The Gold Box games are legendary among RPG fans of a certain age. Published by SSI through the late '80s and early '90s, they're based on numerous classic D&D settings including Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, and Ravenloft. They're a seminal old-school RPG experience, and later this month they'll finally be available on Steam.
The Gold Box games will be part of eight separate collections:
- Forgotten Realms: The Archives Collection One (opens in new tab) (Eye of the Beholder 1, 2, and 3)
- Forgotten Realms: The Archives - Collection Two (opens in new tab) (Curse of the Azure Bonds, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Hillsfar, Pools of Darkness, Pool of Radiance, Secret of the Silver Blades, Treasures of the Savage Frontier, and Unlimited Adventures)
- Forgotten Realms: The Archives - Collection Three (opens in new tab) (Dungeon Hack, Menzoberranzan)
- Krynn series (opens in new tab) (Champions of Krynn, Death Knights of Krynn, The Dark Queen of Krynn)
- Dark Sun series (opens in new tab) (Shattered Lands, Wake of the Ravager)
- Ravenloft series (opens in new tab) (Strahd's Possession, Stone Prophet)
- D&D Stronghold: Kingdom Simulator (opens in new tab)
- Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse (opens in new tab)
The Steam editions are being remastered by SNEG, a small publisher founded by former GOG employees that focuses on remastering and re-releasing old games. They'll feature a number of enhancements including a special Gold Box launcher that will simplify the process of managing the games and moving parties between them, enhanced DOSBox support, and various companion apps.
These collections are already available on GOG, and it's not clear how, or if, the Steam releases will be meaningfully different. The GOG versions don't include the auto-mapping apps, for instance, but that's not a big deal because they're freely available for download (opens in new tab); they do include hint books, which the Steam pages don't mention—but the Steam listings also don't mention the instruction manuals and believe me, you're pretty well hosed without those, so it's reasonable to assume they'll be included.
I've reached out to SNEG to ask about the differences between the Steam and GOG releases, and will update if I receive a reply. In the meantime, some personal advice: The actual Gold Box games are extremely old, and unless you know you want to play them, you probably don't. Eye of the Beholder 2: Legend of Darkmoon, on the other hand, remains an extremely playable, and extremely good (opens in new tab), dungeon crawler.
The Gold Box games and other SSI classics will arrive on Steam on March 29.