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September 17, 2010

Insufficient Funds: Abandonia.com

Insufficient Funds is a weekly post in which we feature a free, or very close to it, piece of media that you can enjoy without overdrafting your bank account. So if you're low on funds, stay tuned to Cerebral Pop every Friday morning.

After I graduated high school I was in, what some would call, a pickle. I had massive amounts of free time but no full-time employment that would allow the disposable income to properly allocate those wandering hours. It was by sheer accident that I stumbled upon what soon became my haven for gaming. Abandonia.com provides classic PC games, free of charge.

If you grew up playing the adventure, strategy and action games of the '80s and early-'90s then this site will surely bring you tears of joy. Gathered from across the far reaches of the universe is a vast collection of abandonware; games that are no longer sold or supported by the companies who hold the copyright. These games have been preserved by the wonderful gang at Abandonia, who offer programs necessary to run these ancient capsules on the epic PCs of today. DOSbox will grind your behemoth to the proper speed most DOS games were used to and you can get VDMSound, for the midi-beeps of yester-year.

Abandonia can literally be classified as a treasure trove. Classics from Sierra (like Freddy Pharkas and Aces of the Pacific) and MicroProse (UFO - Enemy Unknown or X-Com, as we know it) are some of my earliest gaming memories and being able to play them again is a treat. Sadly, the early gems from Lucasarts are not available (ESA protected, mostly) as it seems they have the most protective hold on their intellectual properties of any modern company. Imagine that.

All in all, if you love early PC games or looking for free games to waste some hours, Abandonia should be your new home. The site offers documentation, help for troublesome games and plenty of fans to share in your excitement. It is, quite simply, an amazing site that deserves a look.