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All of us, no matter what field of work we’re in, have to find positive ways to deal with stress. Whether it’s hitting the gym, catching a live show or taking the occasional weekend trip, finding ways to reduce stress has become increasingly important. As a relative newcomer to shift work, I, unfortunately, found this out the hard way. Luckily, after a few minor bumps in the road, I’ve found a positive outlet to alleviate some of the anxiety from my job: PC gaming.
And So It Begins
I’ve always been into casual gaming. Like the occasional round of Spades on Yahoo! or playing Candy Crush Saga and its many clones while waiting in line at the checkout, but until this past year, I didn’t consider myself a “gamer.” That all changed when I finally splurged on something I’ve wanted for a long time: a top of the line Alienware 15.4″ touchscreen gaming laptop. Since there are far more PC games than Mac games, I, a self-professed Apple fangirl, I broke down and bought myself a PC. After nearly a decade of avoidance, armed with my new PC, a gaming mouse, and an Xbox Controller, I was ready to embark on my new journey.
For my first foray into Serious Gaming™, I decided to go with something familiar. I’ve played The Sims since its original iteration in 2000, and I was eager to see how The Sims 4 lived up to its predecessors. I installed Origin which is Electronic Arts’, the publisher of The Sims, software client. After purchasing the base game and all of the available expansion and stuff packs, I was back on the proverbial horse, playing it nonstop for hours. For a while, it was satisfying, but eventually, I realized that I would need more games to hold my interest. Thus began my quick descent into the ultimate gaming rabbit hole: Steam.
Give Me More Games!
Steam, like Origin, is a software client that houses a library of the games you’ve purchased. Think of it as gaming iTunes. You are buying a game through its easy-to-use interface, and the client keeps track of how many hours you’ve played the game and the achievements you’ve unlocked while linking to walk-through guides and message boards pertinent to that specific title. You can even play games with friends you’ve added to your account. In short, it’s more than an online store; it’s a community.
Deals, Glorious Deals
One of the coolest things about Steam is that you can purchase games directly through the software client or third-party sellers in the form of Steam Keys. Steam Keys are unique online codes that are similar gift cards but are redeemed for a particular game title. I’m a firm believer in a good deal and refuse to pay more than I have to which is why I check out third-party sellers like Green Man Gaming, Humble Bundle, Bundle Stars and GamersGate.
These online sellers have amazing sales with discounts of up to 90% off the original retail price! For example, I purchased a TellTale bundle from Humble Bundle which included Seasons One and Two of The Walking Dead, Season One of Game of Thrones, A Wolf Among Us; You Don’t Know Jack and Tales From The Borderlands for $25. If I were to buy those titles separately, it would have cost over $130! Similar deals at Green Man Gaming allowed me to purchase Lego Marvel Superheroes, Lego Marvel Avengers, The Lego Movie Video game, The Lego Batman series and The Lego Harry Potter series for $3-$5 per title, 75-85% off the retail price.
In addition to their incredible sales, Humble Bundle offers “Pay-What-You-Want” bundles for PC games, mobile games, and eBooks/comics. Each bundle has price points that have to be met to unlock certain titles. For example, pay the bare minimum of $1, and you unlock up to six titles. Pay higher than the average price paid by other buyers, and you unlock the next tier of titles and so on. So, for about $15, you could own thirteen games at 95% off the retail price! Crazy, right?
For most people, gaming looks like an expensive prospect, but with the methods I outlined, you’ll be well on your way to gaming glory without breaking the bank. Achievement unlocked!
[su_quote]Editor’s note: Today marks the beginning of my daughter, Carisa King’s, foray into her new role as a staff writer at A View to a Thrill! I am so excited to welcome her in this critical role which will result in more consistent and exciting content for you, dear reader.
Carisa has always been the site’s staff photographer and tech guru, and we are now expanding her responsibilities as our new Lifestyle correspondent. Look for really cool ideas from her on how to deal with stress, fashion tips, travel from her point of view, tech tips, healthy recipes and hobby ideas in future articles. [/su_quote]