Thanks to Steam’s Summer Sale I like so many other people have spent a good chunk of money in the past week. There are just so many good deals that I can’t pass up. Part of my shopping cart during this sale was the Valve developer package. $50.00 isn’t a bad price to pay for both Portal games, the Left 4 Deads, the Half-Lifes and Team Fortress as well as a whole list of other games.
I’ll admit the reason that I bought Valve’s game package is because I’ve never been a Valve fan. I appreciate Steam. In fact I love Steam now. But at the begging I hated the idea of downloading a program just to buy and play games. And their fans have always made me mad. They’ve always seemed snobby; all diehard fan boys of Valve’s work.
And have I found Valve’s games intriguing? Not so much. I’ve only played them for short spurts of time on friend’s computers. But everybody raves about Valve, and everybody makes references and connections to their titles. So, as a video game journalist, this week I bit the bullet and started going through Valve’s series. For the sake of being in the know.
I started with Half-Life and Half Life 2. Neither of them really captured and brought me in. Four hours into each of the titles and I completely lost interest. I moved onto Portal, and while it was fun, it wasn’t revolutionary to me. The portal mechanic is fascinating, but after playing through a whole host of puzzle games recently like FEZ and Limbo I felt like it just lacked something. I looked into the Left 4 Dead games, but I’ve played those on Xbox and knew they weren’t my cup of tea.
Finally I downloaded Portal 2. I was hesitant to even put the game on my computer, seeing that the original Portal wasn’t a game that I’d be replaying anytime soon. But boy was I surprised. The updated environment, extended character development, interesting story, new mechanics, and difficult puzzles really sucked me in. I felt that satisfaction of discovering the secrets of each level that I didn’t get in the original Portal.
Better yet with the Steam Workshop easily accessible from the Steam Library page I’ve been playing a host of user created maps that have given me enjoyment past the campaign. Again they give me a sense of satisfaction upon completing levels that not many games can. It’s created a community around a Valve game that I want to be a part of.
Looking back at the week I realize that I’ve logged quite a bit of time on Valve games. And while most of the titles didn’t seem worth it, finding Portal 2 makes the time spent seem worthwhile. Not only did I find a game that is quickly becoming one of my favorites, but I’ve also found a much deeper appreciation for Valve as a company. Sorry Valve for disliking you for so long. I understand why you have such diehard fans now.