Not long ago I built a gaming PC and since then I've been using Steam as my primary interface with the games that I purchase and play. Unfortunately a couple weeks ago my computer started having a fit, and after several steps of troubleshooting I determined that the issue was more than likely a motherboard fault. After purchasing and installing my new motherboard I couldn't get my machine to boot into the drive that I had Windows 8 installed on, and after doing a little bit of online research it seemed that the least-painful way of overcoming the issue was to do a fresh install.
No worries, I figured. I only really use this machine for gaming anyways, and I can just re-download my games from Steam overnight. Easiest thing in the world.
However, once I started downloading and installing the games it occurred to me - when I formatted the drive I deleted all of my saved games for any I had been playing, and I had invested multiple hours in quite a few of them. What a drag. Losing all of that progress killed most of my urge to even return to the games that were in progress before the Windows re-install.
I was a bit frustrated so I started up Wolfenstein 3D because it was a very quick download and I wanted to take my frustration out on some nazis, as you do. When I started the game I noticed that the 'Load Game' option wasn't greyed out and so, out of sheer curiosity, I clicked it. Low and behold, all of my save games were still there! How did this miracle come to be?!
Nowadays every dang thing is in the cloud. Lots of people think that's a great thing, lots of people think it's a bad thing, but I myself am fairly neutral when the cloud is used in a helpful way. Steam's cloud service definitely fits in that category. I had completely forgotten that with Steam Cloud all of your saves get automatically backed up to the cloud, so when you switch to a different computer or delete all of your game files as I did, you're still set to play without losing any progress. It also saves options like control configuration and game settings so you don't have to fuss with calibrating everything to your liking everytime you move to a different machine.
Steam's been adding a lot of cool social features lately and it has come a long way since it was launched for Windows in 2003. In my opinion, it's the most exciting gaming interface that exists right now, but I'm sure you'll see a lot of cues borrowed from it in upcoming versions of home consoles. Thank you Steam!