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The Pearl Post

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The student news site of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in Lake Balboa, CA

The Pearl Post

"Steam" is now longer just a science term

By Jake Dobbs
Staff Writer

Screenshot by Jake Dobbs. The Steam store has lots of great deals, like the free weekend trial on the right of the photo.

Most people are familiar with online gaming services like Xbox LIVE or PlayStation Network (PSN). But there’s another service that often flies under the radar. It’s called “Steam.”

Steam is the computer equivalent to Xbox LIVE and PSN. It has all the functions of a console and even more. There’s a store where you can buy games, a social system where you can make friends and there are plenty of friends to make.

The best part about it: it’s free.

Since its creation in 2002, meaning that Steam was made before PSN or Xbox LIVE, the community has grown to be over 6.5 million strong, and it’s growing every day.

One of  the things that makes Steam great is the store. A common misconception is that you can’t get any good games on computer, which is not true. Shooters, strategy, racing, they’re all on Steam. Some of the many games you can buy through Steam include all of the “Call of Duty” series, all of the “Assassins Creed” games, “Borderlands 2,” the latest “Madden”  and so many more. You can get every big ticket game that is on console on Steam as well, except for the “Halo” and “Battlefield” series.

But what really makes the Steam store cool is all of the independent games you can get, and they don’t break the bank either. There are over 1000 games under $5, and double that under $10.

Steam has such great sales on so many games, the two main ones being the summer sale and holiday sale (during December/January). During these sale events, every game in the store is at least 50% off, others can go as high as 75%.

Another thing about these sales is that there is a voting feature. Every day there is a poll with three games to choose from, the winner gets a 75% sale for the following day. And this happens until the sale ends (usually at the end of the month).

So if you play your cards right, you can get games you really want without spending an obscene amount of money.

There is a community function, where you can do things like make friends, look at game forums, recommend games, make a group for you and your friends and make things called screenshots.

A screenshot is exactly what it sounds like, a freeze frame of what’s happening in your game. They’re good to explain weird glitches, present your epic skills, or  show something comedic that happened in game. Leave a little description to help elaborate it and if people like it they can comment on it.

Like any online gaming service, you can make friends with people you meet online. You can message them in-game, invite them to a group, join their game with ease and be a philanthropist.

What philanthropist means is that you have the ability to gift your friends a game through Steam. If you have a game and desperately want one of your friends to play it with you but they can’t afford it, you can buy the game for them and gift it to them all over the Internet.

It’s handy because if your friend lives out of state, or even a different country, you can still gift them that game. And if you  are strapped for cash, just wait for a good sale before buying it for your friend.

But computer gaming isn’t perfect. If your computer is older and doesn’t have a high graphic capability, you’re going to experience lag. Depending on how low your computer’s specifications are, you may not be even able to run some games.

And if you like the sales and other great aspects of Steam but you don’t want to use your computer, a solution is coming. Steam is going into the console market. Valve, the maker of Steam, announced recently that they’re developing the Steam Box, bringing Steam to those who are dead set on not using their computer to game.

Not too much has been said about it, not even a release date, but it is for sure going to be made.

Steam is another online gaming service that has its own ups and downs, just like other services, but it is quickly gaining popularity and becoming a major competitor in the Internet gaming world.

Try out Steam here:

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