You Asked For It: The Steam Charts Return

Out with the old, in with the new. By which I mean ‘and our weekly Steam Charts, showing the ten games which sold best over the previous week, returns – replete with most of the same names as last year.’


Welcome back.

1. Grand Theft Auto V

Ho-hum. I had a car accident over Christmas. My partner, my three-year-old daughter and I were on our way to a hastily-booked Airbnb in Norfolk, having desperately needed an escape after a year of devastating personal news, but having been too ground down to plan or afford anything more glamorous. Somehow, we believed that being this close to the end of our annus horribilis meant nothing else bad could happen.

A totalled car, an abandoned holiday and ninety minutes spent stood on a freezing cold central reservation waiting for police who never came and roadside rescue who then casually added an extra 45 minutes to their arrival time, watching someone nearly collide with my stranded, dangerously-placed vehicle every 10 seconds, says otherwise.

We were unharmed, bar a couple of bruises. We were towed back home, shaking with shock and with cold. I had to make a lot of phone calls. I lost a bunch of money, but insurance covers the worst of it. I still see the moment of impact every time I close my eyes. I don’t know if I’ll ever drive again. No-one was hurt, but they could have been. She could have been.

Happy new year! Grand Theft Auto is still number one.

2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Though we weren’t where we wanted to be, there’s something to be said for being home after a terrible event. We could probably have sorted out a hire car or half a dozen trains, buses and taxis, and perhaps we should have done – there would have been some sense of redemption in reaching our destination despite having had our feet kicked out from under us. But, even if I had felt able to drive again, I would have been left with the problem of a trashed car, abandoned in some bleak car park two hours from home and two hours from our holiday lodgings, its boot full of presents we wouldn’t have been able to transport. A grim thing to return to, a shadow hanging over whatever holiday we might have had.

At least there was finality to being towed home, and it was only three days before my shattered Nissan Micra was hauled off to be crushed. I took the dusty CDs from the glovebox, thanked the forlorn husk of the vehicle for keeping my child alive, gave the key to a gruff stranger with a truck, and that was that. The trauma has begun to recede now, but I suspect it would not have done had I had to see or deal with that car ever again.

Maybe if I’d ever had a crash before, when I was younger, when my tiny child wasn’t sat in the back seat, I’d be OK about this. I’d at least know how the process works, what it all feels like, that after a time the aftermath is dealt with and normality returns. What I’m left with now is a total mistrust of even the concept of driving. A fervent belief that human beings sitting inside frail metal boxes and hurling them towards each other at speed is an inherently absurd activity. I like trains. I wish I lived in a country that took efficient and affordable rail travel seriously.

Happy new year! Tens of thousands of people are still buying Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

3. Planet Coaster

Frontier’s rollercoaster sim hitting big in the charts was one of the more pleasant surprises of the last few weeks of 2016. The stranglehold of big-brand shooters seems to be loosening, on PC at least.

I don’t know whether we’ll get round to newsing this, as we’ve got quite the backlog of headlines to catch up on, so I’ll mention it here. Turns out Frontier are suing Atari over alleged unpaid royalties for 2004’s Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. Atari gave ’em $1.17 million, but Frontier reckon they were due $2.2 million, and are demanding an audit that Atari have not, as yet, been forthcoming with.

I am genuinely unsure as to whether latter-day Atari, which plead bankruptcy in 2013, could even drum up $1m.

4. Astroneer

Sci-fi survival and crafting ‘without the cruft’, as Oor Graham puts it. Astroneer’s doing well for itself, and it absolutely deserves it.
We’re pretty taken with the thing, especially its random-o-planets.

5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition

For how many months will this chart continue to be haunted by the games of 2015 and 2016?

6. Tom Clancy’s The Division

Yup. We’re not going to see a vast amount of change for quite a while. Buckle up, folks.

7. Watch Dogs 2

This is a recent release, but I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be done of those that keeps coming back and back. Reception to it seems to be growing warmer over time, and perhaps once it has a chance to breathe, free from the noise of the last months of 2016, it’ll become an even firmer favourite.


Oh, that reminds me – I’ve got a review copy of the new Doom boardgame. I need to round up a few local folk to play it with, then I’ll get you some thoughts on it. What I can say is that the minitiarues are lovely and highly-detailed. But… THE CACODEMON HAS LEGS.

I get that it’s so the figure can stand up rather than roll around or have a fiddly little transparent flight stand, but this is nonetheless blasphemy of the highest order.

9. Fallout 4


10. ARK: Survival Evolved

Screw you, 2017. You’re as bad as your old man.

In fairness, I should observe that we’re still seeing the legacy of Winter sales and Steam’s front-page highlighting of what sold best over the entirety of 2016 (which we’ll post about separately). And, of course, these games are here based on last week’s sales, so we’re looking at the last gasp of awful 2016 rather than the first flush of 2017. Some of these names may fade over the coming weeks. But it likely depends on whether anything new can land big or not. Given the sheer amount of noise there is on Steam, that’s a taller order than it once was.


  1. DuncUK says:

    As boring as it makes these articles, I’m glad GTAV is top and I hope it continues. Every week it’s there, it strengthens the case for releasing Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC.

    • dystome says:

      These articles are not boring. The injection of engaging writing into what should be the boring bits makes them more interesting than a chart rundown has any right to be.

      Long live RPS.

      • Vorrin says:

        I agree, good job Alec, your divagations on this list are imo becoming some of the most interesting writing on here.
        Hope the car trauma is slowly fading!

    • Minsc_N_Boo says:

      It’s nice we get to kick off the year with the 2 titles we love the most!

      Here’s to a fun filled CS-GTA-GO 2017!

    • Turkey says:

      The GTA series have always done really well on the PC, though. It all comes down to the whims of those silly Houser brothers.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Every week it’s there, it strengthens the case for releasing Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC as a microtransaction bloated online focused MMO overrun with cheats and grinding.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      Some people can’t get the money together except for a Christmas treat to buy a fantastic AAA game for themselves. Let’s deride that.

  2. celticdr says:

    I hope 2017 is a better year for you Alec, I enjoy your writing (and the videos you did on City Skylines ages ago), hang in there buddy!

  3. Silvarin says:


  4. Ross Turner says:

    So sorry to hear about your accident Alec, it’s an awful thing to go through. I think you should force yourself to get back on the road, even if only a little at first.

  5. Spuzzell says:

    Much manly love Alec.

    Relaxed driving will come back to you, don’t worry about it.

    Go for a quiet cruise at night for a bit if you can.

    Or play lots of MarioKart.

  6. Hoot says:

    Holy shit, Alec. I know from experience how it can affect your mindset about driving, but it WILL pass. Not many people write in candid detail about their lives (I read your Doom piece as well), hope you and yours are ok!

  7. Synesthesia says:

    Cars are fucking death traps.
    A friend of mine had an accident a few weeks ago, and 3 months ago my dad broke 2 vertebrae in a terrible accident, and now has a 5-level lumbar fusion. He’s lucky to be walking. I’m glad you are ok, Alec.

  8. Ross Angus says:

    So sorry to hear about your crash and ruined Christmas, Alec. It certainly takes the fun out of “the Steam Charts, where each week, Alec has a mental breakdown”.

    I hope everything returns to normal soon and you take the Vengabus to happytown.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I started reading this article, expecting to be amused by Alec’s anguish over GTA and CS being in the charts, but then shit got real, too real. I’m real sorry that Alec had to go through all of that, hope 2017 will be better for him.

  9. Staugaard says:

    I hope you’re doing well all things considered. Just a quick note on some of the after-effects you describe. This bit: “I still see the moment of impact every time I close my eyes.” – is perfectly normal and to be expected following trauma. It’s probably also very unpleasant, but really just an indication that your brain’s defense system works. Expect it to linger for a couple of weeks or more, but eventually subside. This thought: “I don’t know if I’ll ever drive again.” – is a metacognitive judgment that’s not helping you. You might even want to challenge it. One way to do this is simply to be aware of having such a thought: Whenever you notice a thought that appears to define who you are, you should make a mental note in the vein of “Oh, I had another one of those thoughts” and then go about your business. Possible candidates are: “I’ll feel this way forever.” “It’s been like this for days now.” “I’m really an anxious person”. And so on.

  10. SpinalJack says:

    I didn’t ask for this

    • Nauallis says:

      It’s the list that you deserve, but not the list that you need.

  11. VeritableHero says:

    Happy to hear you and your family are ok. Being in a car accident with a young child is very, very scary.

  12. Premium User Badge

    kfix says:

    Love and best wishes to you and your family, Alec. As others (especially Staugaard) have said better, it will be ok in time. I’ve just walked away from my third relatively big crash, this time on a motorbike (ok, limped away), and I know what you are feeling will pass in time.

  13. Klydefrog says:

    I’m not sure if you wanted a response to your account but I’m sorry to hear that your awful year got more awful towards the end – I had a pretty rubbish 2016 as well so I’m glad for both of us that it’s over and that we all came out of it OK.

    I think you should keep writing about it, publicly or not, and you’ve inspired me to write about what I’ve been through as well so a lot of good has come out of your sharing. The fact that this has all taken place on a list of best-selling games is what makes RPS remain the best gaming related site I know of. Thanks.

  14. SuicideKing says:

    Man, I know the feel, I refused to drive with anyone other than my parents till I was really sure I could drive safely, because I didn’t want to take the responsibility of other people.

    Hope you and your family recover soon. Probably a good time to play ETS/ATS? I don’t know, I’ve only ever had very minor accidents.

    Related to the Steam charts, Steam put out its “Top 100 Games of 2016”, sorted by revenue.
    link to

    Should make for an interesting discussion.

    p.s. Careful about transmitting the aversion to driving to your daughter… kids are sensitive to that stuff…

  15. TheDreamlord says:

    Your experiences after the accident are normal and they do subside eventually. I totalled my first car, years ago, when I was admittedly speeding late one night and lost control due to black ice, doing around 60mph on a small curving road. Managed to keep the car on the road for a hundred meters and then i rolled over, crushing once upside down and ending up in a ditch, windscreen 20 meters away. Almost killed my then gf who escaped with bruises only.
    Could hear the noise from the crash quite often for the next couple of weeks. Didn’t drive again for over a year. Took me two further years to do more than 60mph.
    It’s a traumatic experience, but the effects do dissipate given time. Be well.

  16. TheMightyEthan says:

    When I was a young child (maybe 4) some dude ran a stop sign and hit the car I was riding in with my mom. It was a low speed collision, nobody was even bruised, and while the car was banged up there wasn’t any real mechanical damage to it. It was going to cost money to get fixed, however, so my mom wanted to break the news to my dad gently. To that end she talked to me calmly and at length about how I shouldn’t say anything about the wreck until she had a chance to tell him. Okay, easy enough.

    Being a 4 year old, as soon as we got home the first thing I did was run inside yelling “Dad! Mom broke the car!”

  17. AbyssUK says:

    Just want to add to the love, hope things start to get take an upwards turn for you Alec.

    My advise.. buy a Volvo for your next car you cannot feel any safer on the road :) Also great family cars, hold value and have great reliability.

  18. Velleic says:

    Phew that sounds pretty bad. My parents and I had a similarly jinxed Christmas last year, and it did take everyone a while before similarly long journeys were anything less than a constant anxiety attack.
    Though I will say, unexpectedly being home at Steam Sale time and hoping Proteus would calm me down did lead to my getting into PC gaming.
    I do hope you’ll have a much better 2017 and I hope the initial shock will fade.

  19. Premium User Badge

    zapatapon says:

    Alec, I’m sorry to hear about your frightful experience and am glad everyone’s ok. I love this column and how you repurpose it as a conduit to get whatever’s on your mind out of your system. Hope it can help coming to terms with these memories. Have a wonderful year RPS and keep up the good writing!

  20. Chitzkoi says:

    What’s the UK CS:GO scene like? Is it anything like 1.6 was 10-15 years ago? I’m seriously tempted to get back into it..

  21. Leafcutter says:

    Alec, always a good idea to get back on the horse as soon as possible.

    May I suggest you buy a bigger car as a replacment, even if its a few more years old so it’s affordable, or just more expensive. You will feel much safer than in a Nissan Micra, particularly for little’un.

    Good luck

  22. Tycow says:

    I misread this as ‘The Steam Returns Chart’, thinking it’d be a list of the most refunded games.

    That’d be an interesting read! :)

  23. ColonelFlanders says:

    I must admit i had a pretty horribilis anus after the christmas period, but that was likely the sprouts.

  24. wackazoa says:

    Sucks to hear about the accident Alec. Glad everyone one is doing well. Also hope your year starts a long and steady climb upward from here, both personally and list-ily(?).

  25. vorador says:

    Man, that’s some way to finish the year. Good to hear you and your family came out fine.

  26. seroto9 says:

    Sorry to hear of your tribulations – I hope 2017 is a better one for you (and all of us). WELCOME BACK!

  27. thedosbox says:

    Good to hear that you and yours are OK.

  28. Mi-24 says:

    Sorry to hear about your accident Alec, hope your confidence and luck returns soon.

  29. eliren27 says:

    Glad to hear you and your family are safe Alec. Here’s to peace and love in this new year.

    And maybe hopefully some excellent video games as well.

  30. Rob Lang says:

    An emotional thing to read as I sit here in mothercare car park with #2 offspring snoozing in the back and the good lady emptying the bank account inside.

    I’ve not been in an car crash (only a plane crash) but my mate was – no serious injury but his Fiesta was ruined and his girlfriend blamed him and left him. He took 3 sessions of therapy and a bunch of driving lessons. He wasn’t at fault (it was found to be mechanical) but he blamed himself for ages and it took a driving instructor to tell him he was a good driver.

    Best of luck in 2017, as a 40 year old gamer, I thoroughly enjoy your work.

  31. napoleonic says:

    “police who never came”

    No surprise there. But try organising a peaceful demonstration and there’ll be five times as many police as protesters.

  32. SalaciousJames says:

    Glad you’re safe Alec, and I know what you mean about the fear of driving again afterward. Hope it doesn’t take away from the serenity of American Truck Simulator in any case.