The RPS Bargain Bucket: A Golden Age

By Lewie Procter on August 7th, 2010 at 12:11 pm.

You know, if you stop and think about it, PC gaming is in such a fantastic state at the moment. Never before in all my years clicking on keyboards and pressing the buttons on mice has there been a time when such a rich diversity of high quality and interesting video game software available for such crazy low prices. The deal of the week this week has a strong (positive) anti-pirate message attached to it, and I think that the excuses that anyone use to justify piracy are dwindling. There’s not really much reason to pirate PC games these days, pretty much anyone who can afford a computer can afford to take part in the international network of shared experiences that make up PC gaming. Wave the flag, and consider purchasing these items. Also, go to the (still slightly broken..) SavyGamer.co.uk.

Torchlight – £3.23/€3.98/$4.97
This didn’t grab me at all, but it’s not my thing. You can get Walker flavoured opinions here, and Meer flavoured ones here. They both seem to really like it.

TopWare Pack – £20/€24/$31.90
GOG do their best to screw me over again by bundling together another bunch of games of which I have played not one of. This isn’t going well. Here’s the list:
Earth 2140 Trilogy
Earth 2150 Trilogy
Earth 2160
Enclave
Gorky 17
Jack Orlando: A Cinematic Adventure
Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire
Knights & Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion
Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator
Two Worlds
You get 50% off if you buy the whole lot, or 30% off any of them individually.

Immortal Defence – Whatever you want.
The Minimum is £1.14/€1.37/$1.75 to cover costs, so we recommend a bare minimum of £3/€3.60/$4.80. From the developers blog:

This is not a sale, but a test of using this model as a permanent price. We may switch back some time in the future if it doesn’t work as well, but we do like this model and hope that it can work as the standard price for indie games.

Interesting stuff. Do we think this can be a viable model for lots of games? Demo here.

Gratuitous Space Battles – £4.49/€4.99/$4.99
You can also get the Collector’s Edition for £5.24/€5.99/$6.24 which includes the three DLC packs (which are also individually discounted to 99p/€1.24/$1.49 a pop). Unless I’m mistaken, this is the cheapest GSB has ever been discounted to, possibly excluding packs that it has been part of, so snap up now if you’ve been interested for a while. The CE represents a massive saving if you want all the DLC (The DLC on it’s own normally costs £14.07 direct from Cliffsky). Sadly, Steam DLC only works with Steam games, so if you have bought the game from elsewhere, you can’t just buy the discounted DLC from Steam. RPS coverage here, demo here, and you can follow Cliffsky’s blog here.

Deal of the week
Machinarium – £3.84/€3.93/$5
This includes the Windows, Mac and Linux versions, as well as the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. All free of any DRM of any kind whatsoever. They say that a lot of people pirated the game, although haven’t shown the data behind the claim, but this is pitched as an opportunity to people who played the game but didn’t pay for it to make up for it. It’s a wonderful game, it absolutely has to be played. There is magic hidden in it’s hand drawn pixels, it’s beautiful sounds, in the puzzles you solve and in the innocence and wonder of how the story unfolds. Play it, don’t rush it, and don’t let yourself get frustrated with it. Wot John thinks here, other RPS coverage here and demo here,

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275 Comments »

  1. bill says:

    Goddammit! Work you stupid reply button! Look! I’m clicking you!! I’m clicking you!!

    • Wulf says:

      To succeed, you must not click the reply button, you must click yourself.

      Or something.

  2. Mac says:

    So, Gratuitous Space Battles – is it a strategy game or a twoer defence style game – i’ve read a few reviews, and tehy mostly refer to it being hands-off, which seems strange for a game …

    Any advice?

    Is it worth picking up a copy if you’re not really into strategy games, but like tower defence?

    • Premium User Badge

      Goateh says:

      The demo (http://www.positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/demo.html) should give you a good idea of how it plays out. The similarity to tower defense is in working out the ideal fleet setup to beat whatever you’re facing, but you can only influence the setup. Once a battle begins you have no control at all. In that regards it’s not like most tower defense games, nor is quite like a strategy game.

      A large part of the game seems to be invested in the ability to upload fleet setups to a central server where others can challenge them. There isn’t much else quite like it, trying the demo is the best way to see how it really works.

    • Mac says:

      I tried the demo … hmm, not sure what to make of it.

      I quite like the concept, but it’s not easy to get a feel for what your choices actually do until you get into the battle. For me, there are too many options, with not enough detail as to the advantage/disadvantage of taking or leaving the option.

      Sitting back and watching the space battle is fun the first few times, but it got old by the 4th fight, and I found myself fast forwarding to the result.

      I think i’ve had enough of the game already. It’s a real shame, as it’s a well crafted game – just not enough FUN FACTOR for me to actually buy it.

  3. RogB says:

    I popped in to the comments thread to see some RPS opinions on the games and instead got a depressing amount of WAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaa. Is it really this bad, that a discounted indie game causes so much crying and arguing? people taking offense at the ‘amnesty’ name? christ, MAN UP.

    • Wulf says:

      “Oh lord above, people with opinions! Bah, useless thinky sops. They should forget all that nonsense about intelligent thought processes and just be mindlessly satisfied with everything! And if they don’t like something? Tough luck! Man up! Grow a pair!”

      Man logic at its finest! And I wonder why I have gender ambiguity issues.

    • Dominic White says:

      A genuinely worrying number of PC gamers seem to have forgotten how to enjoy themselves, and have either fast-forwarded into crotchety old men (why, in my day, we had to walk five miles to the games store and back, and everything was £40, and WE LIKED IT!) or regressed to tantruming children, offended that someone might have told them off somewhere along the way.

      And somewhere, there is a factory churning out rose tinted glasses that are raking the cash in hand-over-fist. Last night I watched a group of people – without the aid of a walkthrough and only vague memories for the most part – play through Space Quest 3. Two hours in (and that’s WITH countless deaths and failed solutions), they’re already on the final scene, and one of the characters has the nerve to turn to the player and say “How’re you liking the game so far? Worth the $60?”

      Two hours in.

      These days, people get crotchety when a Telltale episodic adventure is only 2-3 hours long, as part of a 5-6 game series for $30-40. This combination of insecurity, entitlement complexes and general grumpiness make PC gaming blog comments often painful to read.

      And yet I’m practically drowning in great games to play. I don’t have nearly enough time to try even half of them.

      Times are good.

    • Wulf says:

      @Dominic

      That might be true. The truth might also be (from a personal perspective) that what people once enjoyed about gaming is less common.

      I’ll give you a non-gaming example, since that might work better. I’m not having much luck using games, since it’s too complicated of a subject to begin with, and I think I need to simplify what I’m getting at down to its core components.

      Disney movies. Let’s talk about Disney movies.

      Now, with Disney movies, you have the older sort which relied on either traditional animation, or a mix of traditional animation and CG. A lot of Disney movies (and ones by other big animation houses, too) are purely computer graphics these days, mostly because it’s cheaper. This means that movies created via traditional animation are less common.

      Now, what if you have someone who enjoys the aesthetics of traditional art, someone who was never quite able to get into the computer graphics style? I don’t know if it would be fair to say that such a person is a crotchety old man just for preferring traditional, and wishing to see more of it. They’re not saying that the computer graphics movies shouldn’t happen, after all. Rather that there’s room for both. And yet only one is receiving any attention.

      You might have a person then who pines for the likes of Robin Hood and the Lion King, someone who never managed to really get into Toy Story and Monsters Inc simply because one of the things they enjoyed most about those films had disappeared. Now, if someone were to complain about this on a movie board, they’d probably get the sort of responses above me, here.

      But perhaps using film examples on a videogame board will approach minds from the right angle enough to actually understand what’s going on here, enlightening them to different points of view. Points of view that they might not consider so worthless and trite once they do understand.

      I’ve never said that gaming is bad right now, it’s not. It’s probably great for a lot of people. Personally speaking though there are things about gaming on the PC that I miss. I grew up in an age where PC games were very animated, they were characterful, often cheerful, colourful, a bit silly, quite bonkers… and sometimes, just sometimes utterly insane. They could joke, I could laugh, it was a jollier time.

      I miss that. I miss that just like the fan of traditional art in films might miss… well, traditional art in films. I feel that gaming is too serious currently, too serious, too sane, and lacking in personality, in character. I mean this across the board. You can have an absolutely great game, but it can still be dull as far as its character is concerned. I mean, I’ve played few RPGs that were as captivating as Ultima VII, and this was because Ultima VII had such an incredibly strong character.

      Someone who’s grown up with computer graphics films, or has learned to adjust because they don’t care about the same things just won’t notice the transition, they won’t because it’s not important to them, and that’s completely understandable. But to someone who’s very attached to traditional animated media, it could be a painful transition, one which results in longing.

      And likewise…

      To someone who’s grown up with more modern games, or has learned to adjust because they don’t care about the same things just won’t notice the transition, they won’t because it’s not important to them, and that’s completely understandable. But to someone who’s attached to a more light-hearted, less serious, less sane approach to gaming, it could be a painful transition, one which results in longing.

      I can only speak for myself, but speaking for myself that’s all there is to it. I pine because I want crazy, characterful games to be the common, rather than as scarce as they are.

    • RobF says:

      I miss silent movies too :(

      Seriously though, the quirky “characterful” games on whatever format were never the norm – they always have been the exceptions.

      Go back through old issues of computer magazines and browse through the reviews. If you go back to the early years and for every Monty Mole or Jet Set Willy there’s 20 shit space shooters or 50 rubbish badly written text adventures or a really shit bunch of budget games. Certainly, long form ones especially have always been a minority.

      You’re longing for something that was never really there, at least not in the way you describe. The past didn’t work how your memory tells you it works. I kinda wish it had because it would have been ace, y’know? The sad truth is that gaming has always been gems in a sea of dull, bland shit. Go back through magazine archives, rummage through a full set of MAME stuff by year, go to WoS and browse by year, whatever…

      And here we are, 30 odd years and counting and we still get quirky, colourful games with character swimming amongst a sea of generic stuff.

      Nothing ever really changes in that regard and all these things are there across every single format there is. More so than ever before because there’s more people making games than ever before and that filters through beautifully.

  4. Paul says:

    Wow, big battle of the egos going on here. Anyway, wanted to say that Green Man Gaming has extended its buy one get one free deal for another month. Many of the games are B-series and/or niche, and several restrictions apply (the second game must not be more expensive than the first), but it may be worth taking a peek.

  5. Sarlix says:

    Reply Button worship has become increasingly prevalent in the RPS Isle…Or so I’ve heard…

  6. Berzee says:

    man i like computer games

  7. Premium User Badge

    phlebas says:

    I left it too late and GSB is full price again. Oh well, maybe next time.

  8. SquareWheel says:

    I apparently bought Immortal Defence when it came out, haven’t played it yet…