Is Steam worth it?

I’ve been avoiding Steam for several years now, as I used to get all my 80’s games from and running them on DosBox. However, recently I’ve really been jonesing to play the original X-Com: UFO Defense. I have several different inferior freeware versions, but the original doesn’t work on DosBox. Steam is selling it for $4.99, but I’m sure how Steam works. Will it open in a browser window? Do I just get a download? Does it come with an emulator? Does it work in Windows 8?

Thanks in advance.

You’ll download a steam client that will run the game. It won’t play within a browser window, or at least none of my steam games ever have. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work in windows 8; I’ve never seen someone have a problem playing a steam game in windows 8.

After you buy the game, do you own it permanently like Kindle books?


I’m looking around Steam right now, and it seems like their game choices are very, very limited. They only have X-Com 1, for example, not the expansion pack, terror from the deep, and it’s their only Microprose game. If I do join, will I see more choices?

X-Com terror from the deep is $4.99 on Steam
Just type X Com in the search box.

Will the games I buy work only on my computer, or can I use them on multiple computers? Will the emulator work with iPads?

The games live in the cloud. When you want to play a game, you download it to your computer. If you no longer want to play a game and don’t want it taking up space, you can uninstall it but if, at a later date, you want it again, you can re-download it from the cloud.

You can play your games on multiple computers but you have to download them for each device and your account can only be active on one device at a time. may be more down your alley (although I can’t tell if they have the old XCOM games or not). They originally did nothing but old games optimized to run on newer systems, although now they also sell some newer games. The optimization is usually pretty good (most of them are based off DosBox, but they seem to get better results than when I try it myself), but it’s sometimes a good idea to check the reviews on the site in case there are some problems. They also at least used to be DRM-free, but I’m not sure if that’s the the newer stuff they sell.

But Steam is also just fine. If there’s a game you want on there, don’t hesitate to sign up with them. Then fill up your library with more games than you can possibly ever play come sale time!

Their primary product is new/newer games. Older classic games will usually only show up if they are officially reissued (e.g. Wasteland), and games may become unavailable for new purchase (but, AFAIK, will remain accessible if you’ve already bought it, but I’m not absolutely positive about that).

So if you want newer games, they’re awesome. Not necessarily because it’s through Steam (it does have its issues), but they have about 100 games on sale every day and during the holidays and other times throughout the year there will be massive sales with huge discounts (up to and beyond 90% in some cases).

I’ve also found you can sometimes find unlock codes for purchase that are cheaper than actually buying the game through Steam, i.e. purchase a code through Amazon for less than what Steam is charging, then plug the code into Steam to download.

Steam is “worth it” in that it doesn’t cost you anything anyway and more and more games are moving towards it. It’s rare to find a new video game that isn’t on Steam aside from Electronic Arts titles that wind up on their competing Origin service. About the only new games not on Steam these days are smaller indie releases though some may have both a Steam version and a DRM-free version or alternate client version (like Ubisoft’s games on Uplay). But, again, just having a Steam account is free so there’s no harm in making one even if you are largely happy with abandonware titles from other sourses.

As noted, Steam has several older X-Com games.

When you buy a game from Steam, you get a full application that you download, as well as whatever packaging it needs to run on a modern system. Usually, you can only launch that game by launching the Steam client, but it’s unobtrusive and stays in the background. You can run most games in offline mode, though some features may be turned off (multiplayer obviously, also things like achievements). Steam also has some features that make multiplayer play run smoother: For instance, it makes it much easier to invite friends to your game, or to join theirs. And Steam itself doesn’t cost you anything, and they often have pretty great deals, sometimes things for free (sometimes just a “free weekend”, to let you try out a game for a brief period, sometimes a “100% off sale” where you can grab the game for free if you’re quick, but then keep it forever).

Steam is awesome. But their list of classic PC games is a bit lacking. I’d still suggest you download the client and get a free account. There are thousands of great games there for you to try across the broadest range of genres of any gaming platform.

But if classics is what you’re after, then also try Lots of “good old games” there as well - and they are pre-packaged in a dosbox environment so they are guaranteed to run on modern OS’s.

As mentioned, when you buy a game on Steam it’s yours to keep. You can download it into as many machines as you want as many times as you want. The only limitation is that, while you can have your account active on multiple systems, (you can even stream from one PC to another for example), you can’t be playing a game on multiple systems at the same time with the same account.

I would recommend you wait for the next Steam Sale (probably will be a summer sale) and games can get so cheap that you cna pick up an entire publisher’s catalog for the price of a brand new game. It’s a really inexpensive way of building up a respectable game’s library.

If you liked the original Xcom, you might like the reboot too. It’s not as complex, but it makes up for it in presentation and pure fun, IMHO. It’s called X-com enemy within.

Understatement of the year :slight_smile:

Well, one might also say it’s not as much of a pain in the arse ;). Seriously, UFO without interface mods is unbearable. “Hey, why don’t you redo the inventory of every guy, at the start of every mission ? Without having the faintest idea what their stats are ? Wouldn’t that be fun ?!”

You guys talking about UFO: Alien invasion? I tried it for a few days, and the one feature that is totally missing from the original is the little dialogue box that says if you want to use the interceptor to attack the alien ship or not? Yes/No. There’s a trick with the original where you just follow the ship around until it lands (maximizing the salvage and hopefully capturing officer aliens,) or for small ships with low value, you wait until it’s over water to shoot it down, keeping your country standing at max.

I’ve run into a couple problems. V:TM Bloodlines required a couple of hours of futzing to get the text (and some textures) to display properly, and I haven’t yet been able to get Jade Empire to launch. Both are games I paid around two dollars for, so I’m not too stressed about it, but there are sometimes issues with Steam and older games.

That might be it; I’ve seen Skyrim, Bioshock Infinite and maybe Terraria in win8.

You can also set it to offline mode so you can play your games offline.