In a new deal with classic gaming Web site Good Old Games (GOG.com), game publisher Activision is rereleasing many of its classic titles in a DRM-free format. Two of the games are available starting January 28, and Good Old Games says additional entries "will be unveiled gradually in the coming weeks."
One of the two initial releases is Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura (2001), a cult-favorite open-ended RPG. Our sister site GameSpot said of the game: "If you're serious about role-playing games--so serious that you don't care about graphics but instead just want to immerse yourself in a different world and try to explore it, perhaps even exploit it, as fully as possible--then Arcanum is well worth the investment of time, money, and effort."
The second Activision game launching this week is Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993), an award-winning classic point-and-click adventure game set in New Orleans. Voice actors included Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, and Michael Dorn, giving the game some extra nerd cred. We included the Gabriel Knight series in our feature on five classic adventure games that need to be rereleased as digital downloads, so we're pleased to see someone was apparently listening.
Both games will be available for $5.99, and video game history buffs will recall that both were originally published by a company called Sierra, which was eventually taken over by Activision, which now holds the rights to these games.
The Good Old Games model offers self-contained .exe files of vintage PC games, usually for $5.99 to $9.99, which can be redownloaded from the site at any time and installed on any PC. This offers some distinct advantages over forms of PC game digital distribution, such as Steam or Direct2Drive, which include digital rights management tethers that range from mildly annoying to highly restrictive.
We've tried several GOG games since the site's launch last year, and found them to work well on Windows XP, Vista, and 7, despite the fact that many were written for much older operating systems. The downloads also often include PDFs of the original manual and downloadable soundtracks.
We're especially fond of GOG as a resource for games that work well on a Netbook. Our recent roundup of Netbook-friendly PC games included several titles from Good Old Games, from Sanitarium to Duke Nukem 3D.