What’s better than cheap games? Games that donate your payment to charities such as the Human Rights Campaign and the American Cancer Society! That’s the concept behind the Humble Bundle, which serves up a selection of games, lets you decide how much you want to pay for them, and then redirects a portion of your payment to charity. And this time the money that goes to charity is bypassing the pocketbooks of Electronic Arts and Origin, a bullet point sure to put an evil glint in the eye of many an EA hater.
The new Humble Games Bundle has several noteworthy science fiction titles in the bunch this time around. You’ll get the excellent original Dead Space, the less-excellent Dead Space 3, the underrated but frustrating as hell first-person platformer Mirror’s Edge, and Crysis 2: Maximum Edition, which I don’t have anything pithy to say about because I haven’t played it. If you’ve never given Dead Space a chance, it’s worth throwing down some cash in and of itself, all the more so since some of said cash will go to one of several worthwhile charities.
“I’m not much of a gamer, GFR, but I do like supporting charities. What should I know about the exciting science fiction games in the Humble Bundle?” I’m glad you asked, Hypothetical GFR Reader, and may I add that my you look marvelous today! The Dead Space games are very much inspired by the Alien franchise, but they’ve managed to take that launching-off point and create their own unique universe involving reanimated and repurposed corpses, mysterious alien relics called “Markers,” and a sinister cult that worships them and pretty much wants humanity to evolve by, well, dying horribly. The first one is scary as hell and is justly considered a classic, while the recent Dead Space 3 still has its moments, but overall isn’t nearly as good as the first two games.
Mirror’s Edge single-handedly proves why making a first-person platformer is a terrible idea, casting you as a free-running courier determined to overthrow an oppressive government by running really fast and jumping on things. All kidding aside, Mirror’s Edge is thrilling when it works, but those moments are rivaled by incidents of you missing the same jump for the thirty-seventh time and then throwing the controller through your TV. But I still have a love-hate relationship with Mirror’s Edge because it’s visually gorgeous, and combined with the amazing soundtrack, once you start to get the hang of the controls it can be a genuinely breathtaking experience. At least until you start swearing at the screen again.
The core six-game bundle also includes Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box and Medal of Honor. If you pay more than the average donation — currently at $4.82, which is pretty sad considering this is for charity — you’ll get two more games as well: Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 Starter Pack. The games would normally cost over $200 to get the whole lot, but you only have to pay a minimum of $1 per game in order to unlock them on Origin or Steam (Steam only for certain titles). And hey, bonus: you also get the soundtracks to Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3. That’d be an even better deal if they included the phenomenal Mirror’s Edge soundtrack, but beggars can’t be choosers.
With your purchase/donation, EA and Origin are donating their portion to five charities: the Human Rights Campaign, Watsi, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the American Red Cross, or the American Cancer Society. For the love of god, don’t be a cheapskate. Although if you want bragging rights, you’re going to have to open that wallet wide: the current top contribution is a whopping $2,345.67. They’ve already sold 1.5 million of the bundles, and the deal is good for another eight days.