Close Look at Gametap

by Jen McPherson on November 7, 2005 in Gaming

GameTap is a new application that boasts a hoard of video games for the biggest of gaming enthusiasts, with many old and new game titles from multiple platforms and systems. It promises all the games in their original formats, total old school glory, and you can access the GameTap network right from your desktop, all in one. GameTap also promises new game releases often, new content and original programing for their MediaPlex within the GameTap software. Itching for some old school gaming? Then lets dive right in!

Gametap Introduction

    Minimum System Requirements

  • GameTap is not supported in Windows 98
  • Windows-based PC’s more than four years old may experience difficulties
  • Apple Macintosh computers are not currently supported (but we’re working on it
  • Internet Connection:
  • Broadband service: DSL, DSL light, or cable modem (minimum 384k)
  • Hardware, Software, and Other Requirements:
    • Windows 2000/XP
    • Pentium IV or AMD Athlon 800MHz or better
    • 256MB RAM
    • 5GB available storage (for application)
    • Video Card: 3D-capable video card with 32MB VRAM or greater
    • DirectX 8.X and OpenGL 1.1

Installation & Play

Downloading GameTap took no time at all, and the installation was relatively quick. It took a few minutes to download the updates, but once in everything ran smooth and was easy to find.

Plugging in my joypad it registered fast… but I had one problem. My controller wasn’t working with the GameTap. The buttons weren’t working, nothing assigned correctly to the controls, and when I tested it outside of GameTap it worked just fine. There was no control panel inside the GameTap program to reset the keys… or to change the key shortcuts for using the keyboard. An update fixed the joypad issue for me, but the buttons were still all assigned wrong, and again there was no way to correct it within GameTap.

By entering My GameTap, you can add more controllers as well as new users. There are parental settings within the program, a great addition for parents. Here you can adjust your account settings, change your password, enter account information and so on. One feature they do need here is keyboard and controller key assigning.

All games are organized in several different categories in the Game Vault. Here you can search for titles, choose from particular systems, select from your favorites, or game types, such as action, adventure, simulation, strategy, role-playing, sports and so on. All games are relatively easy to find and the menus are set up well and navigation is smooth.

So, using my gimped joy pad setup, I started playing. Clicking on a game will pull up an information box, telling you a little about the game, the year it was published, developer and genre. Other tabs that you can click on give you access to other information, such as how to play, bonus material, and parental controls. At the top of this box is also a quick button so you can add the game to your Favorites list. This you can access by clicking on the Game Dock link at the bottom or the My Favorites in the central Game Vault list. Pressing start begins the load.

Now, here is where it depends on what type of game you are uploading. Games for the Atari or Genesis, with low graphics, load up relatively quickly… about 15 seconds or less. This is really great, especially with kids, because my son is extremely impatient. Not a desired trait, but all kids are antsy, so having a fast upload for low end games is good. The 3D games and PC titles take the longest, with some PC titles taking nearly forty-fifty minutes to load.

This is a bit… disappointing. In order to really enjoy the game you’d have to begin the upload long before you plan to play, and some of us don’t have that luxury to wait that long. But this is where you’d have to take care… because you can tab out of GameTap… so the wait isn’t something that you have to sit and watch… stare at until it is completed, yet if you forget your upload and tab back in much later, GameTap will auto log you out, and then you’ll have to restart the download all over again. I’ve done it… frustrating. Took an hour and twenty minutes to play a game of Zeus.