Talk about your meta-games.    I am discovering more amusement within the Steam application itself.

As a rampant completionist, in love with the idea of ticking things off of a list inside of gaming so that I don’t have to do anything productive like tick things off a list of work around the house – I am starting to understand the badge and experience system.

XP - but without a game.

XP – but without a game.

Apparently the more of these badges I complete, the more XP I gain.    And I get a higher Steam level.     Which is probably supposed to mean that I am easily manipulable into spending money on useless items like virtual trading cards.

It seems you can trade the cards with friends.   You can also sell them on the open market – I have placed two cards up for sale, and bought one just to get the flavor of how the whole thing works.

Care to buy a Torchlight II card?

Care to buy a Torchlight II card?

Either that, or having a lot of friends on Steam would help.    I have one problem with that approach – I am determined to remain pretty anonymous, so I’m not friending anyone I know in real life.   The MrrX persona will remain unlinked to facebook and all that nonsense for that reason.     Those few people I’ve felt good about looking up their email addresses and adding, are added.     Not sure if there’s potential for abuse if, for example, I just solicited you gentle readers to tell me how to add you on Steam, and I end up adding a Russian hacker who can crack into my credit card or whatever.

And after you complete all of a particular set of cards, you are rewarded with…… a badge !   For your Steam profile !    So you can show the world that you are willing to shell out perhaps another buck for your favorite game, or can trade a lot, or want to boost it.

Earning a game badge probably makes more sense than a Summer Getaway - but that's only two cards away.

Earning a game badge probably makes more sense than a Summer Getaway – but that’s only two cards away.

Something I like and understand more is the achievement system.    I currently have 141 earned achievements.    (69 of them are for Civ IV)   Don’t laugh – I am pretty late to this kind of party.    It’s not like they make it easy to tally these either; you can easily see how many achievements you have for one game, but many ?    Doesn’t happen.    I had to add them all up manually.

It’s fun to go along with whatever you’re playing and see that little popup in the bottom right corner, telling you you’ve got another achievement.    I’ve even seen it telling me “Steam Friends” are logging into XYZ game as well.    Yes, Valve has done an excellent job putting together a gaming service, and I’ve shied away from it for too long.