There has been a lot going on with GOG‘s games catalogue lately, and one big announcement was certainly the inclusion of Bethesda Softworks’ titles. This means 11 new games DRM-free, including the Elder Scrolls, Doom, Quake and of course Fallout series.
I’m particularly excited about these FPS classics, originally made by id Software, a company that always released titles that had serious problems in Germany. Even if Doom has been re-released with a 16+ age rating compared to the former banning (or indexing, to be correct), the Quake series is an entirely different matter. Of course as a teenager one didn’t care about censorship. It’s funny, but the more the BPjS (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften = Federal Department for Writings Harmful to Young Persons) tried to “protect” the youth, the more the youth wanted to get their hands on the games. And this attitude hasn’t changed, even with the change of name from “writings” to “media” and “BPjS” to “BPjM”…
Legal issues aside, Quake was groundbreaking with its full 3D enemies (unlike the 2D ones in Doom). The H.P. Lovecraft influence could also be felt in the atmosphere, while the sound design was done by Nine Inch Nails man Trent Reznor. Included in Quake: The Offering are the mission packs Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity. Hopefully Quake II, Quake III: Arena and Quake 4 will follow sometime in the future.
However, let’s not forget that id Software’s first breakthrough title that is bundled as the Ultimate Doom with four episodes is just as much fun as it was back in the day. Doom II is more of the same and includes the expansion packs Master Levels of DOOM and Final DOOM.
It also shows that German censorship only concentrated on the bloodshed, but didn’t see how each level was actually a puzzle in itself to solve. Sure, running around with a shotgun and shooting bad guys or beasties is a guilty pleasure and just as satisfying with some crunching sound effects, but finding keys and the exit is often harder. I still remember some awesome local multiplayer sessions as well which also showed that the social aspect was more fun than in modern FPS which take themselves too seriously.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind comes in its Game of the Year (GOTY)-edition with the expansions Bloodmoon and Tribunal and is still collecting dust on my shelves, but not because of lack of interest. The sheer playtime like in so many RPGs scares me a bit, but I might give this a try. If you want to go back a little bit more in gaming history, you can also try The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Red Guard and An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire, the first being an action-adventure, the second a dungeon crawler.
What is especially nice is that if you purchase any Bethesda game, you’ll get the original The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall for free!
Last but not least, there’s Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics returning to the DRM-free games catalogue. With the upcoming release of Fallout 4, this might be the perfect time to freshen up on this hit post-apocalyptic tactical RPG series.
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