Hello Master Malstrom
Yesterday you talked about the things that GOG could do to improve its service but there’s one problem I’ve been experiencing that I haven’t seen you talk about, and that’s how GOG provides information to the player. I know you have an extensive history with PC gaming but I don’t have that history myself. I was very young when I last played PC games and after getting a SNES back in the mid-1990s, I became an exclusive console gamer until this year when I opened an account with GOG. I am not completely illiterate about computers but I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of computers either.
The first game I downloaded was Worms 2, an old favourite of mine. The game immediately crashed upon loading, so I went to the Help section of the website and after some searching it recommended changing the configuration settings and registering myself as an admin on the computer. Fair enough, but where do I make these changes? I’ve never needed to do anything like this before on my computer.
The second game I downloaded was King’s Quest 1-3. These games work fine but I’ve searched the files multiple times and I can’t find any information on how to play them. The manuals just contain prologues to the games’ stories. No keyboard controls, no command information, nothing. That’s unacceptable. If I’m paying money for a game, I expect to get everything I need to play the game. I, the customer, should not be expected to go internet-hunting for basic instructions.
When I first started playing Wii Virtual Console games, I hated the stripped-down manuals and lack of context the original manuals provided. But now after using GOG, I’ve realised that the Virtual Console excels as a user-friendly platform. If I ever need a command key or other information, I can pause the game, bring up the manual and get the information I need. More importantly, the manuals account for hardware changes. They not only map the original controls but all the compatible Wii controls as well.
In my opinion, if GOG is to become the next big video game retailer, it should stop assuming that its customers already know their way around old interfaces, let alone modern computers. Their website needs more detailed instructions on how to install and configure these games. The games themselves need to be equipped with manuals that cover all the mechanics. Ideally, there should be nothing getting in the way between me and the game at any stage. I’m hoping that at some time in the future, we can get old games on PC that function like the Virtual Console. The ability to pause games and even create simple save states would be something awesome to see in DRM-free gaming.
So what you want is old PC games, ones that have come out in the 1980s and 1990s, to somehow magically start behaving like console games?
All GoG is doing is giving you the games as they are. The manuals that were included with the game are there. And GoG makes sure the games are compatible to whatever platforms they say (usually the modern Windows platforms). Compatible means ‘it runs’. Many of the games are not programmed well so they glitch. I’m currently seeing these glitchy issues in Silver.
Having to log in as administrator is Microsoft’s fault, not GoG’s. Just google search ‘how to log in as administrator’ for whatever Windows version you’re running. Logging in as administrator isn’t making you do serious configuration. Windows just won’t allow certain things to happen unless you’re in administrator mode.
For King’s Quest I, I looked up the manual (Sierra’s website provides it as well). I don’t have it on GoG so I don’t know what they offer there. But I’m assuming it is the same one. The instructions of how to play come after the prologue: http://sierrahelp.com/Documents/Manuals/Kings_Quest_1_VGA_-_Manual.pdf
You said that Nintendo did the right thing with the Virtual Console by writing their own manuals for each one. I disagree. Every single console game had a manual of some sort that offered directions. Since consoles are so kid friendly, the directions are what the a button does, what does the D pad do, and so on. The Virtual Console manuals though remove much of the originality the old manuals had. For example, Super Mario Brothers manual told a story and even showed off which enemy did what. Virtual Console’s “manual” removes that and so removes a big part of the charm of the game.
Virtual Console removed the cool manuals and put in forgettable stuff.
I’m curious what Virtual Console game did you have to read the manual for. Unless it is some consolized tactical/strategy game, I don’t see why you’d need a manual for those games.
What the Virtual Console “manuals” feel like are those Blockbuster rentals of NES games where there is no manual but some Xeroxed black and white paper that just has instructions of what the buttons do. The Virtual Console prices are very expensive compared to other services. Nintendo couldn’t even be bothered to scan in the original manuals. I thought it might be some licensing issue with using the original manual, but I suspect now that Nintendo is embarrassed of the Engrish of the 1980s manuals. Or Nintendo thought people are ‘too stupid’ that they would see a picture of the NES or SNES controller and wonder why it doesn’t match the Virtual Console controller. That’s probably it.
GoG does offer support. Post any problems on the forum they have devoted to that game or post in the General forum.
It seems that the DOS games are running all fine probably due to DOS being emulated in DOSBox. The problems seem to be with early Windows games being played in later versions of Windows. Worms 2 was released for the Windows 95 platform (Windows 98 hadn’t even come out yet). The only way to perfectly get a game like Worms 2 to work is to probably put it on a Windows 95 platform (although I haven’t seen that emulated yet). I’m not sure about the technical issues.