In a fit of what can only be described as generosity, Rockstar has made its seminal top-down joyriding sim Grand Theft Auto and its slightly less famous sequel available for free to download on its Classics Web site. Alright, it's blatantly to drum up even more publicity for GTA IV, but who cares?
I downloaded the original last night for nostalgia's sake, but it immediately hit me just how playable the game still is, despite the comparative ropeyness of the graphics. The cars all have real personality, both in the staggeringly innovative radio stations that start playing when you climb in, and their distinctive handling. The feeling of bombing around a real city with real traffic and pedestrians going about their business (until you steal their car and run them over) was amazing in 1998 -- a huge leap forward in free-roaming gameplay.
Of course, all that was drowned out in the Daily Mail brouhaha about running people over and whatnot -- which Rockstar quickly realised did sales no harm whatsoever.