VC&G Review: GameTap

April 4th, 2006 by Benj Edwards

Do you want hundreds of different games of diverse genres that span video and computer gaming history available for unlimited play on your PC, 24 hours a day, without the hassle of having to set up eleven different game and computer systems? So do I. But in this case, you're going to have to pay $10 a month to Ted Turner for the privilege. And there's another catch — the "unlimited" games have the darnedest habit of magically disappearing at the blink of an eye once you stop paying your monthly gaming tariff. Hmm. Sounds pretty limited to me.

Thus is the state of the GameTap Broadband Entertainment Network, the world's first large-scale legal attempt to make a rerun channel for video games. It's an admirable goal that is pulled off relatively effectively with their candy-coated software wrapper that wrangles together 400 disparate games from the late 1970s to the present into one virtual gameplay arena. The interface is clear-cut and simple to understand, allowing you to easily browse through and select different games you want to play (one at a time, of course). Upon selecting a game, you're presented with a game overview, some history, the choice of some game-specific bonus information, and instructions on how to play. Then, if you choose to continue, the game is downloaded to your PC and…you play. Download times range from a few minutes or less for the simple games to over 30 minutes for the modern PC Windows titles. Don't expect to make copies of the games you've downloaded, of course, because every downloaded game is chopped into pieces on your hard drive and likely encrypted, rendered useless unless played through the GameTap client itself. But if you just wanted to do that, you would have already (likely illegally) downloaded the game already, right? You're here for the experience and the convenience of having everything accessible and playable in one place.

My experience with actually playing the games was a relatively positive one. All of the games I downloaded played smoothly and "as intended," replicating — or dare I say emulating (…that's a joke) — the game perfectly as if it were being played on the actual game system. I tried at least two games from every system offered, from the Atari 2600 right up to a Dreamcast title and even modern Windows PC games. I picked many games that I have played on the real systems to compare their authenticity, and yes, they are indeed true emulations. GameTap also includes a staggering number of Windows and MS-DOS games (>114), which seems kinda like getting off easy at first, but it turns out to be one of GameTap's strongest features. While running homebrewed emulators of old game consoles (Genesis, NES, etc.) on your PC is relatively easy and consistent, finding the right parameters and emulator settings to run old Windows or DOS games on a modern computer can be extremely maddening. GameTap completely erases all that hassle, as each game you choose just works.

Let's take a look at game selection on GameTap. On March 10th, 2006, their game count was as follows:

Arcade: 65 games
Atari 2600: 82 games
Commodore 64: 42 games
DOS: 22 games
Dreamcast: 3 games
Game Gear: 7 games
Genesis: 55 games
Intellivision: 8 games
Sega 32x: 6 games
Master System: 13 games
Windows: 92 games

Total: 395 games

The most glaring omissions start with "N." Nintendo, that is — black gold, Texas tea. If they had old Nintendo games (NES, SNES, Game Boy, N64) on there, GameTap would probably be wildly successful. Ha — like the big N is going to let that happen on the eve of their Revolution release (which, for those of you who don't know, will supposedly allow players to buy, download, and play old Nintendo games from systems past on the console). Instead, GameTap is stuck with a lot of second-rate titles in the console department, save for Genesis notables like the Sonic the Hedgehog series, the Phantasy Star series, and Landstalker. Oh, and whee — they have Atari 2600 and Intellivision games as well, which have about as much modern play value as a light switch. Don't get me wrong; I love the classics or I wouldn't run this site. But I challenge you to go back and pull out your old Atari 2600 collection and measure exactly how long you spend playing each game. I wouldn't be surprised if your answer was less than five minutes per title (yes, even for you old fogies out there). But hey, at least they have Yar's Revenge.

On the other side of the fence is their Arcade selection, which is replete with classics, including the obligatory Namco arcade hits (Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, and Pac-Man, for example), which, incidentally, are supposedly the most played titles on the whole GameTap service (Source: some magazine I forgot, probably EGM). However, you can currently buy a $15 TV game device at a local drug store that will play the same games (with pretty good accuracy) as much as you want for as long as the unit holds up. GameTap also has lots of Sega arcade games available. Sega of America and Ted Turner seem to be bosom buddies — a relationship that probably started with their ambitious Sega Channel in the mid-90s.

Last, but not least, I can't wrap up my overview of GameTap's game selection without mentioning a distinctively cool part of their Windows and DOS library: the oft-neglected genres of adventure and RPG games. Classics like Zork, the Might and Magic series, and even all the Myst games, are refreshingly available for play on the service.

But who cares about games? Sensing correctly that GameTap needed added unique value for the service to work in the face of rampant illegal game downloads and emulation, they went out of their way to create game histories (limited and sometimes inaccurate), interviews with game creators, cheesy year flash-backs ("In 1982 everybody ate Rubik's Cubes for breakfast"), and hip (read: terrible) music and poetry homages to the games. They also force you to watch loading-screen comedy sketches ("A Day in the Extra Life"), which are quite frankly horrible and unfunny. However, it is mighty entertaining to watch modern-style promo videos for old PC games (like the original Might and Magic), with an enthusiastic announcer selling them to the audience seriously as if they were the coolest games ever created. That's about the only thing that really works in their added content department, though.

Signing up to GameTap is easy; you can do it online with a credit card. They give you a free two-week trial period, then a $9.95/month (US) subscription fee after that. Canceling is a bit harder, however (gee, big surprise). You have to call their 1-800 customer service number and ask a real, possibly smelly biological person on the other end to cancel your account. Of course, they're going to try to stop you, tempting you with lines like "Are you sure, man? 'Cause we'll be adding hot new titles like Sphere Zone II and Battle Blade Buddies to the service soon." Upon declining again, they offer you a free "comp month" to "keep you in the game." At this point in my own cancellation process, I almost shouted, "THAT'S RIGHT! KEEP ME IN THE GAME, BRUTHA!" while virtually chest-bumping the operator. But I've never been known for "staying in the game" — I hated soccer practice as a kid and always wanted to go home early.

If you can't stomach the $10 monthly fee to play threateningly vaporous but addictively accessible games, you could always build yourself a makeshift legal alternative to GameTap in the form of a UGS, stocked games that you already own or have otherwise legally purchased or acquired. But without the right front-end software for the job, the convenience of GameTap just isn't there. And convenience is exactly what you pay for with this service. GameTap is like fast food for games. If you need a quick fix, drive-thru GameTap and order a Double Gameburger. If you're looking for a more filling, longer-lasting meal, you'll have to cook for yourself. At $9.95/month, it's tempting to eat out every meal. But for now, I think I'll keep making my own burgers.

[Update (06/12/2007): For a new look at GameTap's customer service, check out this article on VC&G. ]

The Skinny: GameTap Broadband Entertainment Network
Good Features: Large, diverse selection of games. Good client interface. Incredible convenience and ease-of-use regarding diverse game selection. Legal way to easily experience older games. Joystick support.
Bad Features: Lackluster console game selection overall (no Nintendo). "Added value" content (videos, music, etc.) usually sucks. Games "disappear" when you stop paying monthly fee (obvious, but I had to say it).
VC Rating:
(10 Being Best)
[ 7.5 out of 10 ] Shiny Marbles
Rating Notice:
This service was reviewed on April 4th, 2006. Due to the dynamic nature of the service, its quality may have improved or degraded since then.


41 Responses to “VC&G Review: GameTap”

  1. DahrkDaiz Says:

    Glad you did an article on this. I was wondering how well Gametap was. I noticed the lack of any big N titles and dismissed it immediately. Maybe if they had more Dreamcast titles it would be worthwhile.

  2. Xerone Says:

    Sounds cool, maybe if I get a new computer I might check it out… I doubt my computer can run it at all right now, haha.

  3. MegaKitsune Says:

    WTF!? Why PAY for old games!?

  4. Jakanden Says:

    Sounds like it still isn't what they wish it to be. I gave it a shot when it first was launched and was not impressed. However, the games line up has improved considerably.

    The only reason I would consider it again is to be able to play Might and Magic without running DOSBox. However, until they add the Eye of the Beholder and Descent games, I ain't biting.

    Thanks for the review mate =)

  5. Joe Says:

    Did they pay you to write this? GameTap sucks.

  6. Joe Says:

    They purposely make canceling your account a big HUGE hassel. they could easily add a cancel subscription button to the website…

  7. RedWolf Says:

    Well, I was going to give it a 6 out of 10, but they fixed the two major issues I had with the service right before I published my review. Those two issues were 1) the price (used to be $15 a month), and 2) lack of user-configurable controls.

    And yes, they definintely do make cancelling a hastle. I absolutely hate it when companies do that.

  8. scarfie Says:

    Looks very pretty - would have been nice if they'd made as much effort with the coding. Very clunky on my (Win2000) system; often crashes, usually half-way through a download. Not providing any download progress information doesn't help matters. The help sucks as well. I'd cancel but not sure i can be bothered by the sound of how complicated it is, which is of course the point.

  9. ApathyInEntropy Says:

    Yes, because calling a 1-800 number that is listed all over the web site, pressing one number, and talking to someone on the phone is -really- taxing.

    It's a business. Business works on the idea of retention.
    If a lack of social skill prohibits you from picking up the phone, waiting less than a minute to speak with someone, going through the one attempt to keep you as a customer that every subscription service attempts, and getting a confirmation of your cancellation… then perhaps there are larger issues in play.

    The number is all over the place. It's on the website. If you click on "Help", it's located there - only bigger. Have we really reached the point where picking up a phone and talking to a reasonably nice (American) CS rep for 3 minutes is that taxing?

    I mean. Really, guys.


    MegaKitsune Says:
    WTF!? Why PAY for old games!?

    WTF!? Pay people for their intellectual property!?
    Hey, why do we pay to listen to old music? I mean, after a few years - why not just make that free?
    Old movies, too - let's just go all the way and put up a 7 year abandonware policy on all forms of media. That's flawless! It'll work perfectly.

    —-
    Joe Says:
    Did they pay you to write this? GameTap sucks.
    —-
    Way to support your arguement there, hombre.


    Joe Says:
    hey purposely make canceling your account a big HUGE hassel.

    Again, to reiterate - calling a number and being on the phone for 2-5 minutes. Wow. You're right. How could they ever do that to a customer? That's a moral outrage. We should picket. We should strike. We should write nastygrams.

  10. Cheetah Says:

    can someone please make an account for me…. i live in canada… if u make an account, please email it to me at tuff_rimz@hotmail.com

  11. SquishyFace Says:

    So, Apathy, how much do they pay you too go around websites and make juvenile comments?

  12. Synthaetica Says:

    "WTF!? Why PAY for old games!?"

    1. convenience.

    2. the library grows continuously and you are not charged more for the ever-increasing library of games.

    3. you would have to pay your monthly subscription several hundred times over to pay for legitimate copies of all the software currently available, and that's not counting the number of quarters plopped into an arcade system.

    4. there is far more in the mix than just hosting old games.

    5. GameTap will expand as computing environments change, and you don't have to spend the time programming it or trying to find new emulators. how long will your hackware emulator hold up?

    6. one subscription can serve every age-level and experience-level in your household.

    now do you understand, grasshopper?

  13. ripperJack Says:

    ApathyInEntropy covered most of my issues.

    I see only two real issues that you have: 1) that you have to pay for this; 2) that there isn't Nintendo.

    $9.95/month isn't all that much to shell out. People pay 1.5-2x that for MMO subscriptions, net rental subscriptions, etc. You can't expect a -subscription- service to continue if you don't pay. I'm an advocate of free and open-source software, so I can relate to your unwillingness to pay. But it's a decision that comes with a sacrifice. You just need to understand that.

    Gametap doesn't have Nintendo. That isn't Gametap's decision, as you yourself mentioned, but nevertheless, Nintendo is missing. However, this doesn't mean that it never will become available. As well, Gametap continously updates their software and their content. They put out roughly 4+ games every Thursday and are trying to get more consoles. I'm sure they're additional or 'bonus' content (such as their Gametap TV) will improve. Regardless of what gets better, their price stays the same. Their customer service and technical support is -free- regardless of how long it takes to resolve your issue or how many people have to call you back. You speak with English-speaking Americans, as well, as opposed to some random, barely-intelligible Indian thousands of miles away.

    There have been a number of programming issues with the service, I agree. It has had a tendency to crash. But unlike a lot of current software providers, Gametap actively responds to issues and constantly beta tests all new features. Updating is seamless. A great many of the issues people experience could probably be minimized or eliminated by taking better care to keep their system up-to-date and running properly.

    And before you say it, no, I really don't work for Gametap, Turner, or any one of their affiliates. I'm not being paid to write this. Trust me, I wish I was.

    Either way, I'll leave it at that. I touched on most everything I wanted to. There are always good and bad things you can say about a software. This review just seemed to have a bias sneer to it. Felt I should comment.

  14. RedWolf Says:

    ripperJack,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I agree with you that GameTap is constantly improving, and in retrospect, it seems unfair to review a continuously changing product. I will have to think more about how I handle changing products such as this in the future. Perhaps a disclaimer near the score would help. (edit: I added one)

    By the way, the review does indeed have a "bias sneer" to it, because I was expressing my personal opinions on the service. If product / service reviews were completely devoid of opinion or judgement, then every review would be neutral, boring, and give an average score to everything. Nobody has to agree with me, of course.

    Thanks again.

  15. Cog Says:

    Thanks for the review. I only wish I had read it before I signed up for it. But I can say that I totally agree with what you have written. Now I must look forward to the dreaded cancelation process. I don't know why I didn't think about that before I signed up. Probably because I was spoiled by World of Warcraft's cancelation process. I guess this proves that the quality of the product is directly proportional to how easy they are going to make it for you to cancel.

  16. DiezPesitos Says:

    I think it's funny how fastidious we Americans are. You're complaining over $10 a month for an organized service of classic video games that we all used to spend hours playing.
    If you don't think it sounds like fun, don't buy it.
    If it does sound like fun, buy it.
    If you get bored with it, cancel it.
    As 3/4 of the world's population would be dancing for joy if they received one balanced meal, we are whining over having to part with 10 dollars a month to sit in a chair and play games all day in our air-conditioned, clean homes with fully-stocked refrigerators.
    At the risk of doing the whole 'putting it in perspective' thing, I'll change directions.
    The cancellation thing is probably inconvenient, but good business on their part, as I guarantee their profits are positively reflected strongly by doing it, and that's the reason any and all business exist, to make as much profit as possible.
    From the looks of things, it's pretty straightforward, though. I remember when I had AOL and they would hide the number to cancel in the farthest corners while encouraging you to write a letter to cancel(never worked) or send them an e-mail(never worked). It would be a month or two before you realized that you had been misled. With this, they don't seem to be pulling any fast ones. In order to cancel, you have to put up with one last sales-pitch, GOD FORBID! That is the oldest business manuever of all. Caveman walks into a cave-shop, says "I don't want to keep paying you four rocks to walk my dinosaur, I'll do it myself." Other caveman says, "Wait, what if I did it for three rocks and twice a day? Would you reconsider?" First caveman, "Hmmm, I'll have to ask my significant other cavemate…"
    If you owned a web-based company, would YOU put a giant "CANCEL HERE" button at the top of every page?

  17. Notackan Says:

    I have gametap and I love it. I never really had a nintendo when I was a kid I grew up on Sega and I was thrilled when I got this and was once again allowed to play my favorite Sega games. Plus using a 360 controller on it makes it 10X better. Though I wish they would add Saturn and Sege CD games (and they have all the Descents now) I'm sure they'll add them soon. Plus there isnt a good emulator out for any systems past the 16 bit ones. I miss Sega consoles.

  18. Amy Says:

    Hey, I will be honest.

    If I could keep gametap working on my system long enough to get a fulfilling experience before I quit and hit the inevitible blue screen of death, I would happily keep the service. I love the games, I can put up with the TV, and most of all I love the games. Contrary, to your belief, actually some of my faves are still the atari games I actually grew up with. I could heap the others, but I love Enduro, demon attack, and circus atari. I just can't make the program stay up long enough to bother.

    My computer is clean, no viruses, no spyware, etc… It meets all minimum requirements, and They have tried to help me fix the problem about 8-10 times. I am also working on a 1-month old re-install of windows at this time. No Dice. If it works for you, Congrats, and enjoy, I will be sulking in my corner, wishing to play all the good stuff they have. Especially the Sierra adventure games. King's Quest III… Oooh Shiny…but, mommy, it burned me. And GameTap has burned me for the last time. The first time I used the service, I never payed becaue they kept giving comp time for all the hassle. I wish that I could have payed and played instead. Sadly, becuase of The GameTap pay as you go model, I will never see the old adventures legally available again.

    Maybe in my next computing lifetime.

  19. RedWolf Says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with GameTap, Amy. There's no doubt in my mind that GameTap's service gets better and better all the time. I consider this review to be mostly obsolete because they have introduced many new features and games since I originally wrote it.

    It's a shame that you had trouble with the client software crashing, though. Oh well. Maybe someday they'll figure it out and you can try again.

  20. Amy Says:

    I spent an hour and a half on with thier tech support guy tonight. Long story short, he could not fix my problem… but … and I have to admit I haven't tried real hard to break it yet tonight, I found one little setting thatt seems to have changed everythingl. I have to try a little harder, but the results are promising. I just had to change the resolution. I thought I made it clear to this guy that it looked to be a problem with video, and we pussyfooted all over the place, but it seems it may work now.. very exciting. I appreciated you review of the service by the way, and if the troubleshoothing gets fixed… then All I will have to wish for is the good old.. Big N. Thanks for letting me share my views.

  21. Trojan Says:

    How many people use gametap about?

    I have never tried Gametap but it does it sound too good for what I have read from the responses.

    What is called Ninendo Revolution is now called Nintendo Wii.

    Anyways what could gametap do to make sure that it is exactly like
    Nintendo Wii

    Today they have over 600 games

  22. code Says:

    game tap sucks i got a account AND PLAYED FOR A WHILE ITS COOL BUT REALY DIDNT FEEL LIKE IT WAS WORTH IT SINCE I WASNT REALY PLAYING ANY OF THE GAMES. Any ways i call them up and cancel my subscription everythings good rite, wrong 1 month later i find out ive been billed twice i guess thay didnt cancel so i call them up again to cancel suppose to get a email confirmation but nothing so i guess ill give them another call tomorrow, third times a charm rite. been billed three times now i hope thay refund my cash like thay say thay will aholes

  23. Jason Says:

    ApathyInEntropy Says:
    April 25th, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    "Yes, because calling a 1-800 number that is listed all over the web site, pressing one number, and talking to someone on the phone is -really- taxing.

    It’s a business. Business works on the idea of retention.
    If a lack of social skill prohibits you from picking up the phone, waiting less than a minute to speak with someone, going through the one attempt to keep you as a customer that every subscription service attempts, and getting a confirmation of your cancellation… then perhaps there are larger issues in play.

    The number is all over the place. It’s on the website. If you click on “Help”, it’s located there - only bigger. Have we really reached the point where picking up a phone and talking to a reasonably nice (American) CS rep for 3 minutes is that taxing?

    I mean. Really, guys."

    Umm. WRONG DUMB (self censor). Yes they do have there 1800 # posted all over there website, but you have to push more buttons to get to customer suport. Also it took a half hour of hold time when I called to cancel to get a person. Then when I got a person it took another half hour to get them to actually cancel my account. They kept throwing diferent offers at me trying to get me to stay. I finally yelled the F-bomb at her and told her that if she did not cancel my account then I would report them to the BBB. Then it was canceled.

  24. Ted Says:

    Being forced to call an 800 number to cancel is nonsense. This is an Internet service - am I to believe their engineers can't put a simple cancellation button in the account control panel? Look, we all know how simple it would be and we all know why they make it a hassle. It's called acrap business practices.

    I've had Gametap for some months. The price is fine. 10 a month is no problem. I spend that on lunch in one day.

    Major Issues (or How I Learned to Hate Gametap):

    1.) After downloading a full game, you will find you have to download it again (and again). I have a very fast connection (cable DSL 300+) , even with that downloading huge games takes a while and after I've done that, PLAYED THE GAME FOR HOURS, I don't want to download it again. But have to. Sometimes 3 times. Infuriating.

    2.) Some games crash. The games that crash are the ones I really want to play. Blue screen? You bet. Hasn't happened to me since '97.

    3.) (see 2) Emailing tech support is a joke. I now have 5 completely IGNORED emails into support. Use the phone? Piss off. I'm the customer - they say I can do it through email and then ignore it. Bad business. End of story.

    4.) Look at the size of the thing! Gametap (before i sacked it) was taking up 45 Gigs of space on my machine. I play 3-4 large games (2 of which crash regularly). Do the math, that doesn't add up to 45 Gigs any way you swing it. Hard drives are cheap, you say? Fair enough. It's still inneficient and a pain in the ass. Full sized, very modern games take up a small fraction of the space of Gametap. The combination of 3 brand new modern games take up a fraction of Gametap's space. Awesome, old classics like Half-life are just TINY compared to it. Bad comparisons? Not from the user perspective. If your emulator takes up that much space, change it.

    Look, I had been a huge fan for months. I told all my friends about the service and recommended it. Then I had crashes and was systematically ignored by tech support. I'm sorry, but as a paying customer, that's nonsense. If I did that to my customers, they'd leave too.

    In fairness: When it works, it's really nice. What it's good for is the Strategy section and the old school games (Heroes of Might and Magic, etc.). Beyond Good and Evil is cool too (major crasher though).

    Bye Gametap. I'll come back when you start treating your customers like you need to be. Nice idea. Too bad you blew it.

  25. Mxyzptlk Says:

    I've been subscribed to GameTap for a few months now, and I've very rarely had any problems with it. If it's taking up to much hard drive space, you can adjust the settings under My GameTap to fix that. Crashes would happen only rarely, and never in the middle of games. The one time I talked to customer service I got through very quickly and the operator was quite helpful and polite. The video content is getting better over time. One feature added rather recently is the Challenge games, which allow you to play multiplayer over the net. Games like Knights of the Round, the Street Fighter series, Bust-a-Move, and old Neo Geo titles are a lot more fun with someone else. And the new Sam & Max title is worth signing up for a trial by itself.

    Sucks to hear about the problems other people have had, but I can't say they've happened to me. Sometimes I might go a week or two without playing it, but I haven't cancelled simply because I always get the itch to go back and play some retro titles now and then. I need to get my Robotron score higher damn it. :) The ease of use compared to hunting down roms and configuring several different emulators make it easily worth my $9.95 a month.

  26. Magilicotti Says:

    I liked the service when I first got it. It worked fine and without any crashes. I took about 2 weeks off for vacation, which killed my free two weeks but oh well, and came back to gametap to play.

    After a update, I could no longer play a downloaded game without my whole computer freezing up. Spoke with thier tech support, very friendly and helpful. Spent a better part of 3 hours with them on the phone trying to resolve the issue before my cordless phone gave out and I had to end the conversation.^^ Don't know what the problem is, sounds like something to do with how they store the game on your computer. All hacked up and encrypted… something is messing with that download and where they send the files or reading the encryption once you select to play the game.

    Gametap can't figure it out, and nither can I. As long as they keep giving me free months I'll stick with it until they figure out what's wrong and calling them once a week to se if there is any progress in a solution.

    My review is positive for the most part, other then the computer crashes. Games are exact port, and the libary of games is nice. I can't get into the old atari games like when I was a kid, but a few I like. Dig Dug, Pac-Man, Burgertime, etc..but the PC titles are wonderful to have and can't wait to see more in the future, provided I am not completely doomed to never play it.

    Gametap T.V is a great feature for those downloads. I love watching Space Ghost and Sealab 2021. All and all, it's a good service for those who like the retro and PC title gaming. I was a NES fanboy too back in the day but it's not a big deal not to play them.

  27. Roundhouse717 Says:

    Where did this notion come from, that we should not have to pay for anything? These people probably style themselves as "anarchists" or "freedom supporters." Used to be, someone who wanted the product of other people's hard work for nothing, was called a scoundrel.

    It might be an understandable way to feel, when a movie or CD costs $15 - $25, and the creative producers get only a couple bucks of that.

    But here they're offering unlimited play of over 700 (!) games for $10/month. That's less than 2 cents per game. 2 cents! Granted, you won't want every game. But the point is that anyone who complains about paying $10 a month for this just doesn't want to pay for things. The quest for the unearned.

    As for having to listen to a sales pitch before cancelling, I don't like that either, but how hard is it to say no a couple times to their offers? I doubt they're going to pitch you more than twice.

    Seems like Americans used to be -men-, but we've turned into a bunch of soft, flannel-wearing "indie" kids who want everything provided for them, without having to pay anything.

  28. Slipzo Says:

    In response to Ted, you must have something wrong if you are having to download each game over and over again. Once you download a game on Gametap, it is there and you should only have to hit the "Play" button. I have a bunch of large windows games and I have only had to download them one time. This might explain why it takes up 45 gigs, becuase there is no way the Gametap service takes up that much space. Your games must be moving out of their directories somehow, causing them to still be on your HD but Gametap can't find them? Like I said I have several large (1gig+) windows games and a bunch of other smaller games and I've never used over 6 gigs of HD space. Too bad you didn't try to figure out what is wrong before giving it the heave ho.

  29. Jeff Says:

    I have had Gametap since they were in beta, and aside from a few minor problems, it's an extraordinary service. It's like the Sega Channel (which I also used to have), but on a much grander scale. Unlike the reviewer, I find some of the original content to be amusing, and there's plenty of other stuff (like the Animation Channel). I signed up annually, so I'm only paying less than 5 dollars a month. Even for ten, you can't go wrong. I really hope they'll have games other than arcade games with the multiplayer option. I'd kill for a multiplayer for Dr. Robotinik and the Mean Bean Machine. Magical Drop III is a cool multiplayer game, but barely anyone's ever on. I wouldn't say "never" to Nintendo putting games on Gametap, since the PC market is totally different from the console market.

  30. ana vargas Says:

    i need to cancel subscription

  31. Pr13st Says:

    I canceled my service on February 28th, and was told I would not be billed for the month of March, but it turns out they billed me at 5:41pm for 2/28/07-3/28/07 and i canceled at 6:30pm, so I have to pay 10 bucks for a service I could care less about for a month. I have to wait and call durring the week to complain and request a refund. BS

    Most of the games you can find in the checkout line of Best Buy Bundled together in 4 games for like 5 bucks anyways.

    Save yourself the hastle and just stay away.

  32. max Says:

    I'd like to know how gametap can offer a game like farcry. my computer did not have the right video card for the game, so it did not work. this is a few years ago. Now, gametap claims I can play this game, and many others… does this mean my video card issue doesn't matter anymore?

  33. Brian Says:

    The reason they put a 1-800 number to cancel is the same reason that software/hardware companies give out rebates.

    In general most people are too lazy to do a simple action to save themselves some money.

  34. GT Mystic Says:

    Ted, take a look at the local storage setting inside of GameTap. If you have it set to 5GB and keep downloading large games some will disappear. For example, if you have 4.7GB of games on your computer from gametap and you have 5GB of space allocated then try to download a 350MB game, your are going to loose one of your others to make room for the new one.

    GameTap did not take up 45GB on your computer. That is just what is stated in the add/remove programs. If you navigate to your program files directory, right click on gametap, and click on properties you will get an accurate statement of how much space GameTap is taking up.

    The primary reason for a blue screen of death is either a program conflict (I suggest http://www.netsquirrel.com/msconfig/ and http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/community/columns/bugbusting.mspx ) or out of date video card drivers. Beyond Good and Evil is simply a buggy game, even before it got put on GameTap.

    P.S. A good idea all around is to defrag your computer. Lots of little files in GameTap being moved around.

    Max, the games are designed to work as they did. If your computer wouldn't run FarCry in the past it will not run it now. Each game inside of GameTap is the actual game.

  35. Ellen Says:

    I canceled back in December, and they're still billing me, even though I called customer service again, which promised me a refund. Do not give them your credit card number.

  36. Joescoffee Says:

    Seeing as I work for GT I thought your article was very fair comparing the product. Yes its true you do have to call to cancel and yes we do try to retain customers. But that is the business of every company in America. You go to McDonalds bc you grew up on it. You go to Toys “R” Us bc its marketed to the youth that’s where the best toys are. But the bottom line is those and every single other company in America wants you to return to them.

    I have been on the phones and I have tried to retain customers. I am not forceful in the process and also am not demanding. What I don’t appreciate is someone getting on the phone and just throwing up every obscenity known to man at me. I’m sorry you have to do this so you can feel better about yourself and high five your buddy for cussing me out and guzzle your beverage. What did I do to deserve this? I only did my job. If you look at it through my eyes, each and every one of you have the same job I do but in a different environment. All you can relate to my job and what I have to do. So please next time you have to deal with a customer service representative, remember that they have the same job you do, to increase retention rates and make the company profitable.

  37. Dani Says:

    Gametap has been aweful - we purchased a one-year subscription in December and the code didn't work, it is now June and we finally got a code - however when we logged on, all of the games that are normally there are missing! We spent the six months calling and emailing and sending letters, and each time we spoke with someone they were prompt to answer and very friendly - however, each time they had to have a supervisor handle it, and we were told that a supervisor would call us very soon, or we were told we would received an email within two days, etc. Over TEN times we were told these things, and NOT ONCE did we ever hear back. Finally, we found a guy, just this week, who gave us a new code. However, all of the games are missing. The guy we talked to in Customer Service thinks we were "accidently" given a "promotional" one-year subcription, which doesn't include any of the games except for the oldest ones. We were told he couldn't do anything, but his supervisor would call us back (laugh). Well, I'll be calling in again on Monday… however, I doubt it will be resolved, and I think that I will just give up - they can keep my money, and I just won't have GameTap. We got screwed - don't trust them for a minute.

  38. TapGoneGuy Says:

    I hope GameTap reads these comments, because I was just about to try GameTap and probably subscribe! But I did the smart thing and looked for a review first. When I heard about the pain in the arse to cancel, I just changed my mind! I don't care how "easy" it is to call them and listen to sales pitches…screw it! There is enough stress in life, than to go looking for it.

  39. yup Says:

    i keep seeing gametap commercials so i thought to look around on the net a bit..

    all the reviews are the same… its nice when it works. if it doesnt work you're shit out of luck. and you'll have a hell of a time to cancel the service…

    after reading a few dozen pages of that.. yeah.. fuck you gametap. glad i wont be signing up for your billing service.

    maybe if it was a simple one click to cancel like any good service. i might be willing to try it. but add in potentially getting billed for months i dont use the thing? nah… fuckit..

    guess i'll go torrent another game. i can cancel that at any time.

  40. J-me Says:

    I've had nothing but good experiences with Gametap. 10$ a month is very little for the library they offer. (granted this post is a few years after the original post)

    Many of the games are on a rotating free list now, and some of the "gold" games were brand new (retail) when the original post was made. They've done a pretty good job of keeping me entertained.

    I've subscribed and cancelled a few times since the service started, and I really didn't find the human interaction difficult.

    Apparently, the service is either up for sale, or being sold (not sure, haven't really done my homework). Hopefully, they will still continue with consistent updates.

    Honestly, with this service, and my age bracket (35 - 40) I rarely buy games anymore. Between this and my WoW account my free time is pretty much used up. I don't think this service would appeal to your average young gamer, as the flood of bright and shiney new games will easily cast a shadow over these old classics.

  41. Kevin Says:

    Well, I thought I would ad my opinion, since I've used Gametap for several years. I've canceled it a couple of times, and I did not have a bad experience canceling it. Most of the older games seem to work fine, but I've noticed more and more of the most recent ones do not work. I know $10 a month is not much but I didn't upgrade my computer just so I could play really old games, so I'd rather play something fairly new. So that's my biggest issue with Gametap, too many of the games not working when I know my computer meets the requirements. Maybe if Gametap tech support was better some of my issues could have been resolved, but last time I waited for weeks to even get a response at all, so I quit trying. Again, I'm not complaining about the price, but still, even for $10 a month there are too many games that do not work that should. I am on a budget but it may be worth it just to buy a $20 game every other month instead, and not have to wait for it to download and wonder whether it will work or not.

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