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      19.03.2010 15:29
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      GOG.com is a fantastic resource for lovers of old games with shallow wallets.

      GOG.com (Good Old Games) is a digital game distribution service which caters for fans of older games. It boasts a huge and constantly growing catalogue of games which many of us grew up playing, and offers them to its customers in the form of direct digital downloads.

      ~ [ DRM ] ~

      The games offered on GOG.com are completely devoid of DRM (Digital Rights Management), which is great news for those of us who are concerned with privacy, our rights as customers and the functionality of our products; DRM tends to require online activations and almost always contains anti-copy protections, and many users have reported various problems with DRM-laden products not working because of the DRM technology employed. This is not a consideration when you game with GOG.com; the company has obviously figured out that DRM leaves customers with an inferior product while pirates have the DRM-free experience paying customers deserve.

      ~ [ Prices ] ~

      I don't think I've seen a game on GOG.com which cost more than $9.99 (around £6.60). Many of the games hosted there are classic, award winning games and to have access to them without having to pay extortionate eBay prices for old hard copies is great.

      ~ [ Compatibility ] ~

      Most of us who have tried to play decades old games on current operating systems know just how frustrating and confusing it can be. GOG.com offers its games fully patched, and ready to run on even the latest operating system and on the latest hardware. The vast majority of the games are self-contained, in the sense that they don't require third-party emulation, but some of the games come bundled with pre-configured DOSBox and ScummVM emulation. When you run these games you will see the emulation platforms starting in the background. Owing to the nature of the way these games are configured you might find yourself running into problems and the need to tweak the underlying emulation software will become necessary, but the GOG.com support forums will almost always provide you with troubleshooting tips.

      ~ [ Community ] ~

      The forums on GOG.com are obviously full of like-minded people who enjoy old games, and as such there is ample troubleshooting and general discussion of games to be enjoyed. Suggesting games to be included in the GOG.com catalogue is possible, and other users will vote in accordance with their desire to see your suggestions become part of the catalogue. Likewise, you can vote for other people's suggestions, too.

      ~ [ Buying ] ~

      Buying games is like any other online shopping experiences; most (if not all) credit cards are accepted, as is PayPal. When you purchase a game it's added to your "Games I Own" list, and can be downloaded as many times as you want, either using your browser/download manager, or using GOG.com's own download manager.

      When games appear in your account there are also helpful links attached to each. For instance, direct links to the game's dedicated forum are provided, as are links to download materials such as instruction manuals, soundtracks and other extras if they're available.

      ~ [ Installing Games ] ~

      Most games downloaded from GOG.com come in a single .exe package, which when run will give you the option of verifying the game data before the installation begins. Installing the games is as straight-forward as installing any other game/app, and requires minimal tinkering. Shortcuts appear in the Start Menu and optional shortcuts appear on the desktop.

      ~ [ Website ] ~

      The GOG.com website, while quite advanced in its appearance, is fairly easy to use and navigate. The front page lists the latest news and additions to the catalogues (which can also be accessed via RSS and/or email notifications), and gives access to your personal account/settings, the catalogue, the forums/community and support articles for each game which requires them. Those are essentially the only navigation tools on offer, and the only tools you need. The website is kept simple.

      System requirements and special considerations are outlined on each game's page, should the installation/running of certain games require some work at your end.

      ~ [ Conclusion ] ~

      GOG.com is worth checking out if you enjoy old games and wish you could play them again without having to dual-boot Windows 95. The prices, compatibility and ease of use are phenomenal and you'll no longer have to resort to paying ridiculous amounts of cash for old games on eBay. There's no DRM, and as long as you remember your account login details you'll never be in a position where you can't play your favourite games as often as you like, and wherever you like.

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