In case you missed it, there's a new Humble Bundle going on right now (since two days ago). Over the years we’ve seen a variety of games offered up on the Humble Bundle; some have been pretty ho-hum, while others have been well worth the price of admission; many of the games have been indie affairs. Of course, the price of admission is practically free: it’s whatever you want, starting at a whopping $1 – yes, that's an entire dollar rather than the original starting point of a penny for the Humble Bundle. The latest version comes courtesy of EA’s Origin, and rather than the usual indie games, and you get six AAA games from EA that range from okay to unappreciated gems to major blockbusters.

Any contribution will get you all six of the following games; I’ve included the current retail (Origin) pricing on each as a reference point: Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box ($19.99), Crysis 2 Maximum Edition ($29.99), the original Dead Space ($19.99), the latest Dead Space 3 sequel ($39.99), Mirror’s Edge ($19.99), and Medal of Honor ($19.99). So if you were to buy just those six games off of Origin right now, you’d be paying nearly $150 – not that I’d suggest you do so, but if you’ve missed any of them and are looking for a diversion, they’re not bad. [And now Red Alert 3: Uprising and Populous; see below.]

As an added bonus, if you pay more than the current average Humble Bundle price ($4.80 at the time of writing), you get two additional titles. Battlefield 3 ($19.99) hardly needs an introduction, and the same goes for The Sims 3 (Starter Pack – $29.99). The Starter Pack comes with the main game as well as the High-End Loft and Late Night expansion packs. So, less than $5 can currently net you eight games, most of which are worth a look, and all of which are big budget titles.

The hook for the Humble Bundle is that you get to choose how your contribution is distributed. You can given any percentage to one of five charities (Human Rights Campaign, Watsi, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, American Cancer Society, and American Red Cross), or you can give a “Humble Tip” to the Humble Bundle people for their time and bandwidth involved with the promotion. You can also gift the purchase to someone else if you like.

Of course there’s always a catch, right? Sure, and this time it’s pretty simple: some of the games as you might have guessed have to be used through EA’s Origin service. Now, I didn’t much care for the initial launch of the EA Downloader, which later became Origin, but things have at least improved. I don’t know that it’s equal to Steam, as transferring games between computers is a bit more of a pain, but it’s not terrible at least. Of the eight titles, three are only available with Origin (Battlefield 3, Dead Space 3, and The Sims 3 – these things come in threes or something?); the other five games can be used with either Steam or Origin – or even both! How’s that for generous?

The instructions note that you redeem the codes for the Sims 3 through the Sims 3 web page, but the instructions from EA for redeeming the expansion packs are incorrect: you need to redeem those through Origin (or via "Register a Product"). At least when I did it, the Sims 3 My Store Account section has “Redeem a Code”, but it only has blocks for four parts of the code, and my codes were five blocks of four characters. Oops. There was also some sluggishness with Origin as I was writing this, perhaps caused by a deluge of Humble Bundle downloads.

However you want to look at it, for practically free you can enjoy some of the past three or four years of gaming action. That’s a price that’s hard to beat, and hey: it’s for charity, so feel free to be generous! There are currently just under 12 days remaining on this offer.

8/22/2013 Update: Humble Bundle just sent out a note that they've added Red Alert 3: Uprising and Populous to the Humble Origin Bundle. Anyone that has already purchased the bundle receives the keys, along with any future purchasers. For what it's worth, I have fond memories of playing Populous back in the day, on an Amiga no less, but I have to admit it's getting a little long in the tooth. Anything that requires DOSbox to run might be better served living in your fond memories instead of being dusted off to discover how badly it's aged. Well, except for Wasteland....

Source: Humble Bundle

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  • haldolium - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Well that is kind of a uncritical article, isn't it? During the first ~24h the Origin servers were crushed and you could not redeem your codes (who would have thought of THAT, right?). On top of it, I have no clue where you get your experience with Origin but during the short time I used it just now for this bundle it caused more problems as Steam did within the past 8 years... and by now, one would expect Origin not being a total piece of shit software after more as 2 years being public. But well, another reason never support EA again. This time, at least they did not saw a penny of that money. Sadly one could not chose to give it to the developers.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    I've used Origin regularly for the past several years -- all of our Battlefield 3 benchmarking required it, for example. Other than short-term downtimes (something which Steam has also had on occasion), I never had serious problems. So, three questions:

    When did you purchase your codes for the bundle, what problems did you encounter (other than the overloaded servers), and are the problems still ongoing or have they been resolved?

    If the answer to the last one is that, yes, things are now working, I can't get particularly worked up about it. I mean, they're giving games away for charity, so even if the experience isn't perfect I'm okay with that.
  • chizow - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Yeah I'd just ignore it. I never understood the anti-EA, anti-Origin vitriol you see from some people who then turn around and praise Steam. Steam was a total PITA piece of bloatware when it first launched yet people seem to forget that. Not to mention its not immune at all from near-complete shutdown during Steam sales. I had no problem redeeming my codes after the initial crush of orders, and I was getting games at a full 7mbps, so no complaints here.
  • Mr. Pedantic - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Well, I already have Steam, why would I want something extra? If we accept your premises that Steam is a PITA, and that it's improved over time, why would I want something else that's LIKE Steam, but crappier? Part of the advantage of Steam is that I have all my games accessible in one place, since I can even add non-Steam games into my Steam library. So why would I want to install another piece of software whose only purpose is to fragment this unity?

    Also, regardless of whether it's better than Steam or worse than Steam, I don't understand why Origin forces me to open my browser to run Battlefield 3. I just don't.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    That's not Origin, that's Battlefield 3. As for an alternative to Steam, while I'm not suggesting Origin is awesome, why would you ONLY want one place to go for all of your games and gaming needs? I like Steam a lot, but having other options out there is never a bad thing, as it forces Valve to continue to improve. Where would Intel be if AMD, Cyrix, ARM, etc. never existed?
  • f0d - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    my problem with origin is that it isnt a GOOD alternative to steam - with all the issues it has like simcity and when pretty much any game is released on it it has issues (even bf3 had issues when it first came out) or even when the humble bundle was released it was non functional and the fact that pretty much only EA games are released on it (although they do have other indie games on there i think) makes it not really an alternative to steam for me also the game library is small
    so to sum it up

    *small game library
    *just about only EA games on it
    *server issues when a new game is released (never had any issues redeeming the same humble bundle games on steam)

    if you include the time it was called EA downloader in 2005 onwards it has been around long enough to have these issues resolved imo
  • THizzle7XU - Sunday, August 18, 2013 - link

    The server issues for each specific game have nothing to do with Origin itself. Those are the servers provided for those games that were not adequate enough. If those games were sold on Steam they would have had the same problems.
  • GiantPandaMan - Saturday, August 24, 2013 - link

    As a resident EA hater, I don't like Origin just because I dislike EA as a company. The DRM is horrendous on their games. You can't just separate Origin from their in game DRM. For example, yesterday I was playing Mass Effect 3 online with some friends. I lost connection to the multiplayer servers because they crashed. I know they crashed because every single person I was playing with had the same issue. I had to quit Mass Effect 3 just to reconnect Origin to their servers. Origin would NOT connect unless I did a full quit out of Mass Effect 3.

    Origin has gotten better, but it's still very dodgy. It crashes, it has weird issues where certain friends may or may not show up to certain other friends on any given day. It's not that they're not online. It's not that I can't see both of them. They just can't see each other. Ultimately, I picked up the humble bundle because the money won't go to EA and I already have an Origin account. However, I've pretty much put on a personal boycott of EA games because of the horrendous DRM they put on. Using Origin supports EA so it gets a long look before I'd ever buy anything from it as well.
  • chizow - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Simple, because it offers alternatives and potentially better prices not only for older games, but new releases also. This bundle is a good example of it. If EA wasn't 1st party publisher for these titles, they would never be able to essentially give them away for free. Similarly I have also bought digital downloads from GameFly, Amazon, and GreenManGaming because they all have offered product at cheaper prices than Steam. So who cares, if I have to keep track of a few more client installs, no big deal, especially when EA has franchises that are absolutely worth maintaining just for their client. Now that the client is in place and I have some games in my Origin library, there's no downside to having it as a 2nd client since I'm going to have it regardless.

    Also, Origin is not without benefits. One of the coolest things Origin did from the outset was allow boxed DVD owners to register their games on Origin for a digital download version. For the few legacy games that didn't auto-activate, they issued new keys and de-commissioned the old ones.
  • f0d - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    "One of the coolest things Origin did from the outset was allow boxed DVD owners to register their games on Origin for a digital download version. For the few legacy games that didn't auto-activate, they issued new keys and de-commissioned the old ones."

    they wont let me use my bf2142 keys on it and they wont give me any new ones i have tried a few times - not sure about other older games but i did try it with 2142 and was denied

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