Steam Sale: 7 Games for your Girlfriend

Two things I hear from my gaming male friends often are “I can’t find a girl that games!” and “How can I get my girlfriend to play video games?”. Steam is currently having a huge blow-out sale on hundreds of video games for the Mac/PC until July 4th, and with prices cheaper than a trip to the movies, there is no better time to get your lady a video game.

I’ve compiled a list of games the ladies would enjoy despite being unfamiliar with the whole video game genre. These are also the best of the cheapest, because when a game is less than $10, how can your girlfriend get turned off by the price?

In order of ascending difficulty:

1. Osmos, for $4.99

This game is the exact opposite of those “damn noisy shooters” you like to play and is perfect for the lady who has limited to no experience with video games. As the above video demonstrates, this game is as close to a yoga session for your brain as it gets. You have to be patient, flying through space in your quest to eat other orbs. The saying “Good things come to those who wait” is applicable in describing Osmos game play. You have to stay calm and move slowly, or risk colliding into a bigger orb that will eat you. Despite this games simplicity, the levels do get a bit harder as you progress through the game; there is some sort of challenge (I moved too fast and flew into the sun a couple of times).

You can play Osmos for as short increments of time as 5 minutes (a level), and feel satisfied.

2. Blueberry Garden for $4.99:

If you’re looking to get out of seeing another bizarre European indie film, get your gal this game instead. Designed by a Swede, this beautiful and quirky game reminds me more of an interactive art piece than a video game. Don’t be fooled: there is a goal in this game, not made evident by the above trailer.  If Ebert played this game he would give up his silly notion that video games are not an art form. Bobbie Johnson, from the UK Guardian, described this game as ” a dainty piece of indie magic”: “I almost wanted to put it in a ribbon-wrapped box with a kitten and cry a little”.

Blueberry Garden is more fast paced than Osmos and Machinarium.

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11 reasons why you should download Portal today

The box art for the PC version of Portal.

Image via Wikipedia

Hey all you PC gamers! Today is the last day to download Portal for free! Portal’s freeness is the MAIN reason you should download the game today, but if “free” isn’t enough to entice you, I’ve comprised my own list for why Portal rocks, in no particular order.

10. It is the most unconventional puzzle game you will ever play (well, until the rumored Portal 2).

9. How many puzzle games have you played where inertia was a key feature in solving puzzles? None! Because Portal is one of the most original games you will ever play.

8. The two main  characters in the game are female; both you and the robot who guides you.

7. The writing is insanely witty… from the dialogue to the story line. How can a puzzle game have such good writing? Play it, and find out.

6. The game is about portals!!!…. you make portals, you walk through them, you end up in a different location.  It is mind blowing.

5. Want to know where the origin of “The cake is a lie” meme came from? Portal! What other game is good enough to have a meme?

4. This ending song: [youtubevid id=”Y6ljFaKRTrI”]

3. The game only takes you a couple hours to beat, but replay value (radio transmission achievement) is high.

2. The controls are easy to figure out, even if you are not used to the first person perspective in video games.

1. Portal has won numerous awards (ahem, 70!) and received more praise than my beloved Team Fortress 2.


Does Steam care more about pirates than its customers?

An in-game screenshot of Crysis, powered by th...

I've been watching The Pacific, which made me want to play "Crysis" (Image via Wikipedia)

I don’t want to rain on the good Steam press parade happening right now (Steam recently announced it would start distributing their games on Macs),  but while I was moving this weekend, Steam let me down.  I  did not have internet access from Friday to Monday because I was moving. To someone addicted to Team Fortress 2, four days is a long time. I tried to fill my FPS void with Crysis, thinking it would still play without an internet connection. I don’t need an internet connection to play Crysis, right? Wrong!

Booting up Crysis in Steam’s offline mode couldn’t, and wouldn’t happen, because Steam didn’t believe that I had an authentic copy of Crysis, never mind that I had purchased it through Steam.  How is this possible? I’ve played Crysis countless times before, and the game was authenticated when I first got it. How could Steam let me down, now, in my hour of need, when it is supposed to be the savior of PC gaming? At the time, I felt like I was being punished, maybe for not getting Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.  If only that were the truth!

Now that I have internet access, I did some googling, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Steam might be paranoid:

“In general, it seems DRM restrictions in gaming are becoming more intrusive and creating problems for genuine customers, rather than the pirates who happily bypass these measures every time,” Boyd said. “PC gaming should be about portability – what use are games you can’t play at the airport or on a train if you can’t get online?”

via Hackers Crack Ubisoft always-online DRM controls

But wait, doesn’t Steam have digital technology that makes DRM obsolete?  Then why I couldn’t play Crysis?