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I've been thinking about downloading STEAM for my PC but I'm not quite sure. It seems perhaps too big and invasive; too full of adds. I am interested in the PINBALL ARCADE sims, though, and installing STEAM seems just about the only way that I'll be able to play them.

 

Can anyone who has STEAM tell me anything? Do you enjoy playing games through it? It the program invasive; is it always running in the background and throwing up adds and "recommendations" at you or can you turn it off completely and only have it running when you want to play a specific game? Also, is it a resource hog? Most importantly, I guess, if I purchase a game pack can I play it on both my desktop and laptop or am I limited to one machine only?

 

Thanks for any info that you can give, I'd really appreciate some insight on this.

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I much prefer GOG over Steam. Though there are a few games I want that aren't available through GOG. I'm not sure about Pinball Arcade stuff though.

 

I dislike Steam for several reasons, but to answer your questions.

-I find steam to be a resource hog but to be fair, my PC is quite a few years old now.

-Steam has ads but you can disable them.

-I think it feels cluttered with too many similar options.

 

you can have the games on multiple machines, you will need to install Steam on both.

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Steam will set itself up to load when you boot your computer but that can be disabled. You can also play games in "offline" mode so it doesn't always have to connect to the internet to play your games. I enjoy the Steam sales but otherwise wouldn't care one way or the other about it other than Steam allowing people to release games that would have never seen the light of day under the old retail business model.

 

I only noticed "ads" when I enter the Steam Store. They make it fairly easy to search the store and if you're cheap like me you can put games on a wishlist and they'll send you an email when that game goes on sale. They seem to only send emails when it's a large sale too. I've never gotten an email for a game that was 15% off.

 

The Steam version of The Pinball Arcade is easily the best version of that game.

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Steam is easy. You buy stuff and it can download and install it automatically.
You can also backup saved games in the cloud and supposedly move them to another computer but I haven't tried it.

GOG is more DRM free stuff. It has a downloader now but it doesn't install anything.
GOG is definitely good for older titles.

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I like Steam. It's an easy/logical way to manage my digital downloads (of which I have many of on the PC). I don't find it very intrusive either. There's an ad that pops up when you run the program but you can probably disable that (you used to be able to anyway). The game library is where you are going to be most of the time and there aren't really any ads there. There is a feed on each game page that gives you helpful information like the latest status updates on the game or if a patch has been released.

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We all had to have Steam for Counter-Strike early on and really hated it. At this point I really enjoy using the client and friendlist related features, though. The sales are cool but I don't get a ton of PC game time anymore so I try to stay away.

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Personally I love Steam and not afraid to say it. To turn off ads, go to Settings, Interface and uncheck "Notify me about games..." You don't have to have Steam start when you boot up, but it helps if you want to quickly get into a game w/o waiting for the upgrades to finish. And you can use it in Offline Mode meaning you don't need to be connected to Steam unless you're downloading a game of course.

 

Right now I'm using it to launch all my PC games from, and yes you can even add non Steam games to the library window. I did this because the Windows 7 Game Explorer got slower with more & more games being added to it. Later on I plan on adding a small Steam Box to stream my PC games to the large TV. I can even launch GOG and Origin clients to play my older and rpg games from those launchers as well.

 

In other words, don't be afraid of Steam it's really that good. I'll take it over disc based games that load all those awful PC killing DRM rootkits.

Edited by MrMaddog
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By default the store opens when you start Steam but you can set it to go directly to your library.

 

You can play on your desktop and laptop just not both at the same time. You can also share your library with friends and family when you're not using it.

 

Steam has some amazing sales and you can add games to your wish list and just wait until they go on sale.

 

If you want to play pinball sims have you used Future Pinball? It's free and there is lots of tables for it on Pinsimdb.org

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Steams fine for the most part even if it is essentially a DRM built into all your games. But for myself, I generally only buy things on it when they go on sale in a big way. So for me it's usually just buying a couple things during the summer or christmas sales. (Only got a couple of games during the summer sale that's just wrapping up - most everything I saw simply didn't interest me.)

 

I do tend to use steam as an extra instant messager for gamer friends though, if that counts for anything.

Edited by Mord
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Its fine, I finally gave in about 4 or 5 years ago and am glad I did. So much cheaper to buy PC games there.

 

In terms of DRM practices, I avoid the following publishers on Steam: Ubisoft and EA.

 

Here's some info:

http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/The_Big_List_of_3rd_Party_DRM_on_Steam

 

 

GOG is hands down my favorite and now they have a client which is very handy. Keeps all your games organized and again there's no DRM involved with them. In fact GOG started the practice of allowing customers to return games for a refund. Steam does it now too.

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Thanks for all the insightful responses. Based on your recommendations, I guess that I'm going to give it a try. I'll start with the free Pinball Arcade table and see if I like it; if so I guess that I'll go ahead and purchase one of the table packs.

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Mmm, sure. First it's a free game and on add-on. In a few months you'll be up all night voting on games to get snow globes and your library will creak under the weight of instant gratification and impulse.

 

That's what's happening to me, although only twice a year. Started with a friend gifting me the X series.

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Ever since Steam came to Linux I've been all over it. I have an account from back when it was introduced during the Counter-Strike days (which I played through Wine on Linux) but I didn't really start building my library until the native client showed up. Now I have so many games in Steam I don't know what to do with them.

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There is great value in services like Steam once you cross a certain threshold of digital games owned: http://steamcommunity.com/id/billloguidice . The big thing the past several years has been the trend towards "Humble Bundles" and the like from various services, and it's an inexpensive way to get an insane number of games for relatively little money. I also do most of the other services, including GamersGate, GOG, Origin, etc., because all sometimes offer free games and/or other incentives. The value of keeping things organized and always accessible (assuming the services remain in business) as you move between machines can't be understated.

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I vastly prefer GoG as they sell all their games DRM free and you can archive the installers locally if you want (you can also download anytime from your account on the website). I do keep Steam though and some of the ridiculous sales they've had have given me tons of games to play. I mostly only game on PC these days (well my Mac but w/e) because all of the old consoles I would care to play I can emulate perfectly. Digital is the way of the future, which Microsoft correctly anticipated with Xbox One even if they didn't market it very well, so the lack of physical media doesn't concern me. I suppose some day these services might die and I'll lose all my games (or w/e) but for now I am happy to trust in Steam.

 

I am a cheap bastard when it comes to computer games though. I don't remember the last time I bought one at full price. There are to many great games out there from the last 30 years that are dirt cheap. As long as you don't care about playing the latest and greatest stuff, you can save a ton of money buying your games once they get discounted.

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