The 4 Emotional Stages of a Steam Sale


Steam sales are the giant, everything-must-go liquidations of the internet, except they never run out of things to sell you. These sales bring out the most compulsive of buying habits in any otherwise rational human being, and probably some robots that love video games too. I heard Watson, the supercomputer from Jeopardy, spent all of his winnings on buying Crusader Kings II, The Sims 3 and all of their DLC. How far the mighty have fallen. The rest of us mortals are powerless to resist the siren song of a Steam sale. Every gamer obeys when Gabe Newell’s incredibly low-priced siren song starts. The range of emotions one experiences during a Steam sale is great, from passion to despair. The progression, much like the stages of grief, is unpredictable, and the results can be disastrous.

Stage 1: Excitement

“OH MY GOD IT’S ANOTHER STEAM SALE,” you exclaim from your keyboard and chair. You immediately rush to the front page of the store to see what’s on sale, begin gathering trading cards for the bonus events and try to find the best deals on the best days to ensure that you, and you alone, come out on top with 100 new games for less than $200. You are overwhelmed with euphoria. Basically, you’re a crack addict in Tony Montana’s mansion with a fully stocked desk of pure Colombian cocaine. You are about to pig out on game deals like it’s your last meal on death row, and you will feel no guilt or remorse over the absurd amount of money you’re spending.

Stage 2: Addiction

“Damn it! That Game was cheaper yesterday! How did I miss it?!”

You’re several days into the marathon and you made a mistake. You missed the game you had on your wishlist going up in a flash sale. You feel frustrated and betrayed. How could Valve not alert you to the deal you missed? How will you ever own Metro: Last Light for 6 dollars now? Like when an addict misses a fix, you begin fiending. You have to buy something again soon to satisfy your craving for new games. By this point, you probably haven’t shaved or slept much in the last few days. Family members are beginning to worry about you, and your girlfriend has not heard from you since the sale started. At work, your boss is unable to get you to talk about anything but games. You gave her a 40 minute talk on the Skyrim modding community. Things are beginning to quickly deteriorate. Gabe Newell’s siren song is drawing you towards the Steam sale rocks, and that does not have a trading card or achievement reward.

Stage 3: Depression

You’ve spent roughly $1000 dollars since the sale started on games. Your library is now so large that the Library of Congress is trying to get you to donate it to their collection so that may ensure a complete record of gaming history for future generations. You have every hat,  gun, map, character and special DLC that has ever graced the Steam store, and yet you want more. You have not actually played anything you’ve downloaded, but that isn’t the point of these sales. They’re about the hunt, the game, and the kill. You must hunt for more great deals, find more great games and add them to your library. You’re like The Penguin in Arkham Asylum, collecting video games for your blasphemous menagerie.

Stage 4: Acceptance

It’s the last day of the sale. You’ve sold your house, your girlfriend has left you, you lost your job and have moved to a particularly well-equipped relic of the 90s, an internet cafe, to do your gaming. You’ve won the sale though. You have bought every game in the store, including  green light and early access games. Gabe Newell has personally called you and thanked you for your contribution, hoping that you’ll participate in the next sale. You’re saddened by the end of the sale, but your wallet and bank account, now on life support, are thankful for the reprieve from the constant barrage of financial hardship. As you curl up under one of the workstations at the internet cafe, you have but only one thought about the entire process. “Damn, I really wish I had something to play right now. I’ve got all these games in my library I’m not really feeling right now.”

Steam sales effect all of us, once every several months, each year. If you know a friend or family member struggling with a Steam sale, get them help. Physically drag them away from their computer and take away their wallet, Steam or otherwise. Only you can stop them from spending their entire life’s savings on a bundle of Paradox strategy games. One person can make all the difference in stopping the Steam sale from claiming another gamer’s productivity and hard-earned cash.

Now, if you excuse me, I’m off to spend all of my money on DLC I will probably never play. I need to get my fix.

About Whiskey Ginger

Whiskey Ginger is a scientist by day and comedy writer by night. Other than his passions for the nerdier things in life, he also writes for comedy sites dedicated to fraternity and postgrad humor. His parents just wish he'd write less dick jokes.

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