They're Practically Giving It Away: Holiday Sale Holdup

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The holidays are bearing down upon us like an invincible avalanche of goodwill and cheer, boys and girls, and that means that every online storefront and its mother is hosting a prolonged sale event. Get back in the house and prepare yourself accordingly with our guide to seasonal savings.

We've already covered the big Steam event in detail, and I hope you've been keeping tabs on the daily deals. If you're feeling overwhelmed, there's a helpful list here, but be warned: the prices are listed in pounds and pence. Lots of other digital distributors are vying for your attention as well; GameFly's Direct2Drive is right in the middle of their 12 Days of Christmas daily deal promotion. Over on GameStop's Impulse digital distribution service there's large holiday sale taking place that includes several enticing bundles, but irritatingly neglects to list any sort of timeframe.

Don't forget that GamersGate is featuring discounts on a wide variety of games; their eclectic catalog reads like a bridge between Steam and Good Old Games, and some of the titles are discounted more than 80 percent from their regular prices right now. Speaking of Good Old Games, their holiday sale promises half off of an impressive chunk of their merchandise, including a lot of classic Electronic Arts games like Wing Commander series and Ultima Underworld that were released over the summer. Not to be beat, EA themselves are running a two-tier sale on games that have been discounted to less than $5 and less than $10 on their Origin platform.

Despite all of these generous options, some of the best deals to be found right now come from indie developers. You already know about the fourth Humble Indie Bundle, but since we last sang its praises even more has been added: in addition to Gratuitous Space Battles and Cave Story+, paying more than the average ($5.18 at the time of publication) will also provide you with copies of previous Humble Bundle games And Yet It Moves, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, VVVVVV, and Hammerfight, as well as the soundtracks to all of the games you've just received. It really is an incredible bargain.

However, don't overlook two relative newcomers to the indie bundle business model. The Indie Royale Xmas Bundle includes Wadjet Eye's wonderful Blackwell Trilogy (including temporarily exclusive Steam access to these remastered adventure games), Eets, Dino D-Day, The Oil Blue, and bonuses Elfsquad7 (previously only available on Xbox Live), greenTech+, and Shellblast, along with soundtracks for The Oil Blue and the Blackwell Trilogy. Finally, drop more than $1.69 at the Indie Gala to receive Zombie Shooter 1 & 2, the new platformer inMomentum, Hacker Evolution: Duality and Untold, Saira (by Nifflas, of Knytt and Within a Deep Forest fame), Your Doodles Are Bugged!, and assorted soundtracks and albums.

That's about it; but it's more than enough. Competition between digital distributors has created a golden age for PC gaming bargains. There's more and more great stuff coming out every day, and let's face it: if you're a hardcore PC gamer your friends and family don't have a chance of catching these deals, so stuff your own stockings this year and maybe even help a few indie developers collect a nice Christmas bonus.

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