At home I have these big iBox containers which I use to store my junk. I have 6 of these stacked up at the foot of my bed. It’s semi-OC: one has all the plugs and cables, another has gadgets, and manuals, another one with my lens filters, so on and so forth. Rummaging through my stuff (I was packing for a long trip next week) I found the box of my very first original PC game titled “Rise of the Robots.” Anyone remember this? I remember buying this in a gaming shop in Hong Kong during the mid 90’s. It was this vs Wing
And so this is the box (sadly contents are lost in time):
I remember the system requirements. This was the time when a 4x or “quad speed” CD-ROM and a 16bit SoundBlaster card was required to play high end games such as this and it took minutes to read and download information from the external disc drive to the computer (serial port FTW!). Rise of the Robots was one of the more cinematic games of that time as “realistic” 3D textures and having movie-quality cinematics were the experiments of the time.
OMG I found the (HILARIOUS) marketing trailer!
And, well if you want to see actual gameplay, here:
OK fine, I admit it wasn’t in my TOP 10 LIST but at that time, it seemed like a really good buy. I remember going through pains just to play this game on the PC. My dad had just bought me my first CD-ROM drive and the device drivers were somehow wonky on MS-DOS. Then there was the issue of having a compatible sound card. Hay buhay!
It went on for years. I’ve amassed a number of original games — collector’s editions even — for good titles. World of Warcraft, Dragon Age I and II, Civilization V, all other games from Blizzard, both Mass Effect I and II and the Battlefield / Call of Duty series. Trust me, it’s a long list! Although I still buy retail, my buying habits took a turn in 2007 when I was introduced to Steam (store.steampowered.com) a legal torrent for downloading games. With the advent better Internet connectivity, laptops that did not have DVD-ROM drives and bigger HD storage, it made sense to ditch buying “pirated” games and go for original. Simply because buying original was actually easier. I no longer had to go to a store because I could simply use my credit card. It allowed more value added benefits like multiplayer (before, buying original games had really no benefit to us third worlders) and lastly, to some extent it was even cheaper. I’d save most of my money for the weekend or holiday “sales” where game prices are cut to 75% off, cheaper than pirated!
Yes folks, that’s a screenshot of my games library. My collection has been growing since 2007, but my purchases and play time spiked around 2008 when my Internet got better because downloads before would take forever. Note that most, if not all these games are titles that have a strong multiplayer modes. If you don’t want your product to be pirated, have a huge online component. A huge drawback to this model is that developers now have an excuse to release games on a beta level. Back then, serious play testing had to be done because once you shipped, that was it. Today, devs can easily release patches that fix glitches that were never supposed to be there at launch. This is also why I do not buy a new game on launch week.
I find it surprising that people find it surprising that such a business model exists. Before, we were all about CD-ROMS and DVDs and pirating games we could not afford. Today, it’s all about being able to make premium titles more affordable and creating cheaper and more casual games on the PC (most are priced at USD $9.99).
The first original game I bought was crap. Today I’ve made some odd mistakes with a number of titles as well, and because my library is forever with me, these games will be there forever to haunt me.