The RPS Bargain Bucket: Snowed in

By Lewie Procter on December 18th, 2010 at 2:04 pm.

This is the particularly lovely wintery view from my window this morning. Have you got snow?

Winter has got its frosty grip on the UK. I recommend you stay in doors with a cup of hot tea, and play some of these lovely cheap video games. Do not go outside unless it is an absolute emergency. Some Christmas sales have already kicked off, although the big Steam one won’t be with us for a few days. Be sure to keep an eye on SavyGamer.co.uk if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the epic savings this holiday season. Here’s this week’s selection:

The Machine – £1.25/$1.94
Remember last week how devs of The Machine, Bumpkin Brothers, showed us how much they loved us by offering us an exclusive 15% discount? Well this week they are showing everyone else how much more they love them than us by offering everyone a 75% discount, so I hope you ignored the previous offer. It’s kind of poor form for them to trick us like that, but I won’t hold it against them too much, because their game looks so fun. Mike “I know all of the indie games in the world” Rose liked this.

Update: Huh, the “RPS-MACHINE15″ coupon still works, so you can save a little bit more on this too. Cheers sacred_flame.

Zombie Driver – £1.75/€2.25/$2.50 [For the next 5 and a half hours]
Nothing says Christmas quite like driving a car into zombies, then shooting some more zombies, then driving your car into them again. That’s what Zombie Driver is all about. The overhead camera makes it feel a bit like you’re seeing the action from the perspective of a news camera overhead, although it’s occasionally a little erratic. I must admit, I’ve not played this much since any of the major patches the devs have pushed out, is there much new that makes it worth delving back into?

Bob Came in Pieces – £1.62/€1.75/$2.50 [For the next 5 and a half hours]
John told us wot he thinks of this spaceship platformer:

The difficulty curve also reveals the intelligence behind the design. Anything new is introduced with a tool tip that concisely explains its use, or the nature of the challenge. For the first few levels it gently guides you, and then like the parent running behind the child on the bicycle, reveals that it hadn’t been balancing you for the last few minutes. By the final few levels things go all meta, Bob realising the peculiarity of his having explored areas containing the artificial edifice of puzzles, and from this point things get really tough. It becomes a playground for applying all the tricks and skills you’ve acquired over the previous few hours.

I guess now is an appropriate time to talk about the Steam Treasure Hunt. I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of paying people with virtual goods and competition entry to play games, and it’s a worrying direction for achievements to go in. When the Treasure Hunt started, I posted one of the discounted games on SavyGamer, and immediately someone asked “How easy is the treasure hunt achievement for this game?”. They were not interested in playing the game, they just wanted to get the achievement to get the token to get the pretend hat for another game. I’d not be the first to argue that achievements are potentially harmful, but this new direction is very clearly altering people’s outlooks on games. I’m not entirely sure if Valve have fully thought through the consequences of the Treasure Hunt.

Speaking of Steam, it looks like some stuff from the upcoming Christmas sale might have leaked.

D2D discount codes
Direct2Drive have ended their 1/5 orders are free promotion early (it was supposed to run until the 31st of December), the stated reason being “we want to be able to extend promotions to EVERYONE, not just 1-in 5-orders”. Now they have a different, arguably better, promotion instead. If you spend £19.95 of more, you can get 10% off your order by applying coupon “mrclause”, if you spend £29.95 of more, you can get 15% off your order by applying coupon “Presents”, and if you spend £39.95 of more, you can get 25% off your order by applying coupon “Blitzen”. These even work on preorders. You’ll note I have only said prices in GBP, I can’t see any mention of this or a similar promotion on the .eu store (although I think you should be able to access the .co.uk site from anywhere in Europe still), and recently for some reason the USA site is not letting me access it. It instantly redirects to the UK site. It’s possible that there is a similar promotion on the USA site, I just can’t see it. Some things to consider using with these coupons:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – £31.50
Back to the Future: The Game – £13.50
Super Meat Boy – £9.95
Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam – £9.95
MX vs. ATV Reflex – £7.50
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth – £5.95
Supreme Commander [Gold] – £4.95
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl – £4.95
These prices are all pre-coupon.

Deal of the week
GOG Christmas Sale
Good Old Games have got a massive sale on for Christmas, with many games at half price. I actually think it’s their biggest sale yet, it’s certainly up there. Highlights include the still hugely playable Duke Nukem 3D [Atomic Edition] for £1.93/€2.27/$2.99, the best version of probably the best game ever: Another World [15th Anniversary Edition] for £3.21/€3.78/$4.99, and much loved Black Isle classic RPG Planescape: Torment for £4.50/€5.30/$6.99. The one constant with GOG games going on sale is my unfamiliarity with most of their library, so I’ve probably missed some real gems. Blame SEGA for making the colours so bright on their Master System adverts. Make sure to have a poke through the whole sale yourself, and moan at the sacrilege of me failing to highlight a specific game of note.

Also of note:
King’s Bounty: Platinum Edition – £7.50/€7.50/$8.75, apply coupon “collybirds”
Paradox sale at GamersGate, lots of these are repeated offers, but still some great deals.
Broken Sword [Director's Cut] – £2.11/€2.49/$3.28, Note: Comrade Walker was paid in cash money to do some work on the Director’s Cut release.

Remember to head to SavyGamer.co.uk for all your cheap games needs.

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70 Comments »

  1. SmartChimp says:

    The direct to drive is available in NA, just with different promo codes, “grinch” for 10%, “scrooged” for 15% and “bahhumbug” for 25%. And it’s 19.95, 29.95 and 49.95 respectively. Seems like direct 2 drive North America is less happy about doing this.

  2. Andy_Panthro says:

    Not much in the way of snow up in Newcastle. It is very cold though.

    Oh, bargains you say? I’ve no idea.

    • Lack_26 says:

      Thank God for that I say, my heating failed on the first day of the snow we had a few weeks back, didn’t get it fixed till after the snow had melted. Living at sub-zero temperatures is not conductive to happiness.

      With Battlefield: Vietnam the D2D will work with a retail non-steam version of BFBC2, right?

    • Mithent says:

      We’ve never had much snow in Cambridge either at any point in the past year (though, again, it’s very cold). It’s strange to keep hearing about all the snow, how everyone is snowed-in and can’t get to work, and that airports and schools are closed, while here it’s.. yes, some snow may have settled on the grass, but not enough to affect anything at all other than making things white.

      I already picked up The Machine (on this offer, though didn’t use the coupon). Might get Bob Came In Pieces as well.

    • JB says:

      Had a good 8 inches of snow here in Berkshire. Glad I don’t need to go anywhere for a while.

    • mpk says:

      We had at least a foot of snow a couple of weeks ago, which is still everywhere. Also temps went down to -15C. Which was fun.

    • malkav11 says:

      18 inches of snow a week ago, here. It’s caused enormous havoc to traffic and ability to get around on foot as obviously it’s much more important for people with gasoline-powered death carts to have an entirely snow free street than it is for pedestrians to not have to climb over 4 to 5 foot walls of snow to get anywhere.

    • Evil Timmy says:

      Lack_26: I’ve got the retail version and just bought a serial straight off the EA Store, and that should be all you’ll need. You just click the Vietnam tab (in an updated version of BC2), enter it, and you’re good, it’s tied to the same EA account you use for the game. The 2.whatever GB patch from a week ago included all the BF:V content and the serial just unlocks it.

    • Lack_26 says:

      @Evil Timmy,

      Thanks, I’ll probably get it then.

      Also, all that talk of no snow in Newcastle, ya; it’s being snowing about half-an-hour and it’s dropped a good half-inch.

  3. pkt-zer0 says:

    Maybe the Oddboxx should also be mentioned, considering it launches on the first day of the Steam holiday sale, at 50% off.

  4. Vandelay says:

    Already picked up Planescape: Torment, along with Baulder’s Gate 1 and 2 on the GOG sale. That’s some serious hours of gaming right there and ones I’ve never played before, so really looking forward to getting sunk into them.

    Also tempted to grab Chessmaster 9000 from them too. Always been terrible at chess, but I hear that this is a good tutor. That’s $6.99/£4.50.

  5. Bassism says:

    It’s also worth noting that the D2D only lasts until Monday, rather than until the new year.
    Personally, I’d rather see the possibility of getting my order free than saving a dollar or two off of a purchase.

    Also, most of my online game purchases, especially this time of the year, are under 20 dollars.
    Stupid D2D.

  6. Lambchops says:

    I quite like the Steam Treasure hunt, if only on the basis that it resulted in bargains on games that I was already considering getting such as Bob Came in Pieces and Just Cause 2. it also reminded me to get round to starting Metro 2033, which I bought in the Black Friday sale and haven’t had a shot of yet.

    Anyone playing just for the achievements and hats is incredibly shallow and it’s their choice that they fritter away a few quid just to fufill their compulsions.

    As for the leaked Steam list, I think it fortunately means I wont be spending anything more; I’ve already got all the indie games I want out of that list, with the possible exception of Puzzle Bots, which I’m sure will crop up in a sale on its own some time.

    • bob_d says:

      If the Steam list is accurate, I’m relieved for the same reason. I actually panicked slightly, reading that Steam had an upcoming series of Christmas sales…

  7. Mechorpheus says:

    It would be loath of me not to recommend everyone go and give GoG the measily sum they want for the original Blood. For me, better than DN3D. Just love the dark, gothy style to it, and the buckets of gore when you fling some TNT at a group of cackling cultists.

    Wishful thinking maybe, but if the new DNF sells well, maybe someone can convince monolith to release a suitably updated Blood 3? No idea what they are up to, what with Day 1 handling FEAR 3.

    • RogB says:

      i absolutely loved Blood1, great humour throughout and probably my favourite ‘build’ engine game.
      I was terribly dissappointed with Blood2 though.

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    “I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of paying people with virtual goods and competition entry to play games, and it’s a worrying direction for achievements to go in.”

    Actually, you only need to purchase or have purchased games to get the hats.

    Each of the daily draws has at least one objective that costs no-money, is easy, and in one case was just given out to everyone because of a technical glitch that prevented Valve from tracking whether people were participating. If you do every free objective, it adds up to just enough for the Grand Prize drawing, as well as the first TF2 hat (I think… the last few objectives haven’t been revealed yet).

    If you buy or already have just a few of the participating games, getting the second TF2 hat is a cinch (unless you only own the games with the tougher objectives, but most of the game-based ones are easy). You only need to buy and play everything if you ABSOLUTELY NEED THAT LAST HAT. Otherwise, participation is fairly easy all told.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, and don’t forget you need to be logged into Steam on the 20th for the Grand Prize drawing. But, again, that’s easy.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      I wasn’t arguing that it was too difficult.

    • CMaster says:

      “If you do every free objective, it adds up to just enough for the Grand Prize drawing”
      No it doesn’t.
      Objectives are handed out every 2 days.
      There will be only 7 free objecitves.
      You need to complete 10 for the grand prize draw.

      Of course, you can always send a postal entry to Valve that they have to honour, if you read the T&Cs at the bottom.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Oh yeah, re-reading that, I see your point. Here’s my counter-point: To paraphrase what I said: entry into the main giving-stuff-away competition doesn’t require you to play any games, assuming that the pattern of the “easy” objectives holds true over the next couple days. You only need to play the games for MOAR HATZ. (EDIT: okay, fine then, it’s not quite like that.)

      And if you meet the minimum objectives for the Grand Prize, you’ve already got the first hat anyway. So then it’s just about the second and third hats.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Yeah, my point is that the entire idea of “rewarding” players for playing games is a bit worrying. I’m much happier with playing games being its own reward.

    • Fumarole says:

      I think it’s great, considering that most of the games are not mainstream. If it gets more people playing indie games (and giving money to their developers) it’s fine by me.

    • multiname says:

      There are 8 free objectives, but paying money to enter a competition is called gambling and is perfectly normal.

      Rewarding people for playing games is perfectly normal too: play TF2 and get a TF2 hat. Even cross-game rewards have been done lots of times before. Play Fable XBLA games and get cash in Fable, play Baldur’s Gate/Mass Effect and get a character to import into BG2/ME2. The only different thing about this is that it’s been retrofitted to the game via the launcher instead of designed in.
      I agree that it’s a silly psychological trick, but this isn’t groundbreaking.

    • Fumarole says:

      Without buying anything during the hunt I accomplished fifteen of these objectives and thus received the second TF2 hat; it turns out I already had many of the games in question. Not too shabby since from the start I decided to not spend any money during this treasure hunt.

    • malkav11 says:

      As far as I’m concerned, I got a bunch of objectives handed to me automatically because I’d already done whatever it was through normal use of Steam (like today, I automatically got the “have played 15 steam games since March 2009″ one and the “Become a Founding Father” one for Empire: Total War), and it encouraged me to actually install and try out some games that I’ve owned for ages but hadn’t gotten round to, like Mafia II, Metro 2033, and Shatter. I did buy one game, but that was Civ V and I’ve been meaning to get that one for ages. If anything, it’s been a positive force in my gaming life.

    • Vinraith says:

      The whole thing reads to me as a fairly creepy and manipulative mechanism to get people to buy games not because they want the game, but because they want a (negligible) chance at winning a prize and a TF2 hat. It’s brilliant marketing, of course, but a bit too Machiavellian for my tastes.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I’m on Lewie’s side. Cheevos are so Pavlovian it’s scary.

      Yes. Cheevos.

    • Tyranny says:

      Looking at my “achievements” in the Steam treasure hunt, eight of those didn’t require a purchase, and the remaining two are for the copy of L4D2 that I already own and a gift purchase. So I think the only way to enter it without no purchase necessary is by sending in your postal entry before the 15th December. So, it’s all above, board, but it does seem to me to be a shame they’re doing it to so blatantly shift units. I’m sure they’d shift plenty of units anyway, some of the discounts have been pretty good if you already wanted the game or wanted to take a chance on something.
      The idea of the community-based challenges is interesting though – my profile is almost totally underused and treasure hunt’s opened that up a bit for me.

    • bill says:

      did anyone else look at the whole treasure hunt thing and just say “that all looks too complicated and too much like hard work” and ignore it?

      Just me then…

    • Devan says:

      I also agree with Lewie. It may be somewhat normal and it may be easy; it may even be fun to some people as a metagame. But it’s still manipulative because it’s using psychological tricks to compel people to purchase games when those purchases may or may not be in the best interests of those people.

      Of course, that’s where “buyer beware” comes in; and I think that’s Lewie’s point in choosing not to help propagate such schemes.

      That said, I actually did buy one of the games in the treasure hunt (Just Cause 2), and I probably wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. However, it was the great sale rather than the treasure hunt that convinced me to buy it, and I’ve already played 8+ hours because I made sure that I would like it beforehand.

      So, I think it’s important for consumers to always be skeptical about promotions.

  9. bill says:

    Civ3 complete and Civ 4 were both 2.49gbp on gamersgate yesterday. Been waiting for a price drop on civ 4 for ages, so that seemed like a great deal to me. I assume it’s still up today?

    bob came in pieces was great.

    There are lots of games on my GOG wishlist in the sale, but somehow nothing that REALLY grabs me. Games i really want have lower discounts, and crazily the $6.99 games feel expensive – though when you put in pounds – not so much.

    Was really tempted by The Machine, but after buying civ4 and the humble indie bundle, i decided to call it a day.

  10. Nathan says:

    Personally I’m a fan of the treasure hunt (I might have, hrm, made a decision early on to go for every single one). At a base level, I’m absolutely atrocious for picking up games in one of the various sales and not playing it: the hunt is giving me a good reason to give these games a second (first) look, compelling me to play through games that I might not have otherwise touched ever, or look back at a couple of others and play them in ways I previously hadn’t. I’m certainly not playing for the prize draw entry, or even the hats. Just the same sense of completion that is gleaned from completing a neat set of achievements; only this is a set that actually seems achievable.

  11. SquareWheel says:

    “I’d not be the first to argue that achievements are potentially harmful, but this new direction is very clearly altering people’s outlooks on games.”

    I too dislike the direction that “achievements” are going in. It is not a good day for the OCD gamers out there.

  12. Jimbo says:

    NFS: Hot Pursuit is £20 on CoolShop.

  13. DarkNoghri says:

    Didn’t see this listed, but supposedly, there’s a discount on GSB until today (at some time or other):

    http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/?p=960

    “FROM NOW UNTIL SATURDAY YOU CAN GET 50 PERCENT OFF GSB AND GSB COLLECTORS EDITION WITH THE CODE BSCH000U7″

    Note: have not tried this.

  14. James Lyon says:

    The Treasure Hunt isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you take it as a way to encourage people to play games they wouldn’t normally. As other people have said, it’s made me to play games I’ve bought which I never would have this soon. Not for the hats, but for the fun of doing it. I’m a sucker for buying things I like the look of in the Steam sale and never touching them. This promotion has made me play things like Chime, Metro 2033, and Just Cause 2, both of which I’ve discovered are excellent games, far earlier than I would have.

    Fair enough, I probably won’t play them to completion straight away as I’m in the middle of other games right now, but at least it’s given me a taste of them to encourage me to go back and play them properly. And I’m not buying games for the sake of the competition, either; that would be stupid. I’m just buying what I would have bought anyway at the price that’s an impulse buy for me and getting a little bonus chance to win something on top.

  15. cjlr says:

    I have a hard time buying myself something immediately before Christmas… It just feels weird.

  16. Thermal Ions says:

    I’ve been hoping the Treasure Hunt wasn’t the Christmas Sale as it’s been a bit meh in my opinion. Yes, I’ve picked up a couple of Indie titles, but was looking forward to some nice savings on some not so new AAA games. Let’s hope you’re leak isn’t the extent of the sale either then.

    • terry says:

      It isn’t. However, as mentioned before, the Christmas sale starts on the same day the Treasure Hunt ends (tomorrow). Coincidentally the day that everyone must log in to enter the prize draw. And the release day of Oddboxx. The leaked list is just the sale packs.

  17. LostSoviet says:

    1C is having an “Xmas Madness” sale with 60% discounts. I only see prices in Euros, though:
    http://1c.yuplay.com/

  18. destroy.all.monsters says:

    DotEmu’s sale is here: http://www.dotemu.com/en/xmas-sale-2010 Broken Sword Trilogy for 4.99 among others. The best customer service of all the digital download vendors in my opinion. I had a problem downloading their games and they re-coded their downloading scheme in about 2 days. You don’t see that everywhere.

  19. Navagon says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has been a bit put off by the treasure hunt. But for me it’s just generally the direction Valve have taken of late. No doubt I’d be swamped with apologist fanboys if I were too critical, so I’ll leave it at that.

    • Basilicus says:

      I’d say the Treasure Hunt alone is a bit weak. As a wonky event betwixt Thanksgiving and Christmas mega-sales, however, I think it’s at the very worst a non-factor.

  20. DigitalSignalX says:

    25% off Witcher 2 = sold

  21. bildo says:

    Can’t say I LOVE achievements. It’s nice when a game comes around and has achievements that are tough and truly act as a trophy of your endeavors. However, if you play games for achievements then that’s how you play games. I think it’s silly, but whatever.

    I have to ask this question: What game did the guy inquire about in regards to the Treasure Hunt achievement? It’s silly to instantly think he doesn’t give a damn about the game. Maybe he has played it already and/or didn’t like it. But, he loves the Treasure Hunt so he asked how hard the achievement was to get so he wouldn’t waste his time playing a horrid game. There’s plenty of other scenarios, but you can think of em’ yourself. Pretty harsh conclusion for knowing almost nothing about the situation :3

  22. CreativeShadows says:

    Is it me or does savygamer get reported by avast antivirus and the google inted of infeted sites as umm infected.

    Is it possible to mirror the leak of the steam christmas deals somewhere else?

    P.S. I do love savygamer I hope you get all this sorted soon.

  23. The Army of None says:

    They blew it up, THE DAMN DIRTY SPAMBOTS BLEW IT UP.

  24. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Cheap Planescape : Torment? Yoink!

  25. d32 says:

    So, I finally bought King’s Bounty… Or shall I say – rented?
    I know it’s my own fault, but I feel cheated by the message I’ve received after download (sloow as particles at -273.15 by the way):
    “Activations Left: 2″

    Please please, don’t include offers for game rents in the future bargain buckets without specifically stating the fact

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