Are PC Games Becoming too Expensive?

Do the games that sell for less than $10 these days, crank out the high quality and challenge that fits the needs of today’s gamers? One would think not. But is forking out over $60 – $70 per game give you a better quality and more challenging one? For several years now, the gaming industry has been on the rise. And with the exception of console games (which this article does not cover), PC games tend to have their “clone” game for a fraction of the cost with very little, if any, loss of game quality or play.

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Was it always this way? No. Back in the late 80’s and mostly early 90’s many of the games were 8 – 16 color using simple shapes F95zone. They were no means up to the standards and quality of today’s retail games. Yet they sold. A classic among these was Castle Wolfenstein mad by Muse Company. For those of you who graduated in the 80’s know, that this was still during a time of Dungeons and Dragons (the real paper and pencil version) and very few, if any, schools had computers and the computers they did have, usually had some type of game (as they were never used in class). CW was one of those games, and it was a hit.

However, an even bigger game, with WORSE graphics hit the DOS PC and became an instant hit during this time was a simple game called: ROGUE! Rogue was probably the first pc dungeon dweller game that was found on just about every computer regardless of its OS or language. Its graphics were nothing but letters on a keyboard and other ASCII characters for monsters, treasures, weapons and even doors and stairs. The dungeons themselves were random, so no two games were ever alike. The objective – was (originally) to get the level 26 where the great Amulet of Yendor is said to be kept, then grind your way back up to the top. It is not as easy as it seems.

So what made this game such a hit? No graphics to speak of. Definitely no sound. Well one reason may be that the game did an excellent job keeping the player involved and active in the game by all the mechanics. There were so many things to do per level and just about every key on the keyboard had some use, that you were always “busy” with something that it kept you active, unlike games such as (keeping with the era) space invaders where you do two things – move left/right and shot. That’s it. (NOTE: Pac-Man is a different issue all together for another article)

While all those were free games, time changes, as it always does, and soon the world of 3D graphics games came into play (pardon the pun), and all those “cool” DOS games soon faded away. Before Warcraft (not the MMO) became popular, Blizzard had another game called DIABLO. Was an instant hit (of course). If you have never played it, it is, in essence, a glorified version of ROGUE. The only major difference, aside from the graphics being incredible at the time, was that it incorporated a “town” BEFORE heading off into the dungeons. So instead of the ugly DOS text graphics, you had a 3/4 top down view of a character that could relate to. Game price (best guess) $39.99. Then with some controversy, Diablo II came out, with a few other added feature, at about $50+.

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