GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) is a computer game reseller owned by Polish game publisher CD Projekt and headquartered in the Mediterranean island country of Cyprus. Their customer base is 50% American and 50% from the rest of the world. The company offers legacy games at bargain prices for both PC and Mac, repackaging older titles so that they can be played on modern operating systems. The games are purchased and downloaded online, and they are DRM-free which will appeal to users who despise the hassles of copy protection. Likewise, the user doesn’t have to install special client software to download or run the games, although an optional download manager is available. In order to ensure compatibility with newer versions of Microsoft Windows, some of the older games are pre-patched or bundled with Open Source emulation and compatibility software.
GOG.com managing director Guillaume Rambourg told IndustryGamers, “What’s most interesting about our audience is that they are not entirely older gamers. The bell curve of the average age of a GOG.com user has two peaks, actually. One around 18 years old, and another in the late twenties. That means that we’re not only selling to gamers who love these games from their gaming past, but we’re also serving as a platform for younger gamers to discover classic games that have made the industry what it is.”
Despite the name, some of the games sold by GOG.com aren’t really that old. Part of their plan is to stock newer games that never really had a chance to shine when they first came out. Still, the site’s biggest draw is its large collection of classic games. Game categories include: Action, Adventure, Indie, Racing & Sports, Role-Playing, Shooter, Simulation, and Strategy. The prices of older games typically range from about $5 to $10. Newer games range from $10 to $30.
A limited selection of games are available for free, so you can test GOG.com without any costs or commitment. One of these is Teen Agent, a point-and-click adventure game from Polish developer and CD Projekt family member, Metropolis Software. In this game, the player controls teenage boy Mark Hopper who wants to be a secret agent. Originally released for Amiga and DOS in 1994, it’s a short but funny and surprisingly entertaining game, although some of the puzzles can be frustrating. The music is catchy and you can get a free fan tribute remix album at http://teenagent.ocremix.org.
Unlike “abandonware” sites that offer cracked copies of obsolete games for grey-market downloading, GOG.com tracks down the rights holders and has forged relationships with most major publishers to offer the titles for sale legally. GOG.com also supplies high-quality scans of the games’ original documentation including downloadable manuals, maps, and additional items where possible. Bonus extras may include the game’s soundtrack, wallpapers, avatars, and other material relating to the game. GOG.com also provides full customer support for all purchases.
Guillaume Rambourg stated in an interview at Rock Paper Shotgun, “We provide a lot of value in our games that goes beyond just the price. This is one of the key ways we fight against piracy, after all: providing gamers with more value than a pirate does. We actually generate more than half of our revenue from full-price sales, simply because we keep our prices reasonable in the first place.” Still, GOG.com does hold special promotional offers on a regular basis. The types of promotions vary from discounts on bundled products, to thematic competitions like riddles, “guess a game from a picture” contests, or “best time on a specific level.”
GOG.com has signed deals with a number of publishers including: Activision, Atari, Cyan Worlds, Electronic Arts, Interplay, Sierra Online, Ubisoft, and many more. As of November 1, 2012, there are 473 games available on GOG.com. These include some of the biggest names in gaming history, including: Baldur’s Gate, Deus Ex, Duke Nukem 3D, Fallout, Far Cry, Medal of Honor, Myst, Riven, SimCity, The 7th Guest, Unreal, and the Zork Anthology. GOG.com also has quite a few of my personal but perhaps lesser-known favorites: MDK, MDK2, Trine, Psychonauts, and Back to the Future. More games are released on the GOG.com site regularly, including over 60 games for Mac owners to play and enjoy – many of which are available on Mac OS for the very first time.
GOG.com does an excellent job of filling a long-unfulfilled niche role as a back-catalog distributor for gaming software, and they even have some recent titles that you may have missed. Some of these games are not available through any other online distribution channel. The site also features an extensive community component that allows players to rate, review and discuss their favorite games, as well as insightful articles from respected game journalists. If you haven’t already checked it out, then head straight over to GOG.com, create an account and start your exploration of the best that gaming has to offer.
Looking for remakes of classic 80’s arcade or platform games like Asteroids, Pac-Man, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Tetris, or even Pong? Try here and here .