Brian Ho, 20, has spent the last six years buying thousands of emoticons “:steam2016:”created by Valve to promote the Steam Summer Sale 2016, and the look like a hot dog in little shoes. On Steam, you can buy emoticons from other users on the Community Market or create them while playing games. that generate Steam collectibles. You can use them in Steam Chat to decorate your profile description or create Super Mario art. Steam emojis are typically a $0.10 curiosity with limited practical use and aesthetic value, but they mean so much more to Howe.
“I will never stop looking for sausages or buying them,” he told me. “Sausages will be on my mind until the day I die.”
Howe has made it his mission to buy every :steam2016: hot dog emoji available on the community marketplace, and has been doing so since the day he turned 16 in 2016. He usually calls them “wieners” or “sausages” and as of June 30, he has 2,525 of them in his collection, costing him more than $250. It tracks these numbers in a finicky spreadsheet that contains the entire history of sausage transactions and visualizes the data in a graph called “Sausages Bought Over Time.”
At first, sausages were a joke. “I used to be part of a small playgroup that got together to play Mount and Blade: Napoleonic Wars“, Howe said. “In the summer of 2016, the Steam wiener emoji was released, and for some reason I was excited about it. I kept spamming, and our leader got sick of it, because other people started joining me. So he banned its use, depriving me of the right to use the sausage emoji.”
In response, Howe and his friends began to develop plans for “sausage resistance” in which several people spammed :steam2016: until they were kicked off the server. According to him, shortly after that, he began buying the smiley face in bulk in honor of the successful trolling. Do you remember what it’s like to be 16?
But if you look beyond teen shenanigans, Ho’s attention to detail can’t be overstated. He devoted himself to his business, namely collecting sausages. He is so dedicated to the cause that he still regularly checks on steam sausage uploads even after he feels like he’s already made his “latest purchase”, which bought up every available :steam2016: emoji at the time (except for one priced at $400) .
“It has become a religion for me,” he said. “It’s always in the back of my mind.” And it changed his idea of real hot dogs forever – Ho says it “may sound weird, but sometimes I’ll see one and the whole experience will flash in my head and I’ll laugh.”
In addition to motivating circuit changes, his massive purchases of sausages can also affect the Steam market. They are likely to be the only determinants of :steam2016: emoji prices, and thanks to spreadsheets and Steam’s own data visualizers, Ho has evidence that his bulk purchases often result in price spikes.
This is being verified. “If I were to buy each $0.03-$0.10 emoji on a specific day, like the next day, the only [emoticons] when sold, it will cost $0.11,” he said. “The average cost would increase and other people would start selling their sausages for $0.11, which could be considered the average trading price for that day on the Steam marketplace.”
“The Steam market is like the stock market,” he said. “Things can only be bought if someone else is selling them,” so he left a $400 sausage to live.
It seems that our world is getting darker every day and more and more filled with monkeypox, but at least one person remains faithful to sausages.
“I never plan to stop,” Howe said. “There’s always some poor fellow who puts sausages up for sale for a few cents, and when he does, I’ll be there to buy them.”