This Month in GameTap

Putting potential problems with digital distribution of game software aside for a moment, K and I have been playing in GameTap[1] a lot lately.

I just finished Tomb Raider: Anniversary[2], I’m well along in Psychonauts, and I have Overlord queued up to go next, unless something else grabs my attention first. If I get bored, the Deus Ex series just showed up, along with the Hitman series, the Bloodrayne series, and the Soul Reaver series[3]. Startopia, a perennial favorite of mine, has found its way onto the “Coming Soon” list (9/6!), which has me very, very stoked, because that means people will probably play it again[4]. And after playing all six Sam and Max: Season 1 episodes in a row, I can’t wait for Season 2 to start dropping in the Fall. (I also can’t stop watching Computer Lab, but I’m prepared to chalk that up to a personality defect.) This is my interaction with GameTap over the last week and a half only.

K has been playing more Carmen Sandiego than I thought was possible, and she’s getting ready to embark into Beyond Good & Evil[5], once I get her controller reconfigured[6]. She also plays a bunch of adventure games, like the ones Dreamcatcher makes, and I think she’s watched all of the Tomb Raider: Re\Visioned that’s come out so far.

Considering that we originally only subscribed to the service because of Myst Online, we are getting some serious mileage out of our membership! As an added bonus, the service has added about 200 games and improved the interface by miles since we became members, which is still less than a year ago.

If you’ve been considering a membership, I think you can actually join for free and get access to a rotating list of games. If you pay, it’s somewhere between $7.50 and $10.00 a month depending on the payment plan, but you get unlimited access to all of the games (current count: 960… not that every game is for every player, of course[7] ) for your entire household. If you have kids, you can actually set parental controls that restrict or allow access to various games, video and multiplayer content by age rating or on an individual level. Their technical support has also been responsive and helpful on the few occasions that we’ve needed them.

If you like PC games, and you have broadband, I recommend giving GameTap a try. I’m mentioning it here because before Myst: Online, I thought GameTap was basically just cashing in on really old games ranging from Pac-Man to Toe Jam ‘n Earl. I know they’re being promoted on Yahoo! Games now, which is promising, but even on that site they’re advertising Root Beer Tapper and Space Invaders. I love old games, and I play a lot of them on GT, but that’s not nearly the full range of the service. Now that they’re pulling in even some recent titles, it seems to me that the more customers GameTap gets, the more the service will have the ability to grow.

Important [pf!] Note: GameTap’s lineup includes the Dreamcast version of Crazy Taxi.

  1. Warning: IETab Zone Ahead. []
  2. Verdict: excellent! Especially if you liked the first Tomb Raider game. []
  3. I guess I did start Soul Reaver 2 up, but didn’t get very far before I was overgothed and needed to play something else for a while. []
  4. If you haven’t played this game, I will probably make you do it. ;) []
  5. Hmm… I may have to play that one again myself! []
  6. We’re both using Xbox 360 controllers, which are working out really well for a lot of action games on the PC, especially with a little help from Xpadder. []
  7. And, with Daikatana on the “Coming Soon” list, I guess I have to stipulate that some of the games are not for anyone… Oh, who am I kidding? I bought it for $5 once on a lark, and I’ll probably grab it on GT it for more laughs. []

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