Like most savvy sci-fi gaming fans, I spent the past weekend channeling my inner Mad Max with a new copy of Fallout, clearing its stunning post-apocalyptic wastelands of ravenous mutant and bloodthirsty raider alike. I’m not talking about the newly released third series installment for computers and next-gen consoles. Rather, thanks to new online distribution service Good Old Games, I’ve been revisiting the original desktop legend instead.
As the name implies, only highly-rated games from a handful of publishers such as Strategy First and Codemasters are available. But the four dozen titles currently offered provide a good selection—everything from action (Descent) to racing (1NSANE), role-playing (Stonekeep), arcade (Earthworth Jim), sports (Sensible Soccer 2006) and strategy (Disciples: Sacred Lands Gold). Battle Chess Special Edition’s quirky animations, once considered state-of-the-art, remind me of bygone afternoons spent in front of the 486SX PC in high school. Likewise, I still haven’t forgiven starflight sim’s Freespace for the enthralling, futuristic dogfights that decimated my undergraduate attendance record.
A few catches you should be aware of, though. Download sizes are huge, ranging from 100MB to a whopping 5.3GB. “Exclusive” content, such as Redneck Rampage cuss packs and MDK wallpaper is of questionable value. Worse, even a high-end modern rig, like the HP Blackbird with 26-inch monitor that I used, can’t make poorly aging pop culture castoffs like Die by the Sword or grainy videos look cool again. But cloudy as nostalgia’s rose-colored lenses can get, there’s still joy in returning to these old diversions.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.