Good ol’ gaming

Back in late 2010, I signed up for Good Old Games based on the recommendation of friends, and then promptly forgot about it.  Until yesterday, that is, when word went out that GOG was handing out free copies of Fallout for… free.  And where there’s free Fallout, there’s happy Syp.

So I spent an evening getting acquainted with what many of you probably know quite well already: How awesome this site is.  GOG is a digital storefront that sells older computer games, everything from the 80s to some fairly recent, for low prices (the typical game cost is $5.99).  I have to say that I adore their philosophy, which is that all of these games should be DRM-free, meaning that I can put them on as many computers as I want without worry.  On top of that, GOG goes all-out to give you all the extras with each game, including printable maps, manuals, wallpaper, avatars, reference cards, soundtracks, and more. I’m also impressed that the games seem tuned to run on current computers, whether it be the use of DOS Box or what have you.  Very minimal fuss to install and get into these titles.

Maybe it’s just doing the Nostalgia Lane articles or watching retro gaming videos, but dang if this doesn’t appeal to a much-neglected portion of my soul. Now, of course going back to older games is a dicey proposition: Sometimes the gameplay holds up over time, and sometimes you’ve changed or the game’s aged terribly and it’s a disappointing experience.  That’s just how life goes, I suppose.

I spent the better part of an hour going through Good Old Games’ entire library creating a wishlist of my favorite past titles and other games I never played but always wished I had.  I’m not going to buy a whole ton right now — I do want to give Fallout a go (I played the second one extensively but not the first) — but I’m definitely open to expanding my retro computer library some.  I think GOG would be a wonderful resource for those looking for quality titles for laptops, even older ones, especially on trips when you don’t have internet connectivity all the time.

I’d say my top five most wanted games on my wishlist right now are:

  1. Ultima VII (I never played any of the Ultima games and heard this one is a classic)
  2. Rollercoaster Tycoon (one of my absolute favorite strategy titles)
  3. Gabriel Knight series (always, always wanted to play these, they come so highly recommended)
  4. Master of Magic (another college fave)
  5. Baldur’s Gate 2 (I sunk so many hours into this, but lost my discs)

And just as I was writing this, I saw RPS posted an article on GOG as well, mostly covering its approach to DRM.

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13 thoughts on “Good ol’ gaming

  1. GOG is a wonderful service and really helps prove the point about how DRM hurts overall sales of pc software. The titles they offer are easily available on tons of pirate sites and torrents but by simply packaging them up to play properly on a modern OS and including all the goodies and charging a small yet reasonable fee people will gladly purchase them. Pirating is a fact of life in the games industry and the way to counter it is to make buying the software more appealing then the idea of saving a few dollars… which is what GOG offers.

    GOG really excels when they do bundle deals like they did last month for the D&D collection. Every title in the Baldur’ Gate/Planescape/Icewind Dale series for like $10… great deal. Now if they offer a Gabriel Knight series bundle that will be great.

  2. Ah, the Gabriel Knight series. I only played the second one – live action whatsit, but I think it was that game that got me hooked on computer games in the beginning. Long have I wondered about playing it again, but I was always stopped thinking that it would no longer run on a new operating system. Well, that and knowing that I’m going to be amazed at how something so primitive could have engendered such passion.

    So, what about that operating system stuff? Do these games run on Win7?

  3. Great list. Ultima VII is SOOO good. I truly think it was the Pinnacle of the Ultima series and the game that truly got me into playing RPGs. I remember being amazed that, at the time, the game had some pretty fantastic concepts… like Ultima VI before it, where to make a bit of gold you didn’t have to just slaughter monsters, you could make gold by doing things like buying a sack of grain, taking it to the miller, having the miller turn it into flour, mixing the flour with water to make dough, cooking the dough in an oven, and then selling the bread to the baker. Not to mention, akin to Elder Scrolls games, every NPC in the game has a full 24 hour time schedule that includes getting up, piddling around the house, eating breakfast, heading to work, working, taking a lunch break, then after work heading to a tavern or a secret late night rendezvous, etc. The storyline is not the best, but the world that Ultima VII (and 6, too, lots of the stuff above was also in 6) truly can’t be beat.

    (Also, I found yesterday that Ultima IV is free on GoG as well, you should get that, too).

    My only issue with GoG is that I wish it was lower priced. Lots of the games I was looking at are $9.99, and thats pretty steep. I mean, many of the games are ones I have already purchased before, and are now abandonware. Still, though, I’m a fan of the service and its awesome seeing so much love for older games.

  4. I loved Gabriel Knight 2 – now is a good time to try 1 and 3! Thanks for the tip.

  5. Joined GoG just for the Age of Wonders series– possibly the best turn-based strategy series of all time in my opinion. Picked up the first Witcher game too– excellent, excellent one player RPG. And I agree, it’s a great site with a great philosophy.

  6. MoM is excellent. Ditto Master of Orion 1&2. Oh, and don’t forget Privateer and X-Com. StarControl 2 is incredible, too. Yeah, those were the days.

  7. Hmm, if I didn’t already have such a full set of games to play already I’d be sorely tempted by Master of Magic – the best 4x game ever released (I even had a t-shirt with the ‘eye’ logo on it!).

    Great website though, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  8. Wierdly, I had a clearout earlier this week – part of which entailed me dumping my Baldur’s Gate 2 CDs (plus box & manual) into the bin. Give me a shout if you want ‘em…!

  9. Most of them work on XP and Windows 7 both. Turnbullr has me beat by only a few days but my game collection is much smaller. Lately I’ve been snapping up the Wing Commander recodes.

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