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First post, by DosFreak

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Found this while browsing the neowin.net forums: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=65246&st=0

The link I posted goes to a thread that people have polluted with links to abandonware sites (the original post is all free games). So I'm just going to quote the original post below.

NOTE: I'm not very actively updating the top post anymore. Please follow the development of this thread by checking the latest n […]
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NOTE: I'm not very actively updating the top post anymore. Please follow the development of this thread by checking the latest new posts instead. But feel free to browse through this post first to find many goodies to get you started!

Last update: 21-Sep-2005 (see below for details)

Please PM me if you find a broken link!

25-Mar-2004: Linkstealers have been discovered! Someone who is not me posted the early beginnings of this thread on Jun 19, 2003 at http://www.pcplayground.com/ftopic625.html.
Additionally, some poor incompetent sod cut'n'pasted parts of this post to this location, without even bothering to preserve the links! How SAD is that?! They should stop pilfering other people's hard work and try to do some campaigning of their own, I say!
The ONLY and REAL URL of this thread is http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=65246 and the real thread starting date is 10 Mar 2003.
Accept no imitations! 😀

My aim with this thread is to gather a lot of confirmed freeware releases of old commercial or unreleased games by their developers/publishers. As there have been many interesting developments on this front recently, I found it appropriate to gather them all together in a list.

Ever since this thread was started, and even long before that, I have been actively seeking out old developers whose games I think are especially well worth preserving. The response has been very encouraging, and some companies have promised to look into releasing their oldies for free. Some already have. This thread proves that contacting your favourite developers and asking politely does make a difference! So to all of you out there on the forum who haven't yet joined this project - do so now!

Some games listed are really old and requires quite a bit of tech knowhow and additional software to get working on today's hardware. So perhaps I'd better label this thread "some assembly (pun intended) may be required". :geek:

If you're having any trouble with a game, post your questions in this thread and I or someone else will try our best to answer them. Also review the thread so the questions haven't been asked and answered already. Happy gaming!

NOTE: Post only confirmed and verifiable legal links in this thread. We don't want it locked because of some clueless poster.

REVISION HISTORY

21-Sep-2005: Added Battlecruiser Millennium. Did some cleanup of semi-unconfirmed entries.
15-Apr-2005: More spring cleaning. Nothing big. Added note about Shadow Warrior source code to 3DRealms entry.
14-Mar-2005: Just did some spring cleaning... removed unconfirmed games and links to unofficial sites that were not confirmed.
21-Jan-2005: Added "Treasure Island Dizzy" to Codemasters section! Yay!
17-Jan-2005: Corrected some links - thanks to gorron of oldgamesitalia.com!
12-Jan-2005: Bungie (of Halo fame) released the entire Marathon series as free downloads on the 10th of January. Thanks to jvm of Liberatedgames.org and to putzboy for the notice.
10-Jan-2005: Fixed borken links to Rockstar's games, and added GTA2 to Rockstar section. Thanks to madd_matt for pointing out that the URLs had changed!

News from previous years have been deleted to save some thread space...
-------------------------------------------------

With Rockstar's recent release of GTA Classic for free, I thought it'd be nice to make a thread where we can share with eachother our knowledge of companies offering old games for free via their homepage.
Of course, that goes for both PC games and other games playable via an emulator.

PLEASE NOTE: Some emulators require firmware images that are not in the public domain. In order to use those emulators, you need to A) acquire a legally licensed firmware image from the hardware manufacturer OR B) own a real hardware unit from which you can extract the firmware image, and suitable dumping tools (sometimes hardware-based) to do so. Even if you do own the real unit, you can not download a firmware off of the 'net - you must dump it from your own unit.

Also, do read the rest of the thread for a lot of nice unofficial remakes of existing games!

GAMES

Here's a few companies that have taken their responsibility towards their fans:

Bungie: Released the entire Marathon series as freeware on 2005-01-10. The Marathon series was the Mac's answer to Doom and its spinoffs. The original Marathon engine source was released under the GPL in 2000, and a multiplatform engine (Aleph One) has been developed to allow Marathon to take advantage of modern graphics cards through OpenGL.
Get "The Marathon Trilogy" @ bungie.org
Get the "Aleph One" engine and source code for your platform @ bungie.org
Note: The "Marathon Trilogy" is available in two flavours: the original Mac versions (which are not usable on a Windows PC) and a set of extracted data files for Windows that can be used with the open-source engine "Aleph One". If you want to play both the original versions on your Mac, and the Aleph One versions on Windows, you can save some download time and unpack the Mac .sits on Windows using StuffIt Expander.
Note though that the original Marathon is not compatible with Aleph One, only Marathon 2 and Infinity are supported. There is however a ported version of the Marathon scenario that can be used with Aleph One. The links are on the Marathon Trilogy download page.

Codemasters: Celebrating their 18th anniversary, Codemasters graciously released an up-to-date remake of their hit Commodore 64 game "BMX Simulator". In addition, as a gift to the community they released "Treasure Island Dizzy" in December 2004. Relive the 80s! These are the actual games from the C64, wrapped in a CCS64 executable.
Note: Before you can download anything, you need to register a free account with Codemasters!
Get "BMX Simulator" and "Treasure Island Dizzy" @ Codemaster's site (free registration required)

Altar Interactive: A developer house from the Czech Republic. You may not know them by name but they are actually the team behind "UFO: Aftermath" (the latest game in the X-COM series). Fish Fillets is a puzzle game similar to Humans or The Lost Vikings, or even the classic Lolo series from the NES. You control two fish (whose faces resemble those of Mulder & Scully of "X-Files") with different characteristics, they need to cooperate to solve puzzles. The big fish can move heavy objects, the small fish can get through tiny passages etc., and together they must solve puzzles to get to the exit. The gameplay is non-linear and branches into several paths. If you get stuck on one puzzle you can go back to a branching-point and try another path. With 70 brainbending puzzles and a story parodying X-Files, you'll have plenty of laughs with this one. It runs under Windows (98, 2000, XP) and Linux.
The game has been released as freeware and open-source under the GPL.
Get "Fish Fillets" (a 275 MB download) @ FilePlanet
Get the original source code and a Linux version @ Fish Fillets NG at SourceForge.net
See other players' comments and compare your highscores @ Altar Interactive

Funhouse / Cliff Johnson: Famed puzzle developer most well-known for his storydriven puzzle game "The Fool's Errand". He offers three of his classic puzzlers (The Fool's Errand, 3 in Three, The Puzzle Gallery) for DOS, Mac and Amiga (in ADF of the new IPF format) for download on his website, and optionally you can buy all of the Funhouse games (for Windows, but not runnable under XP without a hosted 9x environment such as Virtual PC or VMware) on one autographed CD via PayPal (also includes Hanna Barbera Cartoon Carnival, Merlin's Apprentice and Labyrinth of Crete).
Get the downloadables, manuals and all that @ Cliff Johnson's official website.

Bethesda Softworks: Most recently famous for the sequel "Morrowind" and their game adaption of the license for "Pirates of the Carribean". Their current free offering is the original "The Elder Scrolls" game, "Arena".
Get The Elder Scrolls: Arena @ the official The Elder Scrolls website!
Or get it @ SUNET's FTP archive ( HTTP | FTP)

Falcom: Current owners of KOEI's classic "Brandish" series as well as "Sorcerian", another old RPG once published by Sierra - amazingly, you can still buy Sorcerian from Falcom's online shop. They've released a translated version of a previously commerical "light" RPG called "Vantage Master Online". As the name implies, you can play this with a friend over the Internet or some other kind of connection. Sadly, network play is limited to two players. Oh well. There's always story mode. 😀
Also available for free is a translated version of their RTS wargame "Lord Monarch".
Get Vantage Master Online @ Falcom's Vantage Master webpage - you can get the game and an online manual there.
Get Lord Monarch @ Falcom's Lord Monarch webpage - there's a downloadable manual available as well.

Deluxe Solutions: Released the Parashooter remake "Parashooter 3D" as freeware (previously commercial). It's a 30Mb download with nifty graphics.
Get Parashooter 3D @ Deluxe Solutions official product page

Krome Studios: Released the Screen Entertainment product "The Chronicles of Jaruu Tenk" as freeware. Think of it as a sort of "Little Computer People" screensaver in 3D. Pretty cool.
Also released the classic "Flight of the Amazon Queen" adventure game in cooperation with the ScummVM project.
Get "Chronicles" @ Passfield Games
Get "Flight of the Amazon Queen" @ SourceForge.net - [CD version]|[Floppy version].
You can optionally get the files at SUNET's FTP archive (lightning fast!): Floppy version (HTTP | FTP) and Talkie version (HTTP | FTP).
Get ScummVM @ the official download page

Rockstar North (DMA Design): While not exactly the starter of the "oldies made freeware" trend (that would be Cinemaware or Sierra), Rockstar has gone one step beyond and even updated the games for modern Windows platforms. You have to register (free) and get a link mailed to you in order to download the games, so use a real email adress.
Get GTA Classic @ the official page
Get Wild Metal Country @ the official page
Get GTA2 @ the official page
NOTE: Their server has a user limit due to huge files and overwhelming popularity, so the link you recieve may be a little unstable (but it will work many times so you can use a download manager).

3000AD: Creator of BattleCruiser 3000AD and the rest of the BattleCruiser series. Released BC3KAD (both v1.0 and v2.0) as freeware, check the download page below.
Get it @ FilePlanet
Recently, Battlecruiser Millennium (the sequel to BC3K) was also released as freeware:
FilePlanet

Enlight Software: The designers of premier business strategy games Capitalism and Capitalism Plus also made Virtual U, the "Transport Tycoon" of university management, and have graciously released it as freeware, but they also offer a boxed version that has all the manuals printed on paper instead of in digital format.
Enlight Software has also, in an excellent example for the business, released the source code for free download and modification along with docs. Very nicely done! (Y)
No word yet on whether the game also includes this proud university tradition (a lot of fun reading, go see for yourself!). 😁 Anyway, it's a highly educational management game that lets you manage education! :wacko:
Get it @ the official Virtual U website

Factor 5: R-Type, Turrican and more, all downloadable, however not all are restorable to their original media.
PLEASE NOTE that some of the games are subject to license terms that allows only owners of the original games to download a backup.
Get them @ the official Factor 5 website

Cinemaware: Defender of the Crown, Wings and a LOT more! All their games, downloadable in all release formats (includes PC, C64, Atari, Amiga, NES and more!) (requires free registration)
Get them @ the official Cinemaware website

Gathering of Developers: Released the full Deluxe version of "Hidden & Dangerous" for free download. Be warned though, the download is over 250Mb!
More info @ Gathering of Developers (also sports a list of available mirrors if the one below goes down!)
You may download the game from the Swedish University Network's FTP Archive (fast) via HTTP or FTP.
Then there's always the FilePlanet alternative.

Revolution: are working with the ScummVM.org team to get their games working on modern platforms. They have also released "Lure of the Temptress", their first game, for free, as well as their most famous title, "Beneath a Steel Sky" (the full CD-ROM version, even!). They are currently working on support for "Broken Sword 2" in the next major release of ScummVM.
Get it @ the official Revolution Software website or at ScummVM.org.
Get "Beneath a Steel Sky" CD version @ SUNET's FTP archive: via HTTP or via FTP.

Team 17: have now released Superfrog (floppy and CD), Project X (including SE) and Full Contact (their first game), all for Amiga, available at back2roots.org (link near the bottom of the post). In the mid-90's they also released the full source code for "Alien Breed 3D II" into the public domain (certain license conditions apply). Link below goes to a fast mirror of these files as found on Aminet. Porters rejoice!
Get it @ Swedish University Network's AmiNet mirror
Former Team 17 programmer Jamie Woodhouse released ATR and Qwak for free, as well as a Psygnosis game called Nitro. Get them @ Jamie's website.
Also get lots of authorized Team17 titles for free @ Dream17.co.uk, a newly opened fansite (thanks to Neowin member Squirminator2k!).

3D Realms: released the source code of "Duke Nukem 3D" on the 1st of April 2003, the same day that Revolution released "Lure of the Temptress". Search for "duke3dsource.zip" on the linked page below.
They also released the source code for Shadow Warrior on the 1st of April 2005.
Get the source code @ the official 3D Realms website
On a related note, Ken Silverman, creator of the Build engine used in Duke Nukem 3D, has released his game "Ken's Labyrinth" for free, and it has also been ported to modern operating systems. Already at this point, Finnish demo supergroup Future Crew, nowadays better known as Remedy Entertainment, had some input into the game.
Get Ken's Labyrinth @ Ken's homepage
They also released two old classics, Boppin and Stargunner, as freeware recently. Check out their website for the goods.

CORE Design: CORE's CD32 release party starts with Banshee, Bubba'n'Stix, Chuck Rock (1 & 2), Dragonstone, Heimdall 2, Premiere and Skeleton Krew! Those are all hosted at back2roots.org - go there now!
Get the games at back2roots.org (link near the bottom of this post).

The Bitmap Brothers: the coding maestros behind "The Chaos Engine" and "Speedball 2", have released "Xenon 2000", a great PC followup to their awesome "Xenon" series from the Amiga.
Get it @ the official Bitmap Brothers website (direct link to download)

Sierra: Tribes 1 & 2 released for free.
Get the booty @ FilePlanet (Tribes 1 or Tribes 2.
Mirrors for Tribes 1: Sweden (FTP)
For Tribes 1, you will also be needing this patch (1.8 to 1.11).
Mirrors for Tribes 2: Sweden (HTTP)|Sweden (FTP)|BitTorrent tracker
For Tribes 2, you will also be needing the T2 community patch pack, about which you can read more in this thread at TribalWar.com.
Cet the CD-key for Tribes 2 @ this form (read info below first!!!)
Some CD-key information for Tribes 2:
QUOTE(TribalWars.com)
There also seems to be some confusion about how to get your T2 key. The URL for obtaining a key is http://www.fileplanet.com/promotions/tribes2_cgw/. The information you fill out in the form must match your GameSpy registration information. You may have to reverify your email address as a part of this process. Also, make sure you are signed in to GameSpy BEFORE submitting the form. The code will display on the web page it does NOT arrive via email.

Toys-For-Bob: released Star Control 2 as open-source. It's being revamped as "The Ur-Quan Masters" over at SourceForge.
Get it @ the official page.

Jetro Lauha: released his shareware cave-flying game KOPS to the open-source community.
Get it @ the official page

Rick Saada: has released the shareware game called Castle Of The Winds which was sold as shareware by Epic MegaGames as freeware. It's a "light" Rogue-like game for Windows.
Get it @ Rick's homepage

Diamond Productions: Released the previously shareware Amiga games "MasterBlaster" and "Diamond Caves II", great clones of DynaBlaster and Emerald Mines, respectively.
Get MasterBlaster @ SUNET's Aminet mirror
Get Diamond Caves @ SUNET's Aminet mirror
and get the registration codes required @ Diamond Productions' Amiga page.

John Calhoun: Released all versions of Glider (including PRO for Mac OS X) when his publisher went bankrupt.
Get them @ the official page

Micro Wave Software: The author of a very popular BBS door game, called Hack & Slash, sort of an early primitive MUD. It was also released in a shareware version, called RPGBBS Deluxe, which was a standalone BBS software (and quite a competent one, at that!). It was released as freeware on 25-Sep-1996 and is available on Aminet. It requires at least an Amiga 1200 (or run it under WinUAE). There is also an enhanced client available in order to handle the sounds and images that this BBS can supply.
NOTE: This program is still being developed, and is open-sourced, but it is now a daemon for Linux/Unix-like OSes, and can handle telnet connections. There is also an enhanced telnet client (RPGclient) for Win32 if you would like to use the graphic/audio extras.
Get RPGBBS Deluxe for Amiga @ the main Aminet site or @ the Swedish University Network's fast Aminet mirror. You will want to grab the four disks and, if you use NComm or a similar terminal program, also get the external emulation library which will enable RPGBBS-specific features (sounds and bitmaps) in those generic BBS clients. The rpgbbsv5.lha file listed is old and is only of historical interest.
Get RPGd, the current version for Unix, @ the official page, along with the RPGclient terminal program for Win32.

neo Software (aka Rockstar Vienna): have kindly released The Clue as open source (German version only because of licensing trouble, as is often the case with these old games). A SourceForge project has been set up and a native Win32 port exists.
Visit Der Clou! Open Source Project and stop by neo Software while you're at it and drop them an appreciative mail while you're at it! Stop by back2roots to pick up another neo game, "Black Viper", as well. :woot:

Digital Illusions: Having confirmed that 21st Century and DICE did indeed license the Amiga (including CD32!) versions of "Pinball Dreams", "Pinball Fantasies" and "Pinball Illusions" to Back2Roots.org (see below), I think they deserve to be listed as a company that takes retrogaming seriously. The current owner of the 21st Century publishing rights also graciously gave his permission to Back2Roots so they can continue to offer these games.

ARCHIVE SITES
Large archives of legally downloadable games are available here:

Legal Abandonware: Neowin forum member evktalo maintains this page, listing many freely downloadable classics.
This is a direct link. If you use the redirector (CJB) you should be sure your computer is well defended against all forms of spyware, as cjb.net has started pushing various pieces of spyware through their redirect URLs. As long as you don't use the redirector URL, you'll be OK.
Visit LegalAW
evktalo also helps out with a Finnish retrogaming online magazine called PeliKapseli (I'm assuming it means "Game Capsule"), which has gotten permission to host a few classics. The site is in Finnish.
Visit PeliKapseli

Back2Roots.org: huge archive of licensed free games for Amiga and UAE. For some games, conditions apply. All games found here have been licensed to the site by their owners.
Visit the Games section of www.back2roots.org

World of Spectrum: Huge archive of Spectrum games, sponsored by the current rightsholder Amstrad. Go there now!
Visit World of Spectrum!

Classic Game Remakes: Lists not only remakes, but also a good number of freeware releases of previously commercial titles. Red Baron, which was released by Sierra but is no longer available on their website, is mirrored here, as well as Caesar and several other hard-to-find authorized freeware releases.
Visit Classic Game Remakes

Liberated Games: A list much like this one, but better organised. Lists the licenses along with the games.
Visit Liberated Games

NOTE: "The Home of the Underdogs", the biggest archive on the net of its kind, has been removed from this link list because it is not entirely clear if it is 100% legal. Even though I think that the author of the site makes every effort to keep things legal, and has even established a truce of sorts with the ESA (formerly IDSA), I do not wish to link to it.

UTILITIES

SciTech: Since SciTech no longer provides support for their old line of products (most notably the UNIVBE and Display Doctor utilities) they've decided to give them away for free on their homepage. However, they do also sell these applications bundled on a CD so you can show them your support by buying this. A very nice move by SciTech.
Get them @ the official SciTech website
Also get SciTech's very nice Open Source offering, Watcom C++, at http://www.openwatcom.org/

JPSoft: creator of 4DOS, they've released some of their very old replacement CLI prompts as unsupported freeware. Those are: TakeCommand/16, for Win 3.x, 4OS2, for OS/2 Warp, and TakeCommand for OS/2 Warp.
UPDATE 2004-11-19: THE JPSoft classic, 4DOS, is now freeware! For all your Win9x or DOS machines, this is THE console enhancement program you need!
Get them all @ the official JPSoft website

Torkel Lodberg: Developer of the most comprehensive terminal program for the Amiga - NComm, has released a freeware keyfile so you can now enjoy NComm v3.06 on your Amiga or an emulator for free. Here's some info from the Aminet README: It's been a while since the development of NComm ceased. However, it is still a darn good terminal program. The latest version 3.06 (available on AmiNet) requires a key file to work. Since NComm is no longer being developed and supported, I approached the author of the latest release (Torkel Lodberg)
about the possibility of releasing a public key file. Torkels response was positive, and he has generously generated a key file, free for everyone to enjoy.
Get the keyfile and all required binaries @ SUNET's Aminet mirror.

Disclaimers:
As far as I know, all titles listed above are released as freeware. Where possible, I link to the actual download page at the creators website. If a developer has released something in violation of their publishers contract, I can take no responsibility for it, and in such a case, I urge the publisher to join this forum and PM me with instructions as to which links to remove.
I browse the web with all the latest defenses against drive-by-downloads, trojans and other malware/spyware. Since the defenses are running on a central server outside my control, I am not made aware of anything that it stops. To the best of my knowledge, all sites listed in this post are free of such nuisances. If you encounter such a program on a site listed in this post, do not hesitate to contact me so I can update the post and warn of any potential dangers. It's always a good idea to run the latest anti-virus, a good firewall and a good set of reliable anti-malware/anti-spyware products when surfing the web.

Additional notes:

I'm actively trying to find developers who are willing to release their out-of-print games on their homepages. You might be able to help, too. Drop your favourite old-in-the-business developer a mail asking them to release games that are out-of-print and for which they have no re-release plans on their homepage for free download. Platforms don't matter. Open-source licensing (BSD-type) optional but highly appreciated.

Of special interest are developers with large amounts of old out-of-print games, such as Team 17, UDS, Origin, Blizzard, Interplay, Delphine... I'm sure you can come up with more. Post findings, suggestions and responses to help the community.

If anyone knows of any other (preferrably major) developers who offer their old games (floppy, CD or ROM) for free, don't hesitate to post your links here, but make sure the link is authentic: careless posts will be reported/removed. Just don't post anything that will earn this thread a lock. Keep things legal and verifiable.

Thank you.

Very nice list.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 1 of 10, by vasyl

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Of the listed websites, only Liberated Games can really be used as reliable source of information. Anybody who thinks that HOTU is completely legal must be delusional. The site operator makes an effort not to get into trouble but there is a lot of grey stuff there. I'd like to believe that Back2Roots is completely clean but it is really hard to verify in some cases. I will explain that by example: some time ago certain classic game author released all of his old games as freeware. Sound great, right? The problem is, I am not sure if he could do that. Many years ago his company went bankrupt and all copyrights were transferred to the court, so the "official" story says. I could not find any records of those copyrights reverted back to author. Were they? Were they not? That's the problem, there is a possibility that the original author does not hold a copyright and thus cannot release the game. Worse yet, the author may not even be aware of that. It is possible that quite a few games were not released to freeware just because of this one reason -- nobody could figure out copyright situation.
BTW, the example above is real but don't try to guess and don't ask any questions about the author or the games, please.

Reply 2 of 10, by DosFreak

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Yup, It's a place to start anyway. I'd like to get concrete evidence of games being legally free and then add that category to my games list.

So far Liberated Games is the only source of information I can be pretty sure about unfortunately. 🙁

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 3 of 10, by collector

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If this is going to include non PC games, Sierra's first game, Mystery House, was released into public domain in '87 as part of Sierra's 7th anniversary. One of the opening screens of the image included with the 2nd KQ collection and the Roberta Williams Anthology states as much.

Reply 4 of 10, by vasyl

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Public domain or freeware? Two different things. A few years ago Activision released the first three Zork games as free downloads. These is yet another category. If you've downloaded them then, it's fine; otherwise those are not PD or freeware... I have Roberta Williams Anthology but I've missed that thing about Mystery House. Hmmm, that's the same Anthology that came with Apple II ROMs, and nobody knows if Sierra had legal rights to do that 😳 If you start looking into copyrights, it's just such a mess. MT-32 ROM? 😉

Reply 6 of 10, by vasyl

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Arena is definitely free download and the license does not seem to restrict distribution, so it is freeware (but not PD). This applies to the floppy version only. Bethesda did not make CD version available (most likely, to save bandwidth), technically this means that CD version is not free yet 🙁 The way it works, if you rip your copy of Arena you cannot distribute your rips on the premise that it is freeware even if it is bitwise identical to the download version. It has to be that exact download version. It would be different for public domain release.
IIRC, BaK was available for free download from Sierra for a while (again, floppy version only). I don't think the license permitted distribution. When Vivendi came the download was pulled. It is possible that they had a reason to do that: this game has an extra license attached to it (Raymond Feist's works). Vivendi either did not have a permission from Mr.Feist or did not care to get one. Real shame, that was a great game.

Reply 7 of 10, by HunterZ

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What's also weird about the BaK download was that the version they released didn't have the latest patch installed. There was actually a game-crippling bug near the end that was solved by the latest patch, and as a result I never got around to beating the game.

Reply 8 of 10, by vasyl

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I don't find it particularly weird after seeing all these cases of "collections." It feels like more often than not that the older or broken versions get to the "collection" packages. I've seen that with Activision (Infocom collections), Sierra (just all over the place), and with Legend Entertainment (Lost Adventures of Legend contains floppy version of Eric the Unready).

Reply 9 of 10, by collector

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The intro screen of Mystery House says public domain. Yes, you are right that the two are different, but of course, public domain can be freely distributed, too.

The Sierra Help Pages -- New Sierra Game Installers -- Sierra Game Patches -- New Non-Sierra Game Installers

Reply 10 of 10, by akula65

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Although the original post has Sierra Tribes 1 & 2 information, the recent release of Sierra's Ground Control is also worth mentioning:

http://www.sierra.com/news_story.do?storyId=1418