The head mucky-mucks at retro gaming site Good Old Games may fail as gothic actors, but they sure know how to grab attention.
Posing as a pair of "humble monks who have sinned," the site's administrators donned hoods and used a web conference to announce the "rebirth" of their briefly shuttered website. GOG.com went dark last Sunday, accompanied by messages suggesting the site had been suddenly (and unexpectedly) closed. The response from users who hadn't seen it coming and assumed the site would never go down was mixed, ranging from speculation that it was just a marketing stunt (it was) to outrage.
"First of all we'd like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com," said the GOG team in a statement yesterday, attempting to ameliorate the damage. "As a small company we don't have a huge marketing budget and this [is] why we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz around an event as big as launching a brand new version of our website and even more important, bringing back Baldur's Gate to life!"
Today's conference was all apologies wrapped in faux-sackcloth and backlit by candles. The two GOG "monks" reaffirmed their wish to "express their humble apologies" to everyone surprised by GOG's closing.
"The closure of the website was necessary for technical reasons," they said, admitting the stunt was in fact a kind of meta-game.
"We are gamers, so we decided to play a little game with our users and the media," they explained, arguing that "there were really a lot of hints" to the contrary.
The company says the new website has been "vastly enhanced," with some "98 percent of the code" rewritten.
"Our development monks have made [sic] a fantastic job," said the GOG reps, claiming the site now runs "10 times faster" and can support "six times more users."
And then the conference crashed, knocking me out. If you want to see what all the hoopla's about for yourself, keep an eye on GOG.com (there's a timer counting down to 8:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow, September 23, which is when the new site's due to go live). All I know for sure is that the site's remaining DRM-free, that you can still download the games without an intrusive, proprietary client, and that they're adding forums, improved searches, and new ratings tools.
And if you've been waiting for BioWare's storied Baldur's Gate series to reemerge in a Windows 7-friendly package, it sounds like the wait's finally over.
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