Good Old Games

  By Shamus   Sep 12, 2008   84 comments

The other day I briefly mentioned Good Old Games, but now the beta is going and I’ve actually had a peek inside. It’s tremendous.

I have not actually used it (yet) myself, but here are some of the good things I’ve been hearing:

  1. Lots and lots of titles. Unlike other game portals, I don’t see any filler. Nearly everything on the site is a AAA title of yesteryear, without padding out their list with shovelware and Bejeweled knockoffs.
  2. Nearly every game is $6. A few are $10.
  3. A lot of games are actually The Base Game + An Expansion for $6.
  4. “No DRM” is listed as a selling point. It’s been so long since anyone treated me like a customer that I’d forgotten what it feels like. I’m welling up right now.
  5. Most of it downloaded as zip files for easy archiving, and the game is a single exe installer. Plus you can download it as many times as you want from their site.
  6. They aren’t just offering the game. In some cases you can get, “the full manual in PDF, the game’s reference card, an avatar pack, as well as MP3s of the game’s soundtrack! Separate downloads too, so you don’t have to get it all unless you want it.”
  7. Most of the games are from The Golden Age. Modern enough to run without tricky emulation, old enough to run on whatever dusty old heap you might have lying around.
  8. You can get support, which is something you won’t get if you pick up one of these games at a yard sale.

This is an amazing thing. I’m actually feeling a profound sense of guilt that I haven’t given them any money yet. Not for a game, but just, you know, in general. I know I’m getting Freespace 2, and with these prices it’s actually pretty easy to just toss a couple of extra titles into your shopping cart.

202020204There are now 84 comments. Almost a hundred!


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  1. LazerFX says:

    I’ve bought Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Messiah, two games I missed out on first time. They work fine on a modern, Vista, Monster PC, and if there are any issues, they provide instructions and support – they also provide an ‘officially recommended mods’ page in the forum, which is just awesome – a reseller recommending mods!

    I think the next games I’m going to buy are Freespace and Freespace 2 – some of the Mods for those games are supposed to be just awesome.

  2. Telas says:

    It’s been so long since anyone treated me like a customer that I’d forgotten what it feels like. I’m welling up right now.

    This would be so easy to make fun of… But I get it. It’s like playing Portal the first time… “I remember now – this is what fun in a videogame is like!”

  3. Deoxy says:

    $6? Even I could afford that… almost. :-(

    It sucks being broke. Having a fourth child unexpectedly can do that – especially with a hard pregnancy that makes my wife unable to work her home-based business at all.

    Sigh. This too shall pass… like a kidney stone.

  4. Dave says:

    I bought Shattered Steel and took something I can’t remember the name of as my free game for participating in the beta. :)

    I always like the mech games. The only problem I had with the golden age of gaming is that I didn’t have disposable income then. So GOG is great for me.

  5. AFAB says:

    Shamus, I just looked at the Good Old Games site, and they had Fallout 2 up front. Which is awesome. All the good things you’ve been hearing are true (no DRM is a selling point! near the bottom of the page.

    Too bad I ain’t living in the States.

  6. maehara says:

    I take it their service isn’t available outside the US, then? Couldn’t find any Terms of Service on the site to say either way…

  7. Chris Arndt says:

    Your Golden Age and mine are different.

    Can someone simply tell me how well stocked their old Star Trek list, Road Rash, and Star Wars is?

  8. Heph says:

    It’s US-only? Seriously? Man, I was just considering finally getting a credit card just so I could buy stuff there :-(

  9. Factoid says:

    I will clarify my comment about the downloadables. The soundtrack is a single .zip file not individual tracks. Each downloadable item: manual, ref card, soundtrack, is a separate download. Also some of the older dos-based games are packed with a customized version of DOSBox for emulation. It’s a nice interface but it’s not like they re-coded these games to be XP native.

    Also anyone who signed up for the beta before the 7th you’re eligible for the buy-one-get-one-free promotion from Interplay (published Freespace). I never would have known about this had I not noticed it in a user review on Fallout. It took a lot of forum trolling to finally find an official notice of the promotion and how to get it.

    You have to have signed up for early beta access before Sept 7th, and you have to buy before Sept 21. Buy only ONE game. If you buy two games it won’t work, so if I’d put Fallout and Fallout 2 in my cart, I would have paid 12 bucks instead of 6.

    Once you buy, you get an email (within about 20 seconds) that has a coupon code for a free Interplay game.

    The only downside to the store right now is selection. They only have games published by Codemasters and Interplay. They have quite a few titles, though, probably around 30-50.

    I hope everyone gets a beta key in time for that deal. Interplay has some of their best stuff ever in there. You could get Fallout 1 & 2, or Freespace 1&2 (plus expansion), Descent 1 through 3 (plus expansion) for 6 bucks. I’m thinking about buying Descent next because I never played 2, and I never even knew there was an expansion for 3.

  10. João says:

    @AFAB and/or Shamus: have you seen anything that says the service available US-Only? Like Maehara, I can’t see anything stating either way, but AFAB’s comment made it seem like it’s US-only… I hope not ^_^

  11. Luke Maciak says:

    I think I might just need to buy Fallout which, I’ll admit, I never played.

    So… How do I get on this beta? Are there invitations involved or what?

  12. Kevin says:

    Oh, my. Must… have… Fallout… 2…

    Perhaps I’m being unfairly pessimistic about the games industry today, or far too optimistic about a single new website, but this feels like Sir Galahad riding a white horse into the middle of A Song of Ice and Fire. Complex and obscure metaphors for the win!

  13. Legal Tender says:

    Holy c…Yes, yes, yes! Viva la (un)common sense!

    If only I wasn’t so busy right now!

    An open question: I didnt get to play Fallout 2 when it was first released (was a wee kid at the time, heh) but I’ve heard it’s a must. Now that GOG is around I’m definitely going to give it a go. So, should I try Fallout first?

    I’m asking because I really like continuity in games/movies/books. I have no problem jumping into the middle of a story when I play but it is much better for me if I have some idea of what’s going on and I already feel attached to characters, places and so on.

    What say you?

    (I’m asking because I don’t think I can afford to burn enough hours to play both)

  14. Jimmie says:

    They are still acceptign signups for the beta. Go to the website and put your address in the little white box. You’ll get an e-mail back at some point (mine took about three days and I signed up very close to the original deadline) with your key.

    You Go. Go now!

  15. Patrick says:

    Wow. This might be worth it just for Sacrifice alone.

    I liked Sacrifice, although the game was sometimes irritatingly hard. However, it was original, fun, and easy to use (oddly, it would actually work well on consoles). Although short, it has a lot of built-in replayability since every time you complete a stage you get five new choices, which earn you new different units!

    Sadly, Interplay botched up the thing, as the hardcoded serial number isn’t the one on the jewel case, which apparently happened with a huge part of their production batch.

  16. Reluctant DM says:

    I like that I can get a listing of turn-based games. I like to take my time and I’ve found that most games don’t let me do that.

    http://www.gog.com/en/search/sort/genre/2,63

  17. J SMith says:

    Hotmail put my beta email into the junk and i accidently deleted it.

    :(

    I’ve requested a new email but i don’t hold out much hope

    * sniff *

  18. Reluctant DM says:

    I like the fact that I can sort by Turn Based Games. This makes me very happy.

  19. Simplex says:

    AFAB: “Too bad I ain’t living in the States.”
    What’s that have to do with anything?
    Congratulations on fooling people into thinking this service is available only in US (see Maehara, João, Heph comments in reaction to that baseless comment.)

    Let me be perfectly clear GOOD OLD GAMES IS AVAILABLE OUTSIDE UNITED STATES.

    All you need is a credit card (or a debit card with valid CVV number).

    The funniest thing is that the GoG service is provided by CDPROJEKT – basically the guys who made Witcher :D They’re Polish, by the way (which explains the occasional linguistical mistakes on the site).

    I’m from Poland (and incidentally Shamus provider blocks all traffic from Poland so 90% of the time I can’t access this website) and yesterday I bought Evolva and got Messiah free. I paid using VISA received from a Polish bank.
    ‘Nuff said!

    P.S. Go forth and buy DRM free games from the Witcher guys :)

    P.S. 2 – what sucks for me is lack of adventure games. If they get those, I’m sold.

  20. Kevin says:

    Big, big thanks, Shamus! I totally appreciate the hookup!

  21. Factoid says:

    @Reluctant DM: Agreed. They have a very nice tagging system. You can search by genre, sub-genre, camera perspective, etc…

    Fingers crossed that some Wing Commander games make it on here eventually. I missed a couple of those, and they’re exceptionally difficult to get working in XP/Vista.

  22. maehara says:

    Let me be perfectly clear GOOD OLD GAMES IS AVAILABLE OUTSIDE UNITED STATES.

    …and with that my day is made.

    If you’ll excuse me, looks like I finally have a good reason to use Boot Camp…

  23. Tom says:

    I signed up, and all three titles loaded up; I’ve only taken time playing one, but it is as I remembered it.

    Here’s the full list of currently available games, taken from their site:
    1nsane
    Conquest of the New World
    Descent Descent 2
    Descent 3 Expansion
    Die by the Sword Expansion
    Earthworm Jim 3D
    Evolva
    F/A-18E Super Hornet
    Fallout
    Fallout 2
    Fallout Tactics
    Freespace Expansion
    Freespace 2
    Giants: Citizen Kabuto
    Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising
    Invictus: In the Shadow of Olympus
    Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business
    Kingpin: Life of Crime
    Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader
    M.A.X. M.A.X. 2
    MDK
    MDK 2
    Original War
    Perimeter
    Sacrifice
    Shattered Steel
    Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

    There are six more scheduled for release “soon.”

    Which reminds me of something else that I “miss” from the early days: RSN.

  24. Craig says:

    I’ve had a reason for years to use boot camp. If only I had a copy of XP… or the latest mac OS so that I could run a pirated spore.

  25. Avaz says:

    I’m really looking forward to them getting games like Planescape:Torment or Icewind Dale (plus expansions/mods for each) as I never got to play them the first time around and I have heard nothing but good things. This applies mostly to PS:T, and not so much to IWD.

    If they have only Interplay titles right now, I’m kind of surprised no one has mentioned the Baldur’s Gate series yet. (would it be because it’s more of a BioWare title, and hence not yet in the GOG game catalog?)

    EDIT: Spoke too soon. Thanks for the list, Tom.

  26. Simplex says:

    To complement Tom’s list – the upcoming games are:
    Redneck Rampage Collection
    Stonekeep
    Colin McRae Rally 2005
    Operation Flashpoint GOTY
    Soldiers: Heroes of World War II
    Toca Race Driver 3
    (the first two will be $5.99, others $9.99)

  27. Sitte says:

    1) Does Fallout or Fallout 2 use DOSBox?
    2) If yes, is it possible to ignore the pre-packaged version of DOSBox and use a different version? (say, the OS X version of DOSBox for instance)

    I run BootCamp, but it’s a hassle to switch over to the XP side. More importantly, my XP partition is always almost full, while my Mac partition always has loads of extra space, and only Vista (64-bit) partitions can read from the Mac part of the hard drive (I can copy files to/from the XP partition when I’m running OS X, but can’t see OS X when I’m running XP).

  28. scarbunny says:

    this is one of the few things I have truely been excited about in Pc gaming for sometime, in fact I dont even mind the fact its digital distibution, something I dislike almost as much as DRM.

  29. Joe says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever signed up for something faster.

    Sitte: FO1 and 2 are not DOSBox games, they run straight off Windows.

  30. mos says:

    Mmm… Freespace 2… I’ll never forget that mission where two Human cruisers jump into the system and fire their lance beams into the enemy’s capital ship, slicing it up. Such a great cinematic moment, and it plays out in the middle of the mission.

  31. scarbunny says:

    @Legal Tender.

    Fallout 1 and 2 are different stories so you dont need to have played 1 to enjoy 2, in fact i started with 2.

  32. Riksa says:

    Oh, my.

    I waited with my webmail inbox open, refreshing every few minutes from Monday on. I finally got my code on Thursday, and am now happy. I got Fallout and Freespace 2 right away and I’m considering several other titles. Fallout runs like a charm even with mods installed.

    I won’t have much time to play any of the games, mind you, because of my lousy freelance work, which means that if I don’t get work done on my free time (which is all of my time not allocated to raising a 1-year old daughter), I don’t get paid (I guess you know how that is, Shamus).

    I’m just happy to bring my business to this wonderful site. These guys deserve customers, and if I can’t be a gaming customer, I’ll damn well be a game-collecting customer then.

    Oh, and in case anyone is still wondering, I can confirm Simplex’s statement about GOG being available outside the US. At least in Finland it’s working fine. Good times.

  33. DaveMc says:

    I’d just like to point out that this is all only possible because I just went out and bought Fallout and Fallout 2 on eBay for a substantial sum. Now that I’ve done that, the universe is taunting me by having them available for a fraction of what I paid, and by download rather than primitive “mail”. You’re welcome. :)

    Oh, and @Sitte (#27): My on-disk copies of Fallout not only worked in my Boot Camp partition on my MacBook, they also worked under Parallels! (Virtual machine software for the Intel Mac). This is pretty rare, but I guess they’re old enough that they don’t run into DirectX problems, which kills most more recent games. No rebooting to play them, O frabjous day! I’m cautiously hopeful that the GOG stuff might work under Parallels, too. [But I suddenly realize I didn’t answer your original question: I haven’t tried them with DOSBox, sorry.]

  34. GreyDuck says:

    Shogo! Oh, no, the last thing I need is to get sucked back into giant robot crack!

    Oh, who am I kidding? I can resist anything but temptation…

  35. The Lone Duck says:

    I thought you would be interested in GOG. :D

  36. houser2112 says:

    I received my beta email with key the other day. However, when I go to the site, it still shows the same page as before the beta launched. If I put my email address in, is says “Thanks”, and if I put the code from the email in, it says the same thing. I’ve tried clearing cache, and still get the same page. Am I missing something?

  37. onosson says:

    Well, it’s certainly available in Canada, as I just purchased Perimeter (and got Freespace 2 as my beta signup freebie). Never heard of or tried either one, but at these prices, and with all the benefits people have mentioned, I figure what do I have to lose?

  38. The Werebear says:

    Oh wow…Wow… Somebody up there loves us.

    The news is just in time too. Before I read this, I was inches away from cracking and getting a copy of Spore. I won’t say if I was going to give EA money for it or not, because I’d be a horrible person either way =P. I am in the clear now, though. I’ll reserve my money for Fallout, Fallout 2, and groceries instead.

  39. gyfrmabrd says:

    Hmm, sadly I don’t have a credit card.
    I don’t have, and don’t really ever need, a credit card, so looks like I am out. Bummer, but once they add paypal support, I’m all over that… site.

  40. Riksa says:

    Houser:

    The email with the code contained a specific url to go to. Not just http://www.gog.com.

  41. Factoid says:

    I just downloaded the manual for Fallout to take a glance at it. Holy cats! It’s 124 pages! I had completely forgotten that game manuals used to be this long.

    I’m not sure if a 124 page manual is a good thing or a bad thing. From a design perspective should your game REALLY be that complex that you need to provide that level of documentation? On the other hand the game obviously has depth and most of this information is probably for the benefit of min-maxers or to help explain the odd interface problem you can’t quite figure out on your own.

  42. houser2112 says:

    Ah, so they did. They included it in plaintext, I was looking for an actual link. Duh.

  43. ThaneofFife says:

    @ Everyone who says “Fallout (2)!”:

    Not sure what to pick, but I’m only getting one or two games off this now for budgetary reasons. I’ve never played any of the games they’re selling, and am not sure what to pick. I like strategy (both real-time and turn-based), rpg, fps, and love adventure games. So, is Fallout (1 or 2) my best pick? Which one? Would I miss something or not appreciate it if I didn’t play them in order?

    Any other must-have games in their catalog?

    Thanks,

  44. Simplex says:

    @Houser212
    go to http://www.gog.com/en/beta/ enter your email and key you got in the mail. You will be teleported to a front page of the gog site where you can register an account – if you use the same address you used to register for beta (and if you registered in a specific time window), you will get free game after you make your first purchase (from what I heard this purchase must be one game, not more, otherwise the opportunity to get a free game will be lost). This way I got evolva and messiah.

    @gyfrmabrd
    They will most probably introduce paypal, it can only extend the clientele.
    As far as credit card go – I did not have a credit card until very recently. But I was still able to buy stuff online using credit card because the bank I have an account in issued a debit/ATM card with a valid CVV code – this allows me to use the debit card just like a credit card.

  45. houser2112 says:

    Yeah, I’m in now, and have an account created. Now I just have to figure out why my Visa gift card and regular MasterCard aren’t working (I’ve used both for online transactions). Grr.

  46. cardboard says:

    Just FYI, you don’t really need to buy Freespace 1 and 2. The engine was open sourced a long time ago and the games were released under a peculiar license that lets you distribute them for free. Because of this there’s a great installer that fetches retail Freespace 2, the new engine, improved graphics packs, the Freespace 1 campaign ported to the new engine, and a couple of extra campaigns.

    http://www.hard-light.net/wiki/index.php/FreeSpace_Open_Installer

  47. Radio Babylon says:

    i LOVE gog.com… been playing hostile waters and sacrifice all week, two games i loved back in the day but have lost the disks for… i honestly see me buying almost everything in their catalog over the next few months :)

    i really hope they add some kind of gifting to the site, because there are a lot of games that i know some of my friends have never even heard of, and likely wouldnt play on their own but probably would if they got it for free… and games like hostile waters make me feel like i want to share the goodness with everyone :)

  48. Ludo says:

    @ ThaneofFife :
    There is some sort of continuity between Fallout 1 and 2. Sort of : there are references (sometimes funny ones) in 2 hinting at 1 (such as Dogmeat).

    I would recommand playing them in order (1 then 2). I played them well over 20 times each, sometimes discovering a little gem of a subquest, or a different way to do one.

    It’s basically a turn-based shooting contest, with strategy (or is it tactics ? I can never remember which applies to large groups …) and one of the very best storylines I have seen in almost 20 years of gaming.

    Those two games are definitely on my top ten. If you never played them, please PLEASE do and enjoy yourself. I hope that one day someone will publish another game at this level in this genre (I’m eagerly waiting for Fallout 3, with much anticipation).

  49. Riksa says:

    ThaneofFife:

    My 2 cents: It’s been a while since I played the Fallouts, especially part 1, but I’d recommend starting with 1. It’ll probably keep you occupied until you can purchase 2. As far as I remember correctly, the stories are quite independent, but Fallout 2 is a bit more advanced and has a few features more. By playing Fallout 1 first you won’t have to “downgrade” from 2 to 1.

  50. onosson says:

    @ Cardboard

    Thanks for the info – too late for me, as I’ve already “purchased” it (at least it was my free bonus for signing up), but now everyone else knows!

  51. pdwalker says:

    This is an AWESOME! service.

    What a way to treat actual customers.

    I’m going to be in heaven (and my wife is going to kill me)

    PS: Eat Shit and Die DRM publishers; long may you rot in Hell.

  52. ThaneofFife says:

    @ Riksa and Ludo:
    Thanks for the info! I’ll be getting Fallout 1 first then. Wonder if it will break me of my terrible, terrible addiction–World of Warcraft…

  53. Viktor says:

    @ Pdwalker:QFT

    I don’t even play comp games, and I’m going to buy something on there just to give them money. This is how you treat customers.

  54. Illiterate says:

    i own most of the stuff they have that i’m interested in (dear vivendi, please put the sierra classics on GOG. That goes for you too, whoever owns SSI’s IP), I might try original war.

  55. Jeysie says:

    It’s not US-only… from this page:

    4. Is GOG.com available in [enter-country-here]?
    GOG.com available to everyone, everywhere and at any time (well “any time” minus any scheduled maintenance ;).

    Anyhoo. Looks like a really awesome idea, once they broaden their catalog a bit more (I already have all the games on their current list that would interest me). I really hope they can get lots of old adventures and RPGs on there somehow, as those can be really expensive/annoying to find nowadays.

  56. Sam says:

    I just sent my email in to get in on this hot DRM-free action. Looking very much forward to Fallout (which I never played) and MDK (which I did play, but only as a demo on the Dreamcast many years ago). I’m looking very much forward to actually getting a code so I can start giving these lovely people my money.

  57. Heph says:

    Fallout 1&2 and Conquest of the New World? Hurray!
    Thanks Simplex for the note that it’s working in Europe as well.
    You know, I own CotNW legally, but never got it to work under anything after Win95 (it’s a game coded for 3.11 but DOSBox won’t do it, normally). Me wants.
    Oh and, Shamus, you’ll have to admit those guys aren’t totally inept, now :-P (it be joke, it not be taken serious.)

  58. Mark says:

    My beta key came in yesterday, and I was happy to support this noble endeavor.

  59. Werdna says:

    You know, I actually saw (and bought) a brand-new super-cheap copy of Jagged Alliance 2 not too long ago at a Hastings store. Haven’t started playing it yet, as my backlog is a fearsome beast indeed, but often when it caught my eye it gave me a mild feeling of sadness. Because I was able to get my hands on one of those ancient, all-but-lost-forever gems, but how many other people are ever going to get the chance to?

    Well, here’s the answer to THAT question. :)

  60. Sitte says:

    gyfrmabrd @38:
    If you have a verified PayPal account, you can have PayPal generate a 1-time use credit card number for you to use. It’s pretty fantastic; I used it once to buy something from a website I didn’t trust 100% (it was a Russian MP3 site).

    The 1-time use means that if someone steals the number or the website tries to charge you for extra stuff, the additional charges all get denied.

  61. Gildan Bladeborn says:

    A note about Freespace 2: The EULA thing was actually revised in later versions to remove that clause, so the preferred method is still to legally buy the game.

    With that out of the way, go get that installer and run it even though you just purchased it!
    http://www.fsoinstaller.com/files/installer/FreeSpaceOpenInstaller.zip
    The installer is designed to download anything you are missing, so running it over an existing installation just saves the time it would otherwise take to download all the core game resources and movies, and will provide you with the updated code and graphical improvements and whatnot.

    Also you should probably go to http://www.hard-light.net/ and peruse the forums, specifically the “Freespace Source Code Project/Recent Builds” and “Freespace Upgrade Project” sections. The installer downloads the latest official code release 3.6.9, but there have been fairly substantial upgrades since then, with the biggest one from the average end user perspective being normal maps, so nab one of the 3.6.10 unofficial builds (they’re actually closing in on the official release, having implemented a code freeze, but why wait?). Plus there’s a beta of the new version of the MediaVPs (graphic resource packs), and the moderately savvy lurker can also find a few odds and ends that haven’t been officially incorporated into the periodic release yet that you could take advantage of now.

    Once you’ve played the Source Code Project’s version, you won’t ever want to go back to retail, heh.

  62. Jeff says:

    So… really, everything will run on Vista?
    I’m kind of itching to play JA2 again, as I never did beat it. I actually have a copy of JA2 on CDs that I bought at a discount, but UB’s cover evaluation system would be really nice if it was included…

  63. Factoid says:

    Sitte: That’s awesome, I’d never heard of that!

    I’ve used pre-paid Visa cards for purchases from sites I wasn’t quite sure about in the past…Paypal sounds like a much easier method.

  64. Mart says:

    There’s a 1-for-1 offer on-going now, until Sept 21 or 22 if I remember correctly. I got JA2:Unfinished Business and used my free-game coupon for Fallout 2! Pure awesome-ness! :D

    Anxiously awaiting Colin McRae 2005 to be released there…

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