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Steam dusts off some free weekends for the Spring Cleaning Event

The backlog cannot be escaped.

Valve are joining all those great internet thought-leaders and telling you to clean your room, or at the very least to play the games that you've bought on Steam. Running this weekend until May 28th, 6pm GMT, the Steam Spring Cleaning Event provides a front-page checklist of games to try or return to, and rewarding the diligent with goodies to decorate their account page with.

All fluff, really, but as good an excuse as any to dust off something you might have picked up a few sales back. Of course, undermining this push, there's also a bunch of free weekend trials open on discounted games which also count towards your total. The list includes action RPG Grim Dawn, four-on-one competitive horror game Dead By Daylight and stylish 4X sci-fi strategy game Endless Space 2.

Personally, my interest in my personal account page extends as far as wishing they'd let me showcase more weird and obscure games from my collection, especially ones that are no longer listed on the store. Pour one out for the games that Steam says no longer exist. Beyond that, I doubt I'll be ticking off any boxes in this event, but I can see it being an interesting distraction for those with a humanly surmountable backlog. For the rest of us, there's some fresh things to try across a nice mix of genres. The seven games that are free to try (and on sale) for the weekend are:

Assetto Corsa - 50% off, £7.74/€9.99/$9.99 - A serious motorsport sim, and one of RPS's official best simulations of all time. I'm more of a Mario Kart or Wipeout person myself, but I can't deny that they've captured the feeling of a real car's weight and power here.

Black Desert Online - 50% off, £3.99/€4.99/$4.99 - A divisive, but intriguing sandbox MMO. Fast and flashy real-time action combat, lovely graphics and a horribly abusable character creator mask a cutthroat economy and an attitude towards grind that feels almost medieval these days. Niche, but it has its fans.

Dead By Daylight - 50% off, £7.49/€9.99/$9.99 - Grim slasher horror hide and seek. One player is a movie monster - sometimes mortal (like a big guy with a chainsaw), sometimes more overtly supernatural, prowling their hunting ground. The other four players are trying to activate the generators to open the door and escape. Good fun with friends, and tons of DLC with extra characters.

Don't Starve Together - 60% off, £4.39/€5.99/$5.99 - Co-op spinoff of cheerfully grim Edward Gorey-styled survival sandbox Don't Starve. Less difficult as you've got friends, but with plenty of big beasties to hunt.

Endless Space 2 - 66% off, £11.89/€13.59/$13.59 - A clean, slick UI, a cool setting it shares with Endless Legend and Dungeon Of The Endless, and some interesting expansions if you decide to stick around. Good at making you feel like a cool space-emperor, instead of a spreadsheet-pondering dork.

Grim Dawn - 70% off, £5.99/€7.49/$7.49 - An early-ish Kickstarter favourite, still alive and kicking thanks to constant updates. Recently launched an egyptian-themed expansion.

Left 4 Dead 2 - 75% off, £1.79/€2.04/$2.49 - Valve's own frantic co-op zombie masher. Sprinting undead, an AI director bombarding you with bigger threats, a great dynamic soundtrack and some likeable characters. Now includes all the levels and characters from the original Left 4 Dead, plus an enormous number of mods.

The fact that the Spring Cleaning Event is currently hogging the Steam front page does suggest that there won't be any surprise sales running this weekend, although leaks suggest that the big wallet-wrecking summer sale begins on June 25th.

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