A Stocking Full of Coal

Christmas time is always a joyous time for PC gamers. During the festive season, the good people at Valve go bonkers and drastically reduce the price of selected games as part of the Christmas Sale.

And don’t go thinking that it’s only mediocre games getting a price slash. Last year, quality titles including, but not limited to, Skyrim, Dead Island, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Portal 2 and Batman: Arkham City all had their entry fees cut by up to an astonishing 75%. As a result, gamers could play the best games of the year at a fraction of the cost of their console counterparts.

Because of my increasing passion for the PC gaming scene, I also partook in bagging myself a few bargains. But I wasn’t interested in any of these new games: I already had them and have completed them (at least I think I’ve finished Skyrim – it’s hard to tell). No, for me it was the older games on offer that appealed to me.

There were several titles from years gone past that I remember loving when they came out going super cheap, so I picked them up. Because of their age, some of them were going for only a couple of pounds. I decided to splurge. At the end of my spending spree, I walked away with the complete Grand Theft Auto collection, Star Wars Battlefront II and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. Quite a good haul, I reckoned.

So once they’d downloaded – all three only took about an hour at most – I sat down to give them a bash. I loaded up the original Grand Theft Auto and got ready to bask in some retro glory…

Oh, yeaaah.

It was shit. The gameplay I remembered loving had become stiff and cumbersome over the 14 years since its release. The graphics that I thought I would relish in remembering had become ugly and garish and the gameplay I had once thought so revolutionary had become stale and archaic. I played it for only a few minutes before I gave up. I was disappointed, to say the least.

Next, I decided to stick on Battlefront II. I’d loved this game when it first came out. I played it at every moment I could, blasting Stormtroopers, Wookies, Jedi and Sith alike. I couldn’t wait to clamber into an X-Wing and blast some Imperial ass in the epic space battles. I opened the game up, hurriedly started a new game and waited while the game loaded… and then crashed. I tried it again and again, but the result was the same each time: I could never get past the loading screen. Once again, I was consumed with disappointment as time after time I was taken back to the desktop.

It looks different from how I remember it.

So finally, I decided to try out Vampire: The Masquerade. I’d heard good things about it, so it was with eagerness I loaded it up and had good fun sucking peoples’ blood…

I wouldn't mind sucking on her… neck.

Or at least I would have done so if the game actually loaded up at all. Every time I tried to play it, I was greeted with an error box saying either ‘Steam not detected!’ or ‘Available memory less than 15MB!!! – 1’. This occurs when I launch it via Steam on both a cutting-edge gaming PC with 8GB RAM and a laptop with six.

I know these older games are built with redundant operating systems in mind, but why make these games for sale if they don’t work on modern systems? GTA may be rubbish to play now, but at least it worked. The three titles that I was looking forward to playing and loving all over again had all filled my heart with dismay.

And that made me a saaad panda.

The Steam sales are always welcome, but be careful what you purchase: you might just get disappointed.


One response to “A Stocking Full of Coal”

  1. […] Originally published on Ready Up on 1st February 2012. […]

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