Is your wallet ready?
It's that time of year when PC gamers huddle around their computers, set their countdown clocks to 6pm, and F5 the shizzle out of the Steam homepage, eager to discover which new deals may be awaiting them each day.
Yes, the Steam Winter Sale is back, but which games are worthy of your pennies? We've spent the morning trawling through the complete list of games on offer in an attempt to find the best of this year's Steam sale. If there's anything you think we've missed, leave us a comment below to let us know. And keep your wallet at the ready - there are some deals here that simply shouldn't be missed.
To The Moon - £3.49
Remember how It's A Wonderful Life was often upsetting, but a great film to watch over the Christmas? It's a similar case for To The Moon. Nominated for multiple awards for its narrative, To The Moon achieved perfect scores from critics for its heart-warming story and elegant design.
Valve Complete Pack - £24.99
Half-Life 2! Portal 2! Left 4 Dead 2! Dota 2! Team Fortress 2! Possibly the finest set of '2s' you ever did see, all rolled into a single pack. If you're sitting in front of a PC having never played any of the games featured in the Valve Complete Pack, stop whatever you're doing, cancel Christmas and pick this up immediately. It'll be the best £25 you've ever spent.
DEFCON - £1.49
A real-time strategy game where players take control of the globe's nuclear armament, DEFCON's relaxing ambience chills to the core. If you've ever thought about what it would be like to hit the red button, or build up an army of nuclear submarines in the South Pacific, eagerly watching the death toll count up as warheads detonate across the planet, you'll get a sick kick out of DEFCON. And you should probably get your head examined, too.
Prince of Persia Complete Pack - £10.74
This PoP pack isn't as complete as you might at first believe - only the recent 3D games are included here, rather than the original side-scrollers - but it's still a fine collection for the price. Featuring all of the Prince's games from the PS2-era onwards, including the most recent Forgotten Sands and Sands of Time Trilogy, the Complete Pack is a good investment for anybody looking for some solid platformers to get through at Christmas. And ignore the haters: Prince of Persia 2008 is a gloriously-presented adventure well worth your time and money.
This is included in the Complete Pack, of course, but if five Prince of Persias seem a little too much to invest in at once, just be sure to at least pick up this one. Considered by many as the best in the franchise, The Sands of Time was one of the previous generation's finest puzzle-platformers, merging superb level design from series creator Jordan Mechner with an excellently balanced rewind-time gameplay mechanic.
Zeno Clash - 69p
A forgotten gem, Zeno Clash was a first-person brawler that actually worked. Set in the superbly-named Zenozoik, players adopt the role of Ghat in a quirky adventure that you'll find hard to forget. It's so odd, in fact, that Jamin thought the entire game was a result of "an intense drug induced trip".
Broken Sword Trilogy - £1.99
Charles Cecil's superb point & click series originally released during the PS1-era, this trilogy features the revamped Director's Cut and its two immediate sequels, following the story of journalist Nico Collard and tourist George Stobbart as they're drawn into an ancient conspiracy.
The Hitman Collection - £3.74
This doesn't include Hitman: Absolution, but consider that a blessing in disguise. The Hitman Collection includes two of the best Hitman titles - Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and Hitman: Blood Money - and the experimental original. Everybody has their favourite moments: the St Petersburg Stakeout in Hitman 2 or A New Life in Blood Money, and there are plenty more memorable instances in each game. And if you've ever wanted to kill Santa Claus, this'll let you do just that.
Thomas Was Alone - £2.99
One of the more intriguing titles in this list, Thomas Was Alone is a minimalist platformer that's gained traction amongst the press for its quirky aesthetic and piquant charm. A quirky indie title that deserves a place on your Christmas playlist.
Commandos Collection - £2.39
The real-time tactical genre has downsized significantly in the years following Commandos 3's release, but this collection is an excellent opportunity to experience the very best the genre had to offer. They're top-down stealth games, essentially, where players lead a crack squad of army men across various scenarios throughout WWII. Commandos 2 is my personal favourite, largely for its excellent range of characters and cultural references, and for 79p individually, is one of the best bargains available in the Steam sale. And if you've ever heard Neon shout 'Oim comin'!' on the VideoGamer.com Podcast and wondered what on Earth he was on about, this is your chance to find out.
Sine Mora - £2.71
A side-scrolling shmup from Suda 51's studio Grasshopper Manufacture, Sine Mora won praise for its ability to appease both newcomers to the genre and hardened genre veterans, successfully striking the balance between challenge and accessibility. If you've always ruled bullet hell games out as not being for you, give Sine Mora a chance.
Cave Story+ - £3.49
Considered by many as the pinnacle of the Metroidvania genre, Cave Story is one of gaming's best-loved indie games. Developed by Daisuke Amaya, the game follows the tale of a young adventurer who awakens in a cave with no memory of who they are.
Lone Survivor - £3.49
Don't be fooled by its lo-fi visuals: Jasper Byrne's psychological adventure succeeds in being incredibly unnerving. Casting players as the titular lone survivor in a city, players must escape a destroyed city without succumbing to the madness that surrounds them.
Mirror's Edge - £3.24
DICE's 'other' game, Mirror's Edge was well received by critics when it launched in 2008 for its alternative approach to first-person gameplay. Primarily a first-person platformer, rather than one firmly based around combat, Mirror's Edge puts players in the role of Faith Connors, a courier on the run across a stylised city as she fights to prove her sister's innocence in the murder of a mayoral candidate.
SpaceChem - £3.49
Martin wouldn't stop talking about this design-based puzzler from indie dev Zachtronics Industries earlier in the year, but having never played it, you'll have to take his word for it rather than mine. "SpaceChem seriously makes my brain hurt," he says, "but in a really, really good way." If you want something a little more taxing than Articulate to sit down with this Christmas, ol' Garsen doesn't think you'll get much better than this.
An all-time classic, Warren Spector's superb cyberpunk adventure is still fondly remembered as one of video gaming's finest action role-players. Set 25 years after Human Revolution, Deus Ex follows the trail of nanotechnologically-augmented agent JC Denton as he explores a dystopian future and attempts to thwart the plans of a rampant AI.
Zombie Driver HD - £1.74
As anyone who has ever had to deal with a zombie apocalypse will tell you, nothing puts the undead down quicker than a 70mph metal box. Zombie Driver HD is a top-down racing game which mixes the best bits of Carmageddon and GTA, sending players on missions to eradicate zombies or pick up survivors within a zombie-infested city.
Written by the developer that brought us the BAFTA-winning sex 'education' game Privates, Time Gentlemen, Please! and Ben There, Dan That! are two of the most irreverently funny games you'll have played in years featuring Nazi dinosaurs. 'Nuff said.
The Longest Journey - £2.39
Another point and click classic, this adult adventure from The Secret World developer Funcom tells the tale of a young woman able to shift between two parallel universes. It looks fairly dated by today's standards, but The Longest Journey is still considered by some as one of gaming's greatest adventure stories.
CD Projekt RED went on to deliver one of the best-received RPGs in recent years with its sequel, but the original Witcher is essential if you wish to learn the back-story. And for this price, it's unmissable.
Borderlands 2 - £14.99
The only AAA game in our list to be released this year, Borderlands 2's punchy dialogue and engaging world did enough to secure it a position in our Game of the Year shortlist. Though it's far more of a compelling solo adventure than the original game was, Borderlands 2 is still best-experienced with four-players. And if you know a few friends who are after Gearbox's hilarious shooter as well, there's a four-pack available for £44.99 offering a further 25 per cent discount.