By John Walker on June 3rd, 2011 at 12:14 am.
Good Old Games are once again scooping up the games of the past, dusting off the cobwebs, teaching them about the future ways, and then setting them free into the internets, unfettered by leashes or DRM. And if you’ve been concerned that their definition of “Good” has been somewhat loose of late, this time they have some true classics. How classic? Pretty much as classic as classic gaming gets. They’ve finally got EA on board with some of the most famous names in PC gaming history. One of them is going to make Alec squeal like five girls. I’m teasing you. I’m making you want to click to carry on reading, and thus increasing our ad loads. No! Don’t look at the tags!
Indeed, as they’ve been hinting on their Twitter feed (GOG don’t seem to quite get Twitter – they seem to think the idea is to repeat the same tweet over and over until the letters are burned into the surface of your retina like a broken CRT monitor, forgetting that people don’t miss a tweet just because they’re not reading at the second it appears), one of those names is the game from between whose legs Alec was born: Dungeon Keeper. Nothing more needs to be said.
Alongside that is the rather odd choice of Wing Commander: Privateer, and not, say, Wing Commander, or Wing Commander II, or Wing Commander Academy that came before it. Although Privateer was the first published by EA and not Origin, so perhaps there’s some rights nonsense in play. It’s still no excuse for not immediately releasing Wing Commander III with Mark Hamill (although again, peculiarly, that one was entirely Origin).
Also published by Origin, although now wholly owned by EA via their possession of the complete Ultima franchise, is the inclusion I’m most excited about: Ultima Underworld 1+2. That’s both games in one, for their lower price of $6. Ultima Underworld 2 was the first game I ever played on PC, in 1993, and is forever burned in my brain as the most exciting thing that’s ever happened. But for once this isn’t just a case of my 15 year old naivety. Because these are the games everyone forgot Looking Glass made. It didn’t begin with System Shock, you scoundrel. It began in a reimagining of Garriot’s universe, where their inventiveness, peculiarities, and desire to think beyond everyone else in the industry was on display. As Thief was to the first-person genre, Ultima Underworld was to the Dungeon Master-style RPG.
Tragically trying to play UU2 today is pretty frustrating – the lack of mouse-look makes my bones hurt. Please can someone get on with modding that in as they did for System Shock? Please? Someone? Please?
So that’s a pretty impressive haul for GOG, and hopefully it means more will be appearing from the archive chasms of EA in the future. They seem to be saying they’ve got 25 of them in total. Just putting out the Bullfrog games alone would make an internet of thirty-sometimes squee themselves into oblivion. So which classic EA games would you like to see coming next?
Meanwhile, here’s a very silly trailer for this all: