What is the year that it is safe to buy used PC games? I'm worried about steam or keys bullshit. What year did the beginning of the end happen?
What are some ones that never got digital distribution, some hidden gems?
It is highly unlikely you'll run into a key-related problem by now. Keys were mostly used to keep you from playing pirated copies on multiplayer servers. 99.9% of those were probably Gamespy servers, and that service has long since died. You're much more likely going to run into issues with old, incompatible EXEs or fucked up old DRM. Buy the physical media for collections' sake, but you're probably better off pirating for ease-of-use alone.
It's really hard to gauge when this happened since it didn't happen all at once but kind of caught on around the late 90s for some titles. Here are examples of a few retro games that don't use CD keys or activation.
>THPS2 (I know it came out in 2000 but it was a PS1 game)
I'm sure there are a bajillion others but I don't want to make an exhaustive list. The only retro game with online MP that still checks CD keys that I know of, is Quake III. The Half-Life games are also steam based now instead of using keys.
I don't remember any /vr/ game that was still hosted on Gamespy servers when that happened. It was mostly early/mid-2000s games. UT99 used to use the Gamespy master server but Epic is hosting that now.
>hurr not retro
Not reading the post and replying to it. Yep fuck off.
Yea kinda sucks that a lot of AAA PC games require Steam these days, but thats what the people asked for