For years now PC gamers have been able to enjoy the retro wonderland that is GOG, properly known as Good Old Games. GOG is a digital storefront that specializes in older PC games, wrapping them in an emulator package that enables them to run on modern hardware.
You might not be that familiar with the retro game scene, and thus might not realize how valuable the runtime environment that GOG constructs for their games is. However, if you’ve ever tried to run your old Wing Commander games in the PC you bought last year you know just what I’m talking about. I remember trying that one time, only to find out that I was going to need the reflexes of The Flash just to steer the ship.
GOG takes care of all that, and while it’s not the only service selling older games to PC and now Mac users– Valve’s Steam says “Hi”- another catalog of games is always welcome on the Mac platform. GOG also isn’t as aggressive about branding the hell out of your gaming experience as Steam is.
The game catalog is viewable on GOG’s site. From there you can either browse the catalog or access the collection of games you’ve bought from them. There is an optional downloader program that you can get from GOG, which can queue up purchases you choose to download. Otherwise you just click at the site and send it through your browser.
Game installers land in your downloads folder and from there you can access the launchers, which put the games in your application folder. Everything works just how you’d expect it to. Which is all we ever really ask for.
But what about the games?
Oh those games! There’s a sale on Mac games for the launch, and I picked up SimCity 2000, which came complete with the Urban Renewal Kit for just $2.99. Within a few minutes of signing up for GOG I was playing SimCity, making all the same mistakes I used to make. Ultima 4 was free– along with a little cache of other games– and while there are currently just 50 Mac games they are such classics as Wing Commander 1+2, Populous, the Ultima series and Tex Murphy games. Some of the greatest games of all time, and ones I missed when I was a kid, since all I had was a Nintendo.
Not that GOG is all classics, in spite of their name. Both The Witcher and The Witcher II, the cult-PC hits, and the IndieCade award winning Botanicula are available in the launch set. GOG is slowly but surely positioning themselves to be a lot more than just the bargain basement bin of gaming.
So kiss your wallet and free time goodbye, Mac gamers.