Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!


Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 4, 2015

SinsfathersI returned home the other night to find half of an old CD-ROM sitting on the table. It was an original disc for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. It was later explained to me that it had fallen off the shelf and out of the jewel case, and our puppy, Clara (yes, named after the Doctor’s companion), got to it. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt when she shattered it.

Once upon a time, seeing that would have been a little devastating. Those discs are long out of manufacturing, so replacing it would have been challenging. And that’s a classic adventure game that I don’t ever want to lose.

Fortunately, I have both a digital copy in an account, and the recent 20th Anniversary remake. So while the loss of the physical media was disappointing, it wasn’t nearly as painful to my game-collecting soul as it would have been. I guess that means that I’ve finally been able to divorce the bits from the atoms in my mind, and I no longer think of games as having any relation to the media they are stored on. I guess that makes sense – thanks to numerous sales and bundles, my ‘game collection’ these days is pretty staggering, and the purely digital copies dwarf my once-impressive collection of physical packaging.

In fact, the last physical copy of a game I’ve picked up was a collector’s edition box for Wasteland 2 that I received as a reward for being a backer. And it was slightly damaged with a puncture on arrival. So much for keeping it in pristine condition!

I still like my old physical packaging. Some of it, anyway. It’s probably nostalgia as much as anything…  the packaging was anticipation, a promise. Browsing the shelves, looking at the screenshots on the packaging. Picking up the game during my lunch break and staring at the package all afternoon until I could take it home and play it. After that, the boxes collected dust, and I GREATLY prefer not having to hunt down the CD-ROM (or the key) in order to play the game anymore.

I was never going to need that CD ever again. I still have the jewel case. But more importantly, I still have the game. That’s the important part.

Filed Under: Retro, Tech - Comments: 11 Comments to Read

  • Tesh said,

    I like that I don’t need the physical media. I dislike the internet tether when my connection is spotty, and I am always leery of a company that can just pull the plug and shows a propensity to do so, killing my access. Thankfully that hasn’t been a big deal, and GoG.com is a nice medium with their DRM-free solutions.

  • Xian said,

    The last couple purchases I have made on physical media has been due to one factor – my ISP has bandwidth caps and charges for overages, else I would be okay with downloading everything. Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor would have been over 10% of my monthly allowance.

    One thing I read recently that may make me rethink that strategy, Metal Gear Solid 5 The Phantom Pain DVD just had the Steam installer. Even if you bought the physical media you still had to download the game from a couple articles I read.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Now that is just stupid.

  • Anon said,

    Even if the majority of your games is (or will become) available online, some more obscure ones probably never be will be.

    So better make sure you actually still have a drive if you want to be able to load them…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, some of my games are still on 3.25″ floppy. I still have an external drive that will read ’em, too.

  • Namco said,

    That’s the one thing that bugs me about digital. It’s supposed to have all the benefits of being available whenever but when I finally got around to wanting to try Wolfenstein (2009) on Steam, the game had already been removed – at least with the CD I don’t have that problem!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Wait – you were still able to play the game you’d already bought, hadn’t you? I have a couple of games on Steam that are no longer available (for sale) but I can still play them or download them.

  • lakerz said,

    One problem I have with digital is that some of the games have been edited (content removed) without really making that clear. Some of the Dracula adventure games on Steam are that way. Also, sometimes the digital versions are ported over mobile versions of the original PC game. Very weird and not cool.

    There is no question though that the non-digital gaming space is dead or dying. It is also cool to have the digital versions automatically notify you of patch updates and/or install them automatically. Not to mention sites like GOG get the digital versions of the older games working for newer operating systems, using DosBox or whatever.

    I worry though about how ethereal digital game libraries are. Just look at Desura to see how a digital game library can go poof.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Ouch, thanks for reminding me… 😉

    Although technically everything is still available for download from Desura. Just… I hope nobody’s buying from them.

    But yeah. It would be a little crazy to keep all of the installers downloaded for my GOG.COM games… though that was kind of their original business plan: You buy ’em, you download ’em, you keep ’em.

  • Anon said,

    Paying – downloading – keeping
    is my modern version of veni vidi vici!

    And I keep absolutely everything – whether from GOG, Humble, Groupees or who sells DRM-free stuff – because I don’t know when I’m in the mood for it.

    So I always download everything from every purchase, even if I haven’t played strategy games for years, for example. Sometime in the future I may rediscover my love for them – who knows?

    I mean, after all it’s better to put gigabytes of game installers on them than simply surrender the drives to your neighbours in Bluffdale, isn’t it?


  • Namco said,

    “Wait – you were still able to play the game you’d already bought, hadn’t you?”

    Sorry I said something misleading, when I said:
    “– at least with the CD I don’t have that problem!”

    I should have said:
    “– at least with a CD/physical media I don’t have that problem!”

    I don’t have Wolfenstein (2009) on CD but it’s times like that I wish I did because of the volatile nature of digital at the publisher’s whim. As mentioned before, at least with physical media, there’s more of a chance I can get a copy to play because of the (supposedly evil) second hand market.