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Friday, May 31, 2013

Gaming for a Good Cause

Gaming for a Good Cause: The Humble Bundle




Digital distribution has revolutionized PC gaming, and we mainly have Valve (via Steam) to thank for that. I'm the first to tell you that I hated Steam when it was first released, as you had to have it installed and loaded to play Half-Life 2 and didn't work, but now a decade later it's how I purchase my games almost exclusively. A great positive to the path that Steam has blazed is how many alternate digital distribution platforms are now available, such as Good Old Games (GOG.com).

In addition to allowing you to purchase PC games without leaving the house (or putting on pants), another great side effect of digital distribution is that it has majorly lowered the bar and allowed for a renaissance of games made by small teams that simply couldn't exist under the old model of distribution. 

You take the awesomeness of (DRM-free) distribution, exposure to indie games (and sometimes not-so indie games), add in naming your own price, and charity and you have Humble Bundle

The way it works is that every so often they will put up a new bundle, you pay what you want and get a number of great games, frequently along with their soundtracks, as DRM-free downloads, and you decide how the money is split between the developers, the Humble Bundle site, and the charities (Child's Play and Electronic Frontier Foundation). There are additional benefits to giving more, for example if you pay $1 or more you get Steam keys as well as the direct downloads, and the format is usually 3-5 games you get no matter what and 2-3 games you get if you pay more than the average.

The currently bundle comes with Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, and Dear Esther no matter what you play, and Hotline Miami and Proteus as the games you get if you beat the average (at the time of writing $5.64). I can tell you from personal experience that Hotline Miami is worth every penny of that by itself, as it was one of my favorite games of last year, and all of the other games I've either liked or heard good buzz for. 

The new weekly bundle, and the impetus for my writing this article, is for TellTale games and includes Back to the Future, Sam & Max: Devil's Playhouse, Poker Night at the Inventory, Hector: Badge of Carnage!, Puzzle Agent 1 & 2, and Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures. If you like Adventure games, that's a lot of great content to pay what for, especially with being able to give some to charity. 

The big one to me is that the game you get if you beat the average ($4.24 as of the time of this writing) is The Walking Dead! Given that the article I wrote for the game was my first entry in the Games You Should Be Playing series, it's pretty obvious that I like the game. It's Steam only, as a caveat, but I felt it was a steal at $30 for the season, so this is a simply fantastic deal, and available for another 5 days.



If the idea sounds good but the current bundles don't grab you, they offer ways to be updated when a new bundle is released, and they always have at least one game that is awesome. 
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