The Steam Personal Challenge


Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Play the Steam games that you buy! 

Ah, yes. Summer is here, and that means the Steam sales are blazing (or smoldering, depending on your viewpoint) yet again. I’ve seen a number of posts out there by various bloggers who are reflecting on the whole Steam sale system, how it encourages people to impulse buy and purchase way more games than they’d ever play.

It’s been a topic on my mind for a while, so this is as good a time as any to talk about it.

My Steam History

Comic Source: Dorkly

I was slow to adopt Steam. I created my Steam account in February 2009. I didn’t do anything with it until May 2010 (based on my account records), and that was only because they were giving away Portal for free. I still haven’t played Portal (I know… I know…), and after installing the client and looking around, I uninstalled and didn’t mess with Steam again for two more years. That’s when I purchased Skyrim, and the game suggested I link it to my Steam account. So I did.

I also didn’t play Skyrim a whole lot (I know… I know…), but that was the first game that I linked with Steam. My first actual Steam purchases (or maybe they were bundle purchases that I activated on Steam) were The Path and Limbo – both of which I completed (yay!). I can see where I took part of my first Steam summer sale in 2012, where I picked up a modest number of games.

It wasn’t until 2013 that my Steam account started to get out of control, however.

What took me so long to get around to using Steam? I simply didn’t trust the platform at the time. Here I was, a gamer who always bought the box (and has kept 99% of boxes bought). The idea of buying digital copies of games, stored on some server somewhere else, without a physical copy made me nervous at first.

I mean, what if something happens to Steam? What happens to our games?

This is still a valid question, however, as Steam picked up in popularity and more people used it, I eventually accepted it as something safe. Once I did, I was doomed to an ever inflating games list, just like many people have.

My Steam Stats

This post over at Herding Cats introduced me to the Steam Calculator. I plunked in my details and was pretty dismayed by what I saw.


First of all, in my defense, I know I didn’t spend over $1,000 on those games. I’m sure that it calculates based on full price, and doesn’t take into account that I bought many for very cheap in bundles or during Steam sales.

Second of all, I have no excuse for the number of games I haven’t played. None. Some games may have been part of bundles where I really just wanted one game, but activated all the rest on my account anyway. But, still. That’s pretty bad.

So, I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to challenge myself to play what I purchased! 

My Steam Challenge

I actually thought about this back during the Steam winter sale last year, when I realized that I was buying way more than I was playing. I started a similar challenge, which led me to completing Alan Wake, which was just a random game I picked off my list to start with. But then, I got caught up with Starbound, and totally forgot about the challenge as I sunk more hours into that than I have most MMOs I’ve ever played. XD

So, here I am, back to challenging myself to try out games that I’ve bought.

My Personal Steam Challenge Guidelines

  • Choose one single-player game to concentrate on at a time.
  • Play that game a minimum of 1 hour. Anything less isn’t really giving a game it’s due.
  • Really try to get into the game before dismissing it. Make a true effort… don’t just play it and say “done” to check it off a list. This is supposed to be a discovery experience!
  • If it’s still fun after the first hour or so, keep playing it until it’s complete, or until you’ve had your fill of the game. There’s no reason to push yourself to complete a game once you’ve reached that point, especially not when there’s so many to choose from.
  • There’s no time limit on how long you can spend with a game, but do be aware there are other games waiting their turn.
  • If the game has no end (strategy, sandbox, etc.), and you really love it, it’s okay to pick up a second game to play while still playing the first on the side. Just don’t get too distracted (like I did with Starbound).
  • Come back and blog about it! There’s sure to be something to write about. 🙂

My Steam Summer Sale

No Steam article would be complete without discussing what I’ve splurged on this year. So far, most of them have been deals on my Wishlist items — games I wanted but held out on until I saw them on sale. Most of them have been under $5, with the exception of Banished (but I really wanted it, and started playing it last night).

Other Thoughts on Steam Sales

Here’s some other blog posts about the Steam sale and what people like, dislike or just meh about.

What about you? Do you need to undertake your own Steam challenge?

Let’s see how far I get with this! 🙂


    I mean seriously, the first game takes 4 hours the first time through. You’ll definitely see enough of the game to get an impression in an hour. Heck, even five minutes is enough to get the flavour of the game, if not the puzzles and plot.
    Portal 2 is my favourite game ever (even more than Ocarina of Time and Mass Effect 2, which is saying something!). So yes. In conclusion, Portal.

    Also I’m trying a similar thing. The Steam Calculator won’t work for me (because I’m in Canada, maybe?) but I would like to beat some of my 50 unplayed Steam games and couple dozen games. Currently working on ME2; it’s a blast. After that I might retackle Dragon Age Origins (have to restart because I friend-zoned Zevran through role-playing too hard). I should really finish Amnesia… I’ve seen so many people play it and I’ve played enough of it that it holds no real terrors for me. (Machine for Pigs is probably another story, though… I purposefully didn’t watch anyone so as to be properly terrified. Eek!) I feel like I shouldn’t buy any more until I’ve played the ones I have… And because I’m a completionist I feel like I should play them through at least the main story and the major side-quests and get most of the collectibles and/or achievements… like Lego LotR or Scribblenauts is gonna be a while before I consider them ‘done’, even though I beat the main game. Probably overly ambitious but that’s how I roll. (Deponia I will not play, though. Deponia apparently suffers from translation issues, making it seemingly surreally random and frustrating. I feel like the best way to experience that game is to watch a walkthrough. :P) Also not sure if I will play through the end of the original Tomb Raider… the ancient controls are wonky and I’ve already seen the end of the plot through the remake. 😛

    Have you ever tried Cthuhlu Saves the World? It’s an old-skool RPG. I don’t have it but I’ve seen reviews. Looks cute.

    Sorry for the small novel. I love games too. XD

    1. Oh, gosh. I’m not even talking about my GOG games list. *cries*

      Portal is certainly one I want to try out! I also need to restart Dragon Age Origins (I don’t have the Steam version), because I think I lost my game save when I moved from my old computer to my new. It’s okay, though. I didn’t get super far into it, anyhow.

      I do need to finish the first Amnesia. I’ve started it 3 times already, and either get sidetracked or chicken out. XD I heard Machine for Pigs isn’t quite as scary as the first, but still a good game.

      Over the years, I’ve become less a completionist. I used to have to finish everything I got, but I just don’t have the time for it anymore. Pretty much, when my interest wanes and I’m no longer caught up and having fun, I’ll put a game down and deem it “complete enough” for me.

      I’ve heard of Cthuhlu Saves the World but haven’t tried it. I’ll stick it on a wishlist to remind myself. XD

      1. I can recommend some good Let’s Plays of Amnesia:TDD if you ever get stuck from puzzles or just good old terror. Actually, just one in particular – Mangaminx/RPGMinx is funny, interested in understanding the plot, and boy she has balls of steel. (She’ll scream, but she’ll also run PAST the monster instead of AWAY from the monster. Respect!) (Yes there is a monster; hope that isn’t spoilers. 😛 ) I just got sidetracked… okay, and I also hate the prison maze. *makes note to finally beat this game next week*

        Added incentive for Portal: once you beat Portal 2, the multiplayer is JUST AS GOOD as the single player and I am totally happy to play it with you. 😀

        Thari has great tactics advice for DA if you ever need it. I know I do. 😛 *is NOT a tactics person… is a ‘hit it until it dies’ person – not a good strategy for boss fights*

        1. Oh, I plan on playing Amnesia on my own. I’ve seen a few of the funny reaction videos, but I usually don’t do the Let’s Play vids because I’d rather not spoil games I’d like to play. XD

  2. Also here’s my breakdown; I’m doing a little better than you, but I’ve been using Steam full-time as a game hub for longer than you. (Though I do also like boxes.)
    * *Worth:* $1217.20
    * *Games owned:* 84
    * *Games not played:* 48 **(57%)** (looks like my estimate of 50 was spot on)
    * *Hours spent:* 704.1h

  3. Magicka is hilarious. I’ve been looking for a group of people to play it with, a good part of the insanity is accidentally (or not) blowing each other up. Chuck me a friend invite via the Blogger group and send a message if you’re interested in trying it together and see me online. 🙂 Been years since I’ve last touched it though, so have to relearn it all over again.

    I’ve never quite managed to get far in Amnesia either. Every year, I creep forward a few more rooms at a time, and then get bored and forget what the goal of the game was, beyond walking through a typical scripted house of horror tropes (dark, shadowy, scary sounds, clunky forced controls to simulate character fear/emotions, never see the actual monster, supposedly letting one’s imagination work… but one’s imagination just starts making a list of horror tropes instead.)

    And yes, play Portal… ppppplay Pppportal.

    1. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to picking up Magicka, but good to hear that it’s lots of fun!

      Another vote for Portal. I guess I better play it!

  4. Great post….I hate putting my Steam data out because I worry my family will commit to an intervention: here’s my 9 year old account:

    * *Worth:* $7213.18 ($2817.76 with sales)
    * *Games owned:* 584
    * *Games not played:* 153 **(26%)**
    * *Hours spent:* 1,534.1h


    1. Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with us!

      And wow… that’s impressive! So many games and so many you’ve actually played! 😮

  5. Portal was fun. 🙂 I’ve never done Portal 2’s multiplayer, though…

    I actually got a copy of Magicka a while ago, but have yet to install it.

    And apparently I have my profile set to private, so I’ll have to play with that if I want to get that little statistic sheet.

  6. Okay, so here’s my stats:

    * *Worth:* $1501.12 ($545.84 with sales)

    * *Games owned:* 93

    * *Games not played:* 32 **(34%)**

    * *Hours spent:* 1,984.7h

    I know a lot of the games I haven’t played were actually ones from Humble Bundles or such, so I think I’m doing pretty well. Particularly considering I’ve bought a few the last few days. 😀

    1. Wow, this is also impressive! Those bundle games do snag you, though. I mean, you put them in your library even if they don’t entice you to play them. I have too many of those.

  7. * *Worth:* $1180.11 ($413.37 with sales)
    * *Games owned:* 96
    * *Games not played:* 72 **(75%)**
    * *Hours spent:* 764.4h
    I too have a lot of games from bundles… the saddest thing, though, is that 600 of those hours were spent in Skyrim alone. I should really try this challenge too, haha.

    1. Looks like you and I have a lot in common on our Steam accounts stats,then! This challenge is for you — you’re welcome to try it! 🙂

  8. I am inspired! I’m sitting on over a hundred games installed and have just recently managed to decouple myself from WoW and Neverwinter Online. I’ll try to blog about my experiences too, it’s not just the gaming part that you’ve inspired. 😛

    Is it okay to use your “Steam Personal Challenge” header for my posts?

    1. Oh yes, please feel free to use it however you want. I look forward to reading your challenge experiences! I’m really stoked to have inspired you to game and write! 😀

      1. Thanks! I’d seen your name pop up around the blogs I read, and finally followed j3w3l’s link here from Healing The Masses. Glad to have discovered another good read! 🙂

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