Trading cards

“And for their next trick Valve will distill the essence of gaming and monetise it.”

Whether you are a fan of Valves platform or not, it’s clear to see that the environment is ripe for cash-shop shaping. Given that it’s filed with completionists and achievement hunters it was only just a matter if time, of course I can imagine there were many discussions over what system would work best, before they settled on the Cards.

The trading card system is one that tugs on those same strings that motivated me as a 7 year old collecting football stickers, I never cared for the sport (then or now) but that didn’t matter, the grind to 100% completion drove the culture and excitement. That rippled through everyone partaking in the activity.

Of course the similarity doesn’t end there as for every trading card is a rarer foil version to be coveted by players with more money than sense. Which brings us to the social interaction part of trading cards which is simulated by the community market on Steam.

The launch of the Trading cards wasn’t widely publicised as it transitioned from Beta to live, but it was leading up to the Summer Sale. On each day of the summer sale more games have been “Cardified” with many oldish titles also being selected.

So with the sale done and Trading cards firmly embedded into the player mentality, I suspect that every new title that appears on Steam, cards will appear along side the achievements.

A Swarming Alien? Shoot it in the face!

A little while ago Steam hired the team behind the original Alien Swarm which was an Unreal mod (not to be confused with Ben 10: Alien Swarm). In-between working on Steams other big titles L4D2/Portal2 it seems they managed to move the game onto the Source Engine and use the Steam platform, Plus they have released it for free.

Now there are a few things that instantly make this game appealing to me and it appears to many other gamers do too judging by the number of players it peaked on the Stats.

  • The first thing has to be the historical link to games like Alien Syndrome and Alien Breed, which spawned wave after wave of similar games across multiple platforms during my gaming lifetime.
  • Games of this genre,theme and style can make numerous film references which I can’t help but find funny
  • The Co-op is the element that ties the game together and bring it to life, the built-in Voice Communications means you can instantly liaise with your team mates quickly. Which when there are Xenos breathing down your neck it’s a good thing.

On the other-side of the coin there are a couple of niggles that I’ll mention, but certainly nothing that I would say should stopping you giving it a go.

  • At certain times you need to equip an object, dropping your current equipment. We’ve had this glitch and the dropped object isn’t retrievable.
  • I know it’s a free game there is only 1 campaign with 7 missions. I hoped there would have been 2 campaigns slightly smaller, as a complete run through of the campaign requires a fair chunk of time by all players.

I have more to write but it’s going to wait for a follow up post.

The steam store is http://store.steampowered.com/app/630/
Direct download if you have steam is steam://install/630