Only now do I realize the good deed that Valve has truly done giving the world Steam. I speak not of the community, as fabulous as that is, nor of the ability to buy and receive video games naked, though that's nice too. No, I speak of activation codes.
After reading through this thread on Half Life lore and listening to some people review Half Life 2 (Team Fremont Live's Podcast to be specific) I got the hankering for Half Life the first, to remember the good old days and curse at jumping puzzles. I don't feel like paying ten bucks for something I know I already own so I go busting through my CD spool to see if I can scrounge up the original Half Life.
After about ten minutes I finally find a Half Life CD. The first Disk of Half Life Game of the Year edition. Of course this is one disk of three so I go scrounging for the others, since I'm pretty sure Opposing Force and Blue Shift were in that package and those were kinda fun. After another ten minutes of looking though random CDs I'm about to open up Firefox and see what the bittorrent crowd has to offer when I remember: CD keys!
See I've always been annoyed by CD keys, and never remember to keep the original packaging, so I got into the habit of writing the CD key on the front of every first disk of a game I have. I check and there it is. And I have Steam too, don't I? So I pop in the activation code into Steam to see what happens.
Now I'm happily downloading Half Life, Blue Shift, Opposing Force, Counter Strike, and quite a few other mods. While I almost certainly won't be playing things like Team Fortress Classic any time soon the option to do so is simply wonderful. Say what you will about their lack of customer service, Steam just saved me a fair amount of time and/or money and lets me continue my tradition of ignoring my CDs after an install.
So have any of you had an experience with Steam's activation code service? Any downsides that I'm not seeing here? Because so far this seems to be awesome in a bottle.