Underdogs, Ho

Legally grey abandonware site Home of The Underdogs disappeared off to whatever under it is dogs come from a little while back, after the site’s hosts ran out of money. While we could all argue about the rights and wrongs of hosting out-of-print games without the blessing of their creators/owners until the undercows come home, it’s hard to deny it was a temptingly useful way to play the PC games of yesteryear. Even when did you already own dusty floppy copies of ’em.

With it gone, tracking down specific retro PC games has become a whole lot harder, and that’s no doubt happy news as far as some are concerned. Seems the Underdogs might yet find a new home, however.

Former HOTU boss Sarinee popped up a post recently revealing that there are revival plans for the site – somewhat complicated by the fact she no longer has copies of all the games she used to host. So, to get the place up and running again would involve, as well as jumping through hosting and law-dodging hoops, someone aggregating all the former content. That’d be these guys, then.

So, er, should we be well-wishing the project? Well personally I think – oh, look over there, it’s a bee!

What, me? No, I wasn’t saying anything. Anyway, let’s hope Steam and GoG.com amass enormous retro catalogues as soon as possible. Then we won’t need an Underdogs, right?

Thanks to Jay for the tip.

74 Comments

  1. Gap Gen says:

    Yes, hopefully digital distribution will enable legitimate and cheap ways to obtain ancient games. That said, there’s a reason games are abandonware, and often it means that the publisher or developer aren’t around to either coordinate the sale or benefit from its sale.

    Alpha Centauri + Alien Crossfire recently appeared on Play, though, so I bought that after having a slightly grey copy of Alien Crossfire.

  2. Tei says:

    Yay.. true. Underdogs has served us well before the start of the digital download services like GoG. Maybe the catalog is still bigger. But Is a good thing that this type of website now are phased out, because theres money now to patch games to don’t run on newer versions of windows. This patching is a thing we don’t have with the old’s abandonware rings. Abandonware has help put a price on old titles, hence, .. help save these titles from total obscurity. Now, It will be a good thing if digital downloads services fullfill the promises of books like “the Long Tail” and *everything* is on his catalogs.

    I doubt it.

  3. PC Monster says:

    I miss HOTU. I was often a great place to go just to browse and see what would take your fancy. The thematic links and suggestions helped me discover a few interesting and enjoyable games I never would have otherwise.

    As for the legality, if no-one is actively looking after the games then they still deserve a place to shine. I have more than one ‘grey’ title that I would not have been able to source without HOTU or having the good fortune to find the item listed on eBay.

    I like that she’s looking for more of a community effort ont he site this time around – a kind of wikipedia of gaming reviews. Here’s to a swift return.

  4. ShaunCG says:

    I would be honestly surprised if commercial digital distribution platforms ever rivalled the scope of comprehensive abandonware sites like HOTU. HOTU’s policies on offering games for download always seemed very reasonable: were there anywhere to buy a game legitimately, even for an ancient title, they would link users to it and not link to a download copy of the game. For everything otherwise unavailable they had no qualms about offering it up. Which, given that they mainly listed very old titles, seemed entirely reasonable.

    That said it was obviously a lot less grey when they listed the occasional relatively-recent title, particularly one owned by an existent publisher or developer. But still. I’m very glad to see that the site might rise from the ashes.

    (I came across an interesting statistic in relation to music recently: “[Andrew] Dubber describes how, in 2006, he asked Universal Music – one of the world’s biggest record labels – how much of their music was currently available for sale. The answer? Two percent. Ninety-eight percent of Universal’s music was locked in a vault somewhere.” The games industry can’t rival that sort of disproportionate unavailability, of course, but anyone who sees games as cultural artefacts as well as commercial products has to regard such a state as utterly atrocious.)

    (Oh, and speaking personally I much prefer to buy older games from Steam, Gog, Impulse, etc., but HOTU kept me entertained through many a penniless student weekend.)

  5. Cooper says:

    Work such as HOtU in creating meaningful databases of old games is essential for games as aculutral medium. We need to have access to these archives the same way other cultural mediums do.

    HOtU was a fantastic site, until it got bogged down with massive lag and annoying pop ups. Though otjher sites exist, HOtU was full of great reviews and the database was catalogued more extensively than I’ve seen anywhere else…

    That being said, I would rather GoG etc. develop their catalogues. If only because they tend to come with some proviso that they work on modern OSs. Getting old games to work has caused me many a headache in the past…

    Even so, there will always be more games out there which publishers don’t care to re-release or even where publishers don’t know they own the rights…

  6. phil says:

    HoTU seemed to link to as many games being sold legitimately as possible, only offering the games that were truly unavailable, I thought it achieved a perfect shade of grey. The retrospective reviews were also superb, real labours of love.

  7. Theoban says:

    Regardless of the downloadable content, HotU was a brilliant archival site, and I found information there about games I would never have even heard of without it.

    I would never have played System Shock 2 without Home of the Underdogs, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

  8. bansama says:

    If most of the old games did turn up on GOG, I think a lot of the devlopers, publishers or whoever now holds the rights to ’em, would be pleasantly surprised by the flow of income they’d get of them. Certainly got to be better than just do nothing with the rights, right?

  9. clovus says:

    You know, at least under US copyright law, HOTU was not legally grey. It was a case of very clear copyright infringement. And that’s a problem. I’m pretty sure any country following the Berne Convention (or whatever) has the same rules.

    Luckily for computer games, it is only a legal problem. Bittorrent pretty much assures us that old games will never be completely lost. What is interesting is that this same thing happens for other types of media. Movies form the 20s, 30s, and 40s are being lost because of copyright problems. It is almost impossible to even figure out who owns copyrights on this stuff. It would cost something to restore this culture, but a business could definitely make money offerring restored un-known movies. But, no one can take the risk since they can get sued for everything they earn (and more) when a rightsholder finally shows up. It is ridiculous that we can now perfectly perserve our culture but can’t because of draconian laws.

    It is great that sites like GOG exist, but they almost make the situation worse. The HOTU argument was that these games were abandoned. But there is no way to know if the rightsholder would ever fix them up and re-release them and make some money. People didn’t see that ever occurring, but it does a lot now.

    It is also a little more dubious to copy games since most of this stuff isn’t even outside of what would be a reasonable length for a copyright (20 years?).

  10. PC Monster says:

    “Getting old games to work has caused me many a headache in the past…”

    Getting games to work – even modern titles – is an integral part of the PC experience, imho. Emulators, messing about with Ini and config files, modding, etc. Separates the Men from the console-owning boys. Rrawwr!

  11. rocketman71 says:

    HotU was great, hope it returns. Developers should pay to maintain HotU, and any game older than, say, 10 years, should automatically go in and be free.

  12. clovus says:

    Certainly got to be better than just do nothing with the rights, right?

    Not for the big corporations who own this stuff. They’d rather sell you a new $60 game, then get $5 for some old game. They really don’t want gamers finding out that there a lot of free/cheap old games out there with better gameplay than the current ones.

  13. Tom says:

    Actually I think that services such as GoG are a real danger to keeping old gaming gems alive.
    As soon as a game gets added to their catalog, it becomes illegal for abandon ware sites to host said game, as it is no longer ‘out of print’ so to speak.

    I personally think that anything (games, music, books..) should not fall under restrictive copyright laws, and should after a certain amount of time fall into public domain.
    The rights to a certain IP should of course stay with their respective authors, the products should not.

    In this case, old computer/video games, I think it is quite easy to make a case. They have zero commercial value.
    Their only ‘value’ is that which we ‘retronerds’ give them, and services like GoG set out to exploit just that.

    If I want to play an old game, I find a way to do so. The most extreme measure of getting old games running in modern OSes is a straight port, which an incredible community of mostly open source projects is doing for so many games right now. Sadly they receive little or no help from developers or publishers and are largely either ignored or sued out of existence.

    To summarize, Bring on HotU, Don’t pay for something that should not cost anything, and if you can, port your favourite game to your favourite OS, or learn how to use an emulator ;)

  14. Troy Goodfellow says:

    It’s “Sarinee”.

    And did you just call her a Ho?

  15. Alec Meer says:

    Oops, fixed. And the title’s a torturous Thundercats reference.

  16. Markoff Chaney says:

    Phenomenal news. Until the libraries of the world realizes the true import of interactive media and, especially, the importance of maintaining a proper catalogue of past titles we will have to pick up the slack. I, for one, hope no games are ever completely lost to the 0/1 ether of “I thought I saved a copy somewhere…”.

  17. clovus says:

    @Tom: I have real moral problems with old games. On one hand, I feel like I should do what you are saying. But then when I see GOG I think, “Oh great, no moral dilemma now; I pay $5 and now have a legal copy.” But then I start wondering why I just paid someone $5 for something that really should be in the public domain. Then I move on and play a newer game before I go insane or drive my wife nuts complaining about copyright. My wife also hates DRM. Not because it stops her from playing games (Peggle works fine), but because I never stop complaining about it.

  18. AbyssUK says:

    hotubay.org ?? Somebody call Sweden!

  19. Ginger Yellow says:

    Especially (but not only) with games, the ability to play them on current hardware is just as important as the phsyical (digital) availability of the data when it comes to cultural archiving, so I’m very glad that GOG exists – and Virtual Console on Wii, for that matter. There’s no point in having a game available for free if there’s no way to play it – relying on bedroom coders to keep updating emulators for each new operating system and hardware configuration long into the future is not a sensible strategy. It means there’s a financial incentive for people to create things like DOSbox wrappers that allow people to play old games on new machines. And furthermore, it shows publishers that they can do something with their old IP other than sitting on it and suing anyone who tries to emulate or remake it.

  20. bansama says:

    They’d rather sell you a new $60 game, then get $5 for some old game.

    Whether there old games for sale at $5 or not, some people are always going to want to buy the newer games. Old games maybe cheap but they are still not going to appeal to everyone. Thus they are no more a real danger to current releases than casual games are.

    And given the current economic climate I can’t help but think that holding onto rights and doing nothing with them is just a huge wasted potential for earning some extra profit and very little cost.

    But then again, these are the same companies that love to blame poor sales not on the quality of their product but on the supposed rampant piracy of people who cannot justify a $60 price tag.

    Darn, there goes another reply that manages to mention that damned P word >_>.

  21. Irish Al says:

    They can have my money for (a) being odd (b) trying to do something different and (c) reminding me of Thief for some reason.

  22. Dominic White says:

    HOTU was/is an amazing site. While the downloads were a definite advantage, I think the main draw of it was that it was a huge source of information. It had descriptions, reviews, facts, documentation, images and more of all the very most obscure games released, going back to the dawn of personal computing.

    As for the legality of the downloads, as covered, it isn’t *technically* legal, and some publishers declared the site as one of the signs of the apocalypse, but I’ve generally heard glowing praise from developers, who were glad that their games could live on even though nobody was selling them anymore.

    I’d imagine it’d suck to put months/years of effort into making a game, only for it to dissapear entirely from the face of the planet once your publisher decided that they’d sold enough.

  23. Helm says:

    I will echo the sentiment expressed in this thread a bit, sorry.

    Underdogs was also a historically and culturally important site not because it gave us FREE GAMES but because it has quite comprehensive and the information on there was organized in an academically useful way. I shouldn’t need to pay for every old game I want to examine briefly in terms of design and such. Most of the old PC games were very bad, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t worth examination by anyone interested in video game design. Just like how I can go to the library and check a few books for some relevant quotes without buying copies of them, HoTU provided for those with a historical appreciation for videogames on the PC. I very often downloaded Real Dogs and gave them a spin to see exactly why there as flawed as they were and then deleted them. Surely I don’t owe anyone money for doing that? I only should buy games that are good, right? In fact HoTU (or some similar future site) as a service is extremely important because having free access to all the failures of yesteryear is exactly where one’s critical capacity might be honed.

  24. JonFitt says:

    I used the site a few times. There were a few old games some that I owned or friends owned and I looked them up for nostalgia’s sake.
    I think it’s important that old games be available for posterity.
    I honestly don’t think I would have paid actual money to play them though. The games I was looking up were too old and crusty. Especially when great new free-to-play games just rely on ad support.
    Maybe like a museum, copyright holders could just donate them but retain any future rights.

  25. Tom says:

    Relying on bedroom coders to keep updating emulators for each new operating system and hardware configuration long into the future is not a sensible strategy. It means there’s a financial incentive for people to create things like DOSbox wrappers that allow people to play old games on new machines.

    Actually, it is a very sensible strategy. You see, emulators such as DosBox, or even complete ports (EDuke for Duke3D for instance) are all open source software projects. They are generally engineered to be easily portable across lots of different platforms by using readily available cross platform toolkits. If a project should die, well anyone can just pick it back up, just where the old devs left it, which will ensure a much higher ‘survival-rate’ of the software over time, than any closed-locked-away-binary-offering by some maybe in a few years obscure company.
    The internet serves us as our ‘hive-mind’ and anything once ‘assimilated’ will stay with us forever. Resistance is futile ;)

  26. Xercies says:

    i don’t feel guilty not paying for old games, if its ten years old it should be abandonware. But companies don’t like this and some games go into game hell where you have to have an old disk at the back of your filing cabinet to play them otherwise you ain’t playing it.

    This is what has annoyed me with some of the earlier point and click games, especially Lucas arts which you can’t find for love nor money a copy of Monkey Island.

    So Abandonware sites like underdogs should be supported, for our gaming heritage.

  27. Lim-Dul says:

    Where’s this funny guy who was bashing RPS for posting about ScummVM when you need him? ;-)

  28. Ginger Yellow says:

    I’m certainly not knocking the open source projects, nor advocating a proprietary model. I was just singing the praises of ScummVM the other day. I’m just saying that the project needs to be more systematic, so the entry of operators demonstrating the commercial viability of making old games playable is a good thing for the long term archiving of gaming culture. It’s also an indicator of the growing (though still far too complacent) awareness within the industry itself that old games deserve and need archiving. Now that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have bad effects – obviously if publishers decide to sit on their IP, but more aggressively pursue abandonware/emulation sites, then we’ll hae taken a step backwards.

  29. ascagnel says:

    I would just like to briefly point out a few other websites that seem to have taken over for HotU: abandonia and Abandonia Reloaded. abandonia is far smaller than HotU, and has (from what I can tell) stricter rules, but is still a pretty good archive. AR focuses more on retro remakes, an under-acknowledged but still fun way to play classics.

  30. Panther says:

    I’d second Abandonia, they’re compiling a huge amount of information about all sorts of older PC games, and are very careful when allowing things for download.

    I’d agree with a blanket “older than 10 years” rule for abandonware, to bring it some legitimacy. I doubt that would ever get past the lawmakers though.

    We need our libraries of old games, to show what has gone before, and what has influenced the games of today.

  31. khorse says:

    Tom hit the nail on the head here. Games of a certain age should no longer have commercial value, they should be released to the public domain. If a game is 10+ years old OR is out of print, I encourage you to torrent it.

  32. caesarbear says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with the notion that sites like GOG.com are bad for old games. They are providing a service, and I for one would much rather pay small one time fees rather than a subscription model ala gametap.

    Even so, GOG could never hope to cover every game, and will have an impossible time selling 80s games like SSI’s Cartels & Cutthroats. These unsellables still have historical value but are caught in copyright limbo and aren’t popular enough to survive in pirate bittorrents. Even without the actual game to download, HotU filled in the numerous gaps left by MobyGames and offered a better virtual museum exhibit.

    I personally hope that the powers of Web2.0 are bestowed on a new HotU-like site. Where things like gameplay videos, cross referenced comments, and scans of magazine ads could enhance the experience.

  33. Mort says:

    PC Monster: […]”Separates the Men from the console-owning boys. Rrawwr!” :D

    Like others have said here, I think the main importance of sites like HotU or Abandonia is not to offer lots of downloads for free, that is a very narrow view of their role, but to allow access to past eras of gaming.

    I would never have played, say, Powermonger if I had to pay 5 bucks for it. No freaking way, It´d most likely be just a waste of 5 perfectly good dollars in something outdated that I might not enjoy at all.

    However, you had places like HotU where you could read very well written reviews, check some screenshots and download the game with no risk. Powermonger had some great and original gameplay concepts and I totally enjoyed the 3 or 4 hours I put into playing it, and this has been repeated with many other games.

    So, thanks to HotU I could see a part of the past of gaming I missed the first time around. And I wouldn´t have done it if I had to pay (per download I mean, subscribing to such a service is something I very likely would have done); I see this as “paying for the _possibility_ of a few hours of enjoyment”, as opposed to browsing sort of a comprehensive gaming history book. And when someone was still profiting from the game they wrote/published/whatever, there was no download, so they weren´t hurt. Hard as I try, I can´t see anything wrong with that…

  34. Alex says:

    It’s certainly annoying when a publisher stops selling or supporting a title, but why do you think copyright laws should treat these bits of interactive fiction differently than books or music?

    Xercies, I doubt you’d find many (sensible) people thinking Counter-Strike or Starcraft should be in the public domain.

  35. dadioflex says:

    “Tom hit the nail on the head here. Games of a certain age should no longer have commercial value, they should be released to the public domain. If a game is 10+ years old OR is out of print, I encourage you to torrent it.”

    Even something like Tetris? The sensible approach to copyright is a small default period which can be extended if the rights holder is prepared to pay. That then lets them balance whether it’s worth their while holding on to a property.

    Not that common sense matters as long as the rights holders have lobbying power.

  36. Erlam says:

    “…and any game older than, say, 10 years, should automatically go in and be free.”

    And then Blizzard wept…

  37. clovus says:

    If a game is 10+ years old OR is out of print, I encourage you to torrent it.

    That’s a pretty short time period. The original US copyright was 14 years, renewable to 28.

    Also, I don’t think it will make sense going forward. Take a look some games from 1999: Counter-Strike, System Shock 2, Planescape: Torment, etc. These are still really playable games. It doesn’t seem ridiculous to pay for an updated version of these. Also, copyright covers transformative works. Are Planescape’s story and characters now allowed to be used by another game designer? What about an independent game with a great story. Can a big corporation steal that now and update the graphics? That doesn’t seem fair at all.

    At some point copyright length become ridiculous. Robert Johnson is still under copyright. Wha?? But 10 years is not it.

    I think games will actually be enjoying longer lives in the future. For example, does Crysis make Far Cry unplayable? I don’t think so. Reaching the point of photorealism is going to make games more like movies. I watch old movies all the time.

    Of course, all this talk about copyright length is pointless. It doesn’t matter what the current law is – nothing will EVER enter the public domain again. Of course, if you are going to practice some civil disobedience, you need to determine your own appropriate length; but how do you do that? I keep trying, but can’t up with something that is reasonable that doesn’t just seem like an excuse to pirate music and movies that I like.

  38. khorse says:

    If they can pay to extend it you will have to come up with a complicated scheme to make sure that it is not copyrighted forever (e.g. Disney). The issue is pretty complicated but I don’t think anyone should expect a lifetime of compensation for a discrete amount of work. If you haven’t collected what you could in a 10 year period… well make something new!

  39. Tei says:

    On the other part, most old games are unplayable, all but titles like Baldurs Gate, have horrible and obscure interfaces that with today standards make then “bad” games… horrible “bad” and “broken” games. So these games are interesting for nostalgia or historical reasons, or curiosity. Enough to pay 1$, or something, maybe as free.

  40. clovus says:

    If they can pay to extend it you will have to come up with a complicated scheme to make sure that it is not copyrighted forever (e.g. Disney).

    You generally can only renew it so many times. Like once. The important thing is that you have to make a little effort, and it gets registered. That way it is really easy to know if something is still covered under copyright.

    Right now, everything is under copyright forever. Disney (and the other IP corps) will never allow anything to fall into the public domain again. The next time the copyright is about to expire on Steamboat Willie (rip-off of a Buster Keaton movie, BTW), laws, treaties, and conventions will be extended to stop it from hapenning.

  41. Robin says:

    “In this case, old computer/video games, I think it is quite easy to make a case. They have zero commercial value… Their only ‘value’ is that which we ‘retronerds’ give them, and services like GoG set out to exploit just that.”

    “Games of a certain age should no longer have commercial value, they should be released to the public domain. If a game is 10+ years old OR is out of print, I encourage you to torrent it.”

    *the sound of a million palms hitting a million faces*

    Old games have historically gone out of print and stopped being actively commercially exploited because historically it wasn’t worth putting games through retail that by modern standards looked horrible or didn’t run at all. The rise of digital distribution, DosBox, netbooks and other lightweight platforms, and the end of the stigma attached to 2D graphics (look at the successes of Puzzle Quest Galatrix and World of Goo) have changed the playing field.

    Copyright law should allow games developers to benefit from their work for as long as artists in any other field. (Leaving aside the whole messy issue of the Disney lobbying for indefinite extensions.) We’ve seen a fair few games legitimately offered for free at the end of their useful lives (GTA 1+2, Betrayal at Krondor, C&C, Red Alert). The likes of EA and Rockstar can afford to do this to promote new titles, but not everyone can. At the other end of the scale Eric Chahi still sells Another World in a visually spruced up form. Old entries in the Worms, Championship Manager and Age of Empires series still sell on budget labels today after over a decade.

    Copyright terms shouldn’t be dictated by what is convenient for people who’ve gotten used to being able to pirate everything. Games don’t all become “worthless” after any arbitrary amount of time, certainly not one as short as ten years.

  42. tssk says:

    I’ve said this at many places but it bears repeeating here. I can go into any bookstore and buy Shakespeare. Any record store and buy old Bing Crosby cd’s

    But Mercenary by Paul Woake’s? Tony Ngo’s Park Patrol? Things are getting better now of course and part of this is because of illeagal archives showing companies that here is value in their old stock. After all, I think the main problem for gamers was having noone to buy from and no way of running the software which was different from music and movie piracy.

    We still need a better way to deal with games though, I can lend my friend a book or a cd but can I lend them my copy of Fallout 3? Probably not. Some sort of share demo option is at least needed.

  43. khorse says:

    Copyright terms shouldn’t be dictated by what is convenient for people who’ve gotten used to being able to pirate everything. Games don’t all become “worthless” after any arbitrary amount of time, certainly not one as short as ten years.

    I agree, nothing becomes worthless after an arbitrary amount of time. In fact we can make it more valuable after a period of time, which was copyrights intention. Copyright law was set up both to help content creators and the greater good. In this case releasing games to the world without restriction is definitely a greater good. Like has already been said, in the U.S. that was originally 14 years. I am not talking about games specifically. I think all music, movies, books and games should be available after that period of time if not earlier. I have to work every day so you can cry me a river about how you worked really hard on a game from 1994 and how you deserve all the money in the world for it.

  44. JonFitt says:

    I think it’s the transformative works aspect which scares off a lot of rights holders (or at least the prospect of zero payment dissuades them from making the effort to make something available for free while retaining all future rights.)
    So if there was a site which engaged the copyright oners and which had a very clear policy of: we make this available for free to use, but derivative works and character rights (etc.) are still controlled by the original owners etc etc. perhaps that would work?

  45. cjlr says:

    HotU was awesome, but I’ve always had a preference for Abandonia… Dunno why, maybe just that I learned about it first. They’ve really kicked up the effort to find stuff like box scans and manuals and get some reviews lately, too.

    I think it’s important that these games are available somehow. That’s almost common sense, right? The history of the art form, and such. It matters to me that I can still find Ys or Albion or the old Ultima or Might and Magic games, y’know? Or Master of Orion, or Populous, or the Ancient Art of War, or Dune II, or Prince of Persia, or Beneath a Steel Sky, or Flight of the Amazon Queen, or King’s Quest, or Space Quest… Or, hell, the original Tetris… Or my favourite ever, Star Control II (and I, but def not III), which I still insist is in every way the spiritual predecessor of Mass Effect.

    I mean, this stuff’s history now. Our history, as gamers. It’s a damn shame so much old media has vanished into the ether. The things we call ‘classics’ are only the things that have managed to exist to today! Well, that’s an exaggeration, but still. The best definition of abandonware I know is stuff that can literally no longer be bought… A lot of the games I mentioned are way before my time (my dad got me started in 1995, when I was 4), but they’re of enough historical interest that they deserving playing; in some cases they’re even still fun, but at the very least it’s a background course on the history of video gaming.

  46. bananaphone says:

    HOTU was a vitally important resource, a shame it was always associated with piracy. The amount of information they held on old games was impressive and unmatched by any other source. I rarely downloaded anything, just clicked the random button and read the excellent reviews.

    I see in the blog post that a guy at Portsmouth Uni is starting a preservation project. This is something that should have happened a long, long time ago. How many movies and TV shows have been lost because they weren’t archived? We should have learnt from this and started preserving games a long time ago. A HOTU-style wiki could be the perfect public face of a video game museum.

  47. Robin says:

    “I am not talking about games specifically. I think all music, movies, books and games should be available after that period of time if not earlier.”

    Yes, let’s set up copyright law so that creators have an extremely limited time window to benefit from their work. I can’t see any drawbacks with this plan at all. It certainly won’t disincentivise creative work or risk taking, and will definitely make it easy for people to obtain works in future through highly reliable unofficial archives which can operate for free in perpetuity, just like HOTU.

  48. Fat says:

    Oh, never even noticed it was down. I was there only a couple of months ago i thought, looking for games that i could play on my laptop at uni.

    What?

    I’m on a Computing course, so it’s ”studying”… in my books anyway.

    Hope it comes back.

  49. kupocake says:

    System Shock. Steam. When?

  50. sinister agent says:

    Home of the underdogs was wonderful. I can’t believe it’s gone. It’s the only site I ever put up with anything remotely like that number of awful, horrendous adverts for, simply because the content was so vast and unique, and the efforts of the people on the technical help forum were simply outstanding.

    I tried to send them money ages back, too, but they never picked up the payment. Pity. I wish them all the best with the relaunch, but I can’t say I’d be surprised if it never happened.