ArqadeWhere to find old games?
[+23] [5] Chris
[2010-07-08 08:09:15]
[ pc retro-gaming downloads ]

What are the legitimate, legal ways to get hold of old PC games? I have a fancy to replay some games from my childhood, but I don't know where would be best to get a copy. At the moment I'm just hoping they turn up on eBay, but does anyone know if there's anywhere which allows games such as Warcraft 1 & 2, Syndicate, X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter, to be downloaded?

(9) Careful about abandonware answers, though. Unless the publisher explicitly released all rights on the game, old games are not "abandoned" just because they are not sold in shops anymore. Downloading them is illegal. - Gnoupi
(2) @Gnoupi: That is highly locale-dependent. In Hungary (and most of Europe I think), for example, all downloaded data falls under fair use for personal use. - Jurily
(3) @Jurily: In Poland, all data excluding software (and software includes games, of course) can be downloaded for personal use. So downloading games is still illegal in Poland. - DzinX
@Jurily - just because your country doesn't condemn you explicitly for that doesn't make it legal according to the laws of the developer's country. - Gnoupi
(2) @Jurily: I took some time to read Hungary's copyright law… and in Article 35 point 1 it explicitly says that copying for personal use does not apply to software. Or maybe I missed something? - DzinX
(1) - hobodave
You accidentally a word here. - Eight Days of Malaise
(2) @DzinX on an unrelated note reading that hurt my head. How does one tell the difference between data and software? The very idea of Turing computers is that any data can be software and vise versa. - tzenes
(1) @tzenes: I used the word "data" because @Jurily used it earlier. What I meant was "digital content". In theory, you're right. In practice, any larger peace of binary that is a proper working program is not, with VERY high probability, a movie, a picture, a song or any other digital content. - DzinX
[+51] [2010-07-08 08:17:41] Gnoupi [ACCEPTED]

Good Old Games [1]. A site selling games from several years ago, with a support to make these games work without problems on modern operating systems.

From their "about us" [2] (only the titles, rest on the page):

Why is the best place for Good Old Games?

  1. We’ve got games your 10-year-old won’t be better at.
  2. So you’re cheap. It’s okay – we are, too.
  3. You buy it, you keep it.
  4. All games are Vista and XP compatible.
  5. Extend the experience with tons of cool and exclusive add-ons.
  6. We’re bringing together classic games and a classy community.
  7. It's so easy, your gramma’s probably already playing.
  8. Same game, same price, no matter where you're from!

(1) gog rox. bigtime. - akira
That's a great site, thanks. - etheros
Good Old Games is fantastic. I own dozens of games from them and have yet to have any problems running them on Win 7 x64. - peacedog
Sadly, is no more. They shut down recently, anything that you've purchased from them will always work, but you can't redownload or purchase anything from them. - Alex Larzelere
@Alex apparently their closure was a hoax. - Oak
@Oak yes, is not closed they have reopened, it was a marketing stunt. Regardless they've released a bunch of new games, so in the end we win. - Alex Larzelere
Looking for "Prince of Persia 2: the Shadow and the Flame" - not on Gog :-( - ring0
[+15] [2010-07-08 08:14:57] Oak

Some old games have been either released by their publishers for free, or their copyright status is unclear and then they are collectively called abandonware. Some popular sites that list (and point to download locations) of abandoned games include:

The abandonwarering website maintains a list of many abandonware sites [3].

As the legality of abandonware is not always clear, it is recommended to carefully study the status of the specific games you want to obtain this way. The Liberated Games [4] website attempts to list all games that have been verified to be legal to copy.


(3) He said "legal." - JamesGecko
(1) +1 for link to Liberated Games. - Christian
[+6] [2010-07-10 04:32:00] averyzoe

You can try, if you are open to having a physical copy of the game rather than a download. It is a game trading site, where you can either trade in your old games for points or simply purchase points to get the games you want. There are many older games available, and although some of the rarer titles require a bit of patience it is generally much cheaper than ebay.

[+2] [2010-07-08 11:23:54] GAThrawn

A lot of publishers are putting their older games up on Steam, either individually for pennies each, or as part of All Publisher Pack.

Unfortunately the ones you've mentioned aren't up on there but I've picked up copies of a lot of older games this way (I have the iD Super Pack [1] with every iD game going back to the original Commander Keens and the original DOOMs and expansion packs).


Yah, this is awesome! I'm waiting for SupCom and SupCom:FA to be brought over to steam though!! :) - eidylon
The iD Super Pack is strangely missing Quake 4, which came out about 5 years ago. - Powerlord
[+1] [2010-07-08 08:17:24] Pieter van Niekerk

I would suggest Abandonia [1] for this.

They host a variety of abandoned games that are (mostly) free to download.