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What (And Where) Are The Classic Free Games? 432

Posted by timothy
from the beep-beep-beeeeeeep dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "I'm flying from the US to Europe in a few weeks and am taking my iBook along for the ride. With a seven hour flight looming, I'm wanting to take some games along to play. But I don't want to download a bunch of freeware that may or may not be junk; I just want the classics. What are the classic free games? I've already downloaded Nethack and am looking into Freeciv. What else is there? I need something that's multiplatform (or at least has a Mac port), something that's stable and has stood the test of time, and something that is more complex and engrossing than a Tetris clone. Thanks!"
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What (And Where) Are The Classic Free Games?

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  • by bobbabemagnet (247383) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:20PM (#4008977)
    read a book!
  • one word (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Electric Messiah (591306) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:24PM (#4008997)
    SNOOD!
  • nethack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by majcher (26219) <`slashdot' `at' `majcher.com'> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:31PM (#4009042) Homepage
    The last time I loaded up nethack on my Mac, I was stuck in front of the computer for about 30 hours straight.

    If you can't get through an eight hour flight with that, you've got bigger problems than finding free games...
  • Infocom games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dpm (156773) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:38PM (#4009070)

    Nearly every platform has an interpreter for the old Infocom text games. Zork I, II, and III are available for free legally from ActiVision [csd.uwo.ca],
    and once you have a z-machine interpreter for your Mac, you can use any of the other Infocom games you can find. There are also many (legal) free z-machine games available on the net, and I think that Activision recently sold a CD-ROM with most of the old Infocom collection, including Hitchhiker's Guide, Enchanter, and the others.

    Any one of these will keep you busy for the whole flight and taxi ride to your hotel, and you'll probably stay up and keep playing once you get there instead of sleeping off the jet lag. Just remember to bring a pad of paper, pencil, and eraser for drawing maps and working out mazes.

  • Some advice... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Critical_ (25211) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:58PM (#4009155) Homepage
    With all of the Sept 11th "security measures" I would recommend that you have your laptop ready to turn on just in case at the airport terminal. Also, they will ask you take your machine out of its case and then they'll pass it through their x-ray machines. Make sure you don't have it stuffed at the bottom of your carry-ons. I don't know how good your battery life is, or what class you will be flying but if you are going in economy make sure you bring at least two batteries. If you are in first or business class, you can always buy their on-board power cords that hook up into the plane (depending on airline). As for games, I would suggest the old simcity, tetris, pinball, etc. You don't want some massively 3d game sucking up your battery power. Also, I don't know what kind of rechargers come with your laptop but be ready for an inevitable bump in line voltage in europe (220v). And, you can save your on-board modem some trouble by buying a line testing kit/adapter. This saved me from frying my modem on a trip to Saudi many years ago (their teleco line voltage is much more than it is here).
  • Mac Playmate?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bdm99 (461871) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:21PM (#4009227) Homepage
    Speaking of old mac games...anyone remember Mac Playmate? I remember it was a game where you would get a virtual girl naked by charming the pants off of her. Then she'd open a toy box...filled with sex toys. You'd then just stick random stuff in random places.

    It may not be the best game, but its a classic. Anyone know where that could be found today? I've looked, but I can never find it.

  • Re:Why Free? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:48PM (#4009321)
    Sheesh. GET A LIFE.

    Is it wrong not to want to pay for games, and just find some decent free ones?

    Not every game needs to be as complicated and expensive as WarCraft III to be fun.
  • by Thenomain (537937) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:58PM (#4009356) Homepage
    As of EV:Override, Cap'n Hector shoots at you after the 30 days. For those who aren't aware of the game, Cap'n Hector is one fast, deadly ship. Only a few ships (in the unmodded game) can even pace it.

    The other nice thing about the EV series is the gobs and gobs of mods ranging from blatant cheats to full game conversions. (The Babylon 5 mod for EV:O is still my favorite with Star Wars a close second.)

    So yes, EV is a true fun timewaster, and since it doesn't depend on a mouse you won't get finger-cramp from the pad on the iBook.

    One warning is that it's a cross between a trading game and a top-down space combat shooter, but with a great number of branching plots and sidequests. If you don't like elements of either of these, try something else.

    Another warning is that EV:Nova uses 3-d effects which can kick the fan into high mode and eat up battery.

    As for my opinion, EV:Override is my favorite of the three Escape Velocities to date.
  • Re:Why Free? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:09PM (#4009379)
    The statement of your question gives no information about why you are so interested in 'free' games.

    I'll go out on a limb here and propose that the 'free' part of his question is actually very meaningful and provides important information.

    The gaming industry moves very quickly, and game value plummets astonishingly fast. Games now start at 50+ $US and usually drop to half of that in a year's time. Within two years, they're generally unavailable, and after that things get even worse.
    There are exceptions, but overall that's the trend.

    Thus, to ask for free classic old games sets a timeframe on things of sorts: it's like saying "a game that's so old that it's free at this point". Free because it was always free (Nethack?), free because the devs made it free (Quake), or free because the devs aren't around anymore or haven't indicated they don't want such games being passed around (some, like Sierra, do indicate they don't want their old games passed around; others have indicated it is okay).

    It probably has nothing to do with the guy being cheap, just that he's trying to fix a certain timeframe so he doesn't get responses like "Half Life!"

    It probably also has to do with the fact he doesn't want to decide, and would like to put a bunch of them on, forget about it, and play around with them en route.
  • Because companies that do make free games tend not to stay in business for very long. There was one company that cloned Pacman, Centiped, Donkey Kong, and others and had a free DOS version and an enhanced version with more levels and an editor for like $30USD each. It was called Champgames or something. It sank faster than the Titanic when the makers of the video games they tried to clone came back and sued them. Nicely done DOS based games, no Windows or Mac or Linux ports that I knew of. Plus when MAME came out, nobody was interested in playing them when they could play the real thing for almost nothing anyway.

    Abandonware sites have some of the classic games for download, but get shut down real quick as soon as they get popular.

    You might be able to find some from Gnutella clients; however, that is being cleaned out as well. Better hurry.
  • Re:oh, c'mon... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CMiYC (6473) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:30PM (#4009434) Homepage
    I believe the stipulation was "FREE" games. Most of the ROMs used by MAME are copyrighted and are NOT free.

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