Good Old Games is no more. Last time anyone said that, there were a lot more robes and hoods involved. This time, though, no one's gazing into the Internet's fiery maw and foretelling their own doom. Instead, this is more of a phoenix-rises-from-the-ashes-and-also-realizes-that-Machinarium-is-pretty-rad scenario – you know, just like in mythology. Newer big-budget games and indies will soon begin appearing on the rechristened service, with Trine 2 and The Whispered World already available and completely DRM-free. So then, why now? The short version, somewhat surprisingly, is Steam sales.
There's a hilariously fitting story about dystopian futures and the consequences of corporate expansion somewhere in Syndicate's evolution from brainy blast-from-the-past to, well, lots of blasting, but it's quite a lengthy (not to mention depressing) tale. Unfortunately, however, we've now got an epilogue, and it's not exactly all cybernetic bunnies and artificially generated rainbows. While console players are getting a co-op demo of Syndicate's FPS reboot later this month, EA's officially gone on record saying that "There are no current plans for a PC demo." But at least we're not coming away completely empty handed. GOG.com – being the wondrous conglomerate of time-manipulating wizards that is it – is removing the original Syndicate from cryostasis and stocking its virtual shelves. Sounds like a win in our book.
All that glitters is not gold. And the same goes for things that aren't so shiny and new as well. Fact is, a lot of old games are kind of terrible, and popular controversy magnet DRM-free download service Good Old Games is well aware of that.
"The thing is, I believe we are running after roughly 200 good old games," Good Old Games MD Guillaume Rambourg told GamesIndustry.Biz, "and then I think the PC catalogue will be pretty much packed. There are only so many good old games. 450, 500 and then I think we'll be done."
"It took us two years to get 230 games, so I think it will still take us at least another year, maybe two years to get to 400. We still have much on the plate,” he added.
No funny business this time, though, ok guys? Surprisingly, creepy cult robes and videogame services go together about as well as orange juice and orange paint. Seriously, Good Old Games, why? Did Microsoft put you up to it?
Enough with the funny business, Good Old Games, and get back to doing what you do best -- serving up classics games in DRM-free glory with Windows compatibility and mostly reasonable prices. But what's that, you ask, didn't GOG.com announce to the world that they're closing up shop? They did, but it turns out it was a publicity stunt. Our sister site PCGamer.com was all over this one and extracted the following statement from GOG:
"First of all we'd like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com. As a small company we don't' have a huge marketing budget and this is why we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz around an event as big as launching a brand new version of our website and even more important, bringing back Baldur's Gate to life!"
You can read the full statement here, as well as a similar explanation on GOG.com's website. The bottom line is the stunt worked, and if we weren't such big fans of what GOG is all about, we'd stay pissed. But damn it all, that's hard to do in an era of gaming where DRM has dug in its hooks, so we're willing to assume GOG is being sincere and had a momentary lapse in judgment.
The relaunch is scheduled for 8:00am EDT tomorrow and GOG promises the site will be bigger and better than ever, and still DRM-free. And no more shenanigans.
Good Old Games, or GOG.com, the online portal for DRM-free copies of older games ported and sold on the cheap to run under Windows, has waved the white flag and closed up shop, at least for now.
"We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is," a message on GOG.com's website reads. "We've debated it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we've decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form.
"We've very grateful for all support we've received from all of you in the past two years. Working on GOG.com was a great adventure for all of us and an unforgettable journey to the past, through the long and wonderful history of PC gaming."
What the future holds for GOG.com remains to be seen. In their parting note, the GOG.com team said that the closure doesn't mean the idea behind the site is closed forever, but didn't elaborate.
For those of you who previously purchased titles through GOG.com but may have since formatted your PC, the company said it will put in place a solution so that you can re-download them. Updates on this will be posted on GOG.com and on the company's Twitter and Facebook pages.
Upon reading The Witcher 2 publisher Namco Bandai's pro-Ubisoft-DRM spiel, we imagine a decent many of you probably did double-takes as you put two and two together over and over again – always reaching the same confounding result. The Witcher 2. With DRM. Does. Not. Compute. After all, developer CD Projekt heads up Good Old Games. That's about as anti-DRM as you can get.
Namco Bandai and CD Projekt are separate entities, however. And fortunately, this is one instance where left hand and right aren't quite in agreement.
“Our distributors commented [on] the Ubisoft-like DRM securilty solutions, and we’re receiving a massive feedback about applying such in The Witcher 2,” read a post on CD Projekt's Facebook account. “There’s nothing to worry about, as nothing is decided yet.
“And still, it’s a private opinion. You know CD Projekt RED’s opinion about DRM, right?” the developer added, referring to Good Old Games.
That tree-demolishing gust you just felt? That was thousands of Witcher fans breathing a collective sigh of relief. Thank goodness, too. Geralt's not the handsomest guy around, but his ugly mug's still a far prettier sight than a big, game-obscuring “Connection lost. Please wait.” screen.
Well, select RPGs, anyway. Still though, this weekend’s Good Old Games promotion trims the pointy edges off quite the haul of excellent role-playing games. Standouts include Fallouts 1, 2, and Tactics, Arx Fatalis and Gothic.
In order to reap the sale’s benefits, you need only peruse GOG’s list, drop selected games into your cart, and enter the promo code “PROMO1” for 15% off whichever RPGs you purchase. Or not. Alternatively, you can damn The Man and his Rules by ignoring the list and forcing the promo code to dance its wicked, mostly forbidden mating ritual with random games until you find something that works. It’s your promo code now; use it however you please!
The deal ends at 23:59 EDT on Monday. Follow the link for the full list of applicable games – but only if you’re a total bore and a bit of a killjoy.
With the phrase now appended to read, "I'd rather get a root canal while playing a DRM'ed game [than date/know/look at you]," the time is right to take a stand against DRM -- and also brush the dust off a few classic games in the process. So, if you haven't already, definitely point your web browser in Good Old Games' direction. Especially now that the totally DRM-free service has added Epic's Unreal series to its ranks.
Already, Unreal Gold and Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition are offering their services in exchange for low, low prices, with Unreal II: The Awakening and Unreal Tournament 2004: Editor's Choice Edition arriving "in the coming weeks."
"We know that a lot of gamers have been waiting for new deals," said GOG managing director Adam Oldakowski. "We're sure that the Unreal games will satisfy their lust for alien blood and intense multiplayer action... DRM-free, of course."
GoG also boasts games like Fallout, Gothic, and MDK, for prices ranging from $5.99-$9.99. Now go check it out! Show publishers that you'll be good boys and girls -- even without DRM's far-too-watchful eye looming heavy. If nothing else, it's a much more effective statement than complaining in our comments section (which we still encourage!).