Bargain Basket: Arcen games for the cheap

The Tidalis logo didn't fit, but that is on sale too.
It’s Saturday, so that means it’s time for another…..Hang on, it’s not Saturday! Never mind. The lovely folk over at Arcen games have just sent word that they are lopping off an entire 60% off all of their games. Not only does buying DRM-free direct from the developers come with a free warm fuzzy feeling deep in your belly, but in this instance you can (optionally) also use the code you get from Arcen to register the games on Steam if you prefer. Best of all worlds.

Here are the prices:
AI War: Fleet Command – £6.25/€6.32/$8
AI War: The Zenith Remnant – £3.13/€3.16/$4
AI War: Light of the Spire – £3.13/€3.16/$4
AI War: Children Of Neinzul – £1.06/€1.26/$1.60
Tidalis – £3.13/€3.16/$4

You can grab ’em all here, and you can read RPS coverage of them all here. The offer is available until the 1st of December, so you’ll have to be quick.

Under no circumstances could I condone UK folk pretending that they live elsewhere and paying via paypal to avoid paying VAT.

Whilst I am here, I might as well remind you that it is the last day of the Steam Thanksgiving Sale. Highlights include the rather sexy Indie Air pack, Cold Beam’s Beat Hazard, which lets you shoot your own music out of a spaceship, and the capitalizationally challenged DiRT 2. All for a bit of spare change.

If you want to always be abreast of video gaming discounts as and when they happen, make sure to spend every moment of your waking life on


  1. Simon Dufour says:

    So technically, I could buy Light of the Spire and register it on my Steam version of AI War? Then, it’s a buy! It’s the only one I don’t already own. TY Arcen game, you’re awesome!

    • Vinraith says:

      You can, although the LotS key won’t actually register on Steam until the official release (Dec. 9). However, you can still play the beta with your Steam version by plugging the key into the game itself once you start it, so it’s not really a big deal. Just don’t lose it for a couple of weeks. :)

    • SpinalJack says:

      You can get your DRM free version and then slap some DRM on it!

    • Starky says:

      Why is it someone always feels the need to say something like ^^^

      It’s just getting old and tired now.

      I could write a rebuttal, but I can’t be bothered, any thread involving steam will have someone making a similar comment… “steam DRM blah blah blah”.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Frankly, I think this is the absolutely best solution. Totally DRM free copy for those that want it, the lovely streamlined Steam stuff for those that want it. Buy direct from the dev, and no regional pricing or restrictions.

      I think nobody has anything to complain about whatsoever.

    • opel says:

      Using the key for steam doesn’t invalidate it for non-steam versions. So, yeah…

    • Vinraith says:

      Lewie’s got it right, this is literally the best of all worlds. The choice is up to the end user, as it should be, and one can always use both if one is so inclined.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      You can’t slap DRM on AI War. It has none, not even on Steam.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      @Malawi Frontier Guard

      Well Steam is DRM, so that’s the point (unless, and I’m not sure about this, you can load the Steam installed version without Steam running).

    • Vinraith says:


      I just tested that, out of curiosity. It turns you you CAN run the Steam version from the game .exe without having to have Steam running at all, so I suppose it’s that rare case where Steam really isn’t DRM in any sense.

    • JuJuCam says:

      @ Lewie yes, some steam installed games do allow you to run them outside of the steam environment. You can even copy them out of the steamapps directory if you are so inclined. I’m not sure about AI War specifically, but certainly most if not all of the legacy LucasArts games allow this, via DOSBox of course.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Brilliant, that’s news to me.

    • Maxrmk says:

      @Lewie and Jujucam
      You could copy it out of the steam app folder, but then its not registered properly in the registry and runs hella slow. I recommend shortcuts.

    • MWoody says:

      In the situation you describe, the one with something to lose is Valve, actually. They pay for the bandwidth but get no sale from it.

      You could argue that it behooves them overall, of course. I’m just pointing out that there is a loser here, at least superficially.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Pretty sure Valve are just happy with people using their service, and they wouldn’t have opted into this set-up unless they were happy about it.

    • anonymous17 says:

      The amount of bandwidth even 10,000 users downloading the entire AI series is a drop in the vast Steam ocean of bandwidth, daily.
      Allowing users to insert their registered codes is a good deal for Steam as it encourages more users into the Steam app, allowing Valve to advertise games directly to them in the future, thereby increasing future sales as well as allowing Valve to collect data which can then be useful to themselves and the original developers. Users benefit from automatic updates and, presumably although I have not checked, integrated multiplayer. Allowing indie devs to sell their keys direct ensures a little extra income goes their way, whilst the sales through the app directly would more than cover the bandwidth amounts, were they not covered (highly unlikely) simply by the pre-existing infrastructure.
      As mentioned above, combined with the choice of whether to use Steam at all makes this an excellent deal.

      Not to sure about Valve operating on the kindness of their hearts though, someone, somewhere at least thinks this makes business sense.

  2. Christopher M. says:

    Oh DARN IT!

    I just spent my last few free dollars on Knights of Honor… :(

  3. ROFLGASM says:

    never played ai war looks interesting tho…

    • Simon Dufour says:

      Try the demo, it has the full Tutorial which took me about 6 hours.

      Then, buy the game and all its EP. Worth it.

      Then, buy all Arcen games because they’re too awesome!

    • ROFLGASM says:

      im a poor fellow

  4. Vinraith says:

    AI War (and it’s parade of ever more wonderful expansions) is without question my favorite game of the last two years. It’s great in single player, it’s great in co-op, and it’s by far the most genuinely strategic RTS you’ve ever played. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    While I’m at it, Tidalis is an unusually brilliant little puzzle game, and at $4 it’s a flat-out steal.

    • says:

      Tidalis is great, and I hate that I couldn’t justify buying it earlier, but I’ve bought it now along with all the AI War expansions oh god where did my money go i hate you lewie “can’t speel” p

      Ah, screw it, I love him.

  5. Simon Dufour says:

    For anyone wondering, the header pic is a character from Tidalis. Perhaps the less disturbing character from Tidalis. Believe it or not.

  6. MrMud says:

    Hmm… Buy it now or buy it later and give Arcen more money? Tough question…

  7. Conor says:

    Pre-ordered just before the sale. Bah. More money for them, I suppose.

  8. Tei says:

    I have buy Tidalis. Hope it work on my netbook… probably not, but I feel a awesome puzzle game will fit nicelly on my collection :-D

    Cool!.. I can registered it on Steam :-D

    • mlaskus says:

      Tidalis should work on netbooks. It has some fancy graphics but it’s all in 2D and there are no tens of thousands of ships like in AI War. ;)

      Be sure to try different game modes before you judge it.

  9. Vinraith says:

    I don’t know if we have any other Linux users, by the way, but AI War (and the expansions) is one of the few games I’ve ever had work right-out-of-the-box under Wine. No strange glitches, no wrestling with settings, just install and go.

  10. Carra says:

    Metro 2033 for the cheap!

    Finally :)

  11. NecktieGrins says:

    My goodness! I didn’t know a beta of LotS was out/purchasable.

    Arcen, I may (still) be pretty lost when it comes to AI War, but goddamn if you folks don’t make it easy to love you.

  12. Boldoran says:

    Is there a “complete” pack or do I have to buy them one by one?

    • Vinraith says:

      You can pile them all in the cart and only check out once, but unfortunately you do have to select each one separately. I do wish they’d fix that.

  13. Keith LaMothe says:

    Thank you for helping get the word out, Lewie :) And to the rest of y’all for the support.

    And in response to the “complete” pack thing, yea, it does seem that it’s getting to the point that an expansion bundle would make sense, or something along those lines. Can’t call it “complete”, though, as we’re far from done ;)

    • Duality says:

      Give me a pack of the original game and the expansions, and I will give you a sale.

  14. dustygator says:

    Anyone want to get together for the Lead and Gold 10 pack? Anyone who has the game mind giving a quick breakdown of whether it’s worth it?

  15. Ziv says:

    I think I’ll pass on it this time. still haven’t finished men of war and now after the sale I have tons of games to play.
    I don’t need another life sucker to help me fail in physics.

  16. Vandelay says:

    You forgot to mention Metro 2033 is also on the Steam sale for £5. Downloading it as I type this.

    That means I have bought:

    Metro 2033 – £5
    Mount and Blade: Warband – £5
    Supreme Commander 2 – £2.49
    Lara Croft Guardian of Light – £5
    Alpha Protocol – £5

    £22.49 for five games. Not a bad deal. Now I’ve just got to find the time to play these games and before it inevitably happens all over again with the Steam Christmas Sale.

    • Paul B says:

      Do what I do, and let them stare mournfully at you whenever you open Steam – never to be clicked on and played. Am I the only one who buys games in Steam sales, and then never gets round to playing them?

    • Mithent says:

      I have about ten games in grey on Steam which I haven’t even got round to downloading, never mind all those which I’ve barely played at all. I really need to actually get round to finishing some of them rather than buying more because they’re cheap.

    • Carra says:

      @Paul B.

      Yeah, I also have quite a few games in my steam catalog that I still have to play.

      -Metro 2033
      -The indie package with recettear, the one with cogs & the one with vvvvv
      -Supreme Commander 2

      On the plus side, if I’m ever bored I have plenty of choice of new games to play. Still have to play games like Deus Ex, Thief: Deadly Shadows and the new Monkey Island games.

  17. Lambchops says:

    So Steam sale damage wasn’t too bad for me this time, amounting to:

    The Ball
    Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
    Metro 2033
    Indie Air Pack

    Oh and in response to Paul B above; no you are not! I’m saving many of these games for a rainy day. I actually booted up AI War (since this an Arcen post and all) at the weekend and was saddened to realise that I didn’t really even have time to commit to playing the tutorial! Which is a shame as it seems like the type of strategy game that I’ll really get into once the first quarter of a campaign is under way and be sucked in but even an average campaign of 12 hours is a struggle for me these days. Nothing like a phd to ruin your gaming!

  18. Navagon says:

    There’s also a demo on Steam which I’ll be demoisationing myself as soon as it’s downloaded.

  19. malkav11 says:

    I feel kind of bad that the only way I ever seem to wind up buying Arcen games is on sale, but, well…usually that’s when I notice that something new has come out. Incidentally, I’m saddened to hear that A Valley Without Wind has been shelved for the time being. I was really looking forward to that. And conceivably to the original conception for Alden Ridge. Swapping handcrafted content for procedural….eeeeh. I’ll reserve judgment, but it’s something that rarely works well for me, and is more viable in some genres than others.

  20. mod the world says:

    Oh God NO! Not more offers for games i always wanted to buy!
    After buying Mount&Blade complete i gave an holy oath of austerity till x-mas, what should i do now?

  21. theunshaven says:

    Outstanding. I grabbed the core AI War game, having noticed that the tutorial for it is Much Less Intimidating than one I played many months ago was. This makes me more confident I might ever actually play the thing, and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to give Arcen Games some cash for a while.

    I’ll check out the expansion packs once I try out the first game properly – in that ‘one glorious day’ phase where I have time and money having finished the PhD…

    Tidalis also looks interesting and well done, but I am fully aware from prior experience that it’s not a kind of game I play, despite things I’ve bought in the past. Bejewelled, I am looking at You.

  22. DMJ says:

    Curse you RPS and your mind-control ray. I’m going to wrap my wallet in tin foil to preserve whatever precious pennies remain to me.

  23. Basilicus says:

    So I got:

    2 Indie packs (mainly for And Yet It Moves; ProtoGalaxy; Recettear)
    Defense Grid (the most pleasant tower defense game ever)
    Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (insanely underrated solo, but still a rip-off at $50 release)
    King’s Bounty: Crossworlds (b/c King’s Bounty obviously isn’t long enough already)
    Supreme Commander 2 (hopefully it can kick after a rather droll introduction)

    So that’s 14 games for about $26. I love Steam.

    (I also caught the Dragon Age Ultimate Edition on Impulse for $25. Already played DA:O last year, but not the DLC or expansion and this should translate into about $0.12 an hour by the time I’m done with it).

    • Similar says:

      2 indie packs (mainly for Recettear and World of Goo, though so far I’ve been spending the past three days playing Eufloria).
      The Orange Box (this was my first Steam sale; hasn’t been possible to transfer from bank to Paypal here until very recently and I don’t have a credit card).

      AI War (which turned out to be 10USD rather than 8).
      Comanche vs. Hokum from, though that wasn’t on sale.

      I had been hoping for FO3: New Vegas, but it’s probably selling too well at full price to be put on sale yet.

    • Vandelay says:

      I was hoping for Fallout 3: GOTY, as I’m still yet to get it. New Vegas is perhaps too new and big to be expected.

  24. Tom says:

    About the possibility of activating the AI WAR key into steam:

    Does doing that cost money to ARCEN GAMES ???

  25. Ramsar says:

    I’m planning to buy just one of the three expansions, which one is recommended?

    • Arathain says:

      Just one expansion? Zenith Remnant. There’s a ton of god stuff in there.

  26. Tusque d'Ivoire says:

    The whole steam activatability and straight buying from developer thing made me buy the whole AI war package instantly. instead, i think i’ll pass on Metro, as I’ve recently bought Stalker pt1 and 3.

    And I haven’t even played AI war yet! I’m probby going to feel like lewie in his review.

    • RussianBear says:

      Metro is nothing like Stalker (thank god), but a more linear, atmospheric experience, and one that I actually played through, unlike the Stalkers.

  27. starwut says:

    I find it interesting noboy likes KOTOR even at 2.25 EUR (current Steam sale).

    • MrMud says:

      I think everyone already have KOTOR

    • Basilicus says:

      Cons: I’ve already played KOTOR and know there are two BioWare time-hogs on their way in ME3 and DA2, not to mention replaying ME1, ME2, and DA:O. And I still haven’t played Jade Empire. If they saw fit to release KOTOR 2 (which I’ve never played) on Steam, I’d get the both of them. Also, the central conceit of KOTOR and its jaw-dropping moment of realization can never again be experienced for the first time.

      Pros: Bastila. I haven’t played KOTOR in long enough I’ve probably forgotten all the answers to the more complicated mysteries. Bastila. Might be the best BioWare game made. Bastila. Certainly the best Star Wars game made. Bastila. Such great humor. Bastila. Once you get past the first 8 hours, awesome tactical Jedi combat. Bastila.

      Aw, screw it. I spend more on a mocha every day. For $2.50, it’ll just be nice to have it sitting on my “shelf,” just in case.

  28. Devan says:

    Thanks for the heads-up Lewie! I’ll get all four.

  29. theunshaven says:

    If I haven’t played AI War yet, is there any point in getting Zenith Remnant until I’m used to it, or would including it be an overall upgrade to the whole experience?

    • Arathain says:

      I would get it. It’s a game of rich, delicious breadth, and you should embrace that. That said, the game is very friendly about allowing you to customise and create just the sort of game you want. There are lots of options on set-up, so if you want to start simple or only enable the extra stuff you like the look of, you should feel joyously free to do that.