Tardiness being my calling card, I didn’t have my Steam Sale recommendations ready in time to for them to go up with the rest of the Stately Staffers’. I’d apologize, but I believe that an apology is supposed to express regret and a willingness to change… so I’ll just say “I can’t change I can’t change I can’t change I can’t change my mould, no no no no no…”
The Magic Circle
So, I love games where the world isn’t what you think it is, and my seven-year old wants to learn how to take pretty-much everything apart and put them back together again, plus he’ll probably know more about programming by age 10 than I ever did. With The Magic Circle, I think we’ll both have a chance to get into this game about fixing a broken, over-budget, and way past deadline game… from the inside. It’s not as serious a programming game as Quadrilateral Cowboy or Shenzen I/O, and it’s not creepy as fuck (unlike the brilliant Pony Island).
UPDATE: Tardiness has its perks: we both love the game. I mean who wouldn’t love a game where you can steal the “walk” property off of a vicious beast and give it to a corpse: voila, instant zombie. The best one may be what happens when you give a melee attack to a rock: it sprouts some mean-looking green eyes and rocky fangs. I’m not sure this game would normally be 100% age-appropriate, as much of the plot revolves around the petty infighting between the game’s devs and the machinations of an entity trapped in the game who wants you to… KILL THEM… y’know, virtually… but as a co-played game it’s actually a chance to talk about whether we should trust the rock monster, or the dev who is trying to get fired, or late capitalism in any form. Well, I trust capitalism to provide me with hefty discounts on games that represent thousands of hours of work for their (real, not-to-be-killed) developers.
Shadowhand is a unique solitaire/dueling card game from the creators of Regency Solitaire, about a noblewoman who literally moonights as that scourge of the highways, Shadowhand. Shadowhand is a rogue in the vein of Robin Hood and Han Solo, and the plot turns on her relationship with a woman she has sworn to protect and holds dear. Flintlocks, deckbuilding, traditional cardgame mechanics, and a plot that sounds like Alexandre Dumas meets Thelma and Louise: what’s not to love?
Not to be confused with MidBoss Games, the creators of queer retro cyberpunk epic 2064: Read Only Memories (also on sale, also recommended), MidBoss is a rougelike where you play as an Imp, one of the dungeon’s lowliest and weakest monsters, and you’re sick and tired of being bullied by every zombie, dire rat and hairy spider with a chip on their shoulder. This dungeon is a mess and you need to rule it. Thankfully, the one good thing about being an imp is being able to possess your fallen foes, and their radically divergent ability sets are the ladder you will climb, rung by rung, deeper into the dungeon. You’ve going to have a word with the Final Boss… Power Word Kill, preferably.
Crisis in the Kremlin
Remember Mikhail Gorbachev, he of the receding hairline and truly impressive birthmark? Remeber Perestroika, the moment when everyone wondered what changes in the CCCP meant and which way the Kremlin would jump? Remember Crysta lPepsi? No? Okay, I’m old. But that’s irrelevant. Crisis in the Kremlin puts you in Gorbachev’s shoes, dealing with the decline of Soviet power and deciding which economic and political reforms to adopt. The graphics are simple but lucid, and a good chunk of gameplay consists of making decisions from lists of options, so this one’s for folks with an interest in the period, and those who want to explore how we got from the Cold War to present-day Russia. The Perestroika! Democracy! Glasnost! bundle includes “The Accident” DLC (Cherynobyl and more) and “prequel” Ostalgie: The Berlin Wall.