A Gift of Steam

As much as I love Steam, there’s one big problem with it: no “invisible” mode. Steam is always up and running when my computer is, so I never have it closed. I have not added any of my friends because my ratio of computer to games usage is very lopsided. All I will be getting is requests to play Left 4 Dead or Team Fortress 2 when all I have time to do is play a single-player game for thirty minutes, or get in a few brief sessions of CS: GO.

A four-hour game session every night is something I can only dream about. With the possibility of only one or two lengthy get-togethers a week, if that, adding anyone to my friends list is just leading them on.

I am also not in a clan or dabbling in the hat trade, so as you can guess, I have very few people on my Steam friends list. Aside from the token family members, there’s somebody with a Duke Nukem avatar and someone who hasn’t been online in fifty-five days. And one sole Russian friend. Since I don’t speak Russian, he is a source of mystery and intrigue.

I have no idea when we became official “friends,” but our peculiar relationship began in earnest the day I gifted him an extra copy of “Guns of Icarus” from a Steam Sale. Moments later, I had received a gift in turn: “Fable 3,” with all of the DLC. I felt guilty because I had gifted him something I received in a cheap four-pack and he had gifted me a brand new game. In fact, it was the most expensive game I had on my wishlist.

I was instantly curious about my new Russian benefactor, who had previously flown completely under my radar. He had more than one thousand Steam games and one hundred badges. Was he a trust fund kid? A drug dealer? Was he a Russian Godfather? Is there such a thing as a Russian Godfather?

Mafia ties or not, I decided the best course of action after this huge gift (the difference of my $5.00 to his $75.00) was to keep gifting him what I could, as my budget allowed. Over the next few years, the giftings continued. I last sent him a “Bioshock Infinite” Season Pass and I’m sure I’ll be able to scrounge up something from the next Steam Winter Sale. After all, I’ve seen “Eastern Promises,” and I think a copy of “The Ship” is a more than reasonable price to pay.