The five stages of Steam sale mania


The Steam sale is go! Prepare yourself with last year's concise guide to wise Steam sale spending during this joyous time. Look out for our recommendations from the current crop of deals on the site shortly.

It's happening again. It's happened before and it'll keep on happening until we're all destitute wrecks cowering under a mountain of unplayed indie curios. The Steam sale. Yes, a tycoon of savings on Steam's massive library of games, but also an ordeal. The unprepared soul can be subsumed entirely by the flurry of green -70% labels, emerging from the other end of the sale with a swollen library and an existential crisis. What to play first? What to do with all the games you already own?

Earlier we asked our Twitter and Facebook followers if they had any strategies for surviving the Steam sales, and saw some distinct themes emerge. If you're reading this site, chances are you're already a seasoned veteran of many Steam sales gone by, and so you may recognise some of the phases listed below. Don't worry, they're perfectly natural. Together, we can get through this.

1 Denial

The first response from many was understandable: run. Just run. Think of your credit card and abandon civilization until the Steam sale has expired. Pack a few lunches and discard your usual mobile phone in favour of a cheap burner that's only reachable by close family members in case of emergency. Forage. Count the dawns until the required time has passed. Then, when you're sure— and only when you're sure—return.

You had some less extreme ideas. "Delete the credit card number from the account" suggested Jonlan on Facebook. "Pretend it isn't happening" said Giorgio. "I'm running away" Colin declared.

Please don't knock out your family members and send them to Texas.

Mike had a different plan. "Delete Steam, Block it with Password protected firewall, disable internet, Give password to family member, Knock out Family member, get someone to hide them in Texas."

Denial is an understandable Steam sale response, but please don't knock out your family members and send them to Texas. Nobody deserves that.

Gabe Newell peers seductively over his fan of money

2 Anger

It seems odd to be angry at cheap games, but there's a lot of ambient anger out there. Alyssa on Facebook recommends "incoherent screaming" in the face of the Steam sale. Chris on Facebook left a simple cry of "Nooooooo."

3 Bargaining

You set rules, but those rules are fragile and easily broken. Nonetheless, with great resolve, they're your best hope. "Limit yourself to your wishlist" Jake suggests on Twitter "*adds 1000's of games to wishlist*"

Nick: "My survival strategy is not to buy any games until I have finished playing what I already have." Bold. Brave, even, but what are we to do if we already have hundreds of unplayed titles, spend the rest of our lives playing the games we own like balanced and happy human beings?

No early access, stay under budget if you have one, and hydrate.

Another Nick on Facebook has a good plan. "Wishlist, under $20US for AAA, 75%+ and will actually play for indie, no early access, stay under budget if you have one, and hydrate."

Some prefer to add a set amount of cash to their Steam wallet and spend only that. Others like to wait for daily sales and only pick up anything else they want on the final day of sales. All very sensible, but yes, don't forget to eat, drink, breathe and all that.


4 Depression

"I already have 1,111 games on steam, do I really need more?" ponders kaoskongo on Twitter in a moment of apparent despondency. Yes, of course, even if it means ruining that lovely tally of ones. "#RIPWallet :(" says another commenter. Your wallet may die, but you will live on to play perhaps some of the many games you now own. "I don't even know. I doubt the games I want will even end up on sale" says Tom. Have faith. The daily deals will provide. Ultimately, why be sad? A PS4 game costs $60, you can probably pick up at least 6 decent games in the thanksgiving sales for that.

5 Acceptance

"I don't think you get it... There is no survival or strategy with the steam sale" says Sean on Facebook. It's a sentiment commonly shared. "There is no strategy or survival. Only submission" says Talonblaze. "No survival strategies are useful under the power of Lord Gaben" says another. "Gang Beasts!!!!!!" adds Jason, correctly. Ultimately, game sales are good, and don't worry if you miss out on a daily deal you were desparately hoping for, there's always the Christmas Steam sale to prepare for, and this will start all over again.

What are you hoping to pick up in the coming days?

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