first cart towards the beginning of the sale was a small one, and I pulled the trigger primarily because I wanted to pick up Exodus Borealis while it still had its release discount. Tametsi is a neat looking puzzle game, which is a spin on Minesweeper, and Koi Farm is a chill little simulation game I’ve had my eye on for a bit. I made the call to otherwise put off doing any shopping until after the reveal of the July Humble Choice, because buying a bunch of stuff just to see it pop up there is something that would absolutely happen to me.

This cart was my big purchase for the sale.

I’ve been meaning to pick up LOVE – A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories since playing the demo last year, but I knew I wanted to wait for a sale because $20 felt a little steep for what was on offer. I then added my other bigger purchases to the cart – Before We Leave, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, and Weedcraft Inc. before poking through the smaller games that looked just interesting enough to spend a dollar or three on.

Ticket to Earth is a combination of a match-3 and a tactical RPG, and I’m excited to see how it comes together. I’m not sure if Galimulator is going to be up my alley, but the idea of a galaxy simulation with three different game modes was interesting enough to at least give it a try. Finally, I picked up The First Friend, which a short story-driven game with beautiful art, and maybe a little bit of a mystery to it.

My biggest Summer Sale purchase wasn’t made on Steam, but rather on the Humble Store, as I picked up Planet Zoo Deluxe edition for just under $20 – my subscriber discount made it just a little bit cheaper than it was on Steam. I’ve been eyeballing that one for awhile, and I have been talking myself out of it, and then almost immediately regretting not picking it up as soon as it goes off sale.

To top everything off, there were seven games in the July Humble Choice that I have a more than passing interest in, so even with the headliners being meh for me, this bundle is going to be a great addition to a library that’s already pretty overstuffed.

All in all, a great haul for this sale season. Now I just need to find the time to play all of these games!

Steam Winter Sale Splurges

Unless I am overtaken by an overwhelming urge to make just one last purchase, I am done with the 2020-2021 Steam Winter Sale. For someone with over nearly 300 games on her wish list, I found it surprisingly easy to whittle my choices down to a couple of dozen titles I was most interested in this time around. Many titles were eliminated from contention due to having seen better prices in the past, and I have quite a few games on my wishlist that have yet to release. However, I found that, while scrolling through, there were quite a few that I just wasn’t that interested in anymore, so I’m probably not far off from yet another wish list cleanout.

The First Cart – $50.82

I thought I had done so well, keeping my first cart under $50, but it ended up being just over once sales tax was applied. I finally gave in and picked up Disco Elysium – the new computer I bought in the fall has a NVIDIA video card, so I no longer have to worry about the problems reported with AMD cards. The news that the game is going to receive a giant free update means I’ll likely wait until then to play it, but I expect it’ll also see less deep discounts as that gets closer.

Godhoood has been on my wish list practically since it was announced, as I’ve been a big fan of all of Abbey Games’ previous titles, but early reviews weren’t great. Since it’s original release, it seems that things have improved quite a bit, since it’s now sitting at an overall Mostly Positive, and that was good enough for me to finally pull the trigger.

I picked up three small puzzle titles that I’ve had my eye on for awhile, but my big wild card choice was Uagi-Saba, a creature raising simulator that seems to have flown under everyone’s radar, having only a dozen reviews more than two years after release. I’m getting some major Creatures-vibes from this one, and I used to love those game (although they’ve aged poorly, in my opinion).

The Second Cart – $20.86

Another case of sales tax messing up my carefully budgeted purchase! I had already decided to skip getting any other “big” games, and instead to just pick up $20 worth of smaller titles. I debated far far longer over this cart than the first one.

Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker I decided to pick up to play during #DatingSiMonth. Archeo: Shinar is a game I keep only almost buying, but I love the concept of managing a team of archeologists, and it will probably be among the first games purchased this sale that I play. Despotism 3K is a resource management simulation game that is probably going to be too challenging for me to enjoy long term, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. My final pickups were two more puzzle games – apparently I can’t get enough of those – Animated Puzzles and Senna and the Forest.

Titles that I seriously considered during this shop, but that ultimately didn’t make the cut, included Firewatch, The Almost Gone, and Sagebrush, three narrative heavy games. Ultimately, I decided that games with less of a story focus were more likely to see playtime before the next major sale.

Games I Was Gifted

I received four games from friends during this sale, and although only one of the four was something I was considering buying for myself this time around, I’m pretty stoked to try out all of them. In fact, I’ve already played the tutorial level of Dawn of Man, which I expect to lose many many hours to, and have decided to start Outer Wilds later this week for #PuzzleGameMonth. I have no doubt I’m going to love Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Donut Country is the kind of puzzle game I am likely to blow through in a weekend.

Overall, I probably acquired too many new games (especially in light of how many games I’m interested in from the January Humble Choice and the Fanatical Mega Bundle I scooped up a few days ago), but I’m absolutely delighted to have added all these titles to my library.

Steam Winter Sale – Deals I’m Debating

It’s that time of year again, and although I primarily enjoy the two major yearly Steam sales for the opportunity to send (deeply discounted) presents to my friends, I do also tend to spoil myself rotten. Since my husband and I mostly don’t do gifts for Christmas or our birthdays (both of which are close to the holiday season), we do tend to get a little splurgey on whatever fun stuff catches our eyes this time of year.

On the first day of the sale, I check out all the stuff on my wish list that’s marked down and try to prioritize. As per usual, I find myself debating whether I’d rather pick up some pricier titles with some real meat to them, or if I want to pick up a whole mess of smaller indie games. This year, I decided to make two lists of similar cost, and then turned those into a graphic to really look at my options.

Even throwing a couple of somewhat higher-priced titles onto the “cheap stuff” side, I was surprised that picking my top three “big” games actually would cost just a smidgen more than buying all fourteen titles on the right.

Although the graphic makes it look like this is an absolute binary choice, it’s absolutely not. In reality, it’s much more likely I’ll grab one from the left, and four or five from the right, and call it a sale. After I’m done with all my gift purchases, of course. In fact, between making this graphic and posting this blog, I can no longer just go for the three games on the left, since I’ve been hit by the Steam Sale Santa and gifted Outer Wilds as an early birthday present!

Are you planning any purchases this year during the Steam Winter sale? Or are you side-eyeing your backlog and making the choice to hold off on new games?

Steam Summer Sale Splurges

I realize there’s still a few more days until the end of the Steam Summer Sale, but since I’ve wrapped up my shopping, I figured now was as good a time as any to chat a little bit about what I picked up this go around.

Most of the time, during the major sales, I fill a cart with seriously deep discounts, and a small game or two I don’t want to forget about. My deep discount choices this time were Treasure Adventure World and Bloons TD 6, both of which were going for 90% off, which is about as good as it gets in the Steam Sale world.

Koral is a game that, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t even consider spending $12 on. I actually like short games, and I’m all for something that’s more experimental, and I’ve been looking for more water themed games lately. For three dollars, I absolutely wanted to make sure I grabbed this – a pretty, relaxing game with some light puzzling sounds lovely right about now.

My last early pick up was a game that wasn’t even on my radar until this sale; I discovered Nexomon in a list of hidden gems over on Reddit. Not being a console person, I’ve missed out on a lot of the Pokemon hype (and also, a lot of the Pokemon gripes), but pet battles is one thing that keeps drawing me back towards WoW. Sure, it’s a port of a mobile game, but the art looks good, and reviews were pretty decent. Knock-off Pokemon, here I come!

I spent most of a week planning my next cart. Once I decided that I was not going to make the larger purchase of Disco Elysium I originally intended, it got a little bit more complicated, but when I finally pulled the trigger today after the Humble Choice reveal, this is what I ended up with.

If you read my goals post, I was heavily debating between Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Megaquarium for mybig” purchases. Well, they both ended up shelved because I decided to make a bigger purchase – just not on Steam.

Using my Humble Choice subscriber discount netted me another $6 off the already discounted price of No Man’s Sky, which I finally got around to trying out on GamePass and fell in love with. Of course, I still wanted to take advantage of my $5 Steam coupon, so I bought a little more than I actually planned on overall.

I probably spent the longest time debating which of three different Early Access base builders I wanted to pick up. Mercury Fallen ended up being the one I chose, but I was definitely back and forth for a few days.

The other two games I considered were After the Collapse and Keplerth. They all have regular prices under $20, and each of them had less than a 50% discount, so I didn’t really feel like I could make the decision based on price alone. In the end, I think Mercury Fallen won out by being the least combat-focused since micromanaging combat tends to be my least favorite part of base building games.

I’m not quite willing to admit that Keplerth is a “not for me” game, because it’s full of things that I really enjoy, but there is also a considerable portion of the game devoted to underground dungeon crawling and boss fights, which I expect I’d find very frustrating.

Next up, I plan to ruthlessly whittle down my wish list. After the Steam Games Festival, I topped out over 350 wish listed titles, and it has just gotten unwieldy for me. There’s a lot of things on there that I don’t even know what the original appeal was, and a lot more that I’ve since lost interest in the genre or concept. There’s probably a handful of abandoned Early Access titles, and way too many free games I just haven’t gotten around to downloading.

… right after I add the 7 games I’m interested in from the July Humble Choice to my Steam account. Although I seem to be in the minority, I thought this was a fantastic reveal.

Anyone want to take a guess at which games I’ll be keeping this month?

Steam Summer Sale Shopping List

The Steam Summer Sale is expected to start on Thursday, June 25 and run through July 9.

I really should have sat down with my wish list prior to playing a whole mess of games during the Steam Games Festival because now, most of the games I’m really jazzed about aren’t coming out for months and months!

Still, I’m eager to pick up a handful of new titles, and I’m really going to try to convince myself to go for quality over quantity during this sale.

So what am I planning to buy?

The Splurge

Disco Elysium

Purchasing Price Point $29.99 or less

I really regretted not picking this one up the last time it was on sale. However, I have no idea if I’m actually going to enjoy it, so considering it’s likely to be my big splurge title of the sale, it’s critical that I try it out inside the return window. I almost never spend over $20 on a game, but more and more, I really feel the need to make my purchases count because it’s not like I don’t have huge library to fall back on.

There’s actually not too many games on my wish list that have a regular price much over $20, but other games in contention for being my splurge title this time around were Heavenworld, Dawn of Man, Megaquarium, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy. With a good enough discount, I still may pick up any of these, but historically, none of them have reached my desired price point during sales.

Smaller Purchases

Normally, I’d be spending the days leading up to one of the big Steam sales picking through my wish list, debating the likelihood of future Humble Choice or other bundle inclusion, and figuring out what I’m most likely to play right away. This time, I’m finding myself pretty stumped.

I expect I’ll pick up an Early Access title or two which drop in price enough during the sale that I feel I’ll get my money’s worth, even if a completed product never manifests. I’ll grab a title or two with an insane discount and mixed to bad reviews (or even more telling, nearly no reviews at all). I’ll likely round out my purchases with an inexpensive puzzle game, something small and super casual, something I’ve played in the past but no longer have access to, and an insanely cheap “completely your collection” that might hold my interest for an hour or so.

This was not the shopping list I planned to talk about, but probably far more realistic.


Although there are a lot of genres I rarely if ever play, I like to think I have a pretty good handle on what is good, what is not so good, and what one might like based on other games they’ve enjoyed. One of my favorite parts of these big sales is running around, finding the perfect game for friends.

Sometimes, I buy something from their wish list, but mostly? I send gifts that I really think the recipient will enjoy. I won’t say I’ve always been 100% successful. Most years, someone gets a copy of Psychonauts, and someone else gets a copy of Ghost Master, because those are two games that have made me really happy in the past, and I like the idea of sharing a bit of that with someone else.

It seems like every major Steam sale, there are more and more folks lamenting the glory days gone by, and sure, the cessation of things like flash sales mean the prices don’t dip quite as low for the AA and AAA games. However, more and more, I am feeling as if the future of games isn’t in those titles, but the deep back catalogs and independent developers. Where I find myself conflicted is in my desire to get the best bargain and also to give not just lip service, but actual support to the little guys in game development.

I plan to enjoy this semi-annual event, but I am also looking towards the future of actually ponying up full price for the upcoming games I’m most excited about.

Steam Winter Sale Purchases and Gifts Received

If I had given myself an actual budget for this winter sales period, I would be so very far over it. However, my gift purchasing came in under the $50 I allot myself, and my person purchases on Steam proper did as well.

So what did I buy?

Crest: The Indirect God Sim – $2.99

The reviews may not be stellar, but actual indirect control god games are hard to come by, and I’d rather spend $3 than drop than $22 to pick up Godhood, which I still expect to drop or be bundled in time. Kind of an impulse purchase, but it’s been on my wishlist for a long time, and it was at an all-time low.

Peace, Death + Hand of F DLC – $2.38

Somehow, I have it in my head that this will be sort of like Papers, Please, but less depressing, despite the fact you’re playing as a grim reaper. A low investment pick-up, to be sure.

Varenje: Full Game DLC – $1.44

I probably should have tried out the free episode first, but for under $2, I’m down to test drive the full game. The art looks fantastic, and even a mediocre hidden object puzzler is usually worth a few hours of entertainment.

The Atomic Breath Pack – $2.00

Three little time-wasters – one focused on destruction, one on parkour, and an arcade shooter. Nothing super exciting, but a cool little package I hadn’t noticed before and grabbed on a whim.

Lost Dimension – $7.49

One part tactical RPG, one part find-the-traitor, this really sounds like it’ll be something I’ll be able to put some serious hours into.

Lobotomy Corporation – $11.74 after $5 coupon.

This one hadn’t quite hit the price I was hoping for – until I took into account the $5 coupon I earned (primarily from buying gifts for others). I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile, and again, I expect it to be the kind of challenge I soak many hours into.

Re:Legend – $13.29 after coupon on Fanatical

The difference in price cut between Steam and Fanatical was too much to ignore, and even though this one also didn’t QUITE hit my target price, I decided to go for it. I didn’t want to wait another whole year to get a shot at this life sim with a side of Pokemon.

Total Spent – $41.33

& then, my friends came through with a few titles that I was still too … ahem … frugal to pick up myself just yet. I’m super excited for all three!

In the end, I picked up almost everything I planned to, and I have SO MANY very lovely games waiting for me to set aside some time for them. I hope your holidays (and Winter Sale season) treated you as well as they have treated me.

Autumn and Winter Sale Shopping List

Look, I know I just talked about Low-Spend 2020, but there are TWO major Steam sales between now and then. Do I need any more games? Not even a little. Am I going to buy some more games? Absolutely.

However, I want to put some real thought into my purchases – including the price point at which I’m willing to take the plunge, hence the shopping list.

Almost Certainly Going to Buy

The Witcher 3 GOTY Edition

70% off ($14.99)

This one is kind of a no brainer. It’s been 70% off pretty much every recent sale, and I fully expect it’ll hit that price again. I’ve resisted buying because I probably don’t have time for a 200 hour RPG, but I feel like it’s time to take the plunge.

Sunset Overdrive

25% off ($14.99)

This feels a little ridiculous, but I haven’t enjoyed a game this much in a really really long time, and I need to own it. To be fair, I’ll probably buy it before the year’s end with no discount at all.

Probably Will Buy

Utomik 6 Month Subscription

25% off ($28.35)

This might be cheating a little, but there’s still enough stuff on Utomik I’d like to spend some time with that this seems like a great deal (and frees up 6 months worth of paid subscription slots).


0% off ($9.99)

Sure, I’d love for this one to see a discount, but I’m optimistic that it will be completed sometime in 2020, so if I want to support it at full (or at least close to full) price, this is the time to pick it up.

Unlikely to Be Discounted Enough

Disco Elysium

50% off ($19.99)

As much as I’d like to get my hands on this one, it’s probably too new to get the price drop I’d be looking for, and it feels too likely for eventual Humble Choice inclusion to spend full price on it, especially considering how long things tend to sit in my library.

Lobotomy Corporation

50% off ($12.49)

I’ve been eyeing this for awhile (and I can see it being a game I spend a LOT of time with), but it hasn’t had enough of a discount yet for me to pick it up.


50% off ($9.99)

It’s probably too new to Early Access to hit 50% this year, but I’m super intrigued even though the early reviews are less than stellar. I’d absolutely scoop this one up for $10 or less.