Another summer, another Steam Summer Sale. I've been a fairly heavy Steam user for the past few years, and every year the service grows in size, content, and features.

The Steam summer sale is the perfect example of this. The sale has gotten so large that every leading game news site, including Game Informer, reports on the sales, sometimes multiple times a day. The whole thing has gone from a mere sale to an event, one PC gamers everywhere wait all summer for. Valve founder Gabe Newell descends from the heavens giving gamers everything they want and didn't even know they wanted, as gamers in response throw wads of cash at their computer monitors, buying up anything and everything that sports a 75 percent off sticker. The introduction of the new Steam trading cards only add more fuel to the fire, another incentive to buy another game you aren't going to have time to play, but will buy anyways just because it's $2.50.

So what was the damage this year? Not too bad actually. I'm usually fairly conservative in my game spending. I make a mental list of games I would buy if they were discounted during the sale, and then I wait patiently for those games to have their prices slashed 50 or 75 percent. This summer I picked up 5 new games for roughly $24. Not too shabby. So, what did I snag?

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

My first purchase of the sale was the hyper-realistic World War II shooter Red Orchestra 2. I played the original during a free weekend, and despite not having any experience with realistic/tactical FPS games I really enjoyed myself. The sequel came out a year ago, and now thanks to my new gaming PC, I decided I would check it out. So far it's the game I've played the most this summer sale. It's strangely addicting. The game is realistic and challenging but not so much that it's frustrating. You die in just a few bullets, so being patient, tactical, and working with your team is essential to victory, unlike in other shooters like Call of Duty where a "good" player can essentially be a one man army. It's a great change of pace that I'm having a blast playing so far. Snagged this hardcore FPS for $5.


My next game purchase, Reus, is a big departure form me. Strategy and God games are one genre of games I've never really gotten into, mostly because I'm terrible at them and feel like they take too long to play. That being said, Reus really caught my eye. I think it's mostly the beautiful artistic style used for the graphics, but also the sheer simplicity of it all. It's a God game made simple. All the information you need to know is up front, not hidden behind a thousand menus or charts. While I'm still not great at it, it's relaxed gameplay style and gorgeous graphics make it an easy recommendation for fans of the genre or those like myself looking for a more accessible way into God gaming. Reus was 50 percent off it's $10 price tag, making it an easy purchase.

Torchlight II

Torchlight II has been on my radar for a while now. I played the crap out of Diablo 3. Despite Blizzard adding more content in the last several months, I pretty much burnt myself out on Diablo two months after its release after playing it for +70 hours. Me and my friends dabbled in the similar free-to-play action RPG Path of Exile, but while fun didn't keep us glued to our monitors. Still looking for a loot fix, Torchlight II seemed like a perfect choice, and after some encouragement from my friend I got it during a community vote sale. Having played it for about 6 hours, Torchlight II is an enjoyable, bright and colorful action RPG that has more in common with Diablo 2 than 3, though I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. Still, there is fun to be had here, and plenty of loot to acquire. Got this for $5, normally $15, so a good deal all around. If you are itching for Diablo but don't want to shell out $60 for the third entry, this could be the game you are looking for.

Organ Trail

Organ Trail was something to the effect of $1.50. This is what the Steam Summer Sale is all about. I could have bought a candy bar for as much, and I definitely got more entertainment out of this Oregon Trail spoof in 30 minutes than I would a Snickers. This game is straight up old-school Oregon Trail, except substitute pioneers traveling west in the 1800s with modern day survivors of a zombie apocalypse traveling west searching for safe-haven. Even though I probably won't touch this game ever again, it's hard to feel guilty about $1.50.

Final Fantasy VII

For the Steam Summer Sale, 33 percent off isn't much. I usually make it a requirement that a game must be 50 percent or more off before I will even consider buying it. But Final Fantasy VII was different. Having only watched and played bits and pieces of FF VII at a friends house, I've been wanting to fully experience the RPG classic for more than a decade. When I saw that price drop from $12 to $8, I knew what had to be done. I'm in no way disappointed either. This new PC version of FF VII comes with cloud saving, mod support, and the ability to "boost" your character to get through tough fights so players uninterested in the challenge aspect of the game can simply enjoy the story. I've always though FF VII was probably more than a little overrated, but after +5 hours with the game I can say it hold up surprisingly well, with themes and characters that are still incredibly relevant today. All in all, $8 for a game that for years has been $50 if you wanted to buy it for your PlayStation sounded like a good deal to me, and it was.

And that was my Steam Summer Sale haul for 2013. My wallet didn't suffer too much damage, and I'll have plenty of great entertainment to keep me busy until the holiday season. What games did you pick up?