Oct 29, 2014 · 3 minutes

Thank GoG.

In April 2013, LucasArts announced it was shutting down as a game publisher, following Disney's acquisition of LucasFilm. I could be wrong, but I have a hunch that many of the entrepreneurs and developers between 25 and 35 reading this site have a great affinity for classic LucasArts titles like "X-Wing," "TIE Fighter," and "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis." These games' mixture of humor, puzzles, and beloved movie characters made them irresistible to young geeks of a certain age. (In sixth grade, I wrote an 80-page screenplay based on LucasArts' "Full Throttle." As you might have guessed, I wasn't the most well-liked kid in middle school).

However, it had been a few years since anything really inspired had been released under the LucasArts brand. So when the shutdown was announced, the concern was less over a lack of new titles and more over the availability of the old ones. Classics like "Sam and Max Hit the Road," originally released on floppy disk and CD-ROM, were difficult to find and impossible to find legally, requiring game data downloaded using BitTorrent along with a special emulator that was a huge pain to configure.

But now, thanks to a partnership between digital distribution site GoG and Disney, six of these classics are available today as DRM-free downloads, with over a dozen more on the way.

The six you can download now are "X-Wing," "TIE Fighter," "Sam & Max Hit the Road," "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis," "The Secret of Monkey Island," and "Knights of the Old Republic." Those first three titles, prior to this partnership, were never before available to download legally, thought to be lost forever to CD-ROM bargain bins at Office Max and Staples. (The other three can be found, at least for now, on Steam). Unfortunately, only "Sam & Max" and "Indiana Jones" are available on Mac, however Ars Technica writes that a tool called Boxer can be used to play the Windows only titles on OS X.

This is great news for people my age who didn't get out enough as kids. But more than that, it represents a digital distribution trend that's good for consumers and good for producers. Despite how beloved these games were, the amount of revenue created by many defunct LucasArts titles was effectively zero, with no one buying new copies and more enterprising gamers finding them on BitTorrent. Now, not only are the titles available to consumers legally and conveniently (and cheaply -- at between $5.99 and $9.99, that's a far cry from the $49.99 my parents spent on TIE Fighter for my birthday), but they're once again making money for the publishers. This trend also arose in a story I covered last week on a site called Qello, a "Netflix for music films," many of which have been out-of-print for years and unavailable to consumers outside of rarities sellers on eBay and illegal downloads.

The Internet is beginning to live up to its promise in at least one respect: making old classic content readily available to audiences both old and new. As publishers and rights owners continue to realize that there's still a demand, however small, for content that lived only on CD-ROMs, VHS tapes, and other old school formats, they will hopefully continue to make these games and films easy-to-access and affordable through distribution platforms like GoG and Qello. Sure, it kind of ruins the collector's mentality of stumbling upon some ultra-rare out-of-print 70s horror movie at one of the only video stores left in America. But for people who just want to watch or play their favorite titles? Things are looking up.