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Steam trading cards gamify your games

PC gamers are pretty happy with Steam. More like content, at this point. What began as a rivalry and blossomed into a passionate romance has since become comfortable--like a pair of sweat pants. Valve has a new idea to bring some spice back into the relationship.

It involves swapping.

Swapping cards, that is! Join the Steam Trading Cards community for beta invites as Valve rolls out its new collectible metagame.

Only six games offer cards at the moment (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, Portal 2, Half-Life 2, and Don't Starve) but more are in the works as the beta progresses. The cards aren't tied in to achievements at the moment, and instead pop up based on playtime.

A complete set of cards can be "crafted" into a badge; the process also randomly unlocks game-related chat emoticons and profile backgrounds. Badges grant XP and higher profile levels, which in turn unlock extra friend slots and more profile options.

In other words, it's yet another tradable, marketable, collectible compulsion waiting to happen. But if it comes down to trading cards or Steam library swinger parties to rekindle the romance, we'll take the first option.

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.