There are all sorts of reasons a Steam game might not work after you’ve downloaded it. On this page I’ll try to compile a list of things I’ve had to do in the past to get a Steam game to work properly. This list is not intended to be specific to any single game; it’s just a collection of useful tips to try if you’re stuck with a broken Steam game.
Verify the Game Cache Files
The first thing you should do is verify the game cache files because if there was a problem downloading the game or updating the game it may cause nasty gameplay problems. You shouldn’t rule this out even if there have been no recent updates because a file could easily become corrupt during gameplay or due to other running programs on your computer (such as antivirus). It’s easy to verify the game cache; just follow these steps:
Go to your Library, right-click the game, and click Properties
Click Local Files, then click Verify Integrity of Game Cache
This could take a while.. make yourself a sammich (or ask your girlfriend!)
Motivational Sammich courtesy of Laurie Pink
I promise it will finish eventually..
It’s done! Try the game again!
Download Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant
Some games require Windows Live and if you haven’t downloaded it or you have disabled it the game may crash or refuse to start at all. If you haven’t downloaded Windows Live, go download it and see if the game still crashes after it’s been installed.
Try the tips at the Steam Support Troubleshooting Page
Steam Support has a good guide for general troubleshooting, including lots of links to update Windows, Direct X, and drivers for your graphics card.