So a week or two ago I went out and got the ID Super Pack on Steam. It covers pretty much iD’s entire back catalogue, bar a few obscure titles, from Commander Keen to Doom3. Plus there’s some of the iD-engine-powered titles from Raven, like Heretic and Hexen. Total cost is $69.95 – far less than the combined cost of the separate components, which comes to $213.90.

As it happens a good half of the bundled items are either multiplayer-centric (like Quake 3), or expansion packs, and thus not of much interest to me. Going back to the original Quake to see what I missed is one thing, but I doubt I’ll bother slogging through 3rd-party mission packs. Also I already own a couple of the games and, er, have been borrowing Rik’s copy of Hexen 2 for about 8 years now. Still, I did the math and the pack still works out as decent value for money, albeit by a smaller margin.

Anyway, is this the way forward for keeping oldies alive? I appreciate people would sometimes rather have a copy on CD. Also there are legitimate concerns about what happens if Valve go out of business and steam shuts down. However this is a quick and easy way for companies to make old favourites available to consumers. They don’t have to worry about printing or distributing copies, or extensive advertising campaigns. Just stick the games on Steam and let word-of-mouth do its work. With the process made relatively painless, there’s more incentive for them to give it a try, when they probably wouldn’t bother if only the traditional methods of distribution were available.