I have written about computer games before and have mentioned at the time that my all time favourite games were the Tex Murphy series.
The Tex Murphy games are set in a post apocalypse San Francisco and owe a lot to film noir and hard boiled detectives of the Philip Marlowe type. There’s also a touch of Blade Runner in the setting. The games are well visualised and written, having complex plots, interesting stories, witty dialogues and enjoyable game play. They have a cult status these days, Under A Killing Moon being one of the first FMV (full motion video) games ever released.
It has been years since I was last able to play these games as they don’t work in Windows XP, that is, until now.
I was idling by the Unofficial Tex Murphy web site message board the other night, to check if there was any news worth noting, and lo and behold there was. A software company called Good Old Games (GOG.com) has reformatted the Tex games and rendered them, and many other old games, playable in the latest operating systems by including a DOS emulator in the installation files, but not requiring the end user to have any specialised tech savvy to set it up.
I signed up instantly and purchased Under A Killing Moon and The Pandora Directive for the reasonable sum of $10.00 each. This gives me ownership of the games, DRM free, though I do have to download them from the site. Still I never use much of my bandwidth allowance, so for a change I can use up some of it downloading these games.
The original boxed games cost something like $80.00 each back in 1994 (UAKM) and 1996 (PD) when they were first released, and they came on multiple CDs which required swapping CDs as one advanced in the game. I recall that Under A Killing Moon cost me considerably more than $80.00, in that I had to purchase more memory for my 486 DX computer in order to play it. Memory cost a fortune back in those days, something like $50 a megabyte.
The difference between old games like the Tex Murphy series and new games like The Longest Journey, is the game environment. Believe it or not, the old FMV games were truly 3D and the player could explore the game setting in amazing detail. You could crawl under desks, poke into any little cranny and become wholly involved with the environment. The newer games concentrate more on the Graphics – very pretty, but not half as engaging to the gamer. You can look, but not touch, unless you’re meant to.
The best thing about the reformed old games is that you can play the game straight through without having to swap CDs. I’ve yet to try it out, so cross fingers Under A Killing Moon will work fine when I install it tonight.