Gaming download services (eg Steam) have assimilated me

Last night I was checking out what looks to be an interesting new indie game: Lone Survivor. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale told in a retro 8-bitty style. You can play a demo on Kongregate to get a feel for it. This isn’t really a post about Lone Survivor (though I have to give a cheer for using Kongregate as an easy-access demo platform).

The point is, there was enough there for me to make a purchase. So I looked in Steam, and I looked on Desura, and couldn’t find it. Finally I did what I should have done first: I went to the game’s website. And they had a “Buy Now” button, but Jasper Byrne, the developer, has opted to totally self-publish without using any kind of service, which I can certainly understand.

But it made me hesitate and so far, I haven’t bought the game.

Here’s why: I buy a lot of these little indie games and more often than not I don’t play them right away. I’ve got too many games on my plate now to start a new one. But I buy indie games as soon as I find them because otherwise, frankly, I’ll forget about them in all the hype-fests coming from the big publishers. But I buy them, get them in my Steam/Desura/Origin/Amazon library, and then some day in the future I’ll see them and go “Hey, I forget this one, let’s play it!”

If I buy Lone Survivor I’ll (I assume) download a zip file once the purchase is complete. Then I’ll have to put it somewhere that I’ll remember it. And then I’ll have to stumble on it at some point in the future, at which time I’ll unzip and install it and them maybe go see if there are patches/updates I need to get.

Steam, in particular, has molded me into someone way too lazy to do this. I can’t remember the last time I had to go looking for a patch for a PC game, or even manually run an installer. I let these download services do all that for me.

I feel kind of bad about this, honestly. Hopefully this blog post will remind me to buy and play Lone Survivor at some point in the future, or maybe Mr. Byrne will opt to partner with Desura or some other service. I sure don’t mind buying direct from him if the result of my purchase was a Steam or Desura code I could plug into my library. I’m just too fat and lazy to worry about backing up and tracking my own install files. That’s how far I’ve fallen as a gamer.