Valve’s Little Secret

Sometimes, it’s the little things that get you.

I’ve said it before: writing code is hard, writing code for a game is even harder. And when you spend hour after hour staring at a computer screen trying to make something come together, you might just get a bit bored.

Thus, the reason we have Spacewar, a recreation of a classic video game done by Valve. It’s a simple concept, really. You control a ship that’s a triangle, there’s a sun in the middle of the screen that draws you in, and your objective is to shoot the other guys with you. But those other guys aren’t being controlled by a computer, no, they’re actual players. Yes, there is a multiplayer function to this game that could run in command prompt, some of the many options on the game’s title screen have to do with online and local multiplayer. In essence, it’s just an Atari game brought into the modern era.

So why is this thing so cool? Well, you can’t actually download it through Steam. In fact, you can’t actually download it anywhere. So where can you find it then? Well, I might have lied a little when I said you couldn’t download it through Steam, you can download it through Steam, just not the Steam Store.

If you try and search Spacewar in the Steam shop, you won’t find anything. The only way to get access to this thing would be to:

1. Open the Windows run box by hitting Ctrl+Windows Key

2. Type in steam://run/480 <(or click this link from your computer) Press enter, and immediately you'll get a Steam notification asking you if you want to install Spacewar.

Although I gotta be honest, there’s not much of a reason to play Spacewar. I mean, why would you want to play a game that looks like it was made 40 years ago? I sure don’t. I’d rather be playing any of the other 60 games I have downloaded in my Steam library. And I’m sure the entire world would agree with me. So, I ask you, what reason is there to play Spacewar?

Well, I’ll tell you. There is data coming from Spacewar telling us how many players are on at one time, and what’s surprising is that there’s actually anyone playing the game at all. I mean, you can barely find the game, and it’s not even appealing, it’s more of a joke. Why would anyone be playing this game? Well, that’s the really interesting part of this. It’s because there’s a known method out there in the vast, wide, reaches of the internet, that tells you how you can get free games on Steam through Spacewar.

I’m not actually completely sure how it works, but I know that somehow through booting up or using the Steam id of Spacewar, people are able to use that as a crack to play online multiplayer with cracked Steam games. And it works decently well apparently, although you shouldn’t do this, not only because it’s totally summy, but because Steam will ban your account if they find out you’re doing this.

So as it turns out, sometimes there are things hidden under the surface that tell a very interesting story. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes it’s boring as f**k.

The only question remaining, will you be willing to dig deep enough to find them?

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