The RPS Bargain Bucket: Maximum Benefit

By Lewie Procter on May 19th, 2012 at 12:07 pm.


This weekend, as every other, I’ve had a poke around the internet to find you the best deals on PC game downloads. Read on to investigate my findings. There’s all sorts of things on sale right now, including some of my absolute all time favourite games. For notification of gaming bargains across all platforms throughout the week, hit up SavyGamer.co.uk.

ArmA 2: Combined Operations – £9.48/€11.73/$14.99
Following the buzz surrounding zombie survival mode Day Z, ARMA2 is now hotly in demand. A brilliant example of why robust mod support is a good idea. This includes the Operation Arrowhead expansion, and is the version of the game that you want if you’re intending on trying Day-Z. Since this is from Amazon.com, you’ll need to enter a US billing address, but you should be able to buy it from anywhere in the world.

Just Cause 2, Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Supreme Commander 2 & Tomb Raider: Underworld – £4.74/€5.86/$7.49
A heck of a lot of game for your money here. They all register on Steam except for Tomb Raider. Just Cause 2 is a massive sandbox world with a grappling hook to play with, Kane and Lynch 2 is much better in coop like how basically any game is better in coop, Lara and the GOL is lots of fun (and also better coop), SupCom2 is an absolutely adequate RTS, and Tomb Raider: Underworld is the latest Tomb Raider game. A steal at this price, although again since this is Amazon.com, you need to use a US billing address.

Sim City 2000 – £1.89/€2.34/$2.99
This was a very formative game for me. As I once said:

SimCity 2000 instilled a few qualities in me which I know massively shaped me in my child and then adult life. I learnt the value of ‘gaming a system’, working out the underlying rules, and manipulating and pushing them for maximum personal benefit. I also gained an understanding of the value of iterative learning. I knew after my first failed attempt of creating a huge sprawling metropolis that I could do better next time. And I did.

Super Crossfire – £1.19/similar prices in other currencies.
All the other Radian Games are on sale too, but Super Crossfire is my favourite. It’s Space Invaders with a 21st century lick of paint, and host of new mechanics to boot. Chief amongst the new tricks is the ability to jump from the bottom of the screen to the top, which you’ll need to use to avoid getting shot by lots of bullets. There’s also an intelligently put together upgrade system, that lets you upgrade your ship at regular intervals during play, and you can tune your ships stats to suit your playstyle.

Deal of the week
Alpha Centauri – £1.89/€2.34/$2.99
Typically, after usually putting on sale games that I never played during my youth, GOG have this week gone and put two games that are massively important to me on sale. I did a retrospective of this a while back, where I said:

The setting creates a kind of tension that is missing from a lot of similar strategy games. On the one hand you are motived to act in the interests of the greater good, with the hope of establishing sustainable survival for the human race. On the other hand, you’ve got to be responsible for your faction. No one else is going to keep the mind worm’s from melting all of your civilians brains in the night.

Also of note:
The rest of the GOG promo.
Serious Sam 3: BFE – £6.32/€7.82/$9.99
The Void – £2.49/€2.95
Blueberry Garden, B.U.T.T.O.N., Osmos & The Shivah – £2.54/€3.14/$4.02 at time of writing.
Bioshock 1+2 – £4.74/€5.86/$7.49
Driver: San Francisco – £4.99/€7.49/$7.49
The Whispered World – £1.89/€2.34/$2.99
Rayman Origins – £9.99/€14.99/$14.99
Lunar flight – £1.75/€2.50/$2.50
Something is going on here.

For more cheap games, keep your eye on the regularly updated record of gaming discounts over at SavyGamer.co.uk.

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99 Comments »

  1. mentor07825 says:

    Tried to use a US billing address on Amazon.com before and it didn’t work :(

    • D-e-f- says:

      worked fine for me a few weeks ago and just yesterday.

      • mentor07825 says:

        Weird, very weird. I’ll have to tell my brother and let him know to give it another go. And you used credit card or PayPal?

      • LTK says:

        I bought the pack a moment ago using the address of Irrational Games and a credit card. Did you make sure the US address is set as your primary billing address?

    • Jac says:

      Didn’t work for me either. Although in retrospect using microsofts address probably wasn’t the best idea.

      • SiHy_ says:

        I used the White House address last time. I decided someone may eventually notice if I kept using it so I changed it to a small garage in Texas.

    • trumpet says:

      Made up billing address worked for me (337 Fake Street)

      • purdz says:

        I did a similar thing and just used the 90210 zip code, went through fine, just downloading now. Looking forward to shooting me some zombies!

    • terry says:

      There’s a reason for Beverley Hills 90210 existing. This is that reason.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      You have to make sure that not only is it an address on the account but it is the address associated with the card you are paying with. So in my account I have two addresses, let’s say, a UK one and an american one. I have a debit card which is associated with my UK address and a CC associated with the US address. It is this way around because the CC doesn’t seem to care!

      • Strazz says:

        I used a U.S. billing address with my non-U.S. card and it worked so maybe it depends on your card company?

    • _PixelNinja says:

      Serious question here — is it actually legal to use a billing address that is not ours to purchase goods? In the case of it not being legal, what are the risks?

      • LTK says:

        I don’t know the reason why Amazon is limiting their download service for games to the US – they’re just fine with me buying Kindle books – but as far as I can tell, it’s not illegal to ‘import’ games from another country, even though Amazon can’t or doesn’t want to deliver there. If I ask an American friend to buy a boxed copy of a game that’s not released in Europe yet, and mail it to me, then the company might not like it but there’s nothing illegal about it. Using a download service to buy it on behalf of someone else’s address seems to be no different.

        Besides, I think Amazon wants your money more than it wants you sued.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Might be some kind of fraud, I guess?

          And using someone else’s real address is probably not smart for identity theft reasons.

        • _PixelNinja says:

          My educated guess for Amazon.com limiting the download service to the US would be because they do not have the rights to distribute games in other countries.

          Regarding Importing/having someone send you goods, this is not the same thing as using someone else’s address for billing. I know that much. And it is that particular point I am asking information on — using a billing address that is not our own. As LionsPhill point out, my first thought would be it being considered as some kind of fraud or identity theft.

          • Donkeyfumbler says:

            My guess is that both LTK and PixelNinja are right, in that it probably is illegal to supply a false billing address in that sense that it is essentially fraud, but that Amazon are far more likely to just take your cash and say thank you than they are to sue you or report you to your credit card company for them to take action against you.

            That said, I’d still rather not take the risk just for the sake of either a few quid or waiting til either another company offers it as cheap a bit later (which they will) or Amazon finally get round to opening a proper UK/Europe download service which they were originally supposed to do at the end of last year.

      • Gnoupi says:

        It’s not ideal, you are actually “billed” at this address. Some banks will refuse to issue the payment to protect you, as billing from another country with your card could be someone trying to steal your money.

        It actually happened to me when I changed the billing address on GetGames, because they wouldn’t let me pay in GBP, which was better than EUR for this game. It looked like working, but then my bank cancelled the transaction, and GetGames annulled the cd-key for the game as soon as this happened.

        So be careful with it. Some banks might allow it, some not. And in the case it’s allowed, it can also generate more fees than what you actually save by buying there.

      • appropriate touching says:

        Another thing to consider is that you should be paying import VAT for purchases over £15. I don’t know if pure digital purchases are exempt from that.
        On the other hand many companies claim that you don’t own software, therefore maybe you aren’t technically importing it anyway.

    • povu says:

      Reminds me of when I bought Saints Row 3 + season pass super cheap from the THQ store, it was America exclusive as well. My fake address was Steelport, on the street Saint’s Row 3.

  2. Bork Titflopsen says:

    Contemplating buying the ArmA pack, but I’m not sure if I should do it just for DayZ. Is there enough to ArmA otherwise that I can’t get in the free version?

    Are there RPS’ers that might be interested in more tactical, coördinated group-play that might be hard to find on random servers?

    Nvm, Amazon no workey for me :|

    • sinister agent says:

      In case another good deal comes up again, the answer to your question is yes. RPS play every Tuesday and Sunday evening (the latter is a team-up with another forum who are a bit more serious and organised than we usually are, but they’re not dorky arseholes about it like some groups can be).

      Speaking as someone who much prefers single player games, Arma 2 is terrific fun, but it’s shite in single player, and is full of fiddly minor bugs, awkwardness, esoteric processes and a clunky, bothersome UI. it also takes some practice to become even slightly competent at shooting a basic rifle.

      But! It’s deceptively easy to become “good enough” at, especially if you’re playing with a large-ish group like RPS – in those groups, all you need to be able to do is basic navigation and shooting, which you can learn very quickly.

      And once you’re there, it offers an unparalleled breadth of experiences. Driving a humvee around while Thirdkje sprays machine gun fire into a valley from the roof. Hiding in terror in a bush as a hostile tank rolls past a foot from your face, unable to fire on the infantry you wanted to ambush lest the tank spots you. Escaping from a prison in the middle of the night, only for an APC to roll up and start hunting you, and you armed with nothing but a pistol and satchel charge… and managing to take it out and flee into the night with your friends. Crouching on a hill, quietly observing an enemy town and reporting their troop movements, watching a friendly squad get massacred and doing nothing lest you give away your own squad’s position. Firing only four shots in the space of an hour (one while blinded!), but taking out the four targets that were stalling the whole operation. Sneaking over to the enemy’s side and attacking them from behind, confusing the piss out of everyone. Airlifting an evacuating commando team out of a combat zone while your gunner tries to pin down the nutter with the RPG. Dragging a wounded stranger out of danger while under fire and surrounded by smoke, roaring engines and explosions, only to realise you’re the last two left, and the explosives are with the dead guy across the street. Covering the entrance to a courtyard surrounded by enemies as everyone regroups, patches up the wounded, and figures out what to do next. Even something as simple as holding a position can become incredibly tense.

      And so forth. It’s not without its flaws, and sometimes it’s bloody annoying (eg: having half your team inexplicably killed because they tried to lie down on top of a rock), but if you can learn to tolerate that, there’s nothing like it.

      And don’t worry if you’re crap to start with. Everyone is. Play a few games with RPS, some Domination with randoms (you can have a good laugh here if you’re lucky), and then set up a shooting range in the level editor – put down some weapon crates next to a building, and lots of neutral targets at various ranges on an adjoining plain – half of learning to shoot is just estimating ranges and becoming familiar with a handful of common weapons like the M4, AK, the British rifles whose name I forget. Oh, and the Lee Enfield, which is the best thing ever.

      Of course, if you have a monster PC, you might want to wait for Arma 3.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      I don’t play on random public servers at all for the most part. I would highly recommend finding a group to play with of some kind.

      Thankfully, that actually isn’t too difficult in ARMA 2.

      Personally I don’t play with RPS so I can’t say much about that, but there are a few other groups I like to recommend.

      United Operations is relatively newbie friendly and often has relatively frequent playing times. Another perk is that they also run a lot of the more common mods, so by going there first you’ll have to install most of the commonly used ones so if you play elsewhere you’ll already have a lot of them installed.

      I’d also recommend 15thMEU. They’re also relatively newbie friendly on their recruiting server.

      Even though I haven’t played with them much, I’ve heard good things about Task Force Blackjack as well, so that’s another group you might want to check out as well.

      Something I recommend in any case if you want to get into ARMA 2 multiplayer is to get SixUpdater, as it makes installing the mods needed to play on various servers much easier.

  3. Unfair says:

    As usual, my quick video review of the indie bundle portion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqHf6XgweFg

    Indie Royale All-Charity Bundle (Blueberry Garden, B.U.T.T.O.N., Osmos, Shivah)
    Blueberry Garden in particular was very short but had a nice feel.

  4. KauhuK says:

    I bought Serious Sam 3 BFE from amazon using some random address in Chicago from google maps.

  5. vworp says:

    I’ve just bought Arma 2 from amazon using a randomly selected US address. Just make sure the address is set as your primary delivery address when you checkout.

  6. Aloshi says:

    How is Rayman Origins? I like 2D platformers but all my friends are bad at them, so I’d probably play single player. Is there a lot of content? Is it fun?

    EDIT: Thanks for the input! Looks like I’ll be picking it up.

    • trjp says:

      I loved it (on Wii of all places) – it has an early Sonic vibe in that there’s a super-fast path through the game, but there’s also a need to slow down to check for secrets and other stuff.

      Difficulty – it feels quite tough initially but when you get the hang of it it’s not too bad – it’s not Super Meat Boy or VVVVV hard, for sure.

    • terry says:

      It’s charming and magical. Some levels are far beyond my patience, but they’re generally not required.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      I have been pleasantly surprised by it, and it’s well worth a purchase at any price.

    • Dilapinated says:

      It’s an amazing game, just completed the main plot with a friend. I hope you have a similar time with it. :)

  7. trjp says:

    At time of writing, the Steam Ubi Deal of the Day is From Dust, Raymon Origins and Shoot Many Robots – all half-price.

    From Dust we’ve discussed on here before, Rayman Origins just above here but then there’s SMR.

    If you have friends (online multiplayer on PC – local as well on the XBOX version for some reason ) then it’s a decently frantic shooter which is just a BIT repetitive.

    If you don’t have friends tho – you’ll probably run into a brick wall (I’m absolutely convinced that you cannot complete that game solo without a chunk of luck or a miracle but I’d like to be proven wrong in that they’ve fixed the problems!?!?)

  8. rustybroomhandle says:

    I hope Rocket is getting a raise, or at least Employee of the Month.

  9. The Tupper says:

    Superb – I’ve been wanting to get Lunar Flight for a while – downloading now.

    At the sale price I reckon Driver San Francisco should be bought by everyone. It’s a great laugh.

    • trjp says:

      Driver:SF has been cheap before (I managed to get it for about £6-odd) but it’s fantastic at any price and that’s a steal…

      If you can’t get some fun out of it, there is NO driving game you’d enjoy IMO. It has stunts, races, tricks, daft stuff – the writing is decent – the PC port is OK too tho you probably want a pad to actually be able to play it (anyone playing driving games with a keyboard is missing the point surely??)

      p.s. it’s a skinner-box of a game – tonnes to do, loads of unlocks and rewards – if you’re one of those strange people who doesn’t like that stuff, you might want to give it a miss perhaps…

      • LTK says:

        Er, do you know what a Skinner box actually is? That’s generally not a flattering thing to say about the game.

        And what happened to the nightmarish Ubi-DRM that came with Driver: SF on launch? Is it still there?

        • ComradePenguin says:

          It got scaled back to being online at launch of the game before release and the description on GetGames suggests it’s only at install now but how reliable that is I don’t know.

        • trjp says:

          I’m pretty sure it’s install-only (or perhaps an occasional checkin) DRM.

          I certainly managed to play it when Ubi’s servers were being maintained – simply by checking the “Offline” box on the launcher doodah.

          As for a skinner box – I know what one is and it’s a term used in gaming a lot, for games which are constantly teasing you along with achievements, awards, collectables, unlockables, new events, new bits of story etc.

          Just keep hitting that button – basically – and D:SF is the skinnerest skinner box game I’ve played since WoW, I think – I lost count of the unlockables and other stuff it throws at you.

        • KenTWOu says:

          I’m 100% sure it’s being online at install only DRM.

      • Phinor says:

        And just to ruin the argument about there being no driving games you’d enjoy if you get nothing out of SF: Driver, I think (based on demo) that it’s one of the least enjoyable driving games I’ve had the pleasure of playing and I like most of the non-arcade stuff and even some arcade stuff like Blur and Trackmania. The insane amount of rubberbanding ruined any enjoyment I might get out of the race events and what little else was in the demo hardly convinced me.

        That being said, there’s a good chance you will enjoy the game if you enjoy driving games. It’s a high quality 80 metacritic driving game with some silly things in it. I just didn’t enjoy it, at all.

        • KenTWOu says:

          SF: Driver, I think (based on demo) that it’s one of the least enjoyable driving games I’ve had the pleasure of playing…

          Driver:SF demo is awful, the actual game is awesome.

    • Tacroy says:

      Just FYI, nobody should buy Driver SF until the very end of the sale weekend – it’s at a prime time in its life cycle to be one of the daily deals, so if you buy it right now you might pay 66% when it’s gonna be 50 or 75% off in a couple of hours.

      But yeah I’m totally getting it – sounds like Burnout Paradise except without the creepy city what’s been taken over by cars.

      • trjp says:

        No-one is talking about the Steam weekend deal – GetGamesGo are offering it for less than £5, which is the same as 75% off from Steam…

        • Tacroy says:

          Oh huh I missed that. GetGamesGo won’t even load for me right now though, so I guess I’ll wait either way :)

  10. LazyGit says:

    Whenever I see ‘The Void’ mentioned I think it’s referring to the time bubble forming, futuristic art heist Source mod ‘Void’. I loved it and saw a lot of potential in the concept. Does anyone have any idea if it’s going to be developed into a full game?

  11. westyfield says:

    Supreme Commander 2 is better than ‘adequate’. It’s pretty damned good, it just pales in comparison to the splendour of SupCom 1.

  12. MondSemmel says:

    The GoG promo contains some great games – Dungeon Keeper 1+2, Populous 1+2 (I never really played those) in addition to those mentioned above.
    However, apparently GoG’s Dungeon Keeper versions aren’t that great – definitely check the GoG forums before you decide to buy those. (There are tons of complaints that DK2 doesn’t work in Win7, for example.)
    On the other hand, if you did or _do_, in fact, buy these, please do tell me if the gog versions of DK1+2 specifically were worth the money. I love the games, but will I love these versions, too?

    • Gasmask Hero says:

      People complain that DK1 is the Dos version, which apparently limits it’s resolution. And it also means the expansion pack can’t be played with it. Having only played the Dos version, without the expansion pack, many years ago…I can’t say whether these complaints are justified or not.

      GoG DK2 works fine on my setup. Sure it crashes, but no more than any other game.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Unfortunately boxed retail DK2 was pretty crashy on Win98, too. And XP SP1, which postdates it. Not to do with GOG or the inexorable march of progress: it’s just not a very stable game.

    • Korvus Redmane says:

      I picked the Dungeon Keepers up yesterday, and havn’t yet run DK 2. However I had only one minor issue with DK, that the sound was very choppy, which a quick google revealed could be fixed by adjusting the speed with ctl+f11 (down) and ctl+f12 (up). It is low resolution (like it was originally? don’t really remember it looking all that great) but i got used to that pretty quickly, my problem was that having mostly played DK2 in the past I kept trying to drag squares, which you can’t do in DK. I should probably add that I’m on an aging vista laptop running duel mirrored monitors, no real problems.

      • cluddles says:

        You can switch between low- and high-res by pressing Alt-R. High-res didn’t work out so well for me in DOSBox because it killed my framerate, and turning up the cycles to compensate made the sound stutter.

        I’d recommend checking out KeeperFX – it’s an unofficial “expansion” for DK that lets you run the game without having to go through DOSBox, so it generally runs a bit smoother. It also adds support for higher resolutions and extra levels (there’s a ton of fan-made campaigns and maps) and, conveniently, it works with the GOG version of the game.

  13. pakoito says:

    But Alpha Centauri doesn’t come with Alien Crossfire :(

    • MadMatty says:

      Alien Crossfire is quite unbalanced compared to the vanilla version, so we always play without.
      Some of the big Alien units are just so overpowered they´ll walk straight thru Any and All armies from the original game.

      Theres more than enough stuff in the original game to keep you busy anyways.

    • malkav11 says:

      None of the EA games include their expansions. Nor does GoG even offer them. It’s a shame. I’d cheerfully pick up Alpha Centauri and Dungeon Keeper from them, but I want the full package. (I do have both on disc, so it’s not like I’m turning down amazing games just because of the lack of expansion. I even have Alien Crossfire..)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Perhaps they weren’t able to knobble the CD-check out of it for whatever reason. (Could well be licensing forbidding modification, rather than lack of technical ability.) The original had no such thing.

      • malkav11 says:

        Since the lack of expansion packs is common to virtually every EA game on GoG, I think it’s more likely a licensing issue.

  14. MadMatty says:

    If youre feeling that games are to samey these days, without original concepts, i´d recommend you get Populous 2 (Same as 1 but with more stuff). DONT get Populous 3, the one with the Shaman, as its leaning much more towards a traditional RTS.
    I played Pop2 as late as in 2009 and its still a winner. Nice Isometric 2d graphics, which is in my book preferable to early millenium polygon games.
    Its the gameplay which makes it so great tho- and if you can get it working in multiplayer, youre in for a treat!

    Other than that, the Amazon pack seems like a complete steal- most of the games got high review scores aswell.

  15. MadMatty says:

    The Void should be Instabuy at that price, even tho you MIGHT not play more than a few hours in, coz that game is Hard, like Really Hard.
    It has great writing and setting, quite unlike the sub-par sub-Hollywood crap were getting spoonfed from the big “Triple A” studios.
    Wonderful artwork and Ambience.

    • Mistabashi says:

      It’s worth pointing out that there’s a mod that makes the game much easier (I think one of the devs made it), which is worth considering if you don’t like the idea of potentially having to start the game over because you made a mistake (it happens).

      I agree that everyone should give this game a go, it may not turn out to be your cup of tea but it’s certainly unique and has some amazing audio/visual design and ambience.

  16. Riaktion says:

    When is Saints Row 3 gonna be under a tenner dammit?

    • trjp says:

      It’s been that at ShopTo for at least a month

      http://www.shopto.net/DOWNLOAD/VIDEO%20GAMES/DWNLD28020-Saints%20Row%20the%20Third.html

      £6.85 to be precise – all you get is a Steam Key so you can pursue DLC from there if you’re so inclined…

      • HungryDave says:

        Is there any way to get that price when ordering from the US? I so need to this for a buddy and myself.

        • trjp says:

          ShopTo are quite strict – you have to enter a card just to sign-up (they charge it and then refund it – presumably to check your address/age) so they know where the buyer lives/you can’t sneak around that.

          What they give you is just a Steam Code tho – I cannot see why someone in the UK couldn’t buy a code for you and send it over – it should work (can’t be certain I guess but I can’t see why not).

          Snag for me doing that is that it won’t let me buy another copy – so if you want a copy you’ll need to get one from someone who doesn’t already have it I guess – if you want 2, you’ll need to 2 people??

          Check the smuggling thread on the forums here – usually people there who’ll do this sort of thing…

    • 2PartReturn says:

      What trjp said. I finally gave in because for that price it’s silly not to. It’s a bit of a fiddly site, and seemingly impossible to pay with PayPal the first time, but they do instantly provide valid keys. Just need to keep away from it long enough to pass an exam now.

  17. Radiant says:

    Just Cause on steam; will the cheat mode programs I use to make the game IMMENSE fun [stronger ropes powah weapons etc] set off the steam anti cheat / sword of damocles thingum?

    • wastelanderone says:

      Nope, you can mod it and hack to your heart’s content. The only thing that sets off the anti-cheat system is if you’re hacking while playing online on VAC-enabled servers, so worry no more!

  18. Kuschelwampe says:

    After buying Endless Space Emperor Special Edition, Krater, FM2012, Crusader Kings II I said to myself:
    “Now I’m gonna stop buying new games! Really!”…..and now this damn Square Enix Ultimate Edition!
    Damn It! I should stop reading here.
    Btw, I used borderlinx to create an US billing adress, which worked just fine.

  19. fuggles says:

    Customary “BUY THE VOID IT IS UNIQUE, ORIGINAL AND AMAZING!” post, because of all the reasons listed. It’s also not all that hard, just that you will fail on your first attempt as you can’t grasp what needs to be done on time. Once you have a map of what needs to be done the game is very doable, although at one point I finished a boss with literally my last drop of ammo which couldn’t be closer! There are several difficulty patches and a good lets play on youtube so please have a look.

    Also, Sim City 2000 – huzzah!

  20. lomaxgnome says:

    Alpha Centauri is still the only 4x game with meaningful terrain manipulation, an advance in the genre that should have become a standard but never has.

  21. sephirotharg says:

    Perhaps a silly question, but how does Alpha Centauri hold up today? It’s one of those games I’ve always wanted to play but never gotten around to. I’ve no particular preference for any game in the Civ series, they were all fun times.

    • The Tupper says:

      I’d be interested to hear an answer to that as well. I worry that Civ 4 has spoiled me for any others.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Things that Civ IV improved on that you might miss in SMAC:
        * Telling units to sleep or skip a turn just sets a flag, and you can change your mind within the same turn and reawaken them at no cost
        * Seeing exactly why the AI is hungry for your blood (although you can still get an indication of how much they love or loathe you)
        * The religion system (favored civics and leader personalities are in, though)
        * Prettier graphics (although the 3D-heightmap-ified tiles and voxel units aren’t that shabby)

        Things Civ IV left out:
        * A terrain system that’s actually more sophisticated than a boardgame, with a simple (but that means predictable, so you can reason about it) climate simulation
        * Sea colonies
        * Custom units by sticking components together
        * Superweapons that are actually super (seriously, the planetbuster is well-named, and makes Civ’s nukes look like kittens sneezing)
        * A hostile environment that’s more nuanced than randomly spawning barbarians
        * Some pretty darn neat sci-fi trappings

        Note that I don’t list Leonard Nimoy’s voice, because SMAC has some corking tech discovery/secret project quotes from the various faction leaders to give it a much bigger sense of setting.

        SMAC isn’t really significantly better or worse than Civ IV. They’re both excellent and different. (Now, if they made a SMAC2 with the same kind of leap as Civ IV was from its predecessors, none of us would ever have free time again…)

    • Unaco says:

      Play it! Just play it. It still holds up today, as far as gameplay and mechanics and interface and things like that… everything, pretty much. It’ll look a little aged, but from that ageing it loses nothing of its functionality. It’s probably closest to Civ2 (which is no bad thing), but has some (still) unique features over it (I’m thinking things like fully customisable/modular units, the Planet ‘faction’, terrain manipulation and a malleable climate). The only real issue might be compatibility with modern systems, as there were some issues with the engine and multiple cores, but if it’s GoG it should be fixed.

      Don’t worry about it holding up today… It’s one of those classics that will never truly age, never decrease in worth. It’s probably the best Civ-game ever made, in my opinion.

      • sephirotharg says:

        That’s what I’d hoped! I guess I won’t be going to sleep tonight…

        • Sleepymatt says:

          Not this night, or much of the rest of the month, I’d wager…

          Awesome game then, and still awesome now.

          Fear the swarm brother!

      • Mistabashi says:

        Just want to chime-in with this recommendation; I’ve never really been able to get into Civ because it’s all a bit dry and boring to me, but the sci-fi setting and all the trappings it entails like customiseable units, the planet ecology and the various idealistic factions really made Alpha Centauri for me. It has some notable flaws, in particular I think diplomacy options are a bit lacking, but it still holds up today and the presentation is still great. So definitely give it a whirl if you’re at all interested :)

    • bill says:

      Wanted to ask the same question – but from the viewpoint of someone who’s always hear about it, but never actually played a CIV game.

      I guess my worry isn’t exactly about it “holding up”, but I’m wondering if I’ll have a clue what’s going on.
      I feel like starting on a normal Civ might be more accessible, as I’ll have some idea of the effects of researching “carts” or “farming”, but I probably won’t have a clue if i should put my time into “biodomes” or “laser” or “plasma fields”.

  22. kud13 says:

    Saints Row 2, $4.5 on GamersGate this weekend.

    for someone who kept putting off buying this, such as myself, it was great news.

  23. namad says:

    Supcom2 was a joke, a cruel joke of awfulness, not at all adequate… that’s just bad reporting!

    supcom1 is 1000times better, supcom2 is some sort of dumbed down ruined joke of a travesty that received ravingly negative reviews

    • Vinraith says:

      Sup Com 2 got some very strong reviews, actually, including an endorsement from 3MA:

      http://flashofsteel.com/index.php/2010/03/23/three-moves-ahead-5/

      It’s very different from the original Supreme Commander games, but is a solid RTS in its own right whose only major flaw is weak AI. Fortunately, there are mods for that.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I really, really wouldn’t call that it’s only major flaw.

        The damn writing, for one. And it’s not like SupComm1 aimed or hit high. But at least it didn’t make me want to mass-nuke every character in the demo.

        • Vinraith says:

          Writing? What writing? Oh, you must mean the campaign. Why would anyone play that, it’s one of those useless linear story-driven messes. They’re all terrible.

          • LionsPhil says:

            ‘Cause that’s what the demo showcased. I honestly can’t remember if it had a Skirmish option. If it did, the fact I’ve completely forgotten it is probably not a point in its favour…

            Besides, RTS campaigns can be good. Look at the first C&C.

          • malkav11 says:

            Because that’s the only part of the RTS genre that actually appeals to me. Skirmishes are just hurling the same handful of units against each other over and over on maps that typically do little more than reposition chokepoints, resources and elevation. I’m sure there’s plenty of richness for people who enjoy drilling down to the basic building blocks and evolving maneuvers and countermaneuvers and whatnot, just as plenty of people get really into games like chess and go. But that sort of thing is horrifically dry and dull for me. Campaigns vary the pieces I have to work with, introduce complicating variables, set me up against long odds from the beginning, etc. Plus that lovely dose of context and story that I find crucial for investment in most games.

            Now, sure, RTS campaigns are not infrequently bad and/or boring – it’s why I’m at best a dabbler in the genre and have tended to dislike supposed genre classics like Age of Empires and Total Annihilation. But all the same, they’re what I evaluate the game on, because they’re the only part that even has a chance to appeal.

          • Vinraith says:

            @malkav11
            If you care about authorial narrative, I really can’t think of any RTS, ever, that you’d want to play. The best RTS campaigns, IMO, are those that create strategic context, provide continuity of forces and position, and let you lose and face the consequences of losing. The traditional “string of unfailable missions which unlock a series of cinematics” is just an awkward intrusion of authorial narrative into a genre, strategy, which is entirely about emergent narrative. It strips everything interesting out of the game, by making your own actions irrelevant to the story.

            Back to topic, yes, Sup Com 2′s campaign is useless crap. It wouldn’t even occur to me to say that, though, because as far as I’m concerned “linear, story based” and “crap” are synonyms.

          • malkav11 says:

            There’s certainly something to be said for emergent narrative, but most RTSes have nowhere near the variety, complexity, or depth of simulation to make for anything engaging on a narrative level (which is not to say that they don’t offer rewards on other levels that have nothing to do with narrative), again, any more than chess matches offer any sort of intrinsic narrative joy. About the only ones I can think of off the top of my head that might would be Men of War (et al) and the Achtung Panzer games, and those already move pretty far afield from the traditional RTS framework as laid down by games like Starcraft and Age of Empires.

            As to why I’d want to play the traditional sort of campaign, it’s precisely the same reason as I’d want to play linear shooter campaigns (which I do, btw). I enjoy the basic formula of the gameplay, but I need it in a context that delivers variety, context, and plot. In this case, I like ordering around groups of soldiers and war machines (it scratches much the same urge that summoner classes do in RPGs for me), and to a slightly lesser extent, building bases and defensive structures and whatnot. I just want it to be in service of something besides a bald “blow up the other guy’s base”. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a -good- plot as long as the missions are entertaining. (See Starcraft II.)

            The sort of campaigns you describe are all right, I guess (they at least make it a little more than -just- skirmishing), but they put all the stuff I’m looking for in the (usually turn-based) strategic layer, at which point I’d usually rather they just flesh out the turn-based bits and skip the real time battling.

          • lordcooper says:

            @malkav11: For the love of Science, please play Warrior Kings (the original, not Battles)

          • LionsPhil says:

            Campaigns vary the pieces I have to work with, introduce complicating variables, set me up against long odds from the beginning, etc.

            This kind of thing is why I bring up C&C1 as a stellar example. The section of the GDI campaign where your funding has been pulled and you have to get by with scrounging for broken bases and trying not to lose a tank because there wasn’t money to supply you with an MCV and you don’t have a war factory, just a repair pad, was ace. NOD have some interesting ones with timely use of engineers, too. A good singleplayer campaign can set up scenarios which simply aren’t going to happen in “OK you both have your first builder unit, now fight to the death” skirmishes.

            (It also doesn’t really try to tell any kind of story with human elements or such badly-executed Squeenix garbage. About the closest “plot” characters come to actually interacting is Kane shooting a traitor and talking over video footage of Dr Mobius. Something they completely arsed up in later C&Cs with amateur dramatics from overpaid actors.)

  24. lobsterentropy says:

    Code for Just Cause 2 since Steam won’t let me add it as a gift code:
    H0HIV-5P3YJ-3N9RR

    Edit: Blood Bowl Legendary Edition is 10 bucks. Worth it?

    • bill says:

      Good question.

      I assume they’ve finally dropped the price because they’ve got two new variants on the way… does that make Legendary obsolete in the same way Legendary made Dark Elves and Original obsolete?

      anyone care to guess?

  25. GameCat says:

    “Hobo Tycoon” – this game MUST be made.

  26. deanimate says:

    Bought combined operations from amazon.com yesterday. Chucked in some random oregon address I found and it worked immediately. Didn’t have to wait for amazon to verify anything just started downloading. Now I need to figure out how to stuff in the game. Like using bandages :/

  27. vivlo says:

    ok, so i got those exciting things from amazon aaand… it sucks. I now understand why people want their game through Steam, after a night my computer spent on trying to download Arma games, and this morning it just went “f`*ck you” telling me some unlekely shit was not found on my computer, hence i had to restart it from scratch. After 7 hours of download, and it was nearing 100%. For files that are 7GB large, this is really fucking annoying…
    It seems though that you can stop a download and restart it from the point it stoppped, in normal cases.