Summer Is Here

Summer is here and that means sun and fun.  I’m lucky enough to have the summer off, of sorts.  Actually, it’s parental leave with 2 young kids.  Depending on the day, it can be seen as better or worse than vacation.  Topics today are my break, XBOX and GOG.


Last week was at the cottage and for my birthday, my eldest daughter and I went fishing.  Lucky me, I caught a 40 inch pike.  As big as my 3 year old.

I’ve mentioned in the past that a true MMO has fishing and until then they are just pretending. I caught this bugger turning a corner, about 200 feet from the dock.  Took 10 minutes to haul in and the net I had was a tad too small.  Took pictures and sent it back on its way.  Won’t ever forget that day.


Back in town now and back to the news.  Don Mattrick has left XBOX and moved to Zynga. Love or hate the guy, he built the XBOX to what it is today.  Hard-ass to the end, it seems the only ones with success in the big industry are like that.  Enough that when news hit that he had moved, Zynga shares suddenly became a “BUY”.  I don’t see how anyone will be able to properly replace him now.  That has a lot to say about the 180 Microsoft has had to pull lately, and now two top execs are gone because of “always on”.


Good Ol’ Games is having their summer sale.  This is the start of the end for me as I love their selection.  STEAM has more recent titles but jeebers if you can’t find excellent quality on GOG.  No DRM and for $60, you can get 20 absolutely amazing games that will give you thousands of hours of play.  Steam is going to break me in a few weeks, I know…

Good Old Games

I am an avid PC gamer, have been for nearly 30 years now.  I remember programming in basic.  I remember getting Quest for Glory 1 (called Hero’s Quest back then) for Christmas one year and playing that game for nearly a year straight.  I remember Dune 2, one of the first RTS games.  Civ, XCom, Commander Keen…  there were some absolutely amazing games back then when the ground was still being broken.  Then, as with all markets, someone saw an opportunity to make cash and the whole free-ware wave came in.  Crappy games, filled with viruses, for under 5$ each.  Consoles (the NES and SNES for sure) came around and gave you some very simple multiplayer games. The PC lost it’s way forward during the 90s, with only some sporadic content worth mention.  That being said, the games worth mentioning are the cornerstones for gaming today.

Steam keeps me going with my current game catalog.  I can find friends, play pretty much any game on it and access games from any computer.  There are a few tweaks I would like to see (like me playing XCOM while my wife plays Plants vs Zombies on the same account) but in the larger picture, Steam has done to consoles what consoles did to PCs 20 years ago.  Made them practically irrelevant.

One hiccup Steam has, and it’s by no means a killer, is that older games don’t get a fair shake due to the nature of the online platform.  Good Old Games can hook me up with that. I picked up the Baldur’s Gate series for 9$.  Interplay games are in a “pay what you feel” sale right now.  I got Stonekeep for 3$.  There are hundreds of games from the late 80s to late 90s available – some even from later.

A few neat points.  First, the cost is low.  I don’t think I’ve seen a game over 10$.  Second, there’s an integrated client to download everything about a game, even the manuals.  Often times, games had some obscure clue in the manual to prevent piracy or to actually help you finish the game.  Third and related to the previous, there’s no DRM.  There’s no always on, there’s no PC limit, nothing.  You bought it, you own it.  Which is damn cool.

I realize this sounds more like a sale pitch but my point is that there are amazing games out there that many people have never played.  Trying some of these out, you can see how games today have used those ideas and improved upon them.