Good Old Games is a digital distribution store that specialises in releasing older PC games in a way that will run on modern systems. Since last week they have being releasing some old EA-published titles, starting with Dungeon Keeper 2. They got off on the wrong foot.
I’ve long being waiting on Dungeon Keeper 2 to become part of GoG’s great library of games. It was one of my first PC games and, unfortunately, as the years passed, its compatibility with my changing operating systems didn’t last as long as my love for the game. I haven’t been able to play it for nearly 5 years now. So when I saw it pop up on GoG last week, I immediately snapped it up.
I then installed and loaded up the game to find it ran just as well as my original, retro, disc-based version had, i.e. not very well. This was not what I had expected from a GoG title. So I hit up the support forums to quickly find I was not the only one with these issues. One forum user did notice GoG had one solution to the game not running so well on modern systems:
I can’t say it was the solution I expected, and certainly not from GoG. A GoG support member did thankfully make a thread acknowledging the game had issues, though only offered a fix for ATI users, Nvidia problems still being unconfirmed. Much of the other threads offer a variety of fixes, from tweaking the registry to adding flags to the launcher. However, the expectation of GoG titles is that these steps aren’t meant to be necessary, having already being sorted out by the guys at GoG before re-release.
I can’t expect Good Old Games to be miracle workers, but when they’ve built a reputation for making older titles from the 20th century run on 21st century hardware and operating systems it is a bit of a kick in the balls to find they’ve churned out a much anticipated game with little thought, and their response to it has been rather badly handled up to now. Not to say it’s all bad. My main reason for going with GoG on this is because I’ve had a good experience with them before; having just recently picked up Alpha Centauri to replace my old copy that didn’t really run.
It does, however, reinforce that the games industry needs some kind of long-term plans on preserving games, and some system or policy to allow older games to continue running with new systems. At a time when people can complain about George Lucas making tweaks to the latest release of a 30-year-old film it’s pretty bad that we can struggle to run a game that’s just over the 10 years mark.
I’ve emailed GoG to see if they’re planning to work on the game to make sure it runs on modern systems, and how it was able to be classed as Windows 7-compatible in the first place. I’ve also enquired if they would be giving refunds to those who bought the game back when it was advertised as Windows 7-compatible, but have yet to hear anything back. If we do, I’ll update the post.
For those of you on slightly older systems, I do strongly recommend checking this game out.
Update: GoG now shows Windows 7 as supported once more. So fingers crossed.