GoodOldGames.com, or GOG, is trying to bring something new to the online video game market. Their methods are pretty simple. They are effectively establishing themselves as the STEAM of older titles. It's honestly a bit hard to explain it all in just abstract terms. It's a lot easier to just walk you through my experience.
Buying (4 out of 5)
If you want to buy anything from GOG, then you'll need an account. This is just a standard signup. Submit an email and pick an account name. Then log in and start browsing their shop. When I looked through their catalogs, I decided to join a number of other customers and buy Freespace 2 and Fallout 2. Each game was only $6.99 and they are patched to the latest official release. Fallout 2 even had the unofficial patch to add children back into the game, so it was already good to go.
The purchasing process is simple. You can browse the store by genre, by popularity, by rating, or name. Each game has a number of reviews and a good product description. If you want to buy a game then you just add it to the cart. They have options for Paypal purchasing, which I chose. A quick payment screen later and they were attached to my account.
Downloading (4 out of 5)
The downloads can be straight downloads from your account or you can opt for the special GOG downloader. The similarities to Steam pop up again. You just have to add the games to the queue and let the downloads start. I managed to get about 1 MB a second which matches what I usually get with Steam downloads, so that is quite impressive for a new store. Once they're on the computer, you just go through the installation process and then they're ready to go. There are no emulators or special downloaders. Everything is taken care of for you.
Bonus Material (5 out of 5)
The one thing that most people will appreciate is the level of extras that you will get. The older games will usually include files with everything that you would have gotten back in the day. PDF files of the original manuals are usually included along with some of the art files if you are really a collector. Most gamers won't care about the add-ons, but it's a nice gesture.
Community Extras (3 out of 5)
The community around GOG is budding nicely with forums for most games being quite lively. In the end though, they are just forums. They are good if you are looking for more information about a game or information about new mods or unofficial patches, but it's mainly going to be populated by fans. The reviews were a little disappointing since they tended to be glowing reviews poisoned by “nostalgia vision.” Then again, you should already know to take any online review with a grain of salt.
Final Decision (4 out of 5)
GOG.com is a good website if you are looking for some classics to add to your collection. There really isn't a reason to not give it a look at least. The worst thing that could happen is that you won't find anything. That is unfortunately a likely outcome though, since most of the games weren't worth even the low cost. They may have been revolutionary at their time, but it's hard to justify spending money on something equivalent to a flash game today.
There are some gems in the mix though and their catalog is steadily growing. New deals were recently made with Strategy First and Epic Games. A number of newer titles are being added to the mix and it should be interesting to see where this goes in the end. In the end, it's just a cool store that offers good DRM-free games that are ready to go after a simple download. You could do worse with a store.